Introducing Michelle and Brendan
After wowing her with his Jenga skills, Brendan Atkinson and Michelle Malley tied the knot this September at one of their favourite snowboarding spots, Ohakune.
How did you meet? "I was friends with Brendan's best friend who had decided he wanted to start a mixed indoor netball team, both Brendan and I ended up in the team together," Michelle says.
"We started hanging out together more socially and after he impressed me with his Jenga skills one night (removed the last bottom block of the tower without knocking it over!)... I was his."
Tell us about the proposal: "Brendan knew surprising me would be hard as I was likely to catch on if he suddenly planned a romantic dinner or getaway so he just started carrying the ring around and looking for romantic opportunities to propose. After a week skiing up Mt Ruapehu and with lots of sore muscles he suggested we finish our week off with a trip to the hot pools, followed by a night in Taupo. We ended up having a romantic dinner in Taupo and then going for a walk along Taupo lake, I mentioned that the day had been the perfect day and he told me that it wasn't quite perfect yet and promptly got down on one knee. It was perfect cause the day wasn't at all planned it just fell into place. I didn't even realise that a few times during the ski week I had been wearing the backpack that had my engagement ring hidden in it!"
Location of wedding: The Powderhorn Chateau, Ohakune. "We wanted to get married up near Mt Ruapehu and the Powderhorn is a beautiful hotel in Ohakune at the base of the road up to the Turoa skifield. The Matterhorn Restaurant in the hotel is so simple and beautiful and the food is amazing," Michelle says.
Describe your wedding day: "Perfect! The morning was actually pretty relaxing, I had brunch and read a book while I waited for the bridesmaids hair and makeup to finish. The hardest part was once I was ready to go but still had time to kill before the ceremony, I got really nervous and excited and just wanted to start," she says.
"Once the ceremony started the whole day just flowed perfectly and was so much fun. Our location shots after the ceremony were crazy, our photographer had spotted this waterfall and convinced as to climb down a steep gravel hill and jump across rocks and rivers to get there. It was heaps of fun and surprisingly my dress got messier from the posed group photos on the lawn after the ceremony then it did from rock climbing for the location shots! While we were getting photos taken the rest of the guests were at the reception doing a pub quiz and playing in the photobooth which kept everyone entertained. When we came back we had dinner and the food was exceptional, I thought I'd be too busy and excited to eat but I the food was too good not to eat. "
The dress: "A beautiful lace up strapless gown by Ella Bridal. It only arrived in store two weeks before I had to head up to Ohakune but fortunately I didn't need any alterations so was all good to go. I absolutely loved it and it was actually pretty comfortable and I was sufficient nimble in it to climb rocks!"
The flowers: "I'm not really a big flowers person and it was a late winter wedding so I didn't do any. My mum and her friend made me a bouquet out of material and it was perfect. Hard to damage and I don't need to do anything to preserve it after the day."
Highlight of the wedding: "The whole thing! but still being up and dancing at 3am was pretty amazing. I thought we'd struggle to make it to 10pm as I was pretty tired at 10am but we were so happy and full of energy I think we could've danced all night. The Powderkeg bar which we moved to after the reception closed was full of our guests from 12am - including my parents!"
Was there any drama? "Nope drama-free, we thought we might have some issues considering we opened the bar at 3pm and partied til 3am but everyone was in such a happy relaxed mood that everything just went great. We even changed the ceremony location only an hour before the ceremony started without any drama. We were supposed to get married inside the Matterhorn restaurant but the Powderhorn event planner convinced me to move it onto the balcony cause it was such a beautiful day. I didn't even know where I was going to walk but it worked out beautifully and the photos are gorgeous."
Where was the honeymoon? "We haven't gone yet as we want to top off our snow themed wedding with skiing in Europe so we'll do a couple of weeks snowboarding in Europe in January for our honeymoon."
Your photographer and favourite photo? "Dreamlife - still haven't chosen a favourite as there are so many great shots to choose from but I really like the ones of Brendan helping me cross the rocks because we didn't even know they were taking photos then. The photos from before the ceremony are really lovely as well."