Sum­mer Love

GE­ORGINA EAST and MARIO EM­MANUEL’S fes­ti­val wed­ding was the epit­ome of fun in the Queen­stown sun.

New Zealand Weddings - - REAL WEDDINGS - Pho­tog­ra­phy CARLA MITCHELL

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.”

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