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Why Diamonds?

new zealand diamond rings the diamond shop

I have always been one to ask “Why?”
It used to be my Dad and my Uncle who were the recipients of my endless questions, and now I’m directing my inquisition towards the wedding industry, and the way we plan our special days. Namely, when it comes to wedding planning, why we do what we do?
In every step of wedding planning, there’s an element of tradition and custom, and part of that is perpetuated by the wedding industry to keep us spending plenty of money on our weddings. Before we can each choose what is (and what is not) important to us, it helps to understand the why behind each decision. First up, the ring that begins ‘this whole thing‘ that is – the diamond in your new bling. I asked Nicola Baker, Store Manager of The Diamond Shop, to help me out with the ‘Why’. Why do we buy diamonds?
Where do diamonds come from?
Born of molten rock and immense pressure, diamonds formed over three billion years ago, deep within the earth’s mantle. They are truly a product of the earth and a gift of nature. Natural diamonds are extremely old and take around a billion years to form in the Earth’s molten interior. Stones used in engagement rings can be anywhere from 900 million years old to an astounding 3.2 billion years old.
When did we start wearing diamonds?
Humans have admired diamonds for more than 4,000 years, prizing them for their intense light, perfect shape and beauty. These distinctive properties prompted many to believe they had mystical, supernatural powers. Once we discovered how to use precision cutting and polishing, and it wasn’t long before they were being turned into beautiful jewellery.
Why do they say ‘Diamonds are Forever’?
The diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning invincible or indestructible. The lasting nature of diamonds is a result of their incredible hardness, low reactivity to chemicals, resistance to radioactivity and high melting point. Nothing can scratch a diamond — except another diamond.

Diamonds are Forever

The phrase became popular due to Sean Connery’s as James Bond but was coined by De Beers in 1947 to kickstart diamond sales after a lull caused by the Great Depression and World War II.
Diamonds are also unique. Like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two diamonds are alike. Each rough stone from which a diamond is polished has unique characteristics — its own fingerprint — so no two diamonds are identical.
When did diamonds become the gem ‘du jour’ for engagement rings?
Diamonds have long been associated with love – the Romans believed that the tips of Cupid’s arrows were made from the precious stones.
The first diamond engagement ring in recorded history was presented by the Emperor Maximilian I of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. The ring was set with diamonds in the shape of the letter ‘M’.
Diamonds have the best sparkle, are the most durable stone in the world, and their lack of ‘colour’ means they are the most versatile for wearing, which makes them a very popular choice. Of course, you can also opt for alternative engagement rings that feature various coloured gemstones, we recommend sapphires and rubies as the best option as they are also very hard and durable. Other stones such as opals and pearls are too soft to be durable enough for wearing every day.
While some suggest that buying diamonds is merely a product of marketing, their history as the most pure and romantic stone goes back much further than modern marketing. Diamonds are finite and getting rarer — the last significant discovery was made nearly 20 years ago, which makes them pretty special in a world where everything else is commercially mass-produced.
Why are diamonds expensive?
This is largely owing to their rarity, and relative scarcity in the world. However, the process of mining, cutting and polishing, and certifying diamonds, also adds to their expense. We only sell diamonds that have been certified by G.I.A. the Gemological Institute of America, set up in 1931 as a nonprofit that protects the gem and jewelry buying public, it’s completely independent from the jewellery industry.
While diamonds are expensive, at The Diamond Shop, we are really proud to guarantee the best price and quality of any diamond in New Zealand. That means that if you are quoted for a particular diamond, we will always find you a better quality diamond for the same price, or a similar quality diamond for a better price.

Drop your loved one a hint at which engagement ring trends you love!

Make one of these photos your screensaver, pin them to your Pinterest, or just send your loved one this article and let them know where he should steady his gaze!
If you think an engagement ring might be on the cards soon, why not subscribe now and be in the know when the time comes!
Main illustration Courtesy of Rox Diamonds & Thrills

Chic Autumn Markovina Vineyard Wedding | Kumeu

Today’s gorgeous couple planned their chic Auckland vineyard wedding from the U.K, and while this proved challenging, the brides advice is spot on!…

“If it all seems too much take a moment and remind yourself that ultimately it is about you and the love of your life celebrating your commitment to each other with all your family and friends and nothing could be more beautiful or special than that.”

Beautifully captured by Justin Aitken, and featuring always incredible florals by P+L Superstar Rose Tinted Flowers, this love story is filled with sweet inspiration for a simple yet stunning Autumn wedding! Enjoy xox

Who Jess + James Penman
Where Markovina Vineyard Estate, Kumeu, Auckland
Number of Guests 97

Our love story began…

James and I originally met through mutual friends when I was in high school. James messaged me a few years later and asked me out. We drank wine together and then spent hours talking and laughing down by the beach. We have been adventuring, learning and growing together ever since.

