Stuff's wedding of the week

Last updated 05:00 04/10/2013

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Weddings of the week

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Melanie, 38, met future husband Richard, 34, after a couple of friends were so persistent with their match-making, giving in to their plans was the only way to keep them happy.

It turns out their instincts were right on the money - Melanie and Richard enjoyed a stunning vintage-inspired wedding surrounded by friends and family, and even managed to see the humour in a minor garter mishap.

We'll let Mel paint a more complete picture of her special day...

How did you meet? Richard and I were set-up on a blind date by two dear old friends Verna & Laurell. We both knew that we wouldn't get any peace and quiet until we gave in, so we met one morning at Euro Café in Albany. We then went on about 6 dates over 6 months, but Laurell was relentless with her match making. The more time we spent together, the more we found in common and Richard was the perfect gentleman: taking me out for fancy dinners, buying flowers, and showering me with his attention. The next thing I know we'd bought a business and moved to Napier.

Tell us about the proposal: Richard's version: "Mel had no idea. I suggested we go on a date to Sacred Hill one Monday. Mel found out Sacred Hill was closed on Mondays so whilst she enjoyed a lie in, I went out for "pastries" and brought home a "toy" for the day: a 1973 e-type Jag. We packed a picnic and cruised up to Waipatiki beach in the rain. All she could worry about was how much my "toy" for the day was costing. I told her to just enjoy her day, so we got to the beach, the rain cleared and we cracked a bottle of  champagne. Then before she could take a sip I asked Mel to marry me. And she said yes, obviously..."

Location of wedding: Our wedding ceremony was held at our 'work' - in the courtyard of The Old Church Villa in Napier. The gardens surrounding the villa are stunning, and the trees provide welcome shade on a hot day which was great because our ceremony was at 1pm. Our garden party wedding reception was held at our home down the road.

Describe your wedding day: Because we are involved in organising over 40 weddings each year at The Old Church we really wanted our day to be a relaxed affair. The day started for me with a cup of tea with my girlfriends. We chose not to have a bridal party but my friend Bron, who fancies herself as my personal stylist, helped me get ready on the day. Richard and I met prior to our ceremony at the Centennial Gardens in Napier. He was waiting for me on the bridge in front of the waterfall with my flowers. He had decided to hire the Jag again so we spent the morning cruising round some of our fav Art Deco spots for photos before making our way home to meet our parents. We arrived at our ceremony together, and wandered through our guests saying hello whilst they sipped champagne from old-fashioned saucers. Our garden tea party was a sea of vintage. The guests drank from old crystal glasses, ate from vintage china and the tables were decorated with doilies from mum's cupboard.

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The dress: I always thought I would buy a dress off the rack, but I found it difficult to find something without a train that would suit my vintage garden theme. I met with our local dress designer Rowan McLennan and spied a piece of gorgeous European lace that she turned into a stunning creation. I am very confident I will never come across another gown like it. 

The flowers: I love peonies, and as luck would have it, they were in season. My bouquet was made up of the most delicious pink and mauve roses and peonies. My florist, Kim from Lushka, created some beautiful table centrepieces in true vintage style with a mismatch of roses, peonies, foxglove, jasmine and lamb's ear.

Highlight of the wedding: My favourite part of the day was our ceremony. It was filled with love and laughter. Due to personal tragedy we weren't expecting to see Verna and Laurell, but they surprised us and acted as our witnesses.  Before we actually saw them they had a garter delivered to me, it was too big but I wore it anyway, only to have it slip off as we were walking into the ceremony through our friends and family. This resulted in a lot of laughter. Our celebrant then told lots of funny stories resulting in more laughter. All of our friends and family circled around us - it was perfect.

Was there any drama? None, besides the garter falling off. Not really a drama, but it certainly broke the ice and set the fun mood for the remainder of the day.

The honeymoon: We found a remote cabin in the Waiarapa called the Pavilion. It had a single room, wrap around veranda, composting toilet and an outdoor kitchen. No Internet, no cell phone coverage and amazing views over farmland, native forest and the Tararuas. It was the perfect escape from our busy lifestyle and we enjoyed a lot of good food and wine.

Your photographer and favourite photo?  Eva Bradley was our photographer, she's amazing and we were very lucky that she was available to spend the day with us. One of my favourite shots is of a sign that my dad made, with us in the background.

- Stuff

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