Stuff's wedding of the week

Last updated 05:00 23/08/2013

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Weddings of the week

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As coincidences go, Sarah and Matt's story is a gem. The primary school teacher and builder hit it off after a chance meeting in a Wellington bar, but little did they know they'd actually been childhood classmates back in Year 8.

Their wedding was held at the stunning Pencarrow Lodge in Eastbourne and featured beautiful family-made flowers, a stunning princess dress and a drool-worthy dessert table.

We'll let Sarah fill in the gaps...

How did you meet? Like so many couples our age, we met at a bar. We were actually in the same class in Year 8, but didn't realise until our first date - guess he didn't recognize me without the pigtails!

Tell us about the proposal: We were out for dinner with friends and as soon as we were finished Matt wanted to leave. I thought he was being a bit rude as we were having a good time chatting, but it turned out Matt didn't want to miss the sunset at Petone beach. We went for a walk and as I turned to watch the sunset, Matt surprised me with a big purple box. Perhaps a bit too big - I had to check it wasn't a watch before getting too excited! Sure enough it was a beautiful engagement ring.

Location of wedding: Pencarrow Lodge, Wellington. We have both grown up near the beach and love the wild landscape of the Wellington harbour. Pencarrow is only a 20min drive from Eastbourne, but you really do feel like you're miles away from anything. Wellington put on a stunning day, and the venue took care of the rest with amazing food and wine including an amazing dessert table that we couldn't get enough of. My parents arranged for us to spend our wedding night in Pencarrow's beautiful Paiaka Suite. The perilous 4-wheel drive to get there is worth the breathtaking views over the Cook Strait.

Describe your wedding day: With such a big bridal party (five bridesmaids and groomsmen) our hair and make-up started at 9am, but both my make-up artist (Makeup by Alanah) and hairdresser (Rachel from Platinum Hair Studio) were great. After that we headed off to get ready at my parents' house. It was so nice catching up with everyone that I was almost too relaxed and when the photographer arrived, I had to hurriedly change out of my trackies so we could get some photos. Matt got ready at his parents' house where the boys enjoyed Tui and whiskey while trying to solve the eternal mystery of how to get a button hole on correctly.

The dress: My dress was from Berketex Bride in the UK. I originally wanted a more modern dress with simple lines, however when waiting in line for the fitting rooms at a bridal show I added this dress to my pile on a whim, and fell in love the minute I tried it on. It has an amazing train and beautiful beading on the bodice; a total princess dress,
but also the first dress I tried on that made me feel like a bride and not someone playing dressups.

The flowers: My amazingly talented aunty (Sarah Garnham) did all the flowers with help from friends and bridesmaids. I showed her a few pictures and said I wanted white flowers, and she came up with the rest. The end results were stunning and I think she should try her hand at professional flower arranging.

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Highlight of the wedding: There were so many highlights, but after living in the UK for the last year it was great to celebrate our wedding with so many of our friends and family. Many had flown in from all over the world, and it meant so much having them there with us.

Was there any drama? The Sunday before our big day my entire family as well as Matt and his brother came down with Norovirus. They had to be isolated, and I wasn't able to see any of them until the day before the wedding! Luckily, I have amazing friends and whanau who let me stay with them and helped to put the finishing touches together.

The honeymoon: My incredibly generous aunty and uncle arranged for us to fly to Kerikeri and stay in their beautiful apartment in Paihia. We had a great time enjoying the spectacular scenery, and my uncle even took us out around the Bay of Islands on his boat. Thanks to the generosity of our wedding guests we are also heading off to either Turkey or Greece for the European summer.

Your photographer and favourite photo?  Our photographer was Sarah McEvoy. I love her dreamy, slightly vintage style. She has a real talent for capturing little moments that you don't even remember yourself. She was so calm and organised on the day, and managed to get some fantastic shots despite the persistent Wellington wind wreaking havoc. Our favourite photo would have to be the one of Matt and I walking back to the car after our photo session holding hands. It really captures our feeling of total happiness and relief after what had been a rather stressful week!

- © Fairfax NZ News

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