Congratulations to our Couple of The Year, Kelsey Thompson and Clarke Baker who created magic by pouring their hearts into their special day!
We were married on Friday 19 January 2018. Our ceremony was at the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua and reception was at Clarke’s family lake house at Lake Rotoiti.
As soon as we stepped foot in the ‘Under the Sails’ clearing at the beautiful Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, we instantly felt it was the place for us to get married.
I found my dress at Alma J Bridal boutique and knew it was the one instantly. It was the dress I felt most comfortable in and most like ‘me’. It was subtly boho-inspired with a figure-hugging silhouette, a V-neck line and low V-back, beautiful bold floral and fern-like lace patterns, deep side cut-outs and a scalloped lace hem.
Clarke wore a made-to-measure dark navy Rembrandt suit with a light grey tie, white shirt and tan leather shoes.
I had four bridesmaids, three of my best friends and my sister. My bridesmaids looked stunning with their natural makeup and tussled floaty hair, like beautiful forest fairies. My Mum had hand-sewn each of the girls a small linen pouch with their initials embroidered, to store their bits and pieces for the day.
The groomsmen wore hired navy suit jackets and purchased grey trousers both from Rembrandt. It worked having Clarke in full navy to contrast his identical twin brother in the grey pants to ensure they weren’t mixed up all day!
There is nothing quite like arriving to marry the love of your life with all of your most treasured family and friends present. I thought I’d be nervous, and I was, up until the minute I was at the top of the aisle and locked eyes with my best friend – standing there looking so handsome, vulnerable and ready. From that point onwards I only felt calm and happy.
After the ceremony we took an old picnic basket full of snacks to a lovely overgrown field where the bridal party could catch up and get some photos.
For both of us I think the boat ride will always be a treasured memory as it was such a happy point in time between the formalities of the ceremony and reception, sharing a glass of bubbles as a married couple with our best friends, on the water.
The eclectic mix of wooden, glass and brass tableware on the guest and grazing tables were all sourced from op shops. The duck-egg blue and oatmeal-coloured linen napkins and table runners, as well as the 90 metres of bunting hanging across the ceiling was sewn by Clarke’s Mum. The lace of the bunting was particularly special, being off-cuts from Clarke’s grandmother’s sewing room from when she used to make wedding dresses.
Looking across the calm silky lake as husband and wife, it was the first moment that we were able to take a breath, look around and appreciate how perfectly our dream day had come together.
You put a lot of effort in to create your dream wedding. When the day arrives, whether preparation has been smooth-sailing or there have been a few hiccups, you are marrying your best friend, in front of all of your best friends. And that is the true beauty of a wedding.
The Details: Brides Gown: Martina Liana from Alma J Bridal Boutique; Brides Shoes: Chaos & Harmony; Bride’s accessories: Earrings - Kagi; Bridesmaids dresses: Amber Whitecliffe; Groom’s suit, shoes: Rembrandt made-to-measure suit, ALDO shoes; Groomsmen’s attire: Rembrandt, ALDO shoes; Photographer: Courtney Horwood; Celebrant: Jonnie Mead; Hair: Amelia Rush - Boutique Bride; Makeup: Kate Solley; Florist: Amy McKeown - Crimson Rose Florist Papamoa; Catering: Linda Rogers; Music: Ceremony - Russell Eggleton (friend), Reception - Five O’Clock Shadow band; Stationery: designed by bride, produced by The Wild Ones and Raewyn Pope Illustration; Videography: Bad Panda Productions; Signage: Handmade by groom; Hire: Activities Unlimited Rotorua, Andy’s Party Hire Rotorua, Pulp Functions caravan bar, Stretch Tents, Louisiana Lucy cutlery; Venue: Ceremony: Redwoods Forest, Rotorua; Reception - Family lake house, Lake Rotoiti;