Louis and Dee's wedding might just be the prettiest dang thing we've ever seen. (It's making us want to rewind the clock so we can re-do our wedding just so we can have an awesome floral crown) ...
How did you meet? Louis and I met while we were both teaching in Japan. I met him on more or less his first night in the country, and instantly I knew I wanted to get to know him. I thought he didn't notice me, but recently for my hen night my friends arranged a question-and-answer game, and one of the questions was "what was Dee wearing the first time you saw her?" and he nailed it completely, which made my heart melt (or maybe it was the big glass of bubbles I was drinking during the game!)
Tell us about the proposal: It was our fifth anniversary and we were both hungover after a meal and drinks out the night before. We had breakfast in a busy cafe, but I got hot, nauseous and felt terrible after a strong coffee, and although we had planned to go to an exhibition in the CBD, I said maybe it would be best if we went home.
Louis said I'd feel better with some fresh air and suggested we go for a walk. He took me to Mt Eden, and as we sat looking over our new city (we'd recently moved back to New Zealand, and it was our first time living in Auckland) we spotted two swallows sitting on a wire fence by us.
One jumped off and hovered on the thermals waiting for the other. The second swallow jumped off and joined the first, and they flew off together. I was turning to Louis to say how sweet it was that one had waited for the other when he started to thank me for moving to New Zealand to be with him, thanking me for being the person he loved, and would I marry him?!
I was shell-shocked and took a few seconds and a couple of asks to believe he was serious. It certainly helped my hangover go away!
Location of wedding: We chose Nelson because Louis is from there, and a lot of his family are there. Plus, it's beautiful, of course!
We chose to have the ceremony in Miyazu Japanese Gardens as we had met and fallen in love in Japan, then had our reception a five minute walk down the road, at the Granary in Founders Park.
Describe your wedding day: Sunny, laid-back, lighthearted and full of fun and love. With paper swallows and ribbons fluttering from the trees.
The dress: It's actually a dress I would have found difficult to see myself in, but luckily the lady at the dress shop pulled it out for me and I was sold as it encompassed all the things I had hoped for. I wanted something unfussy, timeless with a nod to vintage 1930s (my engagement and wedding rings are from that era) and art nouveau.
The flowers: Again, I wanted a nod to art nouveau, as well as being more laid-back and fun colour-wise. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were amazing and gathered wildflowers from their and friends' properties on Takaka Hill.
I also bought a bunch of coral/orange roses spontaneously when I picked up my flowers from my supplier, as I felt there wasn't enough "punch" to the colour flowers I had ordered. I dropped off my ordered flowers to Sarah at Willow Floral Design and she worked absolute wonders. I had sent her a photo of the style of headpiece I wanted and she said she has never made one like that before - but wow - did she make something above and beyond my vision. Everyone that day and since has commented on how beautiful it was. I have Sarah, Louis' Mum and sister-in-law and my spontaneous purchase to thank for that.
Highlight of the wedding: There were so many! Our mothers conducting a hand-binding ceremony - so important that the person we came from would also be a big part in the ceremony.
Having my bridesmaids come all the way from the UK and Japan for us.
Everyone being silly enough to dress up for the homemade photo booth, and a late-night impromptu ballet to Elton John's Rocket Man! Our MC, Louis' brother, was lifted into the air by two male friends and carried across the dance floor, guests pirouetting around him. It was amazing, unplanned, and it happened because everyone was obviously in the same place of relaxed silliness.
Was there any drama? Our rented house had a few electricity shorts that morning (too many people ironing no doubt!) but other than that the main drama was that we were so relaxed that we didn't realise the time. The photographer turned up and the bridesmaids and I just flung on our dresses, took some shots outside the house and left.
I actually didn't see myself in the mirror until after the ceremony and photos had happened. Luckily everything went well together! I was putting dress tape on myself and the dress in the taxi on the way to the ceremony. Then we realised we had nowhere to put the coin change the taxi had given us - so we left him with a very good tip!
It was all pretty hilarious!
The honeymoon: We had friends and family over for a week prior and after the wedding, so we took them to Takaka Hill and Abel Tasman National Park, which was such a cool experience to share with the ones you love.
After that we really needed a break and a wonderful family friend gave us their bach in Tata Beach, Golden Bay, to stay in for four days. It was bliss to have time to relax, connect after everything, and have a good old natter and reflect on the whole two weeks.
Your photographer and favourite photo? I looked around, ready to find a photographer from outside Nelson, then I saw some of The Love Collective's images and fell for them hook, line and sinker.
I was so lucky that they are actually based in Nelson! Alisha is multitalented, her eye for composition, colour, framing and her technical skill are what drew me to her, but her friendliness, speed and also love of everything looking beautiful (our final images arrived on a wooden memory stick in a box with treats and tied with string) made me feel that she really cared about each and every one of her clients.
She gave me so many stunning images to remember the day by, but I think the close-up of us in the bamboo is so beautiful, and really resonates with where we met, in rural Japan, where bamboo surrounded us almost every day.