The proposal: Monument Valley, USA. We got up in the wee hours in the cold to watch the sunrise. Adrian had hidden the ring in his socks. I didn’t see it coming since we’d been together nearly 10 years and were already like an old married couple in the best kind of way. We had a great day climbing the mesas and he shouted “I love you” and it bounced all around the mesas and sounded very celestial – a voice from heaven! Ceremony Venue: St Philomena’s Church, New Plymouth. We are both from Taranaki, met each other there and have fond memories of our first dates (and falling in love!) there, Including rowing on Pukekura Park which we recreated in our wedding photos. St Philomena’s has a cool symmetrical eye. I have done a bit of photography so I thought this would look nice in the photos. Also it was an intimate kind of Church. Wedding Venue: Puke Ariki Museum. Arborio restaurant opens out into it so we used this space in combination. It is right by the beautiful ocean and the Wind Wand, a city icon. There is a beautiful walkway along the coast in New Plymouth. Arborio’s amazing head chef helped us achieve our vision with foods and flavours we love. We are foodies so menu was very important to us. We also had wheels of cheese stacked up, and included food we’d eaten on our travels around the world. Minister: Fr. Manus Lyons from St Josephs Parish in Hawera. We connected with his humour and Irish ancestry (my family has Irish ancestry). He even jumped onboard with the wedding colour and wore his yellow vestments. Theme: Our wedding was in Spring, which is not quite wedding season but I think the nature around you is at its best then, so many things blooming. I love yellow, it’s so bright and happy. We wanted a very fresh spring vibe. Bride’s dress: When trying on dresses I got a bit depressed in the “meringues”. An Auntie suggested Anita from Vinka Design. When I tried on a similar dress of hers I knew it was the one that I wanted! My dress is gorgeous and fresh, and embraced our spring theme. My shoes even had flowers on, too, and were the perfect spring shoe. I bought them from a favourite shoe company who make shoes that are a little different. Groom’s attire: Adrian wore a Rembrandt suit and his tie was ordered from overseas to suit yellow theming. It was fun finding the guys their own individual cufflinks. My husband had elephant cufflinks from Etsy as his mother loved elephants and had collected a lot of elephant stuff before passing away. We also had one batman-obsessed bestman! I sourced a lot of goodness on Etsy! Bridesmaid’s dresses: Purchased through LA Dresses online. Having bases in New Plymouth and Australia helped as my Maid of Honour lives in Melbourne. They wore their own grey shoes. Flowers: I wanted the bouquets to look less structured than your average wedding bouquet and more like we’d been picking flowers in the fields. Very natural, and no pastels! Cake: A Lemon lime mud cake with floral swirls, and ginger and red velvet cupcakes with little yellow flowers decorations. We had boxes for those who wanted to take their cake home, sealed with yellow heart stickers bearing our initials and wedding date. Décor: Dobsons Hire for cutlery and plates, Theatre Lamp and Lighting for sound, chairs and sashes, tables, hangings and chandelier. We hired topiary bushes from Insphire that were dressed with ribbons (Spotlight) and fairy lights (Trade Me). We made cards on everyone’s table of the States we had travelled through and the seating chart was also arranged by States. Lots of work! We had pictures of us in the different States on mini easels. We also had cute sparkly flower nametags for everyone. We liked the idea of mixing people up, thinking about who would really hit it off! There were yellow sunflower chocolate pops as favours. Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas for save the dates, invites and thank you’s - affordable but beautiful designs shipped right to your door crazily fast! Entertainment: An iPhone with a great playlist hooked into the sound system - I worked hard on this one! In the Church Adrian’s cousin Annabelle played music before I arrived, during the signing of the ceremony and when we were walking out. She has been playing since she was 4! They live in Wellington but consulted us every step of the way - ringing us up and playing us songs on speakerphone. We got to choose some beautiful pieces. Transportation: Weir Bros (they have the cutest Vauxhill Cresta) and Executive Transport from New Plymouth. Service: We chose things personal to us - Adrian had a lot of people after saying if church was always like that they would convert to Catholicism. It was a fun loving, heart-felt and personal. We even did a Navaho reading as we were engaged in Monument Valley in the States. Most memorable moment of the day: We had the most amazing speeches and true heartfelt thank you’s. There were tears and laughter. Adrian’s Opa is an amazing speaker and he had this Disney-esque speech that he’d memorised. All of our speakers were natural born speakers, constantly engaging people. I also did a speech even though I don’t speak that often - but I do like writing and I just spoke from the heart. Who made the day special: One of my best friends, Cat, came over from Melbourne a few days before the big day and she helped us with so much. I stayed with her the night before the wedding and she was always there with tea and croissants. She was very gung-ho and really helped us sort so much out. Then there were all the people who travelled great distances - it would not have been the same without them. And my Mum who helped me with trying on dresses in some slack places. Those dresses were heavier and way bigger than my little Mum! She had quite a workout. Anything else memorable? Getting ready for the wedding was very relaxing. While we were getting our hair and makeup done, we were sipping herbal tea and chatting and eating yummy nibbles like pork belly. The boys sent us a picture of them at KFC for brunch – our Rarotongan bestman was craving some!
Our first dance was not your traditional waltzy sway - we danced to ‘A Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ by Queen and my hubby swung me around rock and roll style (we took classes). I think that is kind of a reflection of our love - we are always having fun and that’s what has kept us strong over the years.
I loved the look on my Dad’s face when he saw me for the first time. He is the kind of guy who never notices what people are wearing or how they look, but he looked amazed and dumbfounded all in one. When I rang him from the States my mother said he danced on his tippie toes when he found out we were engaged. I think the wedding was a very exciting day for him.
Adrian was so proud of me organising (with his help) an amazing day for our families. I live with chronic illness, so sometimes it was trying organising a wedding in a remote location.
Bride Hayley Jennings Groom Adrian Blake Date 20th October 2012