Introducing Jade and Paul
Graphic designer Jade Olliver, 35, married retail worker Paul Benfell, 37, on March 3 at Holy Trinity Church in Port Chalmers, Dunedin.
How did you meet? "We met 13 years ago through friends at work," says Jade. "I was keen to go out one night so invited my friends along, Paul just happened to have just started at the company and I casually invited him to join us not thinking anything would happen. As it turned out, we really clicked that night and the rest is history."
Tell us about the proposal: "It was a long time coming - as everyone likes to remind us," says Jade. "Paul and I had gone up to Queenstown for a family gathering on February 14 last year and the next day stopped off in Arrowtown before heading home to Dunedin. He was acting a little strange throughout the trip commenting on there not being enough sun and willing to go wherever I wanted.
While we were by the Arrowtown river 'pretending to pan for gold' Paul informed me he'd found some. Thinking he was joking I turned to see him beside me with a beautiful gold diamond ring in his hand. His proposal was lovely and very romantic, very 'us'. I've been on a high ever since."
Location of wedding: "It took a while to find the perfect place to marry so we were thrilled when we stumbled across a little 136-year-old church in Port Chalmers - Holy Trinity. It was small and quaint. As soon as we walked inside we knew it was the one," says Jade.
"The reception was in the Port Otago Lounge upstairs in the Edgar Centre Dunedin. The room had a beautiful view over the harbour. The staff were amazing, food fantastic and everyone seemed to have a really great time."
Describe your wedding day: "The day was cold, grey and windy with occasional rain, but brilliant for photos," says Jade. "I walked down the aisle with my mother to Michael Buble's You're Everything and couldn't take my eyes off Paul - it was the first time I'd ever seen him in a suit. The wedding day was also the first time I got to see his wedding ring. We wrote our own vows and had our sisters do readings.
"The reverend was a friend of my family and helped make it a very relaxed ceremony full of laughs, some tears and lots of fun.
"At the reception our MC, Barry, was incredibly funny, my mother did the 'father of the bride' speech and Paul - who is normally fairly quiet and reserved around my friends and family - surprised everyone with his amazing hilarious off-the-cuff speech."
The dress: "I ordered my dress made-to-measure online from a website, which is a rather nerve-racking thing to do. But when it arrived I was thrilled. I took it to a seamstress I know through shows I've performed in and she made some amazing alterations. In the end the dress was very, very cheap but looked rather expensive. The bridesmaids' dresses were bought off the rack about 10 months before the big day. I'm very well organised and a little impatient. I wanted to start designing my invites but couldn't until I knew the exact colour. That's why I got the bridesmaids dresses so early."
The flowers: From Sharon in The Greenhouse, Dunedin's Wall Street Mall.
"I had deep purple lisianthas' with little white hyachinthus stars throughout with diamante pins in each star. The bridesmaids had a posy of white and purple lisianthus.
"Sharon was amazing to deal with. She came up with wonderful suggestions and managed to perfectly create my dream bouquet on the day."
Highlight of the wedding: "Personally for me, seeing Paul for the first time as I walked down the aisle. The whole ceremony was the most amazing thing and seemed to go by so quickly," says Jade.
"We had decided not to hire a videographer due to cost, however as luck would have it a friend of mine had brought along his video camera and filmed the whole thing for us from the back of the church. It was such a wonderful surprise when he visited us the next day with a copy of our wedding. Best gift ever!
"Also, we'd just finished having a group shot out by Carey's Bay and were about to leave when a rainbow appeared. Quick as a flash the photographer, Paul and I dashed out of our cars and took a few shots. The rainbow was only up for about two minutes so we were very lucky and the photos turned out wonderfully."
Was there any drama? "There were a few last-minute changes with people cancelling at the last minute so I had to go into work on my days off to redesign and reprint the seating plan. It majorly stressed me out and brought about a few tears and angry words on my part," says Jade.
"But the biggest drama was with the photographer. We had chosen our wedding day based on when we could have our chosen photographer, but on the wedding day I received a call from my her saying she had the flu and couldn't come. Worst news ever!
"However, she had managed to convince a different photographer to take over. Very risky when you don't know the person and haven't had a chance to discuss options.
"What I didn't know was this new photographer was fully booked all wedding season 'except for our wedding day' AND was very highly recommended by many influential people. It seemed fate had pulled a few magical strings and turned things in our favour. Sinead Jenkins was amazing and we ended up with heaps of fantastic shots."
The honeymoon: "Still to come. We are having a week-long mini-moon in Queenstown over Easter where we plan on going for walks, maybe a bit of para-ponting and extreme shopping. We're saving up for a full honeymoon overseas in the future and hope to travel to Europe with a few days in Rarotonga."
Your photographer and favourite photo? "Our saviour Sinead Jenkins saved our bacon by stepping in at the last minute. She and her assistant Liana were amazing! We have so many favourite photos but I guess the close-up with my head on Paul's shoulder and the rainbow shot are the prize winners."