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Rustic Chic KatiKati Orchard Wedding

“It all started as a summer fling almost six years ago at Italian island of Sardinia. Both of us were working at the same campsite. I worked with kids and Dale was extreme sports guide. After the first summer together we thought that we wouldn’t see each other again, but we stayed in touch and that was the beginning of our long distance relationship. I believe our story happened by chance but to make it work we had to overcome many challenges, and as a result it turned it into something really special.”

Who Dale + Nataliya
Where At families Kiwi orchard near Katikati
Guests 60

I said yes…

I was away to Europe for five weeks and the day after I came back Dale took me to Waiheke where he was going for a day of work. Being jet-lagged I spend a day just relaxing with the book at the beach by myself. At lunchtime, we meet up and had a picnic at Manowar bay. We went for a little walk by the water and Dale got down on one knee and said a little speech. He proposed with the shell that he found earlier as the symbol of commitment. We choose the ring together several weeks later.

Our wedding style was… Shabby Chic, Simple and Rustic.

We saved by…

Having the ceremony and reception at the family orchard of Dales grandparents. They put so much love and work into the beautiful gardens, we couldn’t think of a more special place for our wedding.

As a couple we love to DIY, so lots of the decor was made by our friends and us. From the invitation to flowers, decorations, and little details it was all a collective work. Our delicious cake was made by Dales Mother, and the flowers by our dear friend Chelsie. Before this day I never could of imagined how much work goes into the flowers, and what great job she did! I’m a Graphic designer by profession so all the invitations, stationery and packaging for favors were created by myself.

We also borrowed a vintage caravan by the name “Agatha” from our friends and “she” was used as a bar and shelter for drinks.  To get to the wedding location, I arrived in the classic car that was build from scratch by Dales Uncle.

Each part of the day was created with love and the help of friends and family.

We splurged on…

It’s hard to say what we splurged on. We planned and made it how we wanted it. I must confess that the numbers that you have in your head and the reality is different, so sometimes you should close your eyes on the price and choose what you love. That is what happened with my dress, I fell in love with it at the first try but made a few rounds before I came back to it.

Our advice to engaged couples…

We got engaged a year and a half before the wedding but due to family reasons and difficult time planning, it was put on hold until the end of 2016. In middle of November, we made a decision on the date, so it meant that we had 2 and a half months to organize. It didn’t sound that crazy or scary to us. But as soon as we were getting questions such as “Are you talking about 2018?” or comments like “Wow, that is soon” we realized that some people saw it as a short time to plan. So our advice would be: don’t stress too much, if you have a plan and have thought about every part of the day it will all fall into place. It’s such a special day, so with all the planning don’t forget to just to enjoy it.

CREDITS

Photographer Amy Bell Photography
Venue Kiwi Orchard near Katikati
Catering Brownies Spit Roast
Hire Company Paramount Hire, Tauranga
Stationery + Signage Nataliya Hyvel (bride)
Hair Love is in the Hair
Makeup Emma Jayne Whittaker
Cake Grooms Mother Alison
Celebrant Fernley Ann Nielsen
Brides Dress Kellylin Couture
Brides Accessories + Shoes Janet & Janet
Bridesmaid Dress Pagani
Grooms Suit + Accessories Hallenstein Brothers
Rings Walker & Hall + Sova
Music Groove DJs