I said yes…

James proposed in Paris beneath the Eiffel tower on Christmas Eve, 2015. We had spent a few days before in Germany exploring the beautiful Christmas markets. James hid the ring box in one of his spare shoes the whole time so I wouldn’t find it! While we were walking under the Eiffel tower he asked if we could sit down but I was too busy trying to get a good selfie and said no! I finally gave in and when we sat down he got down on one knee and proposed. I of course said yes and after a few tears we went for a beautiful cruise down the River Seine and drank Champagne in the city of love.

Our wedding style inspiration was…

We wanted our wedding to be really aesthetically simple with an organic vibe. Being an autumn wedding I knew there would be so many beautiful colours from the trees and that crisp, clear feeling of a beautiful autumn’s day.  I would say that we didn’t really have a specific style but we did incorporate a few rustic and modern chic elements. Our venue had endless amounts of natural beauty with stunning greenery and beautiful white drapes in both the ceremony and reception areas so we matched our colour pallet to this using white, green, and gold for the florals, decorations, cake etc.

We saved by…

We wanted to incorporate as much input and help from our friends and family as possible not only to save money but also to make it a really special and unique day. One of my maid of honour’s (I had 2) designed our invites and all the stationary for the wedding. My mum and I created all the wedding favours and she made James a pocket square to match his bowtie by buying the same tie again, deconstructing it and remaking it into a square.

My step mum created the welcome board, an old friend created the stunning greenery wreath that hung behind us during our ceremony and my bridesmaids and I made petal confetti by plucking and bagging 100’s of rose heads the night before. One of my bridesmaids Bex did the girls makeup and we drove to the wedding in her Dad’s gorgeous blush pink Chevrolet. We also had an old friend of James’ as our celebrant and our videographer was a family friend.

We splurged on…

Our biggest cost apart from our Venue would have been our Photographer Justin but he was absolutely amazing and worth every cent. My dress was also slightly more than I had budgeted for. I actually had my heart set on a different dress by Grace Loves Lace but while I was at their concierge event in London my bridesmaid who I was with asked if I would try on the dress that the girl next to me had on and once I did we both knew it was the one.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Enjoy every moment of being engaged as it fly’s by so quickly and is such a special and exciting time in your lives. Also try not to stress! This is a hard one and something I struggled to do while organising our Wedding from England but it is so important and allows you to enjoy the whole process. Everything always comes together on the day and all those little details you spent months stressing about are all forgotten. If it all seems too much take a moment and remind yourself that ultimately it is about you and the love of your life celebrating your commitment to each other with all your family and friends and nothing could be more beautiful or special than that.


Photographer Justin Aitken 
Videographer Courtney Rodgers
Flowers Rose Tinted Flowers
Bridal party getting ready venue Lichfields Cottage
 venue + catering Markovina Vineyard Estate
Stationery Maid of honour
Welcome sign Step Mum
Hair Boutique Bride
Brides makeup Kate Solley Makeup Artist
Cake Amy’s Secret Kitchen
Celebrant Shane Coote
Brides dress Grace Loves Lace
Bridesmaid dresses Esther Boutique
Bridesmaid robes Le Rose
Grooms suit Barkers 
Groomsmen Suit Source
Rings Bride by Robins & Moore (UK), Grooms is Great Grandfathers ring
Transport Bridesmaid’s Dad’s Chevrolet
Music Beat Works

What Wedding Guests Actually Care About

It’s a tricky balance to achieve, a wedding to suit the wants and whims (and financial sustainability) of the Bride and Groom (or Bride and Bride/Groom and Groom), and one that their guests will talk about for years.

Why do you want to know what guests like at a wedding? Isn’t this ‘YOUR’ Big Day? 

Yes, YOU (both) are the centre of attention.  Yes, you can (mostly) tell everyone what to do, and they’ll probably do it.  However, these particular wedding guests are your favourite people, you’ve asked them to be there to celebrate there with you, so why not make it fun?  I don’t understand the logic by it being all about you, these people are not the extras in ‘Your Big Wedding’

– they’re your friends and guests, and it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the dress, the flowers and the favours, and not focus on the celebration of love that it is.  So make it a fun celebration (for everyone)!

– While constrained by your budget, you should make your guests’ comfort and enjoyment one of the main priorities.  Everyone has different priorities, and different levels of guest comfort v your budget and preference, but these are my opinions.  I personally think that it’s tacky to spend a fortune on yourself and then skimp on your guests’ comfort.  If I had to choose between buying enough bubbles for my guests to enjoy for toasting, and having my hair and make-up done, I’d choose the Champers.
What does that mean? 

