M E L A N E Y & P H I L L
Unconventional details and gorgeous styling made this Bay of Islands wedding one to remember.
F R O M T H E B R I D E . . .
We first met...
We met at University in Christchurch but it took us a year or so to get our act together! Thanks to Phill’s best man Dan, we finally got together at another good friend’s 21st.
We got engaged at Oakura Bay in Northland on Labour weekend (26th Oct 2014). Phill got me up early to catch the sunrise down on the beach and popped the question as the sun was coming over the horizon. Oakura is a special place for me as my parents built our beach place there when I was born and I have been going there for the last 31 years. My parents, sister, grandfather and family friends were all able to share in our celebration with us when they all woke up later that morning!
T H E W E D D I N G . . .
Our dream wedding...
We wanted to shy away from the standard wedding format and I questioned why everything had to be done ‘just because it’s how it is done’! Phill & I did a ‘first look’ before we headed up to our venue with our bridal party and family. Our wedding ceremony started earlier than usual at 12.30pm as we wanted to make the most of our time at our beautiful location overlooking the Bay of Islands harbour. We also wanted to spend as much of the day together and with our friends and family.
Phill & I met our guests, with our bridal party and families, as they arrived by bus at Omata Estate. We had a chance to mix and mingle before our ceremony started. Phill & I walked down the aisle together along with our bridal party, our parents, siblings and Phill’s grandfather who walked down the aisle ahead of us.
Our wedding ceremony was followed by the formalities of cake cutting and speeches and our guests enjoyed a delicious Ploughman’s lunch at the vineyard.
Our guests had a chance to pop to the beach for a swim or down to the pub for a pint whilst Rachel took the wedding party off for our creative photo shoot. We then joined our guests again for the party end of the day at the Russell Bowling Club. Our guests enjoyed rolling a few bowls in the last sunlight of the beautiful Bay of Islands summer followed by dinner and dancing. Our band, Inertia, were fantastic, playing a great mix of classics and really got the party started with our first dance Brown Eyed Girl.
Our colour scheme was pastel which came about initially from the bridesmaid dresses. I had picked out the dresses I wanted and ended up choosing the colour on the website (bright apricot) as we both loved it.
Our key focus for the wedding day was for our guests to have fun and for it to reflect us rather than a prescribed wedding format.
Style wise we went for a simple, rustic style of decoration to suit the vineyard setting and to be honest, the view over the bay of islands was the real jewel of the wedding décor!
Rachel Jordan from Two Little Starfish in Kerikeri. We both really liked Rachel’s work when we were initially looking for photographers. Her work has great angles, light and creativity which really suited the way we wanted to remember our day. When we met Rachel, we felt she was on the same page as us and we got on really well with her. We love how Rachel has captured our whole day from start to finish and many details along the way. We absolutely love our creative shots from the day; in the vineyard and on the beach.
At Omata Estate in Russell.
At Russell Bowling Club, however this was more a dinner and party as all the formal elements of the reception part of a standard wedding, such as speeches & cake cutting, were done at Omata Estate.
We ended up having a ‘wedding week’. Family started arriving the weekend before so it was really special being able to spend time with everyone for the few days before our wedding. Our wedding party (and their partners who are also very close friends) arrived from the Wednesday so there were drinks and catch ups for a couple of nights before our big day.
The bridesmaids were her sister Anna, and best friends Niki and Susan, who have all been very close friends since High School.
Phill’s groomsman were three of his best mates, Dan, (bestman) Ollie & Will, all who have been very close friends since High School.
Beautifully draped georgette dresses from Kelly at Victor Bridesmaids in Auckland. The dresses were asymmetrical knee length in a bright apricot. Accessories were nude shoes and delicate gold necklaces.
The groomsmen wore Navy two-piece suits from Rembrant with white shirts and the boys own choice of brown shoes. Navy socks with teal blue polka dots snuck out from under trousers and the boys had navy bow-ties with small white polka dots.
The groom wore...
A dark-blue two piece vented suit from Rembrant. Phill’s suit was made from scratch and perfectly tailored to fit him. The details were all customised down to the pockets, buttons and lining. He had a white linen shirt, an ivory floral print German silk tie and pocket square. This cufflinks were a gift from his Brother and his partner. Each had a piece of a map in them, one with Phill’s hometown and the other with Melaney’s.
I wanted a ‘Greecian Goddess’ looking dress that was floaty and elegant. Fish tails and princess dresses weren’t my style and I knew I had found my perfect dress maker in Katie Yeung from Hera Bridal in Auckland. Her work is stunning and very elegant. My dress, ‘Snowberry’, is a couture, full length georgette gown, with beautiful draping down the back to show off the open back. Across my bust and over one shoulder was beautiful lace embroidery. I wanted a dress I could easily dance in!