P+L SUPERSTARS FEATURED IN THIS WEDDING

9 Tips for Choosing your Wedding Day Jewellery

With all the focus on the wedding dress, sometimes the task of choosing your wedding day jewellery falls til the last minute, just another small task to add to the long list of plans.
On the one day where you don’t carry a handbag, wear a watch or usually even see your shoes, jewels may be the only accessory you have.  If you’re stressing in the last few days about what jewellery to wear on your wedding day, you might find some inspiration here.
how-to-choose-your-wedding-jewellery
I opted for very simple diamond studs (with which you can’t go wrong) but here are my 9 tips for choosing your wedding day jewellery.
1. Flattering not flashy:
Don’t let the jewellery outshine the dress.  A little sparkle should flatter and accentuate, without competing for the centre of attention.  A little icing will go a long way.
This is especially so if your wedding dress is already heavily embellished or detail.  The jewellery is always a supporting act.
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2. If you’re looking for timeless: 
Diamonds, pearl strands and Swarovski crystals won’t date, whereas chunky, costume pieces go in and out of style.  If you want something a little different, experiment with colour, or if you prefer large pieces of jewellery, a thick piece might look better as a bracelet rather than heavy necklace or earrings.
3. Consider Colour
While chances are your wedding dress is white (mine was blush pink), there are varying shades of white.  Cooler, stark whites best suit silver and platinum pairings, whereas ivory and blush wedding dresses pair with gold and rose-gold better.  Even a string of pearls can be a very different shade from your ivory dress, so do try them together in a variety of lights.  Of course, diamonds go with everything…
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4. Never clutter the neckline
One of the main determinate for choosing what pieces of jewellery to wear will be the neckline of your wedding gown.  Again, because you’re looking for sparkle, and not to outshine, consider the focal point of your gown.  If the gown itself is already very sparkly, embellished or eye-catching on top, a necklace might be too much.  Similarly, if the wedding dress is one shoulder or halter-neck, the shape may not suit a necklace.  The last thing you want is a cluttered or over-bearing look.
A strapless or sweetheart dress is the easiest to accessorise.  It’s ideal for a collar necklace that mirrors the curve of the collar-bone, a shimmery accentuating bare shoulders and showing off your clavicle.
For a V-neckline, a long pendant paired with drop earrings are complementary.
Wide necklines: bateau, boat neck, deep, wide V neck and off-shoulder dresses suit a statement necklace.
5. Be careful
If you’re wearing a lace dress, anything with clasps or hooks may catch, especially on the wrist.  Be careful with your choice and have a trial walk around wearing the jewellery and dress together.
Delicate fabrics like silk and tulles too, can be easily damaged.  Don’t wear a diamond/Swarovski cuff or bracelet with rough edges if it could potentially pull the fabric.
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6. Something blue
Just take it from Kate Middleton, sapphires are stunning and a pop of royal blue against a white wedding dress can be a spectacular accent.  It’s an easy way to add a pop of colour to an otherwise white ensemble, and ticks your “something blue” too.
7. Heirloom
As I’ve decided to sell my wedding dress, it’s also nice to have something I wore from my wedding day to pass onto my daughter.
Small, easily stored and won’t date or tarnish, jewellery is the perfect heirloom.
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8. Spend or Splurge?
If it’s a last-minute spend and budget is on your mind, choose just one special piece of jewellery and spend a little more on it, instead of buying a bracelet, necklace and earrings.  I love cheap, fashionable jewellery, but I’d be wary of cheap metals marking my skin, snagging my dress or giving me a reaction.  That said, even high end jewellers have affordable pieces, or visit a second hand jeweller for beautiful sparkles priced for a fraction of what you’d expect.
If you’re lucky enough to have a big budget, again I’d say still to revert to the first tip: flattering not flashy.
9. Embellish with Earrings
Drop earrings or simple studs will make for even more glowing beauty shots.  Because my dress was so sparkly, I pared back with just diamond stud earrings.
What I love most about the earrings I chose for my wedding though, is that I can wear them literally every day (which is more than you can say for my dress).
how-to-choose-your-wedding-jewellery
They’re simple, classic, timeless and versatile – they weren’t cheap but I made the most of my budget by buying something I want to wear again and again.  It’s nice to have another piece of my wedding to enjoy whenever I want to feel a little glamorous, and my simple diamond stud earrings were perfect for that.

How to Organise a Marquee Wedding

We are so spoiled for choice when it comes to planning a wedding and searching for venues in New Zealand and Australia.

Choosing to plan a ‘Marquee Wedding’  generally means you’re starting from a blank canvas, hiring a marquee and doing the rest yourself. It’s an ideal way of turning a family farm, a stunning spot off-the-beaten-track or a beachfront private property or into your perfect venue. 

It’s not hard to find somewhere incredible and unique to exchange vows and celebrate when marquee hire can create your dream wedding venue just about anywhere, but there’s a lot to think about.

How to Organise a Marquee Wedding

Organising a marquee wedding means you have the luxury of choosing almost any location, and is a popular choice in both Australia and New Zealand due to our lovely summer climates.

Private residences such as historic homes, farms, beaches or parks abound and can make a perfect wedding day location, and even more unique spaces like a rooftop building or forest can be great marquee spots.

Planning a marquee wedding often indicates you’re having a ‘dry-hire’ or DIY wedding, so make sure you think about the logistics of each type of venue because it can be a lot of work.

I hope you find this article useful – Please have a look at little white book wedding planner before you go xx

Marquee Weddings at Private Residences

Having your wedding at a private residence can be more economical than hiring a venue, but it’s also easy to overspend when you’re responsible for organising everything yourself.

A marquee allows you to create an entire new space away from the main house so your home isn’t over-run with your family and friends. Remember you’ll need a relatively flat space if your guests are going to dine at tables under the tent. If you’re having a dancefloor within a marquee, you will may have to hire this too.

Marquee Weddings in Parks & Public Places

We’re lucky in New Zealand, as regional councils allow wedding receptions in many parks or public places (with regulations to abide by). You’re likely to need to apply to the local council for an ‘Event Permit’ to hold your wedding in a public space. To apply in your city, see these links: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, HamiltonNapierHastings, Taupo, Rotorua, Coromandel.

Depending on the size and type of event you are holding, you may need to apply for other permits, such as a ‘Temporary Building Structure’ permit for a marquee over 100 square metres, and you may need to think about liquor licensing, sound levels, toilet accessibility, car-parking, power access and more. A 100-square metre marquee will hold around 60 to 90 guests at a cocktail-style event. For a seated reception for 120 guests, you would require between 200 and 240 square metres of ‘tent space’.