– Delicious and plentiful food over glitzy centrepieces:  Whether you can afford a backyard wedding or to hire out an Island, don’t skimp on the food.  That’s after-ceremony canapés, a filling dinner, and something to eat between dances, if possible!  It doesn’t have to be fancy filet mignon.

Wine & Beer over monogrammed napkins:
It’s the ‘Open bar’ issue again.  No, it’s not a must.  However, if you can cut out the monogrammed napkins, expensive menus and useless favours, do so if it means you can treat your guests to some bubbles for toasting, and drinks with dinner.  To make my point…. here’s wedding pro
David Tutera ‘Open Bar vs Cash Bar’ and an article by The Knot which states “a cash bar is never a good choice.  When you have a wedding, you’re inviting people to a party, and they shouldn’t have to pay for anything while they’re there.  Yes, it’s true that when you have a bash in your apartment and invite all your pals, you say “BYOB” but it’s not quite the same at a formal event.” (P.S. – from me, it’s certainly not the same when you’re asking them to spend a lot of money on the alcohol!)

– Somewhere affordable to stay:  If it’s a destination wedding don’t make the only option the Four Seasons (unless you know everybody can afford it, weddings are an expensive exercise even for guests, and if they can’t afford to come, you might miss out on having your best friends there.  If it’s not too far from home.

– Good music: Carefully curated iTunes list; DJ or band, keep the mood upbeat with some great music that starts shortly after dinner and continues into the small hours!  Make it a night to remember with your favourite songs, and don’t cut out the feel-good anthems that everyone knows.

– Thoughtful seating:  Of course, all your guests are lovely, but why not seat like with like, and give some thought to who best your guests will enjoy being seated with.  That’s no ex-boyfriends, no single-ladies dumped on the kids’ (or oldies’) table, and no quarrelling relatives in close-quarters, please.

– Short speeches: Yes, you were cute growing up; No, your guests don’t want to hear your entire life story just because it’s your wedding.  Perhaps have the opportunity for others to speak at an evening meal the night before, rather than making the wedding an open-mic night (especially if people are waiting patiently for food).

– Minimal ceremony to reception time: While you’re getting your photos done, give a thought to what the guests are doing post wedding ceremony.  Provide food, drinks, seating and entertainment (games, music, etc) if you’re going to take 2 hours + before arriving.
Spend some time with your wedding guests: This is a simple, but also difficult one, but your guests will truly appreciate if you take the time to come to their table and say thank you for their attendance, plus you’re sure to enjoy compliments at the same time!

Garden Wedding Fowey Lodge

Today’s garden wedding is an elegant, romantic fairy tale, and if getting married in the clouds was possible, I reckon it would look a little something like this! From the spectacular floral ceremony backdrop to the heavenly reception setup in the couples own backyard, I have no doubt you will all be taking notes on some steal worthy wedding ideas for your own big day! Thank you to the talented Nardia Buist Photography for sharing this unique wedding with us. Enjoy xox

Who Kirsti & Jacob
Where Fowey Lodge & Couples Home
Guests 110

Our love story began four years ago on a blind date at the Windsor in Parnell, we travelled through Europe together for two months and on our three year anniversary I said yes on the top Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland at the highest point in Europe.

Our wedding style inspiration was an elegant garden theme with lots of flowers and hints of rose gold and blush tones.

We splurged on having both a photographer and videographer as we wanted to capture all the little details, preserve the big moments and have somthing to have for years to come and somthing to show our children.

Our advice to engaged couples would be enjoy every moment of the planning phase, dont sweat the small stuff and take some time for yourselves on the big 


Photographer Nardia Buist Photography
Cinematographer Shaun Paul Creative
Planner, Stylist + Flowers Bride
Venue Fowey Lodge
Catering Fernz Catering
Hire Company Pretty Little Things & Raj Tent Club
Stationery + Signage WIX + save the dates were DIY’d
Hair + Makeup Hayley Maree’s Beauty
Cake Family Friend
Celebrant Suzanne Teague
Brides Dress Bridal Brilliance
Brides Shoes Shoes of Prey
Bridesmaid Dresses ASOS
Grooms Suit + Accessories 3 Wise Men
Rings Family Jeweler

Industrial Chic Hopetoun Alpha Auckland Wedding

Today’s inner city wedding captured by Wonder Ferris is a beautiful blend of industrial chic with a sweet touch of vintage! Including two very cool and creative Auckland wedding venues By George and Hopetoun Alpha, this wedding might just convince you to trade in your rustic barn wedding for a fun colourful party in the heart of the city! Enjoy xox

Who Charlotte + Mike Church
Where By George, an industrial space in Kingsland (ceremony) + Hopetoun Alpha, where I had dreamed having my wedding since I first went inside years ago (reception)
Number of Guests 160

Budget We set out with the ambition of spending not a cent over 20K. I would say we’d have to add at least 10K to that.

