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A Waiorongomai Farm Heritage Wedding | Scottish & Welsh

Inspired by fur, feathers and forest, today’s magical wedding took place in a quaint church and 300 hectares of Wairarapa native bush (amazing!), with plenty of unique personal touches celebrating the couples Scottish and Welsh heritage. Captured beautifully by the always awesome David Le,  there is plenty of inspiration here for all brides to be, including gorgeous white and greenery reception details that prove that less is more! Enjoy xox

P.S Check out the incredible teaser film below by Ben Maurice of Sink or Surface with the stunning full film here. So good.

Who Jessica + Chris
Where Waiorongomai All Saints Church + Marquee on private farm property

How did your love story begin… 

The way many of our kiwi friends and families love stories begin – at the pub on a Saturday night. It turned out we had many mutual friends yet for some reason had never really crossed paths. My younger sister is engaged to one of Chris’s good mates!

I said Yes…

On an unassuming Thursday evening three days before my birthday after returning from work. Chris was already home which was odd. Our dog Ruby came out to meet me as I arrived and had a note around her neck saying “Will you marry Chris”. I started to cry and say yes before I even saw him kneeling in our living room with a ring he had fashioned out of a twisty tie and a white pebble from our garden. I crossed over the threshold coved in rose petals and he asked the question again, I said yes (again) before he slipped on the homemade ring. We went shopping the following day for the ring, which we both love.

Inspiration for the day…

The property we held our reception on has 300 ha native bush with all sorts of wildlife including quail and wild deer. Fur, feathers and forest. Our Scottish and Welsh Heritage. A magic forest vibe.

“Chris’s very talented sister Morgan helped us design our wedding bands and then made them for us. Morgan also designed our wedding stationary and marquee and outdoor concept which gave the whole event a very cohesive feel. Having someone like Morgan take charge took most of the stress of the detail away from me.”

“Sweetest Devotion by Adele was the song I entered the Church to. It was perfect. My three bridesmaids sang Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love” while we signed the register, this was incredibly moving. We had an excellent bagpiper come to pipe us out of the church to “Skye Boat Song” which was a nod to Chris’s family heritage.

Our dog Ruby was the ring bearer and my little nieces and nephew presented me with wooden Welsh Love Spoons after the ceremony that had been brought over especially by my cousin from Wales. Some Welsh tartan was also made into a garter and bows for my shoes. 

I wore my grandmothers earrings and my veil and belt were borrowed from my friend who was supposed to be in my bridal party but had her second chemo round on the day of the wedding. She and her husband made it in time for the ceremony and she did the most amazing speech at the reception. Having them there was truely magic.”

Save Items…

I bought my dress straight off the rack and had it altered. It was actually even cheaper as it was the last of its type as the fabric was no longer available, further to this a previous customers child had run a push chair over the edge of the train and left a mark. Once alterations were completed you would never have known.

Chris’s mum made our three wedding cakes Fruit Cake, Chocolate Guinness Cake and Carrot Cake which doubled as dessert. They were presented on an amazing cake stand that my father-in-law constructed based on an idea I had.

We kept flowers minimal and used talented friends and family to create all the bouquets and table/church/marquee decorations largely from greenery we had on hand in our own gardens and on farm. Flowers we did use were purchased through wholesalers rather than florists, about $100 worth which we didn’t even end up using all of. Marquee decorations were gathered and created by family and friends.

We had an outstanding caterer who allowed us to source our own meat including paua, crayfish, venison, beef and lamb.

Our silver, glass decanters and candle stick decorations were either recycled from my sister’s wedding or bought cheap ($2-$3 a piece) by my mum over the course of the year at second-hand shops. I had some amazing ladies from my local farm discussion group and some younger cousins run the bar – they did an incredible job for us and saved us a lot in wages.

Splurge Items…

We made sure we had excellent and generous food and top shelf photographer and videographer. We were not going to get a videographer initially but decided it was something we wanted to have to look at down the track. We also purchased reasonable quality wine on recommendation when it was on special through the Black Market website. I spent money on fairy & seed lights, fairy berry balls and confetti cannons to add to the atmosphere. This was a “luxury” spend but added to the magical forest feel on the night. My sister also created a guest care kit to put near the loos with mints, chewing gum, deodorant, panadol etc to keep guests fresh and comfortable.