Farms & Private Open Sites

A large space with a view of the ocean provides a beautiful view and great photographic opportunities for your wedding. We were lucky enough to have stunning views over Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel – though we didn’t have a marquee.

For a completely DIY venue you will need to organise everything from the ground up: toilets, heating, generators, transportation, a food prep area, car-parking, lighting, furniture, and the list goes on. Ideally, look for a site where the property owners have hosted wedding before and are willing to help you pull everything together, or work with a wedding planner.

Once you’ve chosen a wedding venue, visit it with your marquee company

A site inspection of the venue is included with your marquee company’s service. This is a vital step as they must see where you plan to have the marquee in order to give a realistic quotation.

Let them know your estimated number of guests, ask what size marquee is needed, and obviously check you have the room for the required size. They will advise on access, layout, and any potential hazards like underground pipes and roots.

Choosing your Wedding Marquee

  •  For your marquee, do you want white canvas walls do you want windows (clear walls) and or do you want it completely open? Do you want silk lining in your marquee?
  • What type of flooring would you prefer? The ideal solution is a level hard floor this provides a solid surface for guests to walk on, or plastic grid flooring or perhaps no flooring for that rustic look?
  • Do you prefer round tables or long trestle tables? This may effect the shape of marquee you choose.

The best thing to do when planning a marquee wedding is write a comprehensive list of tasks and requirements in order to tick off as time goes by, as well as a detailed floor plan and run sheet.

Marquee Floor Plan and Run Sheet

Set this up well in advance and use it to work with you vendors. Drawing a simple sketch of the tables, dance-floor, power, etc will be a priceless use of time. Consider what type of layout are you after in general, where you envisage the catering tent going, as well as the portable toilets, marquee entrance, and where you’ll want the dance floor & stage.

On your run sheet, list exactly what times you want everything on your big day to take place and who is responsible for each. There’s a run sheet template in your little white book.

Other vendors

For a marquee wedding, I suggest you only choose the most experienced and capable wedding vendors.

Wedding caterers in particular need to be able to work in marquee and/or outdoor conditions. If you have chosen a location such as a park, paddock, hill-top or similar, do remember your caterers will need to bring all heating and cooking equipment to site – this is no mean feat when you are talking numerous ovens and gas bottles.

Consider also that they will need a reliable power source and cover for their catering area. Check with your caterers what size catering marquee they need to service your wedding proficiently. Ensure your caterers have access to fresh water; this can be simply an extendable hose into the catering tent or access to the kitchen in the venue.

If possible, meet with at least a couple of caterers, rather than just viewing a website and choosing based on price. Great food is a very important part of a great celebration, and you want to be able to trust everyone is going to enjoy it, including yourself. See also how to choose your wedding catering.

What else do you need to plan for a marquee wedding?

A Wet-Weather Back-up plan – What if it rains? Think about a contingency plan whether you hire an additional marquee or hold the reception in the marquee on the dance floor if uncovered. If space and budget are flexible then you can have a special lounge area in the marquee.

Make sure there is a partition between the catering tent and the main marquee, guests do not want to see staff dishing up food. See also how to prepare for the unexpected.

Power or a Generator – Be very aware of power, how much the band/DJ, toilets and caterer needs. Does the venue supply enough power and, more importantly, do you want to risk the power tripping? Don’t rely on a near-by house or venue to supply your power source for your caterers, lighting and sound. Hiring a generator will eliminate any potential fuse-blows (imagine the lights and sound going out mid first-dance!).

You’ll also need plenty of lighting for an evening wedding. Depending on where your location is, you are looking at around $300 for a basic generator, plus transportation.

Acoustics – Sound is very important too. Guests want to hear your speeches, so invest in a simple hired sound system with either lapel or standard microphones.

Love thy neighbour – Ensure the neighbours are aware of the wedding and anticipated noise and don’t take advantage of the flexibility a marquee wedding allows you – respect your surroundings (or invite them!)

Parking & vehicle access – Do you have sufficient parking? Ensure there is good signage so people know where to park. Whenever hiring suppliers that will arrive in larger vehicles, think about the access available to them. If access is narrow and deliveries have to be scheduled in, make sure suppliers know the relevant time slot they can deliver and explain any difficulties with the access available.

Planner – You may want to think seriously about having a wedding planner or day of coordinator to assist: they can decorate the venue, take delivery of goods plus manage the day itself so if any challenges occur they are dealt with in a professional manner leaving you to relax and party.

Toilets – With a large number of guests attending the wedding you will need to organise some mobile toilets.

Decoration – The beauty of marquees is you have so much height to play with. Hanging lanterns, bunting and pom poms or hanging crystals chandeliers and floral arrangements give a more intimate feeling. When done well, this will help reduce the ceiling height and create dramatic entrances into different areas of the marquee.

Of course, if you’re planning a marquee wedding in an open space, you’ll need to hire absolutely all decoration and furniture you need – there’s not likely to be small tables nearby for a cake table if you forget one. Check with each vendor what they require too.

Head to wedding planning advice for an index of our content, and take a little look at the little white book – voted Australia’s best wedding planner.

