Stuff's wedding of the week
Ahhh, what would couples these days do without the wonder that is Facebook. After meeting at Rebecca's workplace in 2006, Luke managed to track the object of his affection down two years later and from there, their romance progressed.
The couple shared a stunning wedding at Old St Paul's in Wellington, but while the venue may have been traditional, Rebecca's dress choice was anything but.
With the help of a friend, Rebecca designed her dream dress in a stunning shade of blue - and wow, she was onto a winner!
We'll let her fill you in on the rest of the details...
How did you meet? We met in 2006, when I was working at a pool hall on Courtenay Place. Luke lived in Auckland and he and a mutual friend were doing a motorcycle tour of the country. Luke crashed his bike, meaning they had to stay in Wellington overnight, which they hadn't intended to do. They decided to while away the Sunday afternoon visiting me at work. We played a couple of games of pool and the boys headed back to Auckland. Two years later, in 2008, Luke found me through Facebook and sent me a message. We wrote these incredibly long emails and chatted online nearly every day for a month. He came down for a visit and we started going out - long distance for two years while he finished his Masters in Auckland and then he moved to Wellington in early 2011.
Tell us about the proposal: We went on a trip to Hawaii in May 2012. We only had five weeks notice that we were going and I didn't even consider the possibility that we might get engaged while we were away - I didn't think there was any way a ring or anything would be organised in that time. So I was just planning a nice, relaxing time away, while he was sneakily freaking out, rushing around getting a ring designed and made in his lunch breaks from work. He worked with Village Goldsmith to make a beautiful green sapphire engagement ring, and then proposed to me at the summit of Diamond Head in Waikiki after we'd trekked up there. We were surrounded by other tourists, who were taking videos and applauding. It was quite surreal! He'd also sneaked a bottle of champagne into his daypack, so we sat up there and drank it, taking in the awesome view and calling our families.
Describe your wedding day: We decided we wanted to include as many friends and family as we possibly could, so we had a two-stage reception. The ceremony was at 1pm and then we went off for photos. Drinks and dinner for around 150 people started at 5pm, with family and bridal party speeches throughout. Then at 8pm we had another 80 guests arrive for a dessert buffet, our speeches/first dance, and drinks and dancing into the night. We had no assigned seating, but we had made nametags attached to wine-glass charms so that people could move around whenever they wanted. It was a great way to have a big, relaxed event, which was exactly what we wanted.
The dress: I never wanted to wear a white dress to get married. I figured this was a chance to wear the fanciest dress I would ever wear in my life, so why not have it be my dream dress - which was certainly not white. I designed it and asked a friend of mine, Shannon Anderson, to help me create the reality. She makes a lot of era-specific clothes for theatre and together we cobbled together a number of different patterns to make the finished product. The corset I had made by Abbey Hardwick, a corsetiere in Christchurch - her business is Forge Fashion - and she did an incredible job, especially considering she was working on it after only one proper measure! We did a couple of follow-up fittings with Abbey over Skype, and it all came together. Shannon also made my bridesmaids' dresses and I knitted them lace shawls to keep them warm.
The flowers: My aunt does beautiful floral arrangements for churches and family events and she always has done. I asked her if she would do our bouquets, which she was nervous about as it wasn't something she had done before. They turned out absolutely beautiful and it was so special to have her handiwork in our ceremony and photos.
Highlight of the wedding: My highligh has to be both the ceremony and the general atmosphere. Luke and I really wanted to be married by our good friend and mentor, and he agreed to try to become a celebrant. We went through the process and he was accepted (unsurprisingly - he's an amazing person) and we worked together very closely to come up with our ceremony. Luke and I wrote our own vows, which we kept secret from each other, and we had a winebox ceremony - neither of us are religious but it was very important to us that the ceremony reflected how much our marriage means to us. That set the tone for the rest of the day, and there was just an incredible amount of love in the room.
Was there any drama? Not at all. Our groomsmen and bridesmaids were totally chilled out and between them, our MC and a bunch of our other, very helpful friends, the day went smoothly from start to finish. It was also helped by the fact that our hairstylist (Amber Hill) and makeup artist (Michele Perry) helped us kick things off in fine fashion in the morning, by bringing in lots of laughter and fun along with their amazing talents! I was a pretty relaxed bride arriving at the church, that's for sure.
The honeymoon: We took a driving tour around France, starting in Paris and going down the west coast, ending up with a few days in Barcelona before flying out again. Luke and I both speak French and it was a fabulous adventure. We didn't do too much touristy stuff, and if a queue for something we were keen to see looked too long, we generally flagged it away and went and sat somewhere scenic with some cheese and a bottle of wine instead, watching the world go by. It was magnificent.
Your photographer and favourite photo? We had met our photographer, Jo Moore when she photographed our friends' wedding in 2012. We thought she did a wonderful job, not only of their photos, but with all the people-wrangling that is involved. We loved her ability to take beautiful candid shots of the guests, too. She took excellent photos and was so great to deal with - we never had a single thing to worry about with her on board and we were stoked she was able to fit us in. Our favourite photo is the one we sent out with our thank-you cards - it just perfectly captured the moment when we showed up at the reception to see our guests waiting for us and the look on our faces says all you need to know about the day!