Stuff's wedding of the week
They say you make lifelong friends during your university years, but Esther and James managed to take it one step further and meet their future partners.
The young couple tied the knot in an idyllic country location and shared a wonderful, stress-free day surrounded by all of their loved ones.
We'll let Esther fill you in on the rest...
How did you meet? James and I spent our first year of University living in 'Uni Hall' across the road from Canterbury University. We knew of each other during this year, but didn't share the same circle of friends. In our second year during shared biology classes and social occasions we took notice of each other and eventually began dating.
Tell us about the proposal: James was super romantic during the proposal - he arranged a weekend away to a backcountry hut in North Canterbury. We took our two lovely dogs away with us too. He had brought lovely food to prepare on the camp cooker, salmon and risotto - which was an adventurous choice considering the limited resources we had to work with.
Before cooking the food, James got down on one knee to propose - I couldn't believe it was happening, I was so excited and happy. After I said 'yes' we opened champagne and ate the lovely meal, it was wonderful.
Location of wedding: The location was Greta Valley in North Canterbury at the Tipapa Homestead and historic Woolshed. It was an amazing venue - it is a rustic, country setting that suited us perfectly. The magnificent Tipapa homestead was built in 1928, set in an oasis of privacy surrounded by 500 acres of parklike grounds - the perfect place for a wedding.
We had the ceremony in the beautiful gardens, followed by the reception in the historic Woolshed. The Woolshed was constructed from native timbers in 1890.
Describe your wedding day: Our wedding day was amazing - perfect weather and we were blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support on our special day. It felt more like a wedding weekend than just one day as we all got together on Friday to set up, the wedding was on Saturday and then we pooled together again on Sunday to pack everything down. It was a real team effort! Everything went to plan on the day so both of us were calm, relaxed and enjoyed every moment from start to finish.
The dress: I purchased my dress from 'Brides of Merivale' in Christchurch. It is from the BellaDonna Bridal Collection and is called the 'Carli' dress. It was so much fun to wear and I just fell in love with it when I tried it on for the first time.
The flowers: The flowers were prepared by 'Fi's Flowers 'n' Art' in Rangiora. Fi Sidey listened to our ideas about having rustic, vintage flowers that would suit the venue, and delivered amazing bouquets as well as beautiful table settings that finished the wedding decorations off perfectly.
Highlight of the wedding: The highlight was definitely having so much family love and support as we prepared and built up to the big day. We had so many people helping to make pom-poms, bunting, blackboards, menus and place-cards etc. It was so much fun working together with family and friends to make the day come to fruition.
It was such a special moment to be up in front of our family and friends committing to each other and beginning this wonderful journey together as husband and wife. Seeing each other for the first time down the aisle was a definite highlight as well.
Was there any drama? If there was any drama then I didn't know about it! My amazing bridesmaids were at my side through the whole process and they made it such a relaxing and special time in my life. I appreciated everything they did for James and I in the build up to the wedding - I couldn't have done it without them.
The honeymoon: Because I'm a school teacher, and we have many other teachers in the family, the wedding was during the Term Three holidays, and James and I plan to go away on honeymoon during the summer break. We have booked our honeymoon to Thailand in January 2014 and can't wait to get away and spend some quality time together.
Your photographer and favourite photo? Our amazing photographers were 'Nelson Wedding Photography'. Daron and Christine Graham are a husband and wife team so they are extremely versatile and can capture a special moment from multiple angles. It was so much fun working with them both, they were humourous and they made the day stress-free and enjoyable. Our favourite photo is one they took of us in the woodshed yards - it has amazing light and was so romantic. We also loved the location shots at Motunau Beach.