If I could do anything differently…

I would have gone with a different hire company for the marquee package and set up. The company we used was not local but were cheaper. We got what we paid for and ended up having to clean the marquee walls and table and chairs before using them as they were very dirty. The silks were not clean and were poorly hung and many of the lights we were given needed new bulbs. The porta-loos supplied had no lighting! The sales pitch did not match the service we received. We also had to wait an extra day for the correct wall panels. The state of the hire gear and inexperience of their crew added a lot of time to our set up and pack down and had we not had some very practical people among our family and friends the end result would not have been anything like what it was. Always go on a recommendation rather than a sales pitch!

Advice for future brides…

Things will go wrong. Don’t panic, focus on solutions not problems. Surround yourself with people you love and trust that will not concern you with trivial admin questions on your wedding day. DELEGATE – Choosing the right bridal party, MCs and ushers will help you with this!

If at the end of the day you and your fiancé are married and you have had fun it is a successful day! Remember that a wedding should be fun and planning it should be fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t worry too much about getting your dress grubby. I know we will get some great photos we will cherish forever as I was happy getting into the sand and grass and sticks (and cow poo) in my dress.

Have a bridal party kit with you at all times during the day in case of headache, hair or dress malfunction, make up crisis, blister etc. It is a long day so some makeup wipes and deodorant may just be the difference.

Put about $2000 in your budget for incidentals – you would be surprised what you end up needing to buy!

Weddings are an emotional time for everyone – be aware of each other’s feelings. Try not to get too fixated on certain things you think you want or need for your wedding day, the more flexible you are the less stressed you will be!


Photographer David Le Design & Photography
Videographer Ben Maurice – Sink or Surface (full film here)
Flowers Friends & Family
Hair Nicole Brown – Beneath the Veil
Makeup & Beauty Latasha Boyce – Alluminus Beauty Therapy + Paige Goodin Changes Medi Spa
Cakes Mother of The Groom
Brides Dress Churchwood Bridal with alterations by Helen Forster Bridal in Wellington. Veil & Belt borrowed. Furs all owned by family.
Bridesmaid Dresses Etcetera Fashion & Bridal in Wanganui
Groom NZ Kilt Company
Ceremony Venue Waiorongomai All Saints Church
Reception Venue Marquee on private farm property
Catering Ant North Catering in Featherston
Rings Morgan Terry Design
Wedding Stationery Morgan Terry Design

8 Alternative (& AWESOME!) Flavours For Your Wedding Cake

Since discovering we are growing a human baby I have developed a sweet tooth like I have never experienced before (seriously move over biarch because that chocolate brownie in the cafe cabinet is mine and I am ready to fight for it!). One thing I have been craving is sweet goodies with a bit of zing or an unexpected flavour, and it got me thinking about wedding cakes. I know cake makers can’t be giving in to all yo crazy requests for hipster flavours, but sometimes it is nice to surprise your guests with a little something different.

Here are 8 flavours that are well worth considering, and the recipes to go with them. Nom nom.

Coca Cola Cake With Caramel And Vanilla Bean by La Pêche Fraîche

Pomegranate Citrus Meringue Cake by Hummingbird High

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake by Chasing Delicious

Banana Choco Hazelnut Cake by Tess Huff for The Cake Blog

Chocolate Whiskey Cake With Salted Caramel Buttercream by Jet & Indigo

Mojito Cake With Lime Buttercream by Olive Magazine

Strawberry, Thyme, Peach Buttermilk Cake by Adventures in Cooking

Lemon Raspberry Ruffle Flower Cake by Food & Cook

How to Choose the Makeup Artist for your Wedding Day (and do you need one?)

You’ve already done a little research leading you to a make-up artist that seems to tick all the bridal boxes, but now you’re wondering what you should be asking them, and whether it’s worth the investment.

I spoke to a couple of well-renowned make-up artists Larissa Carlson and Annalee Muggeridge/Kemsley to get their advice on how to choose your make-up artist (“distinguish ‘pro’ from ‘foe” – Larissa), and also consider whether you really need a professional make-up artist for your Big Day.

Do you really need to hire a professional makeup artist?

Annalee – Yes, it is another line to add to the budget spreadsheet, but the use of a makeup artist may be justified when you consider what they offer.

Booking a professional makeup artist is to minimise stress, allow someone to pamper and take-care of you and your friends, prevent the need for everyone to bring their own bags (sacks) of makeup and styling-tools, and also makes for lovely pre-wedding photo opportunities too.

What if one of your friends/bridesmaids is really good at make-up?

Larissa If you think that one of your bridesmaids has the necessary skills to do the job, in which case do consider the amount of time it takes for each girl (around 45 minutes for each of hair and makeup), and what else she may be helping to set up.  Most bridesmaids barely have a chance to sit down let alone help out with someone else’s makeup, so ensure to organise plenty of time, and ensure you practice well in advance of the big day!

