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