Ever won­dered what it would be like to win your wed­ding? Here, Dream Wed­ding win­ners SHANI GLEDHILL and MARK SIM­MONS tell all.

New Zealand Weddings - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy I DO PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Fol­low our lucky win­ners’ jour­ney to the al­tar at Plume Restau­rant in Matakana

Mark and I had been en­gaged for nine months when we found out we had won New Zealand Wed­dings’ $60,000 Win Your Dream Wed­ding com­pe­ti­tion. It was an amaz­ing feel­ing to know that af­ter dat­ing since we were 14, not only were we fi­nally go­ing to be­come Mr and Mrs, we also had a team of ex­perts – ev­ery­thing from florists, to dress de­sign­ers, to suit spe­cial­ists and hair and makeup artists – hand­picked by New Zealand Wed­dings, all primed to work with us on turn­ing our dream wed­ding into re­al­ity.


As soon as we saw our venue – Plume Restau­rant in Auck­land’s Matakana – we were blown away by its lo­ca­tion. It’s high on a hill, with sweep­ing views over the sur­round­ing vine­yards and groves of trees. It has an al­most Mediter­ranean feel, so tied in per­fectly with our styling theme of rustic el­e­gance. As an added bonus, the venue is also just min­utes from Omaha Beach, which gave us an epic back­drop for pho­tos, and meant there was am­ple ac­com­mo­da­tion for guests who had trav­elled from afar.

Sta­tioner Beechtree Cre­ative made our in­vi­ta­tion suite. Us­ing a sim­ple green and flo­ral de­sign, it set the stage for our big day per­fectly. Natalie at Flo­ramay Flow­ers echoed the look, bring­ing our colour pal­ette of soft pink, green and sil­ver to life with lush flo­ral ar­range­ments. Ta­bles were dec­o­rated with run­ners of eu­ca­lyp­tus and bunches of blooms in blush tones, while a back­drop of green­ery hung be­hind the head ta­ble at the re­cep­tion. I es­pe­cially loved my sum­mery bou­quet of David Austin roses, gyp­sophila, dahlias and sweet peas, and our flower girl felt a mil­lion dol­lars in her dainty crown of gyp­sophila.


I was re­ally ex­cited about slip­ping into my Hera Bri­dal Cou­ture gown on the big day. With its fig­ure-hug­ging sil­hou­ette, I was par­tic­u­larly happy to have made good use of the two-month Bar­refig­ure mem­ber­ship Mark and I were given! De­spite think­ing I would try on lots of dif­fer­ent gown styles, as soon as I pulled on Hera’s ‘Vela’ gown I knew it was the one for me. It fea­tured a sweet­heart neck­line and a mer­maid skirt of lace and tulle, while a flo­ral ap­pliqué en­cap­su­lat­ing the bodice made for

a par­tic­u­larly in­dul­gent look. My brides­maids wore el­e­gant blush pink dresses by Sally Ea­gle and ac­ces­sorised with twin­kling sil­ver lock­ets, each with a per­son­alised charm from Stow Lock­ets. The team from Revlon cre­ated my nat­u­ral makeup look and sim­ple updo, which I chose so I could show off the in­tri­cate de­sign on the back of my dress.

Mark and his grooms­men wore navy suits and teamed them with crisp white shirts and bow ties, all from Frank Casey. Mark also wore a navy waist­coat and white pocket square to dif­fer­en­ti­ate his look from that of the grooms­men. Their at­tire hit the mark be­tween clas­sic and mod­ern. They couldn’t have looked bet­ter.


All we wanted from the cer­e­mony was that it was a good re­flec­tion of us and our fam­i­lies. Me­lanie Kerr, our cel­e­brant, un­der­stood our wishes per­fectly, and gave great guid­ance. Sur­rounded by 60 fam­ily and friends, some of whom had trav­elled from as far as Canada, we shared our

self-writ­ten vows and ex­changed cus­tom-made Carats wed­ding rings.

Af­ter the gar­den cer­e­mony, we moved into the restau­rant for our re­cep­tion. Guests raved about the menu that Plume cre­ated: we en­joyed a three-course sit-down meal, with high­lights in­clud­ing beef eye fil­let and pro­sciutto-wrapped chicken breast. Sweet Bites Cakes made our wed­ding cake – five tiers high, it fea­tured lace de­tail in­spired by my dress and flavours of choco­late rasp­berry and pas­sion­fruit.

Mark wanted a night full of clas­sic tunes from the 80s, 90s and 2000s that would get ev­ery­one danc­ing and Jar­rod Phillips from Mix It DJ did an awe­some job of mak­ing sure the dance floor was never empty.

Look­ing back, the whole day was in­cred­i­ble. Just af­ter the speeches, Mark and I looked at each other and then around the room. I felt so happy. We were mar­ried, and here en­joy­ing the night with all the peo­ple we love.

We’re count­ing the days now un­til we hop on our Air Van­u­atu flight to our seven-night hon­ey­moon at The Ha­van­nah! We can’t wait to re­lax and ex­plore the is­land to­gether – the ul­ti­mate bal­ance of ad­ven­ture and laid-back lux­ury. Our kind of per­fect, just like our wed­ding.

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