I want to support engaged couples to do plan their wedding in a really personal and meaningful way, no matter how unremarkable or extraordinary. I also want to encourage couples to think beyond the wedding, to appreciate and strengthen their marriage beyond just the big day.
I checked in with Wilhelmina Shrimpton, 27 just 4 months prior to her and Mike’s big day, to talk about her experience as a bride-to-be and vision for her wedding.
How are you feeling?
I’m actually feeling quite relaxed at the moment! We had a long engagement (a year and a half) which has given us time to spread out everything. Now, we’re looking at the finer details, and the intricate planning of the day, and I must admit I feel like there is still a lot to do. I’m also starting to think more about the symbol of it and the marriage we’re about to embark on. That makes me so excited, and a little nervous (in a good way of course).
It didn’t take you both long to really start getting organised for your wedding, has it been easy?
In all honesty I’ve found the whole process really fun so far, and all of our vendors have been so wonderful to deal with. I have to confess it has been rather breezy up until now, but when you check in with me in a couple of months I may be singing a different tune!
We knew what we wanted, so we were very early to book all of the big things as we didn’t want to compromise on our favorite vendors. I think once we’d done that we felt as though we could relax until now – I know the last little bit will move fast!
Was the guest list an issue for you?
Yes, the guest list was tough, with only 120 people including the bridal party. Mike has a large family and family friend contingent, and my side is quite small, so it has been a balancing act and we’ve had a few heated debates about inviting extended relatives or friends but we’ve managed to find the perfect list.
To make sure we included everyone, we had a huge engagement party, which was a great way to share our excitement with the people we weren’t able to invite to the wedding.
Your beautiful venue Tantalus Estate is actually only a year old, which is such a blessing, but also comes with its own unique challenges…
We are very lucky! When we started visiting wedding venues, we had no idea that Tantalus existed, as they’d only opened up about 2 weeks prior! As soon as we stumbled across them, I booked in a time to visit, and we immediately knew it was perfect for us.
It is challenging in the sense that both sides have been organising something that we’ve both never really done before: they were still trying to find their flow as a business, as were we trying to figure out how to plan a wedding! It’s also tricky with them being on Waiheke Island and us in the city – most of our contact has been via email which can be tricky, it’s like organising a destination wedding!
What were your priorities for the Big Day?
Most important to us were the photographer and videographer. I’ve heard from so many brides that the day flashes past in the blink of an eye, so we really wanted to make sure we captured every moment and every little detail. We booked the photographers from your wedding of course, The Official Photographers!
Oh and the dress of course … because how many times in your life do you get to wear such an extravagant and exquisite gown?
How did you begin to choose the wedding dress?
I had two styles in mind – both the complete opposite to each other. I either wanted long sleeve or nothing at all! From there it was a matter of trying on those styles to see what I liked. I quickly ruled out long sleeve, and fell in love with a very thin-strapped style.
I wanted something that would blow everything I’ve ever worn out of the water.
Initially I found the perfect shape but wasn’t sold on the beading so looked up the designer’s other styles online (it’s an Aussie based designer). I found the Australian designer online and visited their New Zealand stockist, Felicity’s Bridal in High Street. They’ve been an absolute dream to work with, and have made me feel very special every time I’m in there!
Where have you saved, and where have you splurged?
We’ve splurged on photography and the wedding venue and have tried to save in other smaller areas.
To do that we’ve tried to use some vendors who are also our friends like celebrant, bridesmaids dresses (elizoe’s first customer!), hair and make up and videography.
We’ve tried to hone in on the skills of the amazing talented people in our lives who have also been kind enough to offer their services to us.
Something we’ve talked about before is how the rest of life seems to ‘go on hold’ a bit while you’re planning your wedding – you don’t make big life decisions, go on holidays, or possibly have as much financial freedom.
Absolutely. For us it has been about finances – due to the wedding budget! We were very naughty and started saving quite late in the play, and I’m really feeling the pinch now! So for those ladies thinking about delaying DON’T!
We’re saving every last dollar and having to forfeit dinners out and trips away. It will be a year and a half between our last holiday and when we go on our Hawaii honeymoon – a long time without a break! It’s tough having to cut back, but I know it’ll be worth it.
Do you enjoy planning your wedding? Do you have a lot of help?
I do! I know I’ve been answering all these questions as a “we” but most of the planning has been “I” so far haha. I think with most guys they see it as a day about the bride and what she wants to do, but I have assigned him some specific tasks. I think as it gets more into crunch time he’ll take more of an active role.
Is there anything you that doesn’t stand out to you as being important, that you might forego?
I was really keen to do favours originally, but after a while it just became to much admin, and an unnecessary cost.
Instead of spending money on a little take home gift we’ve decided to hand write a couple of sentences in each guest’s name card about why they are special to us and why we want them there on our special day. We thought it was a nice personal touch that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.
What advice would you give to a newly engaged friend, about their wedding?
Checklists! I have had the little white book since we got engaged, and find the checklist and to-do’s very helpful! Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy it.
How would you describe your relationship with Mike?
Mike described us perfectly the other night: We’re the yin to each other’s yang. I’m all go, all the time and can get easily stressed, while he is quite chill and knows exactly what to do and say to calm me down. Lots of people who get together young often grow a part and end up having different interests and goals, but we’ve always been on the same trajectory and the same wave length. We’re also just as loopy as each other, and aren’t afraid to laugh and be silly which is so important!
How do you deal with issues or disagreements?
We fight, we apologise and we move on. We’re never angry at each other for long. If I try to stay angry it never works because somehow he makes me laugh!
Do you set ‘date nights’ or ensure you have time alone?
We try to, but we’ve been terrible lately because my work schedule can be really intense. I work lots of different shifts, and a lot of weekends so it can be tricky especially when I finally get free time I’m always trying to catch up with friends as well. I think we need to make a solid effort to find more us time! New Year resolution for 2018?