GEORGINA EAST and MARIO EMMANUEL’S festival wedding was the epitome of fun in the Queenstown sun.
This festival wedding was the epitome of summer fun.
I t all began three years ago: 2am on the dance floor of a club in Sydney. Mario and I had been reluctantly dragged out by friends, and luckily we hit it off straight away. Safe to say it was a whirlwind romance – we embarked on a six-month trip around the world together not long after meeting. As keen mountaineers, we took a quick getaway trip to Queenstown soon after arriving home from our travels. It was at the summit of our mountain climb that Mario seized his moment: crampons on and ice axe in hand, he got down on one knee. It was a big yes from me.
Having always envisioned an outdoor wedding, we fell in love with the ruins and trees at Thurlby Domain in Queenstown. We wanted to create a festival vibe, so hired a double- domed tipi from Gather and Gold and filled it with wooden tables and benches, and an abundance of dusty olive
and ivy greens foraged by our talented stylist Kelly Hudson. Outside, we encouraged guests to lounge on vintage rugs, comfy couches and hay bales, while strings of fairy lights twinkled in the trees overhead.
Instead of a cake, Traiteur (a deli I’ve visited since I was a kid), baked a huge batch of brownies with fresh raspberries. Mario’s only request was that we made it into a brownie tower, which we did.
I found my gown at the Bridal Atelier. With its bateau neckline and keyhole back, it was pretty yet unfussy – exactly the level of relaxed I was after. As a sucker for a ponytail, and wanting to feel like myself on the day, I opted to wear my hair in a simple updo.
We had an incredible live band called Freefall who created the fun, festival vibe we were after. Mario and I handed out sound-activated LED wrist bands that lit up to the beat of the music – seeing all our guests dance until they were exhausted put the biggest smiles on our faces.
SOMETHING I LEARNED “Consider your guests and the change in temperature throughout the evening. Even in summer, the South Island can get freezing come night time – provide blankets to keep everyone cosy.”