The best day of my life. Full stop.
On the 7th of January, 2017 my husband and I celebrated our wedding in Dunedin, New Zealand. Surrounded by friends, family, wine and food we had the most amazing day of my life.
I always thought SOMETHING would go wrong on my wedding day. It’s not normal to have a perfect day right? You always hear of horror stories about food or guests or the weather. I mean, the weather wasn’t perfect on our wedding day but it didn’t ruin the day in any way. Our wedding was perfect. If I wanted to, I could think of a few minor things that I might have changed but it was still perfect.
First of all, my friends and bridesmaids organized two of the most incredible Hen’s nights ever! We had one in Auckland with some friends up here, and the proper one in Queenstown. The one in Auckland wasn’t anything fancy – just dinner, clubbing and games – however it was up there as one of the best nights of my life! The one in Queenstown which was organized by my fabulous bridesmaids was incredible. I’ve always been that person that organizes surprises for my friends but I don’t often get surprises myself. However this Hen’s Night was SO thoughtful and fun and I could never thank my wonderful bridesmaids enough for organizing it!
We went to my favourite winery in Queenstown – Gibbston Valley Winery (I used to work there – but trust me it’s amazing!) for lunch and wine tasting, then we had some drinks, nibbles and games and then headed off to do a pub crawl in town. (Yes, a pub crawl. It was actually SO much fun and I’d totally recommend doing it, no matter how old you are – possibly the best part about it was that everyone else doing the pub crawl was about 18 and when I told them I was also 18 they totally believed me! Oh to be young again.) We had the usual Hen’s night BINGO games and danced all night long. Shout out to my bridesmaids for putting up with me that night 😉
After a few days it was D-Day. My bridesmaids and I all stayed together in the Mercure Leisure Lodge hotel the night before (totally recommend the Mercure! They were fantastic with a beautiful garden to take photos in). I loved staying with my bridesmaids the night before because it gave us a bit of bonding & pampering time together. Totally couldn’t sleep that night though! In the end I think I fell asleep at around midnight which isn’t too bad!
The next morning I woke up eerily calm. The hairdressers and makeup artist arrived at the hotel (I didn’t get my makeup done by her – but my bridesmaids did!). The hairdressers at Aurum Hairstylists were fantastic and my hair lasted easily until 3am – even through the rain!). My nails were done a few days prior by Lujo Nail Design who I’d totally recommend! I had fake tanned the previous night with Bondi Sands. I chose to do my own tan as I don’t live in Dunedin so I wanted to use something that I could trial myself first. I love Bondi Sands tan and it was perfect (as I didn’t want to be too brown).
In between getting my hair done and hanging out with my bridesmaids I did my own makeup which was not at all stressful and actually relaxed me a bit I think.
My flowers arrived which were actually perfect. I got them done by Bloomin’ Gorgeous in North East Valley who is such a talented and underrated florist in Dunedin – go and check her out! I got my flower crown done by Twigs n Twine which was also perfect. I chose to go with a flower crown rather than a veil (although I did buy a veil off Aliexpress to see what it would look like) because it was just more my style. I love the way it looked.
Finally I got to put on my dress! My dress was one of my favourite parts of the wedding planning. I got it made from Kellylin Couture in Auckland who I’d also totally recommend. The woman who runs it literally makes all the dresses to order. I had the best experience with her. It is free to try on the dresses (although you will definitely need to make an appointment). She had such an eye for what would look nice on your body shape. She chose the dress that I ended up getting (although I made a few adjustments) and I adored it. I wish I could wear it again!
Our photographer arrived sometime in between all of that excitement. She was honestly the best photographer in the world. Erin is the sweetest person ever – she has such an eye for photography and I loved her style of photos. If you are going to splash out on any aspect of the wedding then I’d definitely recommend spending money on the photographer. The photos will eventually be the only way of remembering your special day and you want to be happy with them. If you are in Dunedin (or somewhere else as she does travel!) then please check out Acorn Photography. As I said Erin is extremely professional and was very quick to edit and send us the photos after the wedding. She was great at organizing the family photos – especially as it was raining! She took photos of every aspect of the wedding I hoped she’d capture. My only regret is not also having a videographer too (she does do videos!). Her husband also runs the company Gravity Events who we used for our lighting and photo booth. I’d definitely recommend them as well – but we will get to that later!
So Erin organized a whole lots of photos in the short amount of time we had and then we headed to the ceremony! Now, my husband and I are not really into cars. So we decided not to hire any cars for the wedding day. Instead we enlisted the help of my amazing uncles to be our drivers for the day in their cars which was honestly perfect as no-one even saw the cars. We were the last to arrive at the ceremony, the last to leave and when we arrived at the reception everyone was already seated. If you are looking to save money then this is definitely an unnecessary expense!