Glam Woodland Inspired Te Puru Wedding

“I said yes in a very romantic setting to a very Matt-like proposal. We went to Papa Aroha for a weekend without our 1st kidlet and after a day of fishing he asked me at sunset on the beach. We didn’t have an engagement party as I found out I was pregnant with our 2nd and sold our house the next week. We married 7 years after our first kiss!”

Who Matt + Taryn Baines
Where Te Puru on the Thames Coast
Guests 100ish

Our love story began…

When we met at a mutual friends place but it then took a while for us to become an item! 1 house renovation, a dog, 2 babies and then a brand new house build and the rest is history. We married 7 years after our first kiss.

I said yes…

In a very romantic setting to a very Matt-like proposal. We went to Papa Aroha for a weekend without our 1st kidlet and after a day of fishing he asked me at sunset on the beach. We didn’t have an engagement party as I found out I was pregnant with our 2nd and sold our house the next week.

Our wedding inspiration was…

Woodland glam with greenery, sparkle and lots of flowers. My partner and a lot of my family are hunters so we had a few antlers and nod’s to deer stalking throughout the wedding.

We saved on…

We own our own marquee and party hire business and I am an event stylist so we didn’t have any hire charges as such for any of the marquee, furniture, decorations etc. I also made all of our invites, placesettings, menus and floral installations. Matt is a builder so anything I needed built like our amazing wooden table tops he did this for us, he also built our arch and backdrop.

We splurged on…

A band, a real fruit icecream truck with unlimited icecream, my dress and our rings.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Do it your way, its really hard to plan a wedding and a lot of couples get overwhelmed by everyone elses input and advice. You really want to walk away being as happy as you can be with the choices you make for your wedding as it is YOUR wedding.

CREDITS

Photographer The Undefined Photography – Katherine has done a suberb job of our photos and it was an absolute pleasure to have her take our photos for the day.
Planning + Styling The Bride, Taryn Baines at Make Your Day Events.
Flowers The Bride, Raspberry and white peonies, lisisanthus and greenery bought wholesale and arranged myself for the bouquets. Hydrangeas from local gardens for the table centerpieces with moss my father gathered and a few floral installations made with artificial flowers and greenery that I made myself.
Venue La Casa Te Puru Lodge for the ceremony (they will also do marquee receptions) and then home to have our reception in the marquee.
Catering The Icecream Truck was absolutely amazing – best icecreams and some people had 2 or 3 each. We also made our own platters for cocktail hour and my bridesmaids made 100 individual white chocolate cheesecakes in jars for dessert.
Hire Company Make Your Day Events – All items came from our hire stock – marquee, furniture including wooden trestle tables, lighting, dancefloor, rose gold cutlery, table runners, chair sashes, charger plates, centerpieces etc.
Stationery Save the dates, invites, placecards, tablesetting plan, menus made by myself.
Wedding Sign Made by Cole Co. Design and MDF wording sourced from a bride on a wedding page.
Hair Some of my friends who are local hairdressers
Makeup Jess Drought Makeup & Nail Artistry + Makeup Artistry by Chantara – These girls are awesome!
Cake Janine at Jara Delights. Janine was amazing, I am gluten free so two layers were gluten free and I sent her a few photos of what I wanted with parts of cakes I wanted that she combined into the perfect cake, it looked amazing and more importantly tasted so good. I made the cake topper.
Celebrant Janie Storey, a Whakatane based and a longtime family friend.
Brides Dress Stella York at Felicitys Bridal in High Street.
Veil Borrowed from my bridesmaid whose husband was our best man.
Shoes Modcloth shoes modified by myself to have glitter on the front strap.
Bridesmaid Dresses Aliexpress as it was the only place I could find the colour I wanted with different styles to suit the girls. Altered by Holly at the Sewing Box in Thames.
Grooms Suit + Accessories Hallenstein Brothers
Rings Etsy + Stewart Dawsons
Transport I secretly organized to borrow a very amazing Toyota Hilux from the local Toyota yard without Matt knowing and turned up to the ceremony in and then had it for some photos – we were very grateful to Valley Toyota for letting us do this.
Music 2 Crew Duo – Best decision ever, amazing voices and talent and great at keeping the crowd going, we didn’t want them to leave and dancefloor was always full.

Relaxed Floral Inspired Old Forest School Wedding

“During a picnic on the side of a gravel road in a rural spot between the snowy mountains called “Paradise” Liam got down on one knee and asked the question. It was perfect, I’m not a fan of attention so I loved that it was in such a private, picturesque setting, with nearby cows as the only witnesses.”

Who Bianca + Liam Gavin
Where Old Forest School Vintage Venue
Guests 118 nearest and dearest friends and famil

Our love story began…

We met through mutual friends while I was in University, we were good friends for months before circumstances changed and we started dating. We were both smitten and knew it was something special early on. After a year and a half of long distance I made the move to Whangarei, and since then we have both settled into new careers, bought a house, renovated a caravan together, adopted 2 fur children, and now marriage. We have achieved more together in a short amount of time than we could have dreamed of and can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for us.