I liked the idea of having succulents in our bouquets and wanted texture from the likes of ‘bunny tails’, ferns and other greenery. Dahlia’s were our main flowers as I loved their shape. I had initially wanted peonies but was out of luck with the season. The brief that we came up with, with our Florist Rachel Kennedy, was ‘soft and elegant with a gentle trailing effect’. My colour scheme was ivory with hints of peach to bring in the bridesmaid’s colours, and the bridesmaid’s flowers mainly peach colourings.
How Reception decor...
We embraced the bowls club which looked fantastic with the fairy & festoon lights we used to decorate the place. Our table settings were simple and elegant with a collection of blue vases with Queen Anne’s lace and similar floral arrangement by Rachel Kennedy, on crisp white linen. We also made decorations out of small medicine bottles with little red hearts inside to complement the flower arrangements.
Did you have a cocktail reception or a sit-down meal? What was on the menu?
Lunch was a ploughmans lunch at Omata Estate with a selection of meats, cheeses, breads, olives, dips etc. This was a sit-down meal in the marquee overlooking the Bay of Islands harbour.
Dinner was a selection of meats, salads and fresh breads at the Bowling Club and was very casual. No seating arrangements!
- Our first look. As Phill & I were walking down the aisle together, we wanted a special moment to see each other for the first time before heading off to the vineyard.
- Phill’s 93 year old Papa bringing the rings up to us during the ceremony and his words of wisdom. He was also representing all of our grandparents (being our last surviving grandparent); which was quite moving for my family since my grandad passed away a year earlier.
- Rachel, our photographer snuck us away during the night for some creative shots down on the Russell wharf under the lights.
- Taking a moment at the bowls club for Phill & I to wander off to the side and just chill out and take in our day. This had been a piece of advice someone had given me.
- The last song of the night that our band played was ‘Why does love do this to me’. Our guests were in full party mode and Phill & I literally ended the night on a high with our friends lifting us up over their heads while we sang and kissed on their shoulders, our last song of the night.
- A swim in the harbour on our walk home.
Phill & I (and our wedding party & families) walked down the aisle to ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran.
As we signed the registry ‘Is This How You Feel’ by The Preatures played, followed by ‘Hoy Hey’ by The Lumineers.
Phill & I walked back down the aisle to ‘Blame It On Me’ by George Ezra.
I initially didn’t want to do a first dance but got talked into it at the last minute! We started the party off with Brown Eyed Girl played by the band.
M A R R I E D L I F E . . .
We are about to head off to Europe for a month, travelling through Germany, Switzerland, France & Italy to explore quaint villages, do some hiking and sample the local wine and food. These are the places that we really wanted to visit when on our OE, but didn’t quite get to.
In 40 years you hope to…
Well we’d be in our early 70’s! So hopefully had and still having a fun and happy marriage. Hope to have had a couple of kids who would now be married too and making grandbabies for us! We’ll be well retired and enjoying life. Maybe back to Europe for our 40th wedding anniversary.
I’d love to still be living an active an interesting life in retirement having the time to explore new places and experience with family and good lifelong friends.
W E D D I NG W I S D O M . . .
Advice for enjoying the engagement?
You will never please everyone planning your wedding so don’t stress yourself trying to. Do what makes the two of you happy and create a wedding day that reflects you. You will be the two remembering the day the most fondly and appreciating it 10, 20, 30 years down the track.
Excel is amazing. We had a spreadsheet with several tabs, covering absolutely everything! It meant we knew what needed doing and everything was in one place.
Book things early so you don’t miss out on vendors you want.
Don’t spend too much time on Pinterest. It’s great for getting ideas to incorporate into your day, but can be overwhelming too seeing endless glamorous, perfect weddings that really aren’t reality!
Follow up all your bookings 3 or 4 months out to make sure they are correct, have been taken or haven’t been cancelled without your knowledge. We had the final one happen on one of the batches we hired and we would never have known had Mel not phoned to check.
Advice for enjoying the Wedding Day?
A piece of advice that I was given, and listened to, was to grab your husband and take him away for even just 5 minutes. Sit down and chat and just take in your day. You will remember this in the blur of the day later.
Things WILL go wrong or won’t be perfect. I am very organised and a perfectionist, but by the time our wedding week came around I started to let things go. The small things really do not matter at the end of the day – just enjoy the lead-up with your family and friends and most importantly, your day.
If you enjoy the day, you guests will to – they want to see you happy.
Photography Rachel Jordon, Two Little Starfish Dress Katie Yeung, Hera Bridal Suits Rembrant, Newmarket Bridesmaid dresses Kelly Darragh, Victor Bridesmaid Hair Laurel Stratford Makeup Annalise Bergman, Kerikeri Cake Bride’s Mum Celebrant Ida Birch Wedding Planner Debra Shand Caterer Anita Jakich, Neat Eats Hire Jo Page, KeriHire Engagement & wedding bands Naveya & Sloane Flowers Paradise Florist in Paihia