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Beautiful Havelock North Love Story

Today’s beautiful wedding features not only one gorgeous bride, but two. We are thrilled to share Sophie and Kat’s special day at the intimate venue in St George’s Restaurant, Havelock North.

“Sophie signed up to the gym and Kat caught her eye. The rest is history!”

Who Sophie and Kat Hickford

Where St George’s Restaurant

Guests 80

How did you meet? We met at the Gym, in Napier. Kat worked on reception and Sophie had just
moved to the Bay! Sophie signed up to the gym and Kat caught her eye. The rest is history!

How did your partner propose? Kat whisked my away to Waiheke Island for my 30th. She had
hired out an amazing air b n b and it was so us! We had a romantic bath in the outdoor area and
then Kat had told me to wait there while she organised some food. Kat had lugged platter food and
my fav wine all the way from Napier – she arranged it all inside for me and told me to get changed
and come in. I didn’t really suspect anything as this is the type of thing that we always do. Kat then
got my birthday card out and started reading it to me. The end of the card finished with there is
one thing I want and that is you.. Sophie will you marry me? Well I started screaming and hugging
her and then finally said yes! We then spent the afternoon drinking wine, calling our family and
friends and went out for dinner! Was such a beautiful time for us.

What was important to you when you started planning your wedding? We wanted our wedding to
be remembered for good food, drink and music! So that was high on our priority list to sort. We
also really wanted an intimate venue that kept our guests guessing! We were very happy to score
David Le as our photographer as he matched our vibe to a tee! Banter and professional all in one.

In three words describe your wedding style? fun, minimalist and cruisy!

Was there anything that you did that was a little different to the ‘norm’ for your wedding? We had
our parents come up and give us their blessing when we were about to do our vowels. This was
extremely special – they gave us a hug shook eachothers hands and were very welcoming to each

How did you personalise your wedding day? I (Sophie) did all the table florals, entrance sign and
seating plan florals! They were all dried flowers and this actually sparked a huge passion in me
and I now have a side hustle @sophiejohana_florals over on Instagram.

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

Splurge – photographer, hair, make up, venue, food and drink

Save – music, and we didn’t have any decorations as our venue was so stunning, used a venue that
had everything we needed so we didn’t need to hire anything in

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun? We didn’t find anything difficult. Sophie is extremely organized and chipped away at all of the to do
list over the year and this helped with us not feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It is extremely
important to lock in your big vendors first and then chip away on the small stuff that you will
personally be doing. I liked to work in sections of the wedding and write to do lists for each area.
This helped me see what needed to be done. The most fun bit for us was the build up to the wedding – everything is done and we got to enjoy special times with family and friends in the lead
up to the big day! Everyone is so excited for you so it was nice not to be stressed with all of the
last minute wedding admin and actually enjoy having a drink and something to eat with the people
that you love.

What did you use to plan your wedding (hire a planner, use a wedding planner book online tools
or apps?)
I had a wedding notebook that I would use for quotes and to note down who was
booked in and what apts we had coming up. I would also use this for my to do lists! RSVPS were
also in the back of the book and would highlight off peoples names as they RSVP’d. I found that
having a book I could carry around with me at all times helped and everything was in the one

Did you DIY anything, or have family and friends help? We DIYd the table florals, entrance sign
and seating plan florals! This added a special touch to the wedding. Family and friends helped set
up for a couple hours the afternoon before the wedding – they really wanted jobs and we
appreciated them helping us.

Did lockdowns have any effect on your plans, did you have to postpone, change any of your plans
or reduce your guest list?
It didn’t really affect us a part from a couple of overseas guests not being
able to attend. We were very lucky we got in before the major changes came into play.

What advice would you share with others planning their Big Day? Lock in all of your vendors first.
Make a to do list of every area and what needs to be sorted. Delegate jobs out to people. Give
yourself lots of time to plan. Chip away over time and dont wait till the last minute to sort things
out. Don’t sweat the small stuff – most people don’t notice the finer details! Have fun – include your
partner in the decision making process. Save the seating plan till last and any printing that needs
to be done.

Do you have any regrets, what would you change, if anything? No regrets at all – this day was
perfect for us! Nothing went wrong on the day. This day exceeded our expectations. There is no
better feeling than having every single person that loves you in one room. It was an overwhelming
emotion and a day that we will never forget.