Our love story began… about 5 years ago. I don’t think either of us particularly saw it coming, but friends of friends and all that, we ended up together. Our friendship and love has grown over sport, travel, food and our faith.

I said yes… at one of our favourite spots at Piha. Mike had planned the whole thing with fish and chips on the beach (except the takeaway shop was shut and we ended up with pizza). He’d bought the bubbles along and everything.

Our wedding style was… a bit of everything. We like the industrial feel, hence the warehouse space, but we love greenery, and flowers were always going to be a big part of the day. Food trucks and a caravan bar were how we included our love of food and drink.

We saved on…

Booze was always going to be a big expense given our guest list and we didn’t want to scrimp. We queued up for hours at the Wine Society Warehouse sale, where we took a punt. Luckily it worked out.

The boy (and some friends) also helped out with some of the decorations including a beautiful copper archway and a ply backdrop behind the bridal table at the reception. Both amazing backdrops and I loved his handiwork.

The thought of sending out 160 invites and collating the replies was a bit daunting, Paperless Post was our friend.

We splurged on…

Flowers, although we got a decent hand up with those too given a close friend is also an awesome florist. She made us a beautiful decorated archway, gorgeous table decorations and the most stunning bouquets I could have asked for.

Our guest list wasn’t small as we both have large families and wanted to share our day with all our friends.

The Honeymoon. Mike and I spent 3 and a half months in Asia straight after the wedding. The best decision ever.

Our advice to engaged couples is… stress less and keep things simple. Wedding planning can be overwhelming so make sure you’re also planning a wicked honeymoon too!


 Wonder Ferris “Actually awesome. Adam and Kirsty not only got us out of a pickle after our original photographer cancelled a month out, but we know that it was meant to be because they were truly awesome.”
Flowers Chloe Melles
Venues By George and Hopetoun Alpha
Bar Alfie the Caravan Bar
Afternoon Tea Euro Snacks Food Truck
Hire Company
Stationery + Signage Paperless Post and a bit of DIY designing
 + Makeup Ali’s Makeup Station

Brides Dress Kelly Lin Couture
Brides Accessories + Shoes
 Miss KG from ASOS
Ceremony Music The Worship Project
Bridesmaid Dresses
 Esther Boutique
Grooms Suit + Accessories Barkers
Rings Partridge Jewellers

Bride Tribe II: Hannah Carson – Bali Destination Wedding

bali destination wedding

Hannah, you know exactly what many girls are going through, or are about to go through, which makes your advice so valuable. You’ve now just got one week before you jet off to Bali for your destination wedding

How are you feeling?

I’m really excited now, I think it’s only just hit me. I still don’t feel like I have done enough in terms of the wedding itself, and I still keep running through everything in my head, but I think I need to now just relax and realise the hard work is done and enjoy it all!

Let’s go back to the beginning… can you tell us about the proposal?

Marco and I lived out at Muriwai Beach for a few months and absolutely loved it. We hadn’t visited in a while so we organised a doggy play date out there with a couple of friends, we had been wanting our dogs to meet for a while now! We were going to visit The Tasting Shed for a drink afterwards so we dressed quite nicely for the beach, even though I did tell Marco I thought his blazer was a bit OTT! We arrived at the beach and apparently our friends were already down on the beach (Marco called to confirm when we arrived). We were walking down and I couldn’t see them.  Zoe (our dog) has this cute little bag that hangs off her collar that her poo bags (excuse me!) go in, Marco asked me to get a bag out even though I hadn’t seen her “get busy”. In it was a note, I opened it and it said “Will you marry me?”, I turned around and Marco was on one knee! Everything after that was a blur.  We think I said yes! We popped in to see his mum on our way home to tell her the news. I walked in to see every member of my family and my best friend there – that gave me the biggest fright of all! I was the last one to know!  It was the best day of my life!

bali destination wedding

How did you decide to have a Destination Wedding?

It was really important to Marco & I to have a small wedding as we are quite private with our relationship. We wanted to have only people we are really close with to share our day with us.
I originally felt so much pressure as soon as we got engaged, to have a big wedding here in New Zealand and I hated that feeling.
We had a trip to Bali already planned for a few weeks after we got engaged (Marco totally tricked me by proposing before the holiday!) and when we visited Uluwatu we knew that was where we wanted to get married. We didn’t even need to verbalise it to each other as we both knew straight away. We have always loved Bali and it just felt right.


Did Planning a Destination Wedding make it Easier or Harder?

