Introducing Erin and Troy
Rain and drizzle cleared just in time for preschool teacher Erin North, 26, and IT worker Troy Arkley, 31, who married outside at Mount Lyford Lodge, North Canterbury.
How did you meet? "Troy and I met through my sister's (then) boyfriend in January 2009. I lived with them in Christchurch and Troy came to stay one weekend from Wellington. We were both quite reserved, but made small talk! I added him on Facebook and we also began video calling one another. I was taken by his American accent pretty quickly! After about a month, he flew me up to Wellington and we had an official 'first date' at Castlepoint. We fell for each other fast and he asked me that weekend to be his girlfriend."
Tell us about the proposal: "We took turns to fly to see each other fortnightly. Troy came to visit me on the second weekend in June 2009. Once he had gone back to Wellington, he told me he had hidden something 'red' for me to find. For a few days, I looked around the house, my car and my horses paddock and couldn’t find anything red. He texted me and told me he would call me on his morning tea break at work tomorrow (Saturday) and direct me to the red thing and that it in fact WAS at my horse's paddock. He called me at 10am and told me to face the horses and to stand between their water trough and the gate. He told me to look at the ground near the fence. It had been raining so I thought maybe it had got slightly buried? Next thing I know, Troy is driving towards me in a red rental car! I was shocked; up until then I thought he was in Wellington. He got out of the car and came over to me, said a few heartfelt words and got down on his knee (in the dirt!) and asked me to marry him. I was so surprised and said 'Yes yes yes' straight away!"
Location of wedding: The pair married at Mount Lyford Lodge, North Canterbury – just under two hours away from Christchurch. "It was the perfect location for us; we wanted somewhere different and up in the mountains seemed perfect with the beautiful scenery," says Erin. "We got to have the whole weekend away with all our friends and family. I stayed in a bunkroom with my bridesmaids the night before (so me!) and a log chalet up the mountain with Troy on our wedding night."
Describe your wedding day: "It was amazing and everything we imagined it to be!" says Erin. "The day went by so quickly and suddenly it was 3pm and time to walk down the aisle. All I could focus on was Troy smiling at me and I couldn't wait to be by his side. We were lucky as it had been drizzling/raining all day, but it cleared and the sun peeked through so we were able to get married out on the lawn. We had family and friends photos after the ceremony, then photos with my beautiful pony that was staying at Mount Lyford horse treks right across the driveway. We took the bridal party up Mount Lyford to get our photos. It was so cold – we could see our breath! The reception was awesome - dinner, very few speeches, cake cutting and then dancing for the rest of the night. We had the best time."
The dress: "I actually bought my dress from www.lightinthebox.com," says Erin. "Troy’s dad recommended I buy from there as a few women at his work had and really loved their dresses! After weeks of looking through pages and pages of dresses, I kept coming back to one and decided to just go for it! It cost me NZD$450 all up including shipping. It was everything I imagined it to be – so beautiful. It was ivory, A-frame, with leafy stitching and sequins on the bodice, sweetheart neckline and a big puffy skirt. I was really happy with it and got several comments on it."
The flowers: "Honestly, I don't know a lot about flowers, but I did know that they would be the finishing touch to how we all looked," says Erin. "I searched the internet for bouquets and came across 'the one', which was made up of white lilies, bear grass and flax palm. The bridesmaids and I had matching bouquets (mine was just a bit bigger). The groomsmen had roses with a leaf and bear grass as buttonholes. Our flower girl had a gorgeous wrist corsage; it looked like a mini bouquet. We got our flowers from Ilam Florist and they were awesome!"
Highlight of the wedding: "The highlight for us was our big entrance into our reception," says Erin. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered played and our DJ Gwyn introduced us as 'Mr and Mrs Arkley' in a booming voice and we danced our way down the wooden stairs into the lodge and took our place at the bridal table, followed by the bridal party. So much fun and excitement!"
Was there any drama? "One of the guests stood on my wedding dress whilst dancing, which ripped the loop off that was holding the train up. A couple of friends hitched it back up for me and used the ties on my dress to hold it in place. There was a big bulge, but at least the train was up off the floor. Not even a big deal, worse things could have happened!"
The honeymoon: "We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet! We had a 'minimoon' in Queenstown a few days after our wedding, which was a nice getaway and time to ourselves. We plan to honeymoon later in the year."
Your photographer and favourite photo? "Our photographer was Andrew Spencer. He is based in Kaikoura and was recommended to us by the lovely staff at Mount Lyford Lodge. He was amazing, paid attention to detail and really went the extra mile for us. My favourite photo would have to be the one of the two of us with my pony sandwiched in between us. She has been a big part of my life (Troy has a soft spot for her too!) – she was there for the proposal, so why not have her there for our wedding!"