I said yes

It was our 3rd anniversary and I planned to surprise Liam with a trip to Queenstown, this failed when I accidentally let it slip only days before we were due to go. Turns out Liam had a surprise of his own, which he managed to keep until the day we arrived in Queenstown, where he mistakenly used the word engagement instead of anniversary. We didn’t acknowledge this slip and three days later during a picnic on the side of a gravel road in a rural spot between the snowy mountains called “Paradise” Liam got down on one knee and asked the question. It was perfect, I’m not a fan of attention so I loved that it was in such a private, picturesque setting, with nearby cows as the only witnesses. I also loved the fact it gave us something to laugh about, the fact we’d both tried to plan romantic suprises and had both let it slip, it made the whole thing very ‘us’. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Our wedding style was…

We wanted our wedding to be a fun, relaxed day for ourselves and all of our guests. I was also set on being married in an outdoor natural setting, and our venue provided the perfect backdrop. For the theme, I wanted to draw from earthy natural colours with aspects of gold. I wanted the colours to reflect the romantic mood of the day but to remain relaxed and not overdone. Due to the large number of bridesmaids I chose to have different colours of the same style of dress, but within the same earthy tonal range. Picking these colours was one of the hardest decisions leading up to the day but I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. I wanted the flowers to be the main show so we kept other decorations simple and minimal so they didn’t overpower how beautiful the floral arrangements around the venue were.

We saved on…

The signage was made the night before the wedding by myself and my sister Sophie. We also sourced 130 mismatched crystal wine glasses for the bar second hand. Agee jars from the tables came from a local country store down the road from Liam’s parents house. The wood rounds for the serving platters were made and oiled by Liam’s dad. Canapes served on the wood rounds were prepared and served throughout the day by some amazing family friends. Wedding cars were Liams parents BMW SUV and my granddads Mercedes SUV, we were lucky enough to be driven by my granddad and Liam’s sisters partner.

We splurged on…

The venue, our photographer, guest experiences and my dress. They were three things that were important to me. The venue really set the scene for the day, with it’s casual setting and beautiful surroundings, it fit how we wanted our day to be – relaxed and a fun experience for all involved. Our photographer Rambo Estrada is the person we picked our date around, he was the only person we wanted to photograph our day. My sister is lucky enough to work with him so there was already a connection there, and his work speaks for itself- we couldn’t be happier with how his photos showcase our day and all the fun and emotion it entailed. We wanted the day to be as much of an amazing experience for our guests as it was for us, so we splurged on things like the bar, the food trucks, and the buses to transport guests, there were games on site to keep the guests entertained and a polaroid camera for guests to be able to capture and take home their own images of the day. My dress was something I always knew I’d splurge on, and after hours spent trawling online I had a few designers in mind. It was by coincidence that while on a 2 day stop over in Melbourne, I found my dress in Karen Willis Holmes boutique, it was the last of my size in the style I fell in love with in the country so I knew it was meant to be.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Involve each other in the decisions, draw from help from friends and family, it really does help lighten the stress load. Focus on things you and your guests will enjoy on the day, such as the food and drinks, the activities, the running of the day and program, things that are experienced. Once it’s all done those are the details which will be remembered, rather than fine detail decorations or wedding favors. On the morning of the day leave any stress behind and accept that all that you could have done has been done and the rest will be as it is to be. A glass of bubbles and laughs with your bridesmaids is also a good nerve cure and a good way to get you excited!

CREDITS

Photographer Rambo Estrada

Florist Elise from Honeybee Wild Flowers runs a local business in the small town of Opotiki where I grew up. All of the flowers she used for our day were sourced locally within Opotiki which added to their beauty and it added some specialness to the arrangments.

VenueOld Forest School Vintage Venue

Music Asch Rose Music – Shortly after getting engaged we went to Russell in the Bay of Islands for a day together, we were sitting at the Duke of Marlborough enjoying lunch and a wine listening to a girl sing. I immediately knew I wanted her to be our singer at our wedding, so later messaged her and asked her if she would play for us on the day which she excitedly took the offer up of. She sung our aisle song (Dave Dobbyn – Beside You) which is a song that has been a fundamental part of my childhood and had our family and friends in tears.

Menu We chose to have a laid back eating style, so that our guests could enjoy mingling and dancing rather than being sat at tables for the majority of their day so we chose to have Tag Burger for our day. Guests could go up and order whatever they liked off the Tag Burger menu whenever they were hungry. Desert was then the Mr Whippy Ice Cream truck.

Stationery Kiyomi Kitagawan – She is a family friend of ours. She is a Doctor, who does graphic design as a hobby and for friends and family. I provided minimal guidance with what I wanted our invites to be and she provided the most beautiful wedding stationery printed on linen paper.

Hair Simone Anderson travelled with Briar and did our hair. She managed to do 6 bridesmaid hair ups, my hair, hair and makeup for my Mum, mother-in-law and Nanny all before 12pm. Having spent time with Simone before the day in social settings made it comfortable and exciting to have her there as part of our morning.