That’s a tricky question! I think a bit of both. I think it makes it easier in terms of using a wedding planner, as we didn’t really have a choice to not use one. She has dealt with all our vendors for us and has been really amazing.
I also think some things have been harder, like organising the few days around the wedding and trying to organise 30 people’s holidays. Some people have leaned on us for more direction while others were happy to do their own thing.
I have had so much fun organising it all though and I think the fact that we are getting a holiday at the same time has made me that much more excited.

Who would you recommend a destination wedding to? 

Someone who knows what they want (and can dictate that over emails!) and who doesn’t want every extended family member (that you haven’t met or barely know!). If you want a small wedding, it makes it that much easier.
I think you also need to be slightly relaxed and also realise that not everyone is going to be able to make it and if you’re okay with that then I would recommend it.
bali destination wedding
How did you find Organising your Guest List – especially with a Destination Wedding?

It was extremely difficult. We needed to stay true to ourselves and what we wanted for our wedding, and we are so happy that we did. There have definitely been hard moments, and we know we will have offended some people. The hardest part has been with friends’ partners. I think a few people have been disappointed, but if we didn’t know someone we didn’t invite them, as there are so many other people we are closer with that also aren’t coming. We can’t have everybody. We think people may understand better when they see photos, and see how small a wedding it actually is.


Have you had a lot of Wedding Planning help from family or your bridesmaids? 

I’ve done it all myself but I am a control freak so I’m quite happy with that! I also had a bit of help from the little white book!

Is there anything you wish you knew going into the planning? 

I’m sure this is the one thing you hear continuously – wedding budgets!!! I normally consider myself good with budgets, and organising other events I normally always stick to them. I think weddings are especially difficult because when you see a better or more expensive version of something, you say to yourself well we are only getting married once, so then you go for the more expensive option. I think when you set a budget you need to realise it is going to be about 20 – 30 % more than that.

What’s been the hardest part about planning your wedding? 

The hardest part for me has been putting my trust in my wedding planner when I am used to having full control. Also, having to envision a lot of things as I’ve had to make decisions from New Zealand without seeing things in person. But I hope that it will make for more surprises (good surprises) on the day.


What, if any, expectations or pressures do you feel as a bride? 


I felt a lot of pressure when we first got married to do the traditional, huge wedding and in hindsight it did upset me a lot. Marco & I had to step back and really evaluate and imagine our dream day. Once we had that vision, we had to stick to it and I’m so glad we did. It is so easy to get swayed by everyone and do what you think people think you should do. But you need to find out what it is you want and create a plan from there. 


What have you saved, and what have you splurged on? 


We have saved on our cake, by getting a small two-tiered cake. I suppose we have also saved on wedding party expenses as we only have a Maid of Honour and Best Man. We have splurged on our venue and our outfits!


Is there anything you considered not having whatsoever?

I really didn’t care about having a cake! But we ended up getting a small one because people say that you can’t have a wedding without a cake, so I guess I just did what is expected here. But it wouldn’t have bothered me to not have one as we have a dessert being served too.


Is there anything that in hindsight, you feel like you could do without? 

The cake!

You’re also a bit of a beauty guru with your blog Beauty by Hannah, can you share any tips?

My biggest beauty tips that I would give a Bride-to-be are to nourish your body from the inside out. When your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs, your hair, skin and nails will also be receiving them and they will naturally glow. A great skincare routine is also key in the lead up. If you have no idea where to start, visiting a professional is a good place to start or doing some research online can be a big help. Brands like Paula’s Choice and The Ordinary have great active products that won’t break the bank.

What is the one moment that has stood out about planning the wedding? 


I think trying on my dress when it was finished and being so happy with it just made me so excited. I have thoroughly enjoyed it all though.


What is the most important detail for you in your wedding? 


That I get to be with Marco and that everyone has an amazing time. Having my family and best friends there.


If you could only choose one thing – the best dress, the best location or the best food to have at your wedding which would you choose? 


I almost want to say dress, but you could still have a beautiful wedding dress without spending much money, so I’ll go with location!


What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day, or after? 


I think I am most looking forward to the reception and relaxing with Marco, family and friends and everyone having a good time! 


We spoke about a bit of a fear that you have for after the wedding, and I feel like that’s something a lot of brides will go through… 


Yes, I think that there may be a horrible void and emptiness –  I’m scared of not having anything to plan! But after I spoke to you I feel so much more positive about that, because as you said, we will have such incredible memories. If I arrive home and feel like that at all I have a few things I can through myself into to distract me!

If you’d like to keep up with the last couple of weeks of her wedding journey, you can follow her on instagram.

Bride Tribe: NZ MUA Annalee Muggeridge on her Engagement, Wedding and (of course) Make-up!