Where did you go for your honeymoon? We wanted to go over seas but COVID came into play. We ended up going to Queenstown and Wanaka – loved it

Photographer David Le
Venue St George’s Restaurant
Makeup  Josie Brenstrum
Hair LOCO hair
Attire Etcetera Bridal and Shona Joy
Wedding Party Attire Iconic
Rings Michael Hill
Flowers Magdalen Hill
Wedding Cake Pretty little details

What a Wedding Planner / Coordinator Does (and Should You Hire One)

When planning a wedding there are so many things to think about, even the small details that you may not even consider. Hiring a wedding planner could just be the best decision you make, to help with all of decision making to leave less time for you to stress and more time doing the fun stuff. However, it’s important to know exactly what they are doing for you before you hire one.

What is the role of a Wedding Planner?

A wedding planner, or coordinator, acts as an agent between you and every other wedding vendor (and sometimes even between you and your family!). They are your event manager, communicator and wing-man, turning your vision into a reality. While you’ll be making the decisions about your Big Day, they’ll be organising those choices into a cohesive plan.

For instance, Emma Newman says “I see myself as being like an “Event and Wedding Executive Assistant” for a client, couple and their family.”

Rebekah of The Event Girl says “From style and design, all the way through to on the day management and post-wedding pack-up, I am for anyone who wants to set aside the stress and focus on creating truly magical moments.”

1. A Wedding Planner can help you Budget

Often, one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning is money. You have so many ideas and dreams you want to bring to life, but how do you do this in the most cost effective way, ensure your money is being used in the best way possible?

With each wedding vendor being priced individually (and likely not advertising these prices online), it makes it hard to choose and also find the best deal whilst doing so.

Sitting down with a wedding planner and letting them know your budget can help immensely. Leave it all up to them and take some of the weight off your shoulders. They may also be able to get you the best deals and help crunch those numbers.

2. A Wedding Planner communicates with your Wedding Vendors

So many questions, so little time… communication with vendors can be one of those things on your to-do list that you can just find yourself too busy at times to do. The same goes with contracts and paperwork, both of which your wedding planner should be very experienced in. They will read all of the fine print and maintain communication with the vendors to work through any potential issues.


3. Wedding Planners come with a wealth of experience and ideas

You may already have hundreds, maybe thousands of ideas by now. For many it’s a dream to get engaged, you may have planned your wedding in your head a thousand times, let alone the hundred (plus) Pinterest wedding inspo boards. You may think you know exactly what you want… but your wedding planner has most likely been in the game for years, and has helped with all sorts of weddings, incorporating different cultures, traditions and other ideas. Your wedding planner will be a wealth of insight and knowledge to pass on if you are stuck with anything.

4. A Stress-free Big Day – you can let your Wedding Planner take the reins

So long as you’re hiring your wedding planner to help with on-the-day coordination, you can sit back and relax on your Big Day, knowing everything is taken care of. Your wedding planner will make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible during your special day, so you can just soak up the best moments instead of being pulled in multiple directions. Your wedding planner will deal with timings for the day and even deal with last-minute changes in weather conditions, implementing your back-up plan so that you can get married without a hitch..

They will handle it all in the most effective way possible.

Most of all, on your wedding day, you just want to have fun and soak up all of the wedding goodness. Because before you know it, it will be over in a flash. So get started, search for recommended planners and also start off with our best selling little white book (wedding planner book) to record notes along the way as you work together to create your magical day.

Elegant Rustic Kourawhero Estate Wedding

Elegant and rustic with some serious hollywood glam (that tuxe!), today’s gorgeous Kourawhero wedding is a biggie (soooo many gorgeous pics by Acorn Photography), and if you’re wondering why today’s couple look so familiar, both Huriana + Derek are well known rugby and 7’s players! (Huriana is the NZ 7’s captain!). Enjoy xox

Who Huriana + Derek
Where Kourawhero Estate
Guests 150

She said yes…

Derek proposed in Japan at a beautiful skyline restaurant that New Years eve. I said YES!

Our wedding style was…

Elegant rustic

We saved on… 

Our wedding stylist Nicole Paris created our beautiful centrepieces for our tables and Nicole Forbes (groom’s cousin) made our delicious wedding cake.