Makeup For the last few years I haven’t trusted anyone but Briar Howard to do my makeup for any occasions I’ve had, so I booked her as soon as I’d booked the venue. She made the trip from Auckland to Papamoa with Simone to be able to do our hair and makeup for the day. Having Briar there for the morning was like having a close friend there, this made the whole morning more special as it meant that the only people that were a part of our morning were people who I was relaxed and comfortable around.

Cake My talented friend Briar also baked our Cakes. She arrived at the house I’d rented for myself and the bridesmaids at 11pm the night before the wedding, and put the cakes together at 5am the following morning before starting on our makeup at 6am. Briar runs Our Little Kitchen Co., The main cake was bottom tier-Vanilla and doris plum cake, Top tier-Caramel mud cake with butter cream icing and gold foil, meringues and fresh flowers. The mini cake was a gluten free cake as Liam is coeliac, it was a Chocolate and Caramel mud cake with butter cream icing.

Celebrant Tim Shipton, we wanted our celebrant to reflect the relaxed vibe of our day, Liam says he was a key part in keeping him relaxed before my arrival and we loved his style of hosting the ceremony.

Brides Dress Karen Willis Holmes ‘Tulip’

Brides Accessories + Shoes I wore my Nanny’s Austrian Crystal drop earrings, I’m extremely close to my nanny so wanted to have a part of her with me on the day, and the Stolen Girlfriends Club silver bracelet Liam gifted to me on the morning of the wedding. My veil was the Grave Loves Lace Gabriela Veil, and my shoes were Windsor Smith. I also had my Great Grandmothers hand embroidered handkerchief in my bra for catching the days tears. I wanted to keep my accessories minimal so that the dress would be the main focus.

Bridesmaid Dresses I had a style of dress I wanted but it was too hard to source in New Zealand in the colours I wanted. Liam’s mum was heading to Hoi An in Vietnam for a holiday, knowing how good the tailors were here I purchased a dress in the style was after, and sourced swatches of colours I was hoping to have the dresses made in. They were all made by Yaly Couture in Hoi An using 100% silk.

Grooms Suit + AccessoriesThe shirts were a thick textured linen, purchased from Farmers. The pants came from Hallensteins. The leather suspenders were purchased on an etsy store, the bowties came from The Iconic, and the boys all chose their own shoes from various places. They all wore Ray Ban wayfarers on the day.

Relaxed Waimauku Barn Wedding

I met at Genevieve at a mutual friend’s birthday party and we got on really well. After leaving the party, I asked the taxi driver to turn back, I got Genevieve’s phone number, and the rest is history.

Who Genevieve + Iain Hudson
Where Waimauku, Auckland
Guests 74

I said yes.. Iain proposed to me at the end of the beach at Taupo Bay in Northland. It was a beautiful thing and there were tears of joy and lots of questions after, as I had know idea it was going to happen!

Our wedding style was… free spirited, natural and fun

We saved on.. .Flowers; almost all were sourced from family and friend’s gardens and arranged the day before and the music we used for the reception was a playlist so we saved using this instead of having a DJ/live band.

We splurged on… Maaka Pohatu from the Modern Maori Quartet who was our musician for the ceremony and Genevieve’s dress from Daughters of Simone. Iain said it was worth every cent!

Our advice to engaged couples… Do start small and get bigger rather than starting big and trying to get smaller, utlilsie your supports and networks as your friends and family will always be there to help.

CREDITS

Photographer Santana Maria Photography
Second shooter Kate Wark Photography
Flowers Leisje Bradley from The Free Range Florist
Venue Waimauku Barn
Catering Luscious Catering
Hire Company Two Foxes Styling + Insphire
Hair Pony Professionnel
Makeup Jessica Lee Hunt Makeup Artist
Cake The Caker – Jordan Rondel
Celebrant Yogamani Auckland Marriage Celebrant
Brides Dress Daughters of Simone ‘Jude’ dress from Secret Lace Bridal
Grooms Suit Custom tailored suit by the three Konik brothers – Sly Guild
Rings Meadowlark
Music Maaka Pohatu

Rustic Chic Ohope Beach Wedding

Who Nicholas Cawte + Jolanta Lesniak-Newman
Where Surf & Sand, Ohope Beach, Bay of Plenty
Guests 85 guests – 42 whom travelled from Australia

Our love story began…

We met the day Nick arrived in Perth in search of warmer weather. Little did he know he would find love too. We met within hours of him landing through a mutual friend and let’s just say it wasn’t “love at first sight”. After a few weeks of seeing me every single day he gave me a second chance and within weeks we had been through more than most couples experience in years. My mum was in her final weeks and passed away, Nick stayed by my side the entire time and I knew he was the one.

I said yes… It was 2 days before Christmas and we were spending the day on the lake fishing and camping. After dinner before the sun set we took the boat over to a secluded hot pool where Nick was giving me an early Christmas present. With my hands in his he asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes! We spent the evening lake side with a bottle of Champagne, it was magical.