I asked one of my favourite brides-to-be and beauty experts to share her experiences on both sides of the industry.
In the past year, 26 year old Annalee – aka @makeupbyannalee has had her fair share of celebrations: she and long-time boyfriend Trent got engaged (at Disneyland, no less!); she left her career as a hugely successful Clinique artist to dedicate herself to her freelance role and passion as a YouTuber; AND celebrated a massive milestone of 100,000 subscribers.
makeupbyannalee engagement wedding proposal
Now, Annalee and Trent are simultaneously planning their wedding; building a house and navigating the very exciting, but, as I know first-hand, somewhat stressful journey of becoming self-employed.
Annalee, as someone whose business is in beauty, are you getting nearly enough beauty sleep?
Well funny you ask that. If you asked me that question 5 months ago (when I was working a full time job as a Clinique counter manager while working full time hours as a YouTuber & Beauty Blogger in my “spare” time) I would have said hell no, HELL NO!
I got 5 hours’ sleep per night for 18 months! Since becoming my own boss, I finally have lightened my workload, and work standard hours, so I’m getting a good 8 hours’ sleep now. I seriously have no idea how I use to not get anything less than that.
I’ll link your gorgeous engagement vlog below, but can you give us a teaser:
Trent and I were actually over in the states this time last year. I had won a huge award to go to New York City through Clinique, and we thought it was a great opportunity to travel the rest of the States en route. I think for anyone whose been in a relationship for a while, you probably have an inkling that big question is going to pop up sooner or later, and often that’s while travelling. Before we left, everyone kept egging me on about how he would “get down on one knee” while we were there but I honestly didn’t put too much expectation on it in case it didn’t happen.
I remember waking up the first morning in LA with a ridiculous head cold from all the hot and cold air conditioning in the hotels (I was pretty miserable I ain’t going to lie haha).
We planned on going to Disneyland that day but Trent offered a more relaxed alternative and take a scenic drive to San Diego and just relax, seeing as I wasn’t feeling too great. At the time of course, I had no idea Trent was actually trying to buy himself an extra day to prepare himself before asking the big question! HAHA!
I felt too guilty that I was stopping us from potentially going to the happiest place on earth so I made a last minute call to go to Disneyland as planned – and off we went…
Last time we were chatting, you were planning a long engagement, can you talk us through why, and whether that’s made the planning process (so far) any easier or more difficult?
Yes certainly, basically I didn’t want to rush our wedding, I have been dreaming of this day since I was a little girl and I want everything to be exactly the way I (we) want it.
We got engaged 12 months ago now.  Before the proposal, Trent and I had already made plans to sell our newly built home (built by Trent himself) and rebuild again. 2017 rolled around super quickly, where I had planned on leaving my job to enter the scary world of self employment and Trent had started to build our home on his own – which takes a lot of time and energy. 2018 was looking like it was just around the corner and I had to make a quick call if I was going to book out my 2018 wedding season as a freelancing artist. The timing wasnt right for us, so I made the call to push it out to 2019.
makeupbyannalee engagement wedding proposal
I want to enjoy every moment of planning our wedding. You’re only engaged once – what’s the huge rush?! It has made the process so much more relaxed and fun for us. There’s not as much pressure, and this way I also am prepared as far in advance to secure bookings for my first choice of vendors for our wedding!
What have you already organised for your wedding?
So far I have my AMAZING little white book to keep me on top of literally EVERYTHING when it comes to the planning process. I also have an amazing wedding planner, florist and hairdresser organised.



A post shared by Annalee Muggeridge (@makeupbyannalee) on

What has the biggest challenge been?
Working as a freelance Make-up Artist I attend wedding venues multiple times a year for other brides and their big day, so I’m kind of wanting something super special which I’ve never experienced, and which isn’t a reminder of everyone else’s weddings I’ve attended to glam them up.
It’s about finding somewhere untouched and romantic for the both of us, but definitely “untouched”. As someone in the industry, I want somewhere I’ve never been. I want something really unique.
It’s been so hard when you’re limited for venues in a small regional area. Everyone is trying to book 18 months in advance so your under a little bit of pressure to find something and (hope to God it’s available!)

makeupbyannalee engagement wedding proposalUpdate: as this article went to ‘print’, Annalee and Trent booked their wedding venue!

What have you considered saving on?
We are very determined to keep to our wedding budget, this is where I’ve found prioritising is key. The things that matter the most to us are the venue, photographer (images last forever) and the catering (everyone remembers the food!) – these are the things we are happy to spend a little more on to ensure quality.
Lower down the priorities list, I like to think I’m a great GREAT shopper, so when it comes to a finding a high quality looking bargain I think thats where I could see myself saving some pennies on wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses, wedding shoes, skirts etc. I’ll definitely be thinking hard about what’s worth spending money on.

