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A relaxed cocktail garden wedding in the heart of Hawkes Bay

In a picturesque garden setting, Sophie and Toby held a romantic wedding at St Georges Restaurant in Hawkes Bay. The couple’s ceremony unfolded in a serene courtyard that was abundant with luscious greenery. Soft, ethereal blooms adorned the space, complimented by draping fabric in blush hues. The muted color palette was carried through to the reception where white, linen draped tables sat beneath a canopy of hanging vines.

This wedding was beautifully captured by Michael Schultz Photography.

How did you meet and how long have you been together? 

Just like the majority of new romances – we met online. We wanted to do something different for our first date (not just your typical dinner and drinks) so we went to a hand building pottery class. Toby was trying to show off and create a complex octopus bowl but unfortunately it didn’t survive the kiln. Luckily his charming nature captured my attention and he didn’t need to impress me with his pottery skills. Since that day four years ago we have been inseparable.

Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?

We were on holiday on Hayman Island and Toby had had planned a romantic surprise for the afternoon, he chartered what he thought was a yacht to take us to a private island for sunset. The boat turned out to be considerably less upscale but I still appreciated the experience. Toby thought he was being discreet by keeping the ring box in his pocket but subtlety isn’t his strong suit and I knew exactly what was going on. We enjoyed a picnic on the beach and popped the champagne after saying yes.

Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day?

Our vision was for a relaxed garden cocktail wedding, with a soft summer palette. Our amazing stylist Nat from Flock Events brought our dream to life and created the most perfect setting for our special day. I absolutely love flowers and Trisha from Botanical Lane absolutely nailed the brief, the floral installations were perfect.

Why did you choose your destination?

We wanted somewhere overseas (we live in Sydney, Australia) but not too far away that no one would come. We’ve explored New Zealand before and everywhere we have been is so picturesque – why wouldn’t we want to tie the knot there?! We are wine lovers so Hawkes Bay was an obvious choice, and the incredible food at St Georges Restaurant lured us in.

When we booked the wedding we gave everyone 12 months notice so they could plan for it. It was great because everyone planned to stay for at least a week and made a holiday out of it. We planned some group activities for the week (wine tasting, high tea, Bridge Pa wine festival, exploring waterfalls, recovery brunch) it was amazing to spend the whole week with our favourite people.

What was your favourite detail from the day?

We tried to incorporate some very personal and meaningful details into our wedding, the Portuguese custard tarts were a nod to our first holiday together, the heart shaped cake was reminiscent of my childhood birthday cakes. My aunty made beautiful handkerchiefs for our guests (for their happy tears during the ceremony).

Did you have a stand out vendor from your Wedding?

Every single vendor was amazing, they all worked so well together and nothing was too much trouble. With their help everything on the day went to plan and ran so smoothly, I couldn’t have asked for a better team of vendors. Neither of us are very comfortable in front of a camera but Michael Schultz was incredible to work with, and the photos turned out better than we could have imagined.

What was your favourite moment from the day?

There were so many! The whole day was an absolute dream. One very sweet moment was just the two of us sneaking away after dinner to practice our first dance.

What does marriage mean to you?

Marriage is committing to someone and writing your own love story, its about finding your person and promising to spend your life with them. In marriage you support each other through the mundane and the extraordinary. You have your biggest fan right by your side and they bring out the best in you. Every single day you make the choice to love this person and they bring happiness into your life.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Prioritise the most important aspects of the day and choose to spend your money on those select things. We really wanted to focus on plenty of good food, good drinks and beautiful florals. We didn’t care for fancy cars so my dad drove me to the ceremony in our hire car, a very understated Corolla. If you value your sanity and can afford it, hire a wedding planner – they are incredible and it takes away a lot of stress especially when you’re having a destination wedding. The best vendors book out early, try to book your dream vendors as soon as possible so that you get exactly what you want.

Remember the day is about you and your partner, choose the traditions you want to and forget about anything that doesn’t suit you. We chose to get ready together the morning of the wedding and it was so special, we were a lot more relaxed. We also went to get our photos before the ceremony so we could spend more time enjoying cocktail hour with our guests.


PHOTOGRAPHY Michael Schultz Photography | PLANNING + STYLING Flock Events | FLORAL Botanical Lane | CAKE Finch Bakery | VENUE St Georges Restaurant | INVITATIONS Paperlust | SIGNAGE Just My Type | CELEBRANT Megan Banks | RINGS Santos Custom Jewellers | CATERING St Georges Restaurant | BRIDAL GOWN Grace Loves Lace | HAIR Family Friend | MAKEUP Candice Dear | VEIL Veil – Etsy, HAIRSCARF – Handmade by the Bride | SHOES Loeffler Randal | PERFUME Diptyque Do Son | BRIDESMAIDS Azazie | GROOMS SUIT MJ Bale | PERFUME Dior Sauvage | SHOES RM Williams | GROOMSMEN MJ Bale | ENTERTAINMENT James Fowler – High Kings DJ

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