My butterflies were going crazy at this point. In the 5 minute drive to the ceremony at Sacred Heart Church (it’s so pretty!) I was the most excited I have ever been in my entire life. We got out of the car and was greeted by our priest. We had a Catholic wedding as I am Catholic so our celebrant was a priest I have known since childhood – he was absolutely fantastic.
I felt like I was going to burst with excitement. I wasn’t nervous in the slightest – just incredibly excited. I feel excited just writing this out now. We walked into the foyer and heard the music start to play. We chose “I Want To Write You a Song” by One Direction as our entrance song. Before you scoff at One Direction listen to the song. It is beautiful and it was perfect!
One by one my bridesmaids left me to walk down the aisle. Dad and I were squeezing each others hands. I took a deep breath and started walking. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. All I could see was my handsome husband standing at the end of the aisle. It was at this point, looking at him, where I almost completely lost it and burst into an ugly fit of tears. Luckily I was able to hold myself together. (Later on he told me he was almost about to lose it as well which is lucky as if he had then I would have too).
The ceremony was perfect. Everything I had organized went off without a hitch. I honestly couldn’t stop smiling although I felt weirdly quite calm. Tom looked as though he had seen a ghost though! He was definitely more nervous than I was! The highlight of the ceremony for me was seeing all my family and friends, my Poppa and Tom’s Nana signing the register for us and the prayers of the faithful which I had enlisted my class from 2016 to write for me. These prayers were so sweet and thoughtful and everyone got a little giggle.
After the ceremony we greeted all the guests and had some very quick group photos outside the church. Unfortunately it was raining and bitterly cold (thanks Dunedin!) but it wasn’t the end of the world.
The bridal party was chauffeured by my awesome uncles around the Botanical Gardens for our photos. It stopped raining pretty quickly which was lucky and our photos turned out perfectly. This was a time for us to relax and enjoy the day with our bridal party as well as pose like celebrities for all our photos. I’d totally recommend the Botanical Gardens in Dunedin for photos as there are so many different spots to take photos that have different looks so it looks as though you’ve been to a whole lot of different places.
Then it was time to arrive at reception. Our MC organized everyone to be seated and we arrived to smiles and claps from our family and friends. Our venue was the Guthrie Pavillion which is by Bayfield school. I totally recommend it as it was cheap and we hired it for the whole weekend so we decorated it, partied until 3am with music as loud as we liked and no liquor licence needed as it was a private party, and then we were able to pop in the next day to clean up. We could bring our own alcohol (which we bought from Gardens New World who were very helpful) and use our own caterers (who I won’t be recommending as their food was not as advertised).
We had nibbles, dinner and drinks. The food was actually not that bad however it was definitely not as advertised and when I mentioned this to the caterer I received no reply. We had our speeches which were THE BEST. Then we moved all the tables and started the dance floor. Our first dance song was “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding. The venue had it’s own sound system and we made our own playlists. I’d recommend making your own playlists as it meant we could have a variety of music and it was songs that we loved. It definitely didn’t stop anyone dancing. We also had a photo booth running in a side room which was the best investment ever! It printed out two copies of the photo so one copy we asked the guests to stick in a guest book, and the other copy they could keep. I’d recommend the photo booth 10000%. It was so much fun and they sent us a digital copy of all the photos so we have that to keep as well. Gravity Events in Dunedin are fantastic to work with.
Then we basically danced and partied till around 3am. I stayed in my wedding dress the entire night – though I did change my shoes!
And that was it. The best day/night of my entire life. I want to take this moment to reiterate how blessed we are to have the most amazing friends, family and bridal party. So many people were happy to help us with our wedding and we can’t say thank you enough. We really appreciated the love and support from all of our vendors, friends and family (and a special shout out to my bridesmaids! I wish we could do the day again – I loved spending time with you all together xxx)
Other vendors include:
Save the date, Invitations & Thank You cards: Vistaprint
Bridesmaid Dresses: Pagani
Ceremony Pamphlet: Made by myself
Glasses hired: Liquorland Anderson’s Bay
Extra chairs and tables & chair covers: Happy Hire
Fairy light curtain, drapery and fairy lights: Visual Effects
Other decorations: Purchased from Aliexpress or eBay
Cake: Nikki from The Dessert Room
Decorators: Amazing friends and family – THANK YOU SO MUCH!
If you have any questions about any of the vendors or anything wedding related then let me know 🙂
Weddings are my new favourite topic – I’d love to go into business being a wedding planner one day!