Annalee has already filmed two incredibly useful YouTube videos, including this $20 Bridesmaids’ dress haul!
Is there anything you’ve considered skipping altogether? Is there anything you really don’t see the point in doing?
We have thought about skipping the honeymoon or at least delaying it. As we are getting married in March (still in the midst of the busy wedding season for me), I’d rather continue working and then look at going away in the quieter season for my job. Trent isn’t fused either way!
How important is tradition to you?
Personally its quite important to me as I grew up with a Catholic upbringing. I wouldn’t say I’m a practising catholic or anything, but to me it’s important to my family that we have a Catholic priest to marry us. Trent completely respects that, even though he isn’t religious in any way.
How many guests are you looking at having?
We would happily have 200 haha but you have to draw a line somewhere don’t you, so we are looking at roughly 120, which may be tricky.
What, if any, expectations or pressures do you feel as a bride?
I guess I’m quite well known within the wedding industry, between vendors and clients, so for me I know there will be a fairly large audience of people who will be interested in our wedding. I also share so much about my personal life online so its almost expected.
It’s definitely something that sits in the back of my mine, I’m not going to lie!
I’ve had ideas for years about our wedding and have almost put a lot of pressure on myself funny enough, but I’ve found the more I look around, the more I understand exactly what I want for our big day.
What are you most looking forward to?
I really just can not wait for that overwhelming feeling of emotions on the day with Trent. That feeling of family and love coming together and simply celebrity with our closest friends and family. Oh and of course finding the dress!!
What are you worried about?
The weather, truly.
What are you grateful for?
I think being in the industry has given me a great insight into exactly how we want everything to look and feel. Plus I have some incredibly talented friends in the industry who I’m excited to be working with.
Also, Trent is involved but at the same time leaving me to lead the way I want things to be, which I think we are both grateful for because it saves a few disagreement haha!
What advice would you give a newly engaged friend?
Not to feel pressured to plan their wedding in a certain amount of time. Don’t rush booking your wedding if the timing doesn’t feel right, it has to fit. Obviously, have a little white book.
See also advice from make-up artists Annalee and Larissa on how to choose yours

makeupbyannalee engagement wedding proposalAs beautiful fresh-faced as she is made-up, Annalee takes care of her skin!

And finally, the question on everyone’s lips, will you be doing your own make-up on the day?
Ohhhhhhhhh great question! The more I keep thinking about it, the more I want to relax on the day so I think I will have someone else do it. I will be conducting multiple trials with a few artists to see what they come up with –  I have some super talented friends in the industry so I’m sure ill go with one of them!
You can follow Annalee’s journey on any of her social channels.

Now read the next interview with Hannah Carson, just two weeks out from her Bali wedding.

Bohemian Rustic Whangateau Wedding (with a $100 reception venue!)

Today’s wedding is a little bit AMAZING! (In fact, I’m slightly obsessed!). A beautiful blend of bohemian and rustic with classic elements, Adam + Ellen hired and prettied a small hall as their wedding reception (love the idea of replacing hall memorabilia with beautiful written words!) and it cost them a $100 hire fee per day, BOOM! (town halls are where it’s at for saving mulah!). Oh, and it features on of my fave wedding dresses of all time, the much coveted Frankie dress from Made With Love Bridal. A big thank you to the gorgeous couple and Kirsty Peta Stone Photography for sharing this fab love story with us!

Who Adam John Wilburn + Ellen Grace Wilburn
Where Whangateau Hall (ceremony + reception). Getting ready house in Matakana.
Guests 100

Our love story began…

Over 11 years ago at a mutual friend’s party when we were both spring chickens. It was the first time I met most of the friends we now share today. Adam plucked up some dutch courage and offered me a gourmet meal of 2-minute noodles which I politely refused and we skirted around each other as great friends for a few years until I finally gave in to Adams persistent nature. We have now been together 11 years and the rest is pretty much history. In those 11 years, we have travelled to 22 countries, fallen in love with the world, managed a long-distance relationship and bought and sold our first home.

I said yes… On my birthday, making it hard to forget. Adam took me away to Whangamata for the weekend where his family have a holiday home. He suggested we go for a picnic lunch at the beach. In a tongue and cheek manner I slightly teased him for this romantic gesture as it wasn’t his usual way. Needless to say, this probably made him even more nervous. After being at the beach for a while he rolled over on the picnic blanket, box in hand and simply said “I have another birthday surprise for you, will you marry me?”. It was perfect, relaxed, low key, in our favourite spot with no one around.

Our wedding style inspiration… Was a mixture of sorts, we drew inspiration initially from the colour palette of the wedding invitations I designed and we went from there. We had touches of bohemian, classic, and rustic aspects all tied in to one.

