Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

Anthony and I met at the local pub. He had just moved back from Australia, so despite having lots of mutual friends, we didn’t really know each other. Our friendship flourished naturally and after four months of dating we moved into our own rental property, followed by the purchase of our first home a year later.

Our relationship has always been effortless and uncomplicated, so these major milestones just came naturally. After being together five years, Anthony planned a surprise glamping vacation to a luxury yurt on the east coast of NZ where he proposed. The yurt was adorned with fairy lights, flowers, chocolates, wine and cheese – all of my favourite things. The blue tooth speaker wouldn’t work but there was a beautiful old record player, so we danced to Burt Bacharach and Fleetwood Mac on vinyl. We spent the remainder of the night sitting in the hot tub, sipping wine, star gazing and listening to the ocean.

Anthony and I both have similar jobs in the oil and gas industry, working shift work, which gives us the opportunity to travel and experience different countries and cultures together. We have travelled Japan, South East Asia and Canada together. We also enjoy exploring our own back yard here in NZ. Anthony’s main passion is snowboarding, so we visit the South Island religiously once a snow season. It was our love for travelling, adventure and the South Island in winter that made the idea of a winter elopement so enchanting.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

Anthony asked our friend Katie to make my ring. I had hinted to them both that I wanted a sapphire, so Anthony and Katie sourced a Padparadscha sapphire from overseas. It is an apricot / peach coloured gem, named after a lotus flower. I am not a traditional diamond kind of girl and I feel so blessed to wear such a unique and beautiful ring handmade by a friend. I will treasure it forever and everything is represents.

After a 3 month, whirlwind engagement we eloped to the South Island. Our ceremony was intimate and relaxed. We wanted our ceremony to be simple, short and sweet. We also wanted our wedding day to be unique to us – our love, our journey, and eloping to Queenstown made this possible. We were able to express raw emotion without the pressure of an audience, get lost in each other and savour the ‘just married’ high without any distractions – it was extremely romantic.

We flew to Cecil Peak at 5pm for golden hour and it was magic. Queenstown did not disappoint; the snowy, rugged landscape was everything we had envisioned for our mountain elopement. We are now in the progress of planning a belated wedding reception for this coming Summer, to celebrate our marriage with close friends and family, so we are blessed to get two weddings in a way. We feel like we are getting the best of both worlds.

Tell us about your main outfits:

I found my dream dress at a glorious shop called The Virtue, right here in my home town. I met the beautiful Brooke who stocks wedding gowns by another Brooke (also beautiful), NZ designer of Ritual by Brooke Tyson. The Maya gown was so fun and effortless to wear, I felt like a goddess in the heavy lace and sequins.

Anthony had his suit custom made at a tailor in Hoi An, Vietnam when we were travelling South East Asia. We hadn’t planned to get married at that stage, but they say when you are in Hoi An you must get something tailored, so he did. Getting married finally gave him an excuse to wear his suit and he looked so handsome.

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

We were running a little late so our first look was when Anthony came to meet me at the hotel elevator. Any nerves I had immediately dissolved when his eyes smiled; the admiration, love and lust beaming from his face, gosh I could’ve said ‘I do’ right there and then.

Our ceremony was also very beautiful. Our celebrant had Anthony and I fill out detailed questionnaires prior to writing the ceremony, so her ceremony was both funny and personal, and summed up our relationship perfectly. We also wrote our own vows, so between Eva’s words and our own, our ceremony was beautiful – we laughed and we cried.

We also had a fantastic time traipsing around the mountain side with our photographer Dawn. Playing in the snow and negotiating spikey Spaniard plants and rocky terrain was entertaining and everywhere you looked the view was breath taking. We feel we found a photographer who’s images really captured the magic we were feeling inside.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

My advice to other couples would be to love and live authentically. Traditions are a beautiful thing, but in our day and age we have the freedom to be a little selfish, untraditional or wild if you want to be. Your love is unparalleled and your wedding day should reflect that.

Photographer: Dawn Thomson | Celebrant: Eva Hooper | Flora: Gypsy West, The Vase | Hair: Beautiful Bridal Hair | Makeup: Eve Makeup Artistry | Wedding dress: Brooke Tyson Ritual | Groom’s suit: Yaly Couture | Groom’s shirt: Barkers | Bride’s shoes: Chaos and Harmony | Groom’s shoes: Kingsway | Groom’s wedding band: Dalgleish | Earrings: By Charlotte

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