Introducing Jessica and John
Aucklanders Jessica Galu and John Matheson met through work. They were married in Kerikeri's St James Anglican Church.
How did you meet? "We met at John's old workplace in Ponsonby. I was a media student asking about column work, and John was the editor of a sports magazine,"Jessica says. "When I arrived at his office, the receptionist came out and said Mr Matheson was busy but he would be out soon - when he finally came out he took my hand and introduced himself. We still remember to this day the moment we met and how we felt - a bit like two teenagers. I didn't have a car at that time, so after our meeting was finished I began to walk home. About 10 minutes, I heard a car beep, and it was John on the other side of the road wanting to give me a ride back to my flat. He said:'a beautiful girl shouldn't walk home.'"
Tell us about the proposal: "John proposed to me when I was eight months pregnant with our daughter Ava-Dawn. Our daughter is now six years old. I woke up one morning and I was lying peacefully in bed (as you do when you are heavily pregnant) and John walked in and said he was off to work. He went to kiss me goodbye then suddenly got down on one knee and proposed - we had been fighting a lot around this time, so it was a complete surprise! I knew he had been ring shopping but I had no idea whatsoever that he actually brought one. Luckily for him it was a nice size diamond."
Location of the Wedding: "We had always said that if we ever got married, it would be in the Bay of Islands area [as it] holds so many wonderful memories for us. We chose St James Anglican Church in Kerikeri as our ceremonial site, and The Pear Tree restaurant as our reception venue. We love the character and history that pervades the buildings in the area and the landscape itself. The historic Stone Store building in the background of our wedding memories anchors our wedding against an important place in New Zealand history. The small historic church we married in was so beautiful and had a feeling of 'homely' familiarity."
Describe your wedding day: "Our wedding day was small, beautiful, fairytale-like, and colourful. I had planned my wedding day and the details to a T. We had a red and pink theme colouring, the antique and vintage style of the decor and a very traditional ceremony at the church. We wanted to create this fantastic clash of old/new and rustic/bright - we pulled it off fantastically. It was like a fairytale. Myself, my bridesmaid, and my flowergirl all arrived at the church in an antique carriage pulled by a beautiful white horse called Buddy. Buddy's hair was plaited with red and pink ribbons, and the carriage itself had rose garlands covering it. The men even participated in the colour theme by waving pink and red wedding wands when we were announced husband and wife. I couldn't imagine a wedding without colour, so it was a dream come true.
The dress: "My dress was designed by Anna Schimmel. I had come in to Anna's studio originally with a picture of what I wanted my dress to look like, and Anna took my dream of a big white princess dress covered in roses, and made a high fashion version of it for me. I love my dress. It had a big white hooped petticoat underneath and an inbuilt corset to help shape me. The lace covering the bodice was exquisite and the European silk and organza made me feel so indulgent. I absolutely love the contrast between the white silk, the beaded lace, and the red and salmon pink roses - it was exactly what I wanted. We made my wedding dress to be a family heirloom for our daughter Ava, because of this, no expense was spared in making the dress.
The flowers: "When it came to the wedding floristry, I couldn't go past the traditional roses and gypsophila combination. I wanted different shades of red and pink roses everywhere! I had a big rose bouquet with red velvet and antique pink roses - it was absolutely exquisite. My bridesmaid and flower girl both had smaller versions of my bouquet with different shades of red and pink roses. The head table at our reception was decorated with a long garland of ivy and red and pink roses, and the guest's tables were scattered with antique jars filled with roses and wild flowers. I kept my bridal bouquet and had it dried - it was just too beautiful to throw out."
Highlight of the wedding: "My personal highlight of the wedding was my dress, and the horse and carriage ride with my flower girl - my daughter Ava. We were both a tad nervous before leaving the Stone Store Lodge (our bridal accommodation) and the carriage ride was so surreal and fun it helped calm the nerves. I already felt like a princess in my dress, and to travel to the church on an antique carriage with my beautiful daughter singing happy songs while we trotted along was unbelievable. A real once in a lifetime moment.
Was there any drama? "Luckily for us there was no drama on the day! However, I will say that guest 'no shows' and last minute changes from our guests were disappointing. We had confirmation from 45 guests that they would require a bus to get them from Paihia to Kerikeri - so, we hired a luxury coach to treat our guests to a nice ride on the day of our wedding. When the day came, the coach only had four guests on - meaning we spent $500 for basically nothing. Oh, and our daughter did lose our wedding rings the night before at our bridal lodge, we finally found them in the garden. She wasn't popular for a good hour after that!"
The honeymoon: "John and I did not go on a honeymoon - we have too much work to do! We have just started a new business called Matheson Sports Media so our attention is needed there at this point. However, we do take our daughter on wonderful holidays every year, so our next big holiday will be extra special - as we will now be a married family unit. We're thinking Hawaii or Disneyworld."
Your photographer and favourite photo: "Our photographer was Nicole Jecentho from Kerikeri. We chose Nicole because she offered a package we want, at an affordable price. We checked out her portfolio and we liked the style and detail of her shooting. Nicole worked really hard. There are so many favourite photos that Nicole took, but one of our absolute favourites is one of my daughter running toward the camera in the cottage garden area of old Kemp House. It is young fresh and beautiful, and the expression on my daughter's face is timeless - therein lies our happiness and the example of how special our day was."