We saved by… Hiring the hall for both the ceremony and reception. At $100 a day you can’t really go wrong. We also included a lot of DIY elements. The invitation suite, banner backdrop, signage and painted wall boxes were all done by myself. My wedding shoes were a $40 sale bargain and we set the entire day up ourselves meaning no need for a stylist. All the furniture including the ceremony screen and boho chair were all borrowed from my Mums company so this saved us big time and my sister and law and bridesmaid who runs Sage and Ivy was a big help with the flowers also. We also had friends lend us the festoon lights which made such a big impact when dressing the hall and bought wholesale alcohol which we could bring to the venue.

We splurged on…The food, we had quite a number of guests so this can push the price up but you don’t want guests going hungry and I love to cook so food was very important to us.

Our advice to engaged couples is… Do it for you and no one else. It is your day and you need to ensure you enjoy every moment of it. The idea of marriage is being a team, for us it is sharing food with the other human, sitting in the car for 10 minutes contemplating which café to go to, being the ultimate team at concerts together, seeing the world, putting on your old track pants and watching a Sunday film. It’s all about appreciating life’s little beauties as well as the big accomplishments as they all shape you as a couple.


Photographer Kirsty Peta Stone Photography
 The bride,  Ellen Robertson Design
Flowers  Buds & Bows – Family Friend (Hall & Ceremony Arrangements) and Sage & Ivy (Brass Vases)
Venue Whangateau Hall ($100 a day!)
Catering Pits Kitchen
Macramé Hanging Two Foxes Styling & Prop Hire
Furniture Hire Mayon Importing (My Mums company, we were very lucky to be able to borrow the ceremony screen, bohemian chair and other decoration details for the day.
Stationery + Signage
 All by the bride Ellen Robertson Design
Makeup Makeup by Meags
Hair Robyn Munro of Inspired Hair
Cake Family friend
Celebrant Family friend Keri Edley
Brides Dress Made With Love Bridal (Frankie Dress)
Brides Earrings Picked up in Jaipur India
Brides Hair Clips Mignonne Handmade
Brides Veil Floral Jewellery
Brides Shoes Rubi Shoes
Couples Custom Jacket Patches  Ellen Robertson Design
Bridesmaid Dresses KookaiMaurie & Eve + Zara
Bridal/Bridesmaid Robes Sage & Ivy
Grooms Suit, Shoes + Tie
Groomsmen Pants + Ties ASOS
Brides Custom Engagement Ring Culet Diamonds
Brides Custom Wedding Band Jewellery By Grae
Grooms Ring Walker & Hall
Transport Warkworth Party Hire
Music Audio Club 

Relaxed Rustic Family Farm Wedding | Aongatete

When the weather packs up on your wedding day you can do two things. Cry and let it ruin your day, or brave the elements, improvise, get out the emergency poncho’s and have a bloody good time regardless. Emma + Josh clearly didn’t let a little rain ruin their day and what a beautiful day it was (oooh and those clouds make for some seriously moody + romantic shots!) Enjoy! xox

Who Emma + Josh
Where Private family farm in Aongatete, New Zealand

The proposal…

A classic “Josh” proposal! One rainy summer day he insisted we go for a hike out in the Waitakere Ranges (one of our favourite past times)..seemed a little strange as it wasn’t the best of days so I was a little suspicious. We ended up getting lost in the bush, and on turning back Josh got down on one knee in the mud, and pulled out his Grandma’s ring!

Our vibe was…

Relaxed, casual, earthy, rustic. We just wanted everyone to chill and have a great time!

“Shaye from ON MY HAND did an amazing job setting up all her floral arrangements in gale force winds and sideways rain!!”

“Right from the start we just couldn’t go past the beautiful views on Dad’s farm… not that we really got to see them on the day!! The idea of having things exactly how we wanted them, and not as many “rules” as a venue.. was too good to pass up!”

Did you DIY?

Yes! Basically the entire wedding! Josh and his awesome team of builders whipped up a few tables, signs etc, and our awesome bridal party and family (esp. my Dad and cousin all the way from Denmark) put in a mammoth effort the week leading up to the wedding. Was so awesome to see all the love!

“Tag Burger provided absolutely outstanding service. The girls went above and beyond given the torrential rain challenges! They pumped out everyone’s burgers in record time! We had great feedback about their grazing table too.”


PhotographersThe Official Photographers
FloristOn My Hand Props, Styling & Flora
Stationery + DecorDIY
Catering Tag Burger
CakeJosh’s sister, Emily
MusicDone Deal
Makeup + HairTracey Harris Hair & Make-Up
CelebrantGlenys Parton
Bridal GownA very talented friend, Sue de Lisle
Grooms + Groomsmen SuitHallenstein Brothers
Bridesmaid DressesEvolution Clothing
Brides ShoesLa Tribe

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