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

We met in Wellington seven and half years ago but actually moved overseas to do our OE about a month after the wedding! After spending three months volunteering in Nepal, we are now living in London where Sophie is working for a social care improvement charity and Vinnie is doing landscape construction.

We left behind our lovely little house on the hill in Hataitai that we spent most weekends renovating before we moved overseas. We have a beautiful view over the harbour so it was the perfect spot for the proposal! I had been overseas for work for a month and arrived home to find candles all the way up the path up to the house. Vinnie had decorated the entire garden with more candles and fairy lights and was sitting on our lawn in front of an outdoor fire with champagne and nibbles. Buying and then renovating the house has been an important part of our life together so it was really romantic and special. Our friends also know us as crazy chicken people – we sadly left behind our three (previously four, RIP Pam) lovely hens called Judith, Sheryl and Gail who all have very unique personalities!

In terms of our relationship, we are a classic case of opposites attract. That’s probably the reason we work well together – we tend to balance each other out! We also have the same sense of humour – Vinnie’s ability to make me laugh was one of the first things that drew me to him.

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…

I didn’t actually go into the planning process with a specific theme in mind, but came across a photo of some beautiful hanging flower baskets for the marquee on Pinterest and ended up designing the rest of the aesthetic around that. I’m not particularly artistic so was very lucky to have creative people around me that could help turn my vision into a reality! My Mum’s friend Jill not only created hanging baskets that looked even better than the ones I had seen on Pinterest but also did all the bouquets and corsages for the wedding party. Our very talented friend Amanda Pride designed the wedding invitations and hand-painted all the signs and table settings.

My parents’ house (where we had the wedding) is on a lifestyle block in North Canterbury so Vinnie and I ended up using lots of bits and pieces we found around the property to decorate the venue, including some old barn doors for both the bar and the seating chart! We wanted a relaxed, casual vibe so were keen to avoid anything that would make the day feel to manicured. This also extended to the food – Vinnie really wanted to have a spit roast for the main course. Watching this being prepared provided some entertainment for our guests as well! It was really special getting married at the house that I grew up in and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to do so.

Tell us about your main outfits:

The only thing that was a bit of out of step with the rustic/botanical theme was my dress which was head-to-toe sequins! I really love 1940s-style glamour so decided to embrace that theme with my hair and makeup, which also matched my vintage style engagement ring. My Mum actually picked out the dress for me to try on at Paperswan Bride in Wellington as she thought it would suit my body shape – it wasn’t at all the style that I had in mind but as usual Mum was right! I think it just goes to show that you should try on lots of dresses and not get too fixated on finding one that matches what you think you want. Mum also talked me into getting bright red shoes which looked really cool popping out from under my dress every so often! The bridesmaids wore burgundy wrap dresses from Carly Harris (also in Wellington) as I thought these went well with the 40s theme.

Vinnie got his suit from Hallensteins and added a bit of his own flavour with a floral bowtie (also from Hallensteins). Our friend Jill made beautiful corsages for Vinnie and his groomsmen that looked great with the colourful bowties.

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

It was honestly all so much fun! We both really loved the ceremony – our amazing celebrant Kylie-Maree ensured it felt personal to us rather than just following a set formula. Having both my Mum and my Dad walk me down the aisle was a really special moment, particularly as they played such a big part in the wedding itself (including by having it at their house!) We had an incredible band called The Shadow Puppets who managed to keep our guests on the dance floor the entire night. One of our favourite moments during the reception was when the band played Hallelujah – all our guests linked arms and formed a massive circle in the middle of the dance floor. How great it is that weddings allow you to bring all your favourite people together in one place?! We invited everyone back the next day for a BBQ at Mum and Dad’s house. It was great to have some more time with our guests as the wedding day goes so fast.

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

In terms of planning the wedding, make sure you focus on what’s important to you and don’t get too bogged down in what a wedding ‘should’ be like. It can be quite overwhelming trying to arrange all the logistics AND make sure everything looks the way that you had envisioned it but at the end of the day no one (including you!) will actually focus on the little details. They’ll just be so happy to be there and celebrate with you! Make sure you ask for help too – I found that people generally felt really honoured to be involved in the day. For us, having our two families pitching in to set everything up in the few days leading up to the wedding was a lovely bonding experience.

One of the things we both talked about in our vows was the importance of teamwork to a successful relationship – you need to know that your partner has your back! Being able to laugh and have fun together is pretty crucial as well. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to share your life with someone who you always look forward to coming home to at the end of a long day at work.

Photography: Samantha Donaldson Photography | Celebrant: Kylie-Maree Haw | Bride’s gown: Karen Willis Holmes from Paperswan Bridal Boutique | Groom’s outfit: Hallenstiens Brothers | Shoes: Number One Shoe Warehouse | Makeup: Fiona Crossett | Hair: Leticia at Simpatico Hair Studio | Bridesmaid’s dresses: Carly Harris | Groomsmen: Suits from various vendors, bowties from Hallensteins | Entertainment: The Shadow Puppets | Flora: Jill Chatterton (family friend) | Hire & Marquee: Continental | Food/catering: Continental– Beverages: Frank’s Liquor | Cake: Cakes by Anna |