Our wedding inspiration was… Rustic Beach Wedding – We both love the beach and wanted to incorporate that into our big day. Blue and white were our colours with a hint of rustic hessian.

We saved on/by… Although our bouquets were professionally made we saved on flowers by collecting our own for the tables, Nicks sister made our cake and our venue allowed for us to BYO alcohol. We collected decorations (sand, stones and driftwood) and created our own decorations.

We splurged on… The most expensive cost was our catering, making sure everyone was fed with delish food was one of our priorities. The venue hire and marquee were a very close second in cost, it was what we had always envisioned our day to look like and we were able to stay at this venue with all our family and friends.

Our advice to engaged couples… Sit back and relax, it is now time for you to enjoy yourselves. Take a step back throughout the day with your husband/wife and take it all in. The day goes so fast and remember it’s all about you x

CREDITS

Photographer Michael Shultz Photography
Accommodation Ohope Top 10 Holiday Park
Flowers HoneyBee Wild Flowers
Venue Surf & Sand Conference Centre
Catering Kiwizine
Hire Company Absolute Party Hire
Stationery & Signage Giant Invitations + Vista Print
Hair Bespoke Hair by Chloe
Makeup Staci Edwards
Cake DIY by Nicks sister
Celebrant Natalie Sandifer
Christmas Book
Brides Dress Stella York Dress from Tuscany Bridal
Brides Accessories + Shoes Michael Hill Jewellers + Betts Shoes
Bridesmaid Dresses The Gown House
Grooms Suit + Accessories Hallensteins + Number One Shoes
Rings Michael Hill Jewellers
Music Nick created playlists, we asked our guests to add a song request to their RSVP

One Month til Your Wedding – the Final Countdown

All weddings are going to be a little different from each other, and in the final month of wedding planning countdown this will be clearest. If you have opted for a lot of DIY, this may be an incredibly busy month for you, as it could if you are organising a destination wedding, a dry-hire venue, etc.
This is a comprehensive one-month to go wedding planning checklist but it may not be inclusive for your wedding – so feel free to skip tasks which are redundant for you. If you haven’t already, re-check the 3 month, 6 month and maybe even 12 month wedding planning checklists.
As you may be picking this up anywhere from a few days out or with one month til your wedding, I’ve worked backwards from the big day itself. You could input these into your diary to help, this is how the little white book is set out, but as it’s a little late in the proceedings to buy one now, use your everyday diary as a subsitute. Why not get organised and pick up a copy of I still do for after the wedding.

Use your everyday diary if you don’t have the little white book

Turn to your wedding date. Go ahead and mark it ‘Wedding Day’ if you haven’t already, and then depending on how much room you have, break it down into an on-the-day timeline, a key contacts list, and leave room to make some notes in on the morning of the wedding (if you’re so inclined). Of course you also need to write the timeline and contacts list and distribute them accordingly – we’ll get to that later.

There’s no ‘checklist’ on the wedding day, but try to remind yourself to:

  • have a good breakfast
  • delegate everything
  • stay calm if you feel like there’s a crisis (there probably isn’t)
  • take a moment of peace and quiet to yourself.

Now you finally get to sit back, relax and see all your plans come together.
For each of these lists below, write them into your diary at the relevant dates. As you count down the final month, you’ll be able to ensure you’re keeping on track.

The day before your wedding day

  • double-check everyone who should have a copy of the on-the-day plan and key contacts list actually does
  • run through a wedding rehearsal
  • check your wedding day emergency kit (make-up, tissues, eye-drops)
  • check on your flowers if they’ve just been delivered
  • press/iron all attire
  • give the wedding rings to the best man
  • final tan and wedding day nail polish
  • go over your vows with your fiancé, and your speech with your maid of honour
  • write a note to yourself in your diary, if possible, and maybe a letter to your fiancé for the wedding morning
  • drink lots of water, apply your night moisturiser, and have a good sleep.

The week before your wedding day

To convert your diary to the little white book, you need to add tasks and checklists. The exact order of these will vary, but here’s the things you can expect to be doing in the final week before your wedding:

  • finalise the on-the-day plan and key contacts list, and distribute them. I’ve italicised finalise because you’ll have started this weeks ago.
  • finalise guest numbers with the caterers and any other necessary vendors
  • be in contact with every vendor to check in
  • double-check honeymoon reservations: check passports, insurances, bookings
  • pack for your honeymoon
  • pick up all hireage

Two to three weeks before your wedding day

  • work on your on-the-day plan and key contacts list if you haven’t already (very important)
  • based on the final headcount, finish the seating plan, give to your stationery designer
  • give your DJ or band a list of play/do-not-play songs
  • give your photographer a list of must-have photos
  • discuss with the MC, maid of honour and best man their duties and responsibilities
  • wear in your wedding shoes, test your wedding lingerie to ensure it’s comfortable
  • confirm all rental and hireage delivery times
  • pick up your marriage licence
  • confirm your rehearsal dinner

One month before your wedding day

  • begin working on seating arrangements, ready to finalise when you have the final guest count (chase up any tardy guests)
  • confirm on-the-day details with your stationery designer
  • have a final wedding dress fitting
  • have your hair and make-up trials
  • finalise all readings, begin writing your speeches and vows
  • shop for your bridal party gifts
  • pick up the wedding bands
  • confirm your travel insurance and passports are up-to-date
  • finish any DIY projects now

Whether or not you used a little white book it’s time to get started on I still do – your wedding anniversary journal. You can begin it straight after your wedding, on your first wedding anniversary, or any time during your long lives together that you feel like your marriage needs some love and attention.

