Stuff's wedding of the week: Abby and Mark
Aucklanders Abby Derry, a 26-year-old HR coordinator, and recruitment consultant Mark Derry, also 26, met as students but it took a few years for the love to bloom.
Abby has the story of how they ended up getting married in the Bay of Plenty.
How did you meet? We met in our first year of university. Mark was the guy who showed up to all our parties still wearing his Dominoes uniform, or occasionally a Hawaiian shirt if he was mixing it up. One of my earliest memories is getting annoyed at him because he would not give me the answers to our finance quiz. It wasn't until our second year of university that we hit it off one night, and after our first date I realised he was someone special. Lucky for me, he felt the same way.
Tell us about the proposal: It was amazing. We were travelling around Thailand on the way home to New Zealand after living in England for two years. We went hiking up a mountain in Koh Tao, and once we got to the top we had the most beautiful views I had seen in my life. Mark awkwardly found a spot amongst the uneven boulders we were perched on and proposed. I went up the mountain with a boyfriend and came down with a fiancé.
Location of wedding: Our wedding was at Old Forest School, Bay of Plenty. I had always imagined getting married surrounded by nature and Old Forest School provided the perfect setting amongst the trees. As we had a Friday wedding, all our family and friends stayed in beach houses at nearby Pukehina Beach. This lead to us having a big party at Pukehina on the Saturday as well: wedding part 2.
Describe your wedding day: It was a perfect combination of Mark and I. Casual, fun and full of laughter. We were all so happy, and it was so relaxed. We hired a wedding stylist to set up the wedding, so there was no stress before the big day, and we could just focus on being with family and friends. Our stylist did such a beautiful job setting up the reception and ceremony space. I was overwhelmed how gorgeous everything looked. It was truly magical.
The dress: I bought my dress from Kelly Lin Couture in Auckland. I only went to one store before I found my dress, and could have easily walked out with any of the 10 or so dresses I tried on there. I narrowed it down to two dresses, and chose the one that made my Mother cry each time I put it on. I loved my dress, not only because it was beautiful, but because it was comfortable, and flowy - meaning I could enjoy my dinner without worrying about how my stomach looked.
The flowers: We were really lucky with our flowers as my good friend Nicky used to be a florist. We organised them through wedding stylist The Heirloom, and then Nicky put together our bouquets. The flowers were such a huge feature of our day as they were the huge pop of colour that we needed.
Highlight of the wedding: Ah, just one? A personal highlight for me was when our photographer left Mark and I alone for 10 minutes. This was the only time on the wedding day that it was just us two. We were surrounded by forest and we just got to chat and take in the fact that we had just got married. It was really special to have some quiet in such a crazy day. The next best highlight would have to be the epic Venga Bus conga line that Mark's uncle started. I cannot remember laughing so much in my life.
Was there any drama? No drama really. Thank goodness. We had a few smashed wine glasses on the dance floor, but nothing major.
The honeymoon: We went to Fiji and stayed at a resort on Denarau Island. It was beautiful and so relaxing. We basically just ate, drank cocktails and swam for a week straight. Total heaven.
Your photographer and favourite photo? Our photographer, Courtney Horwood, was totally amazing and I definitely struggle to choose one photo. Mark and I are not normally the most photogenic couple, but there are at least 100 photos from our wedding that I love. If I had to choose, I would pick the picture of our first kiss, because it captures such a special moment.