Coun­try loving

Gemma Wilson mar­ried John Bartley at the Wilson fam­ily home in Kai Iwi on Satur­day, Jan­uary 4, 2014

New Zealand Weddings - - COMPETITION -

Our love story John and I met dur­ing our flat­ting days and were friends for eight years be­fore we got to­gether. He popped the big ques­tion while we were on a kayak tour in Croa­tia. We had stopped for a lunch break on a beach when he per­suaded me to swim out to a rock with him, and there he pro­posed. Scene set­ters We said ‘I do’ on the front ve­ran­dah of my ru­ral fam­ily home near Wan­ganui and set up a re­cep­tion mar­quee in the pad­dock next door. Build­ing on the rus­tic vibe, guests sat on fab­ric-cov­ered hay bales for the cer­e­mony and we had a vin­tage wash­ing ma­chine filled with ice and bot­tled wa­ter to keep the sum­mer heat at bay. Jars of gyp­sophila and vi­brant hy­drangea added pops of colour. Mum and I had been col­lect­ing vin­tage doilies, which we sewed into bunt­ing and hung from the mar­quee ceil­ing – they also added another di­men­sion to our ta­bles. My dream dress Made from French lace, my gown fea­tured dainty capped sleeves and a tiered skirt. I kept the rest of my look sim­ple – my grand­mother’s pearl ear­rings were my ‘some­thing old’ and in­stead of a veil, two cream roses com­ple­mented my low updo. For the boys John matched his navy suit with a checked shirt and a bright orange tie. It was for­mal enough to be wed­ding-wor­thy but re­flected the laid-back vibe of our day per­fectly. A sump­tu­ous feast Our 120 guests en­joyed a three-course sit-down meal cour­tesy of Essence Cater­ing. Dishes such as crispy duck paved the way for a deca­dent panna cotta dessert. My friend’s mother made our three-tier li­mon­cello cake. Cov­ered in cream fon­dant, sugar roses and mi­na­ture bunt­ing, it sat on an old white dresser be­side a pair of vin­tage bride and groom money boxes. For our guests We matched each guest’s per­son­al­ity with a story from the Lit­tle Golden Book col­lec­tion, and left the books at place set­tings to act as favours. Wrapped in pa­per doilies and la­belled with guests’ names, they did dou­ble-duty as name cards too. Spe­cial de­liv­ery We had trained our sch­nauzer, Baxter, to be ring bearer. He ran up the aisle to John’s best man, sat and waited for his treat while the rings were un­tied from his col­lar, then took his seat next to my par­ents. He even re­ceived a round of ap­plause! My ad­vice for brides to be At some point dur­ing the event, make sure you pause to take a breath and soak in the at­mos­phere. It’s an amaz­ing day – you want to re­mem­ber as much as pos­si­ble!

left The cou­ple dec­o­rated menus with lolly bracelets as a small ad­di­tional favour. op­po­site page, bot­tom right In­stead of be­ing num­bered, ta­bles were named after ci­ties the cou­ple had vis­ited on their OE. As la­bels, gold spray-painted an­i­mal fig­urines dis­played pho­tos of the cou­ple at each des­ti­na­tion. op­po­site page, cen­tre left In keep­ing with the day’s vin­tage styling, two VW Kombi vans from the Wan­ganui Vin­tage Car Club made colour­ful fo­cal points.

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