Stuff's wedding of the week

Last updated 05:00 28/03/2014

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Weddings of the week

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26-year-old Emma Carter met 27-year-old Pete Spall at that wonderfully romantic institution, Otago University.

Firm friends from the start, their relationship took a while to progress, but eventually Pete announced his desire for a girlfriend, claimed Emma would be the ideal candidate and after a brief mulling period, Emma accepted his offer and the two joined forces.

Seven years later and Pete's romantic proposal plan almost turned to custard with emotions and sickness threatening to spoil the day.

Luckily, it all came together in the end and Pete and Emma tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at a family farm in Hawke's Bay.

We'll let Emma fill you in on the details...

How did you meet? Pete and I met when we were 18 during our first year of uni in Dunedin where we were in the same hall of residence. We'd been friends for most of the year, but didn't get together till August after Pete announced to me that he would like a girlfriend and that I would be the obvious choice (truly, these were pretty much his words!) I told him I would think about it and get back to him. Two days later I accepted his offer and we have been inseparable ever since.

Tell us about the proposal: After being together for seven years, when I finally graduated uni (and when Pete's dad told him, "don't leave her in the holding paddock for too long, son") Pete planned a surprise holiday for us. Unfortunately, it didn't start off as well as planned as I was sick in bed for the first two days. Luckily I improved by time we got to Fox Glacier. After a perfect morning at Lake Matheson followed by an amazing helicopter flight onto the Glacier, Pete found a walk along a muddy track to a beautiful place called Galway beach. I got quite grumpy while being dragged up a muddy, steep hill, but with a single seal pup as witness on the deserted beach, Pete got down on one knee and popped the question. I very happily accepted, and we walked the two hours back to the car, only this time without a single complaint from me!

Location of wedding: We had the ceremony and reception in Pete's parents' garden on their farm in Kereru, Hawke's Bay. The farm is stunning, with the mountains in one direction and the 1920s homestead in the other. This, as well as the fact that Pete grew up there, made it the obvious choice.

Describe your wedding day: It was absolutely perfect. It's not often that something you have been looking forward to so much and for such a long time manages to exceed expectations in the way my wedding exceeded mine. The weather was perfect (the Saturday before was pouring with rain and the Saturday after was 35 degrees, so we were very lucky to have a mild, fine day!) and my bridal party were absolute stars who looked phenomenal thanks to our hair and makeup artist, Suzanne Hardy. The ceremony was beautiful - the perfect mix of heartfelt and funny. The marquee looked amazing - the inspiration for the décor was English Country Garden, and we had colourful flower arrangements in milk-glass vases and glass bottles, vintage pastel table runners and bunting, a beautiful polished slab of totara which the best man made into a bar, and each table was named after animals that mate for life with a little story about each animal on the back of each card. Instead of a guestbook we had mad libs which made for a few laughs! The food was fantastic (we had a gourmet BBQ from Raymond's gourmet BBQ), the dance floor was packed all night thanks to our brilliant DJ (Clint from Volume DJ), and I felt so happy, relaxed and loved the whole day. A special mention needs to go out to my star of a wedding planner, Bex Tacon from Planit Events who was an absolute lifesaver and who I could have never pulled off the wedding without! Our wedding was truly a labour of love for so many people - everyone put so much effort into making it come together. We feel very blessed to have such amazing family and friends!

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The dress: My dress was from Louise Anderson in Christchurch. I looked at dresses in about six other places without any luck before I went to Louise. I was starting to lose hope, but as soon as Louise showed me my dress I knew I'd found the one. It had a fitted bodice with lace sleeves and a large flower at the waist. The skirt was made of silk chiffon with layers of tulle over the top. I absolutely adored it! I finished it off with a headpiece I ordered from BrideLaBoheme on Etsy, and my mum's veil.

The flowers: Our flowers were done by two amazing ladies - my step-grandmother, Fiona, and Kim MacMillian from Lushka. Everything the two of them did looked stunning, and one of my favourite things about the wedding was the decorated hanging ladder in the marquee. We were also very lucky that Pete's parents have extremely generous neighbours with beautiful gardens who let us raid their flowers!

Highlight of the wedding: There are so many! Our wonderful ceremony and first look definitely - we were so glad we saw each other before the wedding as we got all our tears and nerves out of the way and could enjoy our ceremony more. Another would be my mum having her makeup done and seeing how in awe my dad was of her! I was also so pleased at how well the marquee came together, and I was especially proud of our floating ladder covered in flowers. And of course, having all our favourite people in one place to celebrate our marriage was wonderful - we were very spoilt and had people come from as far away as England.

Was there any drama? Yes, but luckily none of it mattered at all! The boys' hire suits looked horrible, so they ended up having to buy new ones the day before the wedding. We also left the bridesmaid bouquets behind at the place we were getting ready, but luckily someone was available to go back and get them!

The honeymoon: We went on a 'mini-moon' around the East Cape for five nights for the week following the wedding - there was mostly no cellphone reception which was just what we needed in order to recharge after the intense coupe of weeks leading up to the wedding. We are going on our 'proper' honeymoon to Bali in June.

Your photographer and favourite photo? Our wedding photographer was the incredibly talented Eva Bradley.  I love every single one of the pictures she took. There is no way I could pick a favourite!

- Stuff


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