WIN YOUR DREAM WEDDING
Ever wondered what it would be like to win your wedding? Here, Dream Wedding winners SHANI GLEDHILL and MARK SIMMONS tell all.
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.
ON THE DAY
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.