Wedding whirlwind

DREAM DRESS: With two hours to find the perfect wedding dress, Astra Bridal in Takapuna had put four aside. The first dress Wanda tried was ‘the one’.
DREAM DRESS: With two hours to find the perfect wedding dress, Astra Bridal in Takapuna had put four aside. The first dress Wanda tried was ‘the one’.

From proposal to marriage took just seven hours for Darrin and Wanda Robertson.

Darrin proposed on Friday morning and by that afternoon the bride was walking down the aisle at Matakana Country Lodge.

It was a complete surprise for Wanda who thought Darrin was organising a trip to Queenstown to celebrate her 40th birthday.

WONDERFUL WEDDING: Darrin Robertson surprised Wanda with a morning proposal and afternoon wedding.
WONDERFUL WEDDING: Darrin Robertson surprised Wanda with a morning proposal and afternoon wedding.

"Darrin was very excited leading up to my birthday. It was a bit strange. I thought it was because he had planned something special," Wanda says. He had, but not what she was expecting.

By 8am when she got a knock on her bedroom door and was led down her Albany home hallway by friends holding signs describing how wonderful she is, she knew something was up.

"We had been thinking about getting married for a couple of years," Darrin says. "We had the kids and were saving for a house, all those life things. Because we are a bit older we kept putting it off, then I thought 'this could go on forever'.

"This year was a quiet year, except for Wanda's 40th birthday and I wanted to plan something special. At the end of January the idea came that I should propose, and we could get married on the same day."

When Wanda walked into their lounge on Friday morning Darrin was waiting on one knee holding a sign saying ‘Because you have my heart, I'm asking for your hand. Will you marry me . . . today'.

"She was a stunned mullet," Darrin says. "For someone who always has something to say, she had tears in her eyes and was silent. It was brilliant."

Wanda was whisked away to a bridal shop to choose her dress before the ceremony at 3pm.

Darrin says Wanda is usually the organiser and he is "hopeless" at it.

"But the idea with the wedding was that I have everything organised so she wouldn't have to stress. I was quietly confident she would go along with it.

"I picked a bridesmaid for her. Originally my idea was to get the bridesmaid to choose the wedding dress, but she freaked out . . . I decided it would be better for Wanda to pick her own at a bridal shop," Darrin says.

Describing the wedding as "totally surreal", Wanda says Darrin made all the right decisions.

"I wouldn't have changed a thing, it was perfect.

"We had a French croque en bouche wedding cake made - from watching MasterChef he knew I wanted one," Wanda says. "He chose my favourite flowers, frangipani, in my bouquet. He has never bought me flowers before. He chose the perfect rings. He obviously listens to me."

The ceremony was full of personal touches with bridesmaids walking down the aisle to the Darth Vader theme song, The Imperial March from Star Wars.

"Darrin had that song as his ring tone when I call him on his cell phone," Wanda says.

"He had written his own vows and memorised them and wrote mine for me. There were lots of personal jokes and the vows were great."

The couple married at Matakana Country Lodge and celebrated with dinner at Matakana Marketplace Kitchen.

The next morning they took a helicopter to Auckland Airport and flew to Queenstown for a four-day honeymoon.

Rodney Times