Do Your Research

Annalee – Look into work artists have produced either on their website or facebook and if you like their style of work! 

Ask Questions

Larissa – Asking the right questions is a productive way to get the ball rolling. Its important to establish a relationship with your artist, find someone you ‘click’ with. Having anxieties about your artist doesn’t only effect you, artists can pick up on these vibes which may effect their performance on your wedding day. A great artist will answer your questions with confidence and have a positive attitude towards your queries. Be sure in this stage to take the opportunity to communicate valuable information such as your wedding date, the style of makeup you want, if you have allergies and brands you prefer to use, all of which will help determine if this artist can satisfy your needs.

What questions should brides ask their make-up-artists in advance?

Annalee –

  • What’s their deposit fee?
  • What products do they use?
  • What time would they like to start in the morning (thinking about number in bridal party and ceremony time (generally its fairly early)
  • How long does each person take?
  • Are they familiar with mature skins for mothers of the bride?
  • Should you buy your own lipstick for the day or do they provide sample pots with the desired lipstick?
  • Do they use indivual lashes or strip lashes on the day of the wedding (I would always recommend individuals they arent as irritating)

Budget for the investment

Wedding makeup isn’t cheap. Indeed you get what you pay for, do not expect the work of an artist who charges $45 to look like the work of an artist that charges $100 plus. In saying that a service that charges that much should have it all covered. From skincare, primers, makeup and setting sprays, all of which should be long wearing, video and photograph friendly. Be sure to also enquire about the artists travel expenses.

Do – Invest in a wedding trial

Referrals are a great way to cut through the long list of artists available, an artists online portfolio is a good way to determine weather you like their work, but only a makeup trial will give the chance to see them in action. A trial allows you to experience their professionalism and view their work in the flesh. A trial is the only way to guarantee they are cut out for the job. Take some example visuals of looks you like to your trial, bearing in mind your makeup artist isn’t a magician and can’t transform you into Kendall Jenner. They should however have the expertise to tailor a similar look to your face and eye shape. It is the sole duty of the artist to record details of products used in your trial, ask for a copy and don’t forget a selfie or two for your photographic reference.

Image via Kerry Makeup

Book an artist early

Larissa – Artists that specialise in bridal makeup are booked up to a year in advance. Depending on where you live its important to know when wedding season is as to secure an artist at earliest convenience. Don’t miss out and end up with second best.

Annalee – Booking in as soon as you can will save any major heart break when you have your eyes set on a particular artist.

Be honest

You need to be 100% about the artist. A great artist will welcome you’re feedback, adjust and tweak the look without hesitation to ensure you are happy. Weather its during the trial or on your wedding day honesty is key. It’s the one day your allowed to be a tad selfish and have everything your way.  

Once the make-up artist leaves, how can we keep make-up fresh all day?

Annalee – A good translucent powder with no colour or coverage is amazing to keep you t-zone shine free.

Make sure to read the Ultimate Guide to Pre-Wedding Skincare for Healthy, Glowing Skin

The TOP 8 Islands in the South Pacific to Honeymoon (or even say “I do”!)

In my 30 years on this earth I am grateful to have frolicked on many beautiful beaches, but most of my favourite are still in our local Pacific! When it comes to your honeymoon you don’t have to spend days on long haul flights to find a perfect paradise! The Pacific Islands has everything you need for every budget and the best place to find the honeymoon of your dreams.

Continue reading “The TOP 8 Islands in the South Pacific to Honeymoon (or even say “I do”!)”

The Carrie Post… 10 Lessons in Love for your ‘Big’ Day (and how to get it right the first time)

“And we were dressed from head to toe in love; the only label that never goes out of style.” – Carrie Bradshaw

I love Carrie Bradshaw. A quirky and clever character who is not your typical american beauty, Carrie took self-love, fashion, and fabulous to a whole new level… and I was (correction, I still am) one of her biggest fans.

She taught us that love is not all fluff and fairy tales, and that being a crappy cook doesn’t make you any less of a woman. She gave us courage to take risks in love, life and fashion, and reminded us that above all, great friends are invaluable, through good times and bad.

And so today,  I give you ten lessons in love/ideas to embrace, inspired by the courageous Carrie, especially when it comes to planning your own ‘Big’ day ♥

one // “BIG’ is Better!