We splurged on…

My Wedding dress and Dereks Tuxedo.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Have fun! You often hear that planning a wedding can sometimes be quite stressful and cause tension – if you let it.

Remember your wedding day is one of the most important days of your lives, think about why and how you fell in love with each other and enjoy the experience together.


Photographer + CinematographerAcorn Photography
 Weddings by Paris
Venue Kourawhero Estate
Flowers  Honey Suckle Flowers
Stationery + Signage Paper Rose Stationery
Catering iCater

Hire Company

 Organised by Woman’s Day Magazine, Luisa Petch + Krishla Bogue
Makeup Rebekah Banks
 Nicole Forbes of U-Neeks Cake Design
Celebrant Ronald Reti (Grooms Uncle)
Brides Dress Trish Peng

Brides Accessories + ShoesMichael Hill + Steve Madden
Bridesmaid DressesZARA and ASOS
Grooms Suit & Accessories
 Sartoria Ciccio Noriyuki Ueki – Japan + Emporio Armani
Rings Michael Hill
Music DJ4YOU

An Elegant Pacifica Auckland Tongan Inspired Wedding | Landsendt

wedding-559 Today’s venue Landsendt has to be one of my favourites in Auckland (I have never actually been there, but how amazing does it look!!!) with the tropical landscape creating a perfect backdrop for an elegant day filled with culture and family tradition. Newlyweds Ben & Maria created their dream wedding without the added extras and the result was simple and stunning!

“The biggest thing for us was turning away any ‘optional extras’ at the wedding venue and not worrying about adding unnecessary décor. Pick a venue that is natural in beauty so that is the focal point for the day.” – Maria (the bride)

A big congratulations to Ben & Maria and a very special thank you to Olga from Levien Lens Photography for sharing these perfect pics with us! xox

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Who Ben & Maria Vete
Landsendt, Oratia, Auckland

How did you meet?

Ben and I first met when we were teenagers, however nothing really came of it at the time. We met up again 5 years later at a friend’s 21st where we hit it off and rekindled our love and friendship for one another and haven’t turned back since.

In three words describe your wedding style…

Tropical, culture and elegance.

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Tell us about your hens and stag do’s…

Ben and I were very lucky to have such an amazing bridal party, who were so supportive and they planned us both wonderful hens and stag weekends.

Ben’s groomsmen organized a weekend away, they headed slightly North of Auckland to Leigh, with cars packed with mounds of food and beverages. They all went paintballing first and then retreated in a huge house in Leigh which slept about 22 boys. They ate, swam, played rugby on the beach and then partied all night with a couple of games chucked in here and there. Ben came home having no sleep at all and the most wonderful memories to speak of.

My lovely bridesmaids were very secretive and planned a lavish weekend away in Waiheke. I didn’t know what I was doing until I was driven to the port on a Friday evening. Our weekend included so much fun and laughter, pampering, beautiful views, champagne breakfast, sharing of love and tears of joy, a wine tasting tour, espresso martinis, naughty games and dancing right through the night to lots of 90s music. A weekend I will never forget and am truly grateful for.

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What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

Having such a beautiful setting, we didn’t feel the need to add too much to it, so we definitely saved on décor. With plenty of family help in various areas we saved on favors, cake and design work. We splurged on my dress, our rings and making sure that there was plenty of yummy food and drink for our guests to enjoy.

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun?

The most difficult part of the wedding was toward the end, in the last week or so. I felt like I had lists coming out of my ears, and I just wanted to have them all ticked off with time to spare. The most fun part was having the lists ticked with about a day and a half to spare before the wedding, and getting into the fun spirit of it with our bridal party and then finally enjoying the best day of our lives!

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What music did you play for those special moments? 

It was really important to both Ben and I that we had a live singer to serenade us before during and after the ceremony. We were lucky enough to find the wonderful Pat Mose who did a medley of beautiful songs before and after the ceremony whilst also playing his guitar.

My down the aisle song was ‘Don’t Let Go’ by Spawnbreezie, as this is ‘our’ song. While signing the register we had ‘Sweet Darling’ by Fiji. As we partied back down the aisle after the formalities, Pat sung the classic ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder. Our first dance song was a mix of songs that we requested from our DJ, these were; ‘Ben’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Maria (you were the only one)’ also by Michael Jackson, and the final so