Is Your Wedding “All About You”?

“It’s your big day”; “Do whatever makes you happy – it’s your day!”; and “It’s all about you!”

Now, I’m not here to rain on your parade, but I must disagree. IMHO at least, your wedding is not all about you.

  • Yes, you (the two of you, remember?) are the centre of attention…
  • Yes, you can (mostly) tell everyone what to do, and they’ll probably do it!


I digress. Your wedding guests are the most special people in your life. You’ve invited them to be present to witness and celebrate what may be the most special day in your life, and that does not make your wedding guests the extras in ‘Your Big Wedding’ movie.
Don’t lose sight of the commitment they are also making to you – of their time and money, to say the least. More importantly, treat guests on your wedding day in a way that’s going to reinforce to them why they’re so important to you, and why you can rely on them.
I take the phrase ‘bear witness’ very seriously when it comes to weddings. When I accept an invitation to witness another couple’s wedding, I am giving my RSVP to be a part of their future lives and support their marriage, through whatever they end up going through. FYI, Ancient Roman law required 10 witnesses to be present at a wedding, which is considered a precursor to the bridal party tradition. 
If I am there to witness their vows, I’m on the journey with them, I am also a shoulder to lean on, or cry on, and I’ll be there to lend an ear, at whatever point they need it during their marriage.
So pay respect to their investment in your lives, and don’t allow yourself to have ‘tunnel vision’ to the point that you disregard what makes your wedding enjoyable for your guests.
BUT…You can still make your Wedding ‘All About You’! 
Your wedding day is a totally unique and special opportunity to bring your personality, character and personal style to life!

It’s a chance to tell your story, to share your quirks and peculiarities and give zero fucks about looking cool, sounding smart, or being worried about showing off your ‘unique’ dancing skills. Make your wedding ‘All About You‘ in all the right ways:
1) The Guest List
Ah, the wedding guest list. Writing your wedding guest list is likely to be one of the first tasks you do when you begin wedding planning. Finely balancing parental expectations, familial obligations and particular friend groups, while creating a list of the people you really, truly want to surround you on the day you’re dreaming of. Who’s smiling at you as you proceed the aisle, who’s laughing as you recall the first date dilemmas you experienced with your husband, and who’s carving up the D-floor at 3 AM at the unofficial after party well after the wedding venue closed.
Invite. Who. You. Want. PLEASE.
If your parents are financially contributing to your wedding and also to your guest list, reign them in, and offer to pay for it yourself if necessary, to ensure that those that make the cut are the ones you want there on your day, and in your lives thereafter. ‘Nuff said.
2) Make it Personal
Whether it’s having your favourite photo together on the save the dates, personalising your ceremony vows to suit the lives you envisage, or telling the story of your first experiences living together in your wedding speeches, make your wedding day all about you by making it personal. Make it about yourselves, make it unique – name the tables after your travels together or your shared hobbies, have your fur babies walk you down the aisle, and have your favourite colour as the wedding theme, if that what makes you feel good.
3) Fly Your (Weird) Flag Proudly
Play that funky music, dance like no-one’s watching, serve your favourite foods (brunch wedding anyone?) and wear whatever makes you feel pretty or handsome! Add your flair, fly your flag, make it fun. Be weird, be you.
It’s the personal things that make a wedding special and that guests will remember.
For more inspiration, see my curation of the best of etsy ways to make your wedding all about you!

Design a completely personalised backdrop which tells your story!

Inspired by friends’ recent nuptials where he’d made personalised coasters, these drink coasters add a great personal touch.

If you’re not fussed on having real flowers, buy felt blooms that will last forever?

Love wine, tell that story right the way through your wedding invitation and stationery suite!
If you’re getting married in a forest or love to spend time in the wilderness, add a rural element to your day with this personalised pine tree cake topper.

A thank you succulent so small we can hardly handle the cuteness!

These soaps are so cute it almost doesn’t seem weird that everyone will be scrubbing their bodies down with your initials.

Book lover? I love this clever take on the guest “book”. Frame it after the wedding for a cute reminder of all those who wish you and your groom the best.

For more colour, arrange these cute bottle beauties all together for a vivid accent piece or spread them out as centerpieces.
While you’re getting things personalises, how about these necklaces for your bridesmaids…

…and for your groomsmen: personalised corkscrews!

Let me know what else you’re doing to personalise your wedding, making it all about you in all the right ways!