Its your wedding day, now’s the time to go BIG. Big hair, big dress, big flowers and a big band (ideally not all together) but hey if you want to go all out, who am I to suggest otherwise. Often you hear wedding experts suggest that women keep it classic, yet I’m not a classic type of girl so why would I want to look like someone I’m not on my big day? Yes a few decades later, you might be considered a ‘little out of date’ but at least you looked and felt like YOU (and it makes for interesting and somewhat hilarious photos for the kids and grandkids) Just do it (if it feels right of course)

two // Go crazy, mix and match.

Carrie is the guru when it comes to all things crazy. Mix and match, vintage with modern, spots with stripes, white top over black bra (a crime I often, and unashamedly commit). When it comes to your big day, don’t be afraid to mix prints or themes (within reason) and why not splurge out on that one must have item aka Manolo Blahnik’s, then save your pennies elsewhere by scouring second-hand shops for vintage vases and thrifty tablewares.

three // Everybody’s heard about the bird.

That first and oh so amazing vision of Carrie on her wedding day, had many of us wondering… “What the heck is that in her hair?”. The feather bird was a statement piece indeed, and although you may not want to be quite so risque on your big day, there are so many options, that can transform a simple bride into a stunning one. Feathers, flowers, lace and jewel encrusted head pieces are just a few of the options to get you started on Pinterest.

four // Cut back on the ‘Bergers’ (aka Burgers)

Ok, so I have always loved Mr Big (yes, Aiden wasn’t bad either) but Berger, my god that man was just a pain in the ass. Moody, complicated and completely self-centered, he made Carrie feel bad about herself in so many ways. There is another type of burger that can have the same effect, and in the countdown to your big day, you want to be healthy, happy, and feeling good about yourself. So if there is ever a time to flick the ‘burger’ and other unhealthy habits, this is it.

five // Hello Ladies!

Being a bridesmaid can be exciting yet extremely nerve wrecking for many, so don’t forget about your girls, and why not say thank you in a way that fits in with who you are (it doesn’t have to be expensive) A great idea is to make your own cards and favours (check out our FREE + DIY section) Alternatively,  hold a picnic in the park, share fish and chips at the beach, or simply just have a girls night in (wine, popcorn and sex and the city dvd’s compulsory of course).

six // Same same but different.

Why not let the personalities of your bridesmaids shine through on your day. A very popular trend right now is to dress your ladies in a colour and style that matches their shape and personality. Sure beats the drama of trying to find a dress that looks good on everyone and if you really trust your girls why not give them some colour options, and let them find their own.

seven // Have a laugh looking for the ‘One’.

This is hopefully your once in a lifetime chance to go crazy in a bridal store. So have fun, and take some pics, in fact have your own little photo shoot, and try as many dresses as time and money allows. And especially try the styles that you like the least. You will be shocked to learn that many brides end up falling in love with something they have only tried on for a mother/sister/friend. My sister was the perfect example. Mum thought wow, we thought, ewww and when she put that dress on, the room went silent. She looked breathtakingly beautiful.

eight // Go on a date to find your venue.

Carrie loved New York so much she often went on a ‘date’ with her city. This lead her to discover buildings and galleries she would never typically visit. Why not go on a date with your city or town and simply make a list of buildings you have never seen, venues you have only heard of, theatres, galleries, hotels, and public gardens you always by-pass on the way to work but have never paid much attention too… I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

nine // Forget about the ‘Russian’ (aka rushing)

I disliked Aleksandr Petrovsky from the moment Carrie met him. I feel the same about rushing. Ok, not quite the same but, ladies, please take your time. Most couples have around a year to plan their wedding, and it makes complete sense to use it. If you pick the dress as soon as you get engaged, promise a supplier you will hire them after the first quote, or book out the first venue you see…. there may be tears. A lot can happen in one year, and if you jump the gun before you have made at least 20 Pinterest boards, I’m afraid the chance of changing your mind is a strong possibility.

ten // Don’t forget the ‘BIG’ picture.

Ok so it’s true that Carries big day wasn’t all gorgeous glamour, in fact it ended up a total disaster (the first time round). All around the world women watched (and wept) as Carrie had her heart ripped out of her chest, and although, yes it is just a movie, I honestly think there is a lesson to be learned. Don’t forget about the big picture!

The break down in communication between Carrie and Big about what the day meant for each of them, the pressure it involved and doubts and concerns left unspoken, had heart breaking results, and the whole disaster could have been avoided with a good old chin wag and some ‘ I feel… ‘ sentences.

Communication is key, so if you have something on your mind, for gods sake talk about it, and remember to take some time out to ask future hubby how he is feeling (and yes you need to listen… without interrupting)

 If you have any wedding wisdom please share the love in the comments below!…

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