Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
Hannah: We have always bonded over music. On one of our early dates we ended up skipping dinner and going home to play each other our favourite songs; well, to be honest PJ preached his favourite music to me and I fell in love with it. We still love to spend evenings, and late into the next morning, playing each other our favourite songs. We play a little bit ourselves, as well. PJ has amassed a fairly substantial record collection. He was very restrained in the year leading up to the wedding while his spending habits had to be reined in. He’s relieved to be buying new music again. My 9-5 is as a creative writer in advertising.
PJ: My sister, also named Hannah, asked me to write a song for her wedding some years back which Hannah and I performed together during her ceremony. That was a really cool process to go through as a couple. We’re both creative-minded people, though we really should be doing more in that regard. Hannah is being a little bit modest; while she’s a creative writer, she’s also a fantastic voice talent and won Best Voice Talent at this year’s New Zealand Radio Awards.
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…
PJ: We really embraced the country setting as our theme. I enjoyed having a reason to dress up in a country & western style outfit and I tailored our outdoor playlist to the setting as well with a lot of old blues and country music from John Lee Hooker, Marlon Williams, Nancy Sinatra, Loretta Lynn… I could live in that vibe comfortably forever. (a link to our Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/1234683634/playlist/0DraOyg4ezMFSvtvrTvrOH?si=Wly10-KQTeShL8K9D-BtUQ)
The Hall was really just like hand in glove for Hannah and I. Eugene and Joanna have kept the integrity of the old building while cultivating fantastic grounds. The photographs really speak to the natural beauty of the venue; particularly the big old oak tree.
There are so many favourite details. I was fairly emotional as soon as Nina Simone’s Here Comes the Sun started playing, signalling the start of the ceremony. Our flower girl, my niece Olive, walked down the aisle first and started biffing rose petals at the guests on either side. The more people laughed, the harder she biffed the petals at them. I’m really glad we didn’t have a practise run with her. She alleviated the situation for me and I was – only slightly – less emotional from that moment.
Another favourite moment was when we were out getting photographs with our photographer Diana. Hannah had necked a couple of beers immediately after the ceremony and was starting to really enjoy having her picture taken. At one point Diana directed Hannah to lean into me and as she leaned in Hannah whispered in my ear, “I’m America’s Next Top Model”.
Hannah: We went for a simple, elegant setting inside the hall. The hall itself is a really simple building with a couple of elegant details, like the diamond mirror on the courtyard-facing wall. It’s perfect really because the busy-ness is seen in the beautiful gardens and natural surrounds that Eugene and Joanna have nurtured. And with the Kaimai Ranges – where I grew up – always in view, it really is the perfect country venue.
One detail from the day which I’ll likely never forget began when I was writing my speech in the back of a metallic blue Valiant on the way to the venue. I was in my underwear because I was afraid the dress would crease, being silk. I had figured writing the speech would be simple because I was really only going to thank people. While I wrote my parents in at the end, I completely forgot to thank them during my speech. I did jump back up after my mum pointed out my error. I was, and am, mortified.
I was really happy that my older brother Emrys agreed to be a ‘bridesman’. He’s generally quite reserved but he really shone on the day and I’m so happy to have had his support.
Another favourite moment was when PJ’s 3 sisters crashed our photography session and Diana took a few photographs of us out by the entrance gate. I always wanted a sister for Emrys and I and now I have 3.
Tell us about your main outfits:
Hannah: I wanted a dress that was simple and not ridiculously expensive and that could be changed subtly to give me 2 looks for the day. For the ceremony I wore my Miss Crabb Helena Slip tailored by Dreams Top Rock with a floor length veil, nude lip and shoes. For the reception I changed into a pair of bright red shoes, changed my lip to MAC Russian Red and added a sash to the dress. My sister in law Hannah styled my hair perfectly with big curls throughout and finger curls at the front. It was really easy to manage throughout the day. I went a couple of shades darker than my natural hair colour, too.
PJ: Hannah looked phenomenal. People still look up to style icons from the 50s and 60s like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, etc. Hannah looked like a superstar from that era. I was really happy she got her cleavage out, too.
I took the opportunity to dress for the setting as well as the event. I’d look at someone like New Zealand musician Marlon Williams as a style icon for me. I’d love to walk around like that every day but it wouldn’t work as well in Auckland as it might in Nashville. I just found all the bits and pieces I wanted for the outfit and put them together. I was particularly pleased with the fedora which was hand made for me by a traditional hat maker in Greece.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
PJ: I would say for me it was greeting friends from LA, Puerto Rico, Sydney, Melbourne, Dunedin and all over the place – people I don’t get to see enough. My dearest friends. One of my best friends Andrew Holmes performed a song during our ceremony which he wrote while we were flatting together many years ago. That was really special for me.
Hannah: For me it was seeing both our families and our close friends all in one place. Glancing over and seeing one of our friends talking with my uncle. It was really great to see all these people who we love mixing it up on the day. I really enjoyed all the attention I received from the young girls – PJ’s nieces – in attendance, too. I think watching me walk down the aisle with everyone looking at me must have elevated me to a kind of Disney Princess level in their eyes because they just showered me with affection after the ceremony.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Hannah: The obvious and most important one is to have a sense of humour. PJ & I have slightly different senses of humour but we laugh a lot. Aside from that I’d say it’s important to value each other’s families and always encourage one another.
PJ: I would say don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be happy to admit when you’re wrong, because it generally means you’ve learned something and that’s a good thing. Always encourage one another and try to improve yourselves. Hannah and I are going to Te Reo classes in the new year and we’ll be learning a language together. I’m really excited about that.
Photography: Diana V Photography & Film – Ceremony location: The Hall, Manawaru- Bride’s dress: Miss Crabb Helena Slip– Groom’s outfit: Oxford Blazer from the Iconic, handmade fedora from Agnoulita Hats in Greece, bolo tie from Fittobebolotied in Delaware, white shirt and chinos from the Iconic– Rings: Heirloom- Shoes: Hannahs– Make-Up: Sharyn Butters– Hair: Hannah Worrall– Celebrant: Luke Oram– Entertainment: Five O’clock Shadow- Flora: Bhana Brothers, Ponsonby- Catering: Bosson House