Stuff's wedding of the week
35-year-old procurement specialist, Fiona MacDonald met her future husband, 40-year-old video editor, Adam Simpson online and after only one date, they both knew they had found something special.
Fast-forward two and a half years and the pair enjoyed a romantic getaway in Rarotonga complete with a well-timed proposal.
Their delightful wedding day included unique flower arrangements, a dress from the other side of the world and a whole lot of love.
We'll let Fiona fill you in on the rest...
How did you meet? Adam and I met on an online dating site when we were both out of the country. Adam was travelling in the US for a few weeks and I was still in Sydney, trying to arrange a bit of a social life for when I arrived in Wellington. Our first date, when I'd been in the country for a couple of weeks, was magical and I ended up extending my five month stay indefinitely.
Tell us about the proposal: Two and a half years into our relationship we had a holiday in Rarotonga. It was paradise! On our last night Adam disappeared for quite a while before dinner, but just as I was starting to get grump he reappeared and we went off in search of a restaurant together. There was a vibrant sunset full of purple and orange and we stopped on a cliff-top to admire it, arms around each other. After enjoying the view for what felt like a life-time Adam finally turned to me, got down on one knee and asked me if I would do him the immense honour of agreeing to become his wife. I giggled hysterically then said yes! Just as I did, an enormous plane flew right over our heads (we realised we were standing pretty much at the end of a runway) with its lights flashing, kind of like a salute. He then confessed that the reason he'd been away for so long was that he had been searching on the beach for a beautiful shell to give me as a promise instead of a ring - he wanted to let me choose my own (sensible man - I'd secretly had one picked out for months.)
Location of wedding: Our ceremony took place on the Cockayne Lawn at Otari Wilton bush in Wellington which is an absolutely stunning location. The weather was hot and not even that windy - unusual for Wellington. Our evening reception was at Dockside - a great choice due to the helpful staff and delicious food. Adam and the groomsmen decorated the room beautifully with fairy lights and lanterns which was an added bonus.
Describe your wedding day: Perfect! I'd read and heard so many times about how the day just rushes away on you and is over in the blink of an eye, so I tried really hard to focus and take time to breathe and take everything in. I think it worked because I do feel like I got to savour the day. We had about 90 guests at the ceremony and afternoon reception where we had entertainment including a string quartet and circus acts, as well as bubbles and canapes which all went down really well. We continued the theme with Pimm's at the evening reception (for about 50 guests) and games including a mystery wedding cake flavour (even from us!) which everyone had to guess (it was snickers).The meal was absolutely delicious and our well rehearsed first dance went really well. Phew!
The dress: I'm one of those girls who has been looking online at wedding dresses since I was about 18. I always wanted the ones with uneven ruching and lots of beading detail, but had no idea if that style would suit me. I ended up buying a beautiful Essense dress. It was the third dress I tried on after describing my dream dress at the store, and it was pretty much love at first sight. I was lucky enough to be able to go back and try it on with my mum and a sister on skype, who also gave it the thumbs up. They managed to find it in a sample sale in the UK, and best of all - it was half price! It's slightly too big, but that's better than being too small.
The flowers: I worked with the florist that Dockside uses, Annemarie. She's freelance and so was able to offer a really good deal. We only met once, months out from the wedding and I described my vision: pink, purple, emerald green, turquoise and dark blue, some really tall vases with mixed flowers, mixed with small square single flower vases. Herbs. Peacock feathers. Vegetables (yes, vegetables - peas, asparagus and broccoli!). Annemarie was really supportive and said it was great to work with someone who thought outside the square. Thank goodness she was able to see it all as clearly as me - I was so delighted with the outcome.
Highlight of the wedding: I can't choose just one, but one of the biggest things was having my parents there (I'm a pom and we're having a second wedding in the UK this year for my friends and family) as well as the ceremony itself. We kept our vows secret from each other and whilst I'd written mine months in advance and memorised them, Adam wrote his the night before! They were amazing though; electric, quivering with love, incandescent with emotion. The beauty of those few minutes will stay with us forever.
Was there any drama? A trip to the dentist three days beforehand left me with 'ulceration' (missing skin, scabs, swelling) on my face, lip and gum, although luckily it cleared up in time for the wedding! Also, Adam had ordered a kilt that we were told was unavailable the day before the wedding, so we had a slightly panicked rush to find a suit to hire in time. There were other very small things that didn't go quite to plan but we had a great MC who helped things along and really, you just float along on the day and nothing gets to you.
The honeymoon: The honeymoon is yet to come - we're having a week of stopovers on the way back from wedding number two in London in June and we can't wait! It was pretty hard after the wedding actually, my parents stayed until the following Tuesday, I spent the rest of the day crying, and then it was back to work on the Wednesday.
Your photographer and favourite photo? Our photographer was Paul Howell, and he was totally amazing! We were just blown away by the pictures he took. Choosing a favourite is almost impossible, but I think mine is one with my two bridesmaids in the background. The photo is composed really beautifully and shows the colours really well. Adam's favourite is a very cool shot of him and his groomsmen having a shoot out with super 8 cameras!