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