I had been struggling on where to start with this post given that there is so much that goes on with organising a wedding, so I’ve decided to break it down to the journey I took to get to my wedding day! It’s a rather long post but heck I’ll be a bride for a bit longer and have it my way 😉
Choosing a location was a tricky decision for us with William’s family and friends all based in the UK and my family in New Zealand; two countries that couldn’t be further apart! We considered a destination wedding but quickly eliminated the idea, as it didn’t make sense to have both sides of the family travel. For me the most important thing was to have my grandma at my wedding and at her age long haul travel was not an option. But it was also really important to us both that our immediate family and closest group of friends were there and we were overwhelmed that so many were willing to make the long journey.
Once we picked the country, it was an even harder task to pick a venue in Auckland while living in London! Thank God for modern day technology and having my mum and brother on hand for inspection and field reports. We wanted a summer wedding with lots of outdoor space so when we viewed the online gallery of Kelliher Estate we instantly fell in love with the place.
The Big Stuff
Booking everything else hinges on locking a date and venue so once this was sorted we could get on with the other “big stuff”. The venue came with its own catering so that was one less thing to worry about! Our approach to planning this wedding was “divide and conquer” and I’m glad I was able to trust William to get things done properly (well most of the time anyway!). The photographer was my responsibility and music was William’s.
I wanted the photography to showcase real moments from our wedding so when I came across Rebecca Bijl’s work I knew she was the one. Looking through the photos brings out the whole day so vividly. She captured everything, from the first look in William’s face as he saw me walking down the aisle, to the emotions my mum was going through during the ceremony to everyone having a blast on the dance floor! The best advice I had been given was to steal a few minutes away with William to reflect on the day because it all goes by so quickly and I don’t know how but Rebecca was like a little paparazzi, even managing to capture this moment which I will be forever grateful for!
We wanted some relaxed live music after the ceremony on the lawn and I was impressed with William for finding Matt Stone whose acoustic guitar performance was definitely a highlight of the wedding. When the DJ cancelled 3 weeks before the big day there aren’t enough words to express how much it meant that William kept this to himself until he found a replacement! #relationshipgoals
Ah the dress :). I gave my wedding dress the sort of attention most people reserve for their first-born! This was a part of the wedding planning I was most excited about and I’m lucky that a good friend is a wedding dress designer. The process involved in creating a gown makes it all even more special and I am so blessed to have had Sally Bean Couture guiding me through this journey. From drawing sketches of my vision to trolling through boxes of silk and lace samples to the multiple fittings – the dress making process was one of the best experiences.
The great thing about having a bespoke couture dress is that it fits your body like a glove. We chose the softest Italian silk (which felt so luxe) and the finest French lace to create the most romantic and dreamy movements. I hadn’t appreciated that putting on a wedding dress requires skill and has to be done to perfection to get the right look. I couldn’t be luckier to have Sally with me in the morning!
I loved the back of this dress so much that I wanted to walk down the aisle backwards!
I wanted the dress to be the centre of attention so the only accessory I wore were these gorgeous drop earrings from Carat London. Given how long the day was going to be I had decided early on that my feet would be treated to flats. I find the comfiest flats at French sole so started my search there and I was surprised to find they had a bridal collection where I found these beautiful heart-shaped glittery satin slippers.
My quest to delegate bridesmaids’ clothes to my gorgeous girls was met with protests of me knowing a thing or two about fashion and them having complete trust in my choice. I took the compliment and set out to find something unique and trendy for them. I didn’t get inspired by any of the bridesmaid’s dresses I came across so I approached this by thinking “what would I want to wear if I was a bridesmaid”. I really liked the idea of having two colour tones so decided to go with a mix and match option with a skirt and top. Next up was finding a place to translate my vision. I wanted blush pink tulle skirts and I really struggled to find a place in the UK, most bridesmaids’ stores had traditional dresses but when I asked for skirt and tops I was met with funny glances! Thread and Needle was the only place I found in the UK but they didn’t have my colour of choice.
I then turned to our fashion-forward neighbour across the Atlantic and after much searching came across Revelry, who do custom-made tulle skirts in a wide range of colours. Going for a custom made item meant that I had no return option but the risk paid off, as the skirts were absolutely stunning. The fabric was excellent quality and the multiple layers of tulle gave a nice flowy effect. I was really keen on finding something in Ivory for the tops as that contrasted perfectly with the blush pink. BHLDN have a huge selection of stunning bridesmaids’ outfits where I managed to find these gorgeous crop tops.
William had complete responsibility for sorting out his suit and the groomsmen. He surprised me with how well organised he was in finding a place in Auckland, getting all the measurements sent over, booking the appointment and getting all the boys organised for their fitting. True to form though he chose to inform me on the night before the wedding that he didn’t have time to sort the pocket squares!!! Luckily I had lots of fabric left over from the bridesmaids skirt alterations and my talented mum came to the rescue with her sewing machine!
Having blown the budget on pretty much everything we had decided to keep decorations on the minimalistic side. Plus the venue was such a stunning space that we didn’t really have to go overboard. I wanted a rustic feel to the set up and this was easily done given that my parents live on a farm. I decorated old jars for candles and flowers to go on the table setting. To add a bit of story and romance to the decorations we decided to name our tables after the places we had visited in Italy on our trip to Capri, where we got engaged. I collect wine corks for memorabilia and I usually write on it where we went, who with etc so to add a bit of personal touch I used these as name card holders so our guests got a nice reminder of places we had been to with them!
We made everything for the wedding ourselves; sawing, sanding and varnishing the logs, creating table names, guest names cards, wedding favours, ceremony books, menus and this unique easel which I was rather proud of! Having created everything ourselves just made the day all so personal and gave William and I the opportunity to manage every detail in this project exactly how we wanted. While this was a testing experience at times we can both now say it was a lot of fun getting there and memories that we’ll always cherish!
I wanted the ceremony to be very personal and all about a celebration of our love. We wanted a small and intimate wedding so it was always going to be a relaxed affair and I wanted it to be led by someone important to us. William’s dad was the perfect choice and he did a superb job (minus the year of teasing that he would upstage me by wearing a full length beige gown with a purple pointy hat!).
I had asked both my mum and dad to walk me down the aisle as for me it symbolised the hard work both had put in to raise me. In addition to writing our own vows we had a couple of readings and songs. Finding a reading that had the right balance of humour and sentiment ended up being a huge challenge so we decided to write our own!
For the second reading I embraced my Indian heritage and went with a reading explaining the “Saath Phere” which means 7 steps and is the most important ritual in a Hindu wedding.
One of my favourite elements of the ceremony was our secret songs – we had both chosen a song that best described how we felt for each other. The plan was to sing this with all the guests joining in and of course Matt was there leading the way. It’s a miracle we managed to keep our songs a secret and it was a wonderful feeling to have an element of surprise in the ceremony; it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up that morning. My song to William was Shania Twain – You’ve Got A Way and William’s song to me was Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling in Love (I get teary eyed every time I listen to either song!)
Some of our favourite shots from the day:
The time my adorable niece didn’t want to be flower girl!
Fast forward after some bribery and she’s in full control of her responsibilities!
Even grandma joined in for a spin!
Earrings: Carat London
Shoes: French Sole
Suits: Working Style
Robe – BHLDN
Photographer – Rebecca Bijl
Hair and Makeup – Amber Carroll
Cake – Bluebells Cakery
Florist – Beauty and Bouquet