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A Sentimental, yet chic wedding in Otahuna Valley

Surrounded by rolling hills, and picturesque countryscape, Emily and Alex’s wedding unfolded at the brides family home in Otahuna Valley. Set on the lawn, the countryside ceremony unraveled under the shimmering heat of the summer sun. The bride’s chic Kenny and Harlow gown, along with her bridesmaids dresses in buttercream hues, was the perfect compliment to the surrounding valleyscape.

This minimalist yet classic wedding was beautifully captured by Amour Weddings

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

Alex and I met through a mutual friend who I worked with at the time. After our work Christmas party in 2015 our mutual friend invited a few friends to meet us in town and the rest is history.

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

Alex had planned to propose on my birthday in Wanaka, lakeside, after a days skiing with our friends and family present. HOWEVER, at 4pm the day prior we went into a nationwide level 4 lockdown meaning this plan couldn’t go ahead. Given the proposal was my birthday present he knew he had to stick to it and we went for a walk in the morning and he proposed by the lake just the two of us which ended up being perfectly our style.

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

It took us a long time to decide if we wanted to have a traditional wedding, an elopement or just the sign the formal paperwork. Across the time that it took us to decide we ended up doing things a little nontraditional and had our first child, Arthur. After attending a friend’s wedding in January 2023 we decided we wanted to have a full wedding and we started our planning from there. We knew from the start what was important to us was to have all our friends and family present and a fun, laid back party vibe.

Why did you choose your destination?

Once we sat down and made a list we knew we were working with a large number of attendees so knew our venue options were limited. We also knew we were bound to a specific date with many friends making the journey back to NZ from overseas for a number of weddings over that period. We were fortunate that my parents were open to us having our ceremony on the lawn at home in the Otahuna Valley just out of Tai Tapu. This is an area that is special to my family so held sentimental value to me too. We knew we didn’t have enough space to hold the reception at home too, but we approached some very kind neighbours to ask if we could put a marquee on their land and luckily they were more than willing to help. We were lucky the weather played ball as our back up plan was to have both the ceremony and reception in the marquee which would have been hard work!

What was your favourite detail from the day?

Knowing we wanted to have a fun, laid back vibe we had our bridal parties’ partners sit at the head table with us. This was perfect for Alex and I who don’t love to be the centre of attention and meant we got to catch a breath and chat with some of our closest friends across dinner.

Did you have a stand out vendor from your Wedding?

We were lucky enough to work with many fabulous, easy-going vendors. One standout would be our photographer – Sarah from Amour Weddings. From her organisation in the lead up, her advice on timings for the day, blog posts explaining how to write different types of speeches and just how easy going she was on the day – we couldn’t recommend her more. It doesn’t come naturally to either Alex or I to be the centre of attention, but Sarah made us feel comfortable and at ease across the entire day.

What was your favourite moment from the day?

My favourite moment would be when I was walking down the aisle with both of my parents – when I could finally see Alex I saw that he had Arthur in his arms. This removed a lot of the pressure from this moment and made me happy and grateful. Sarah captured a really cool photo where you can see my reaction upon seeing them both. When I asked Alex this question he said the moment we took together once all the formalities were over – we stood back from the marquee just the two of us for a few moments and looked at all of our loved ones having a great time in one place because of us.

What does marriage mean to you?

Alex and I both come from families with strong family values and bonds. To us marriage is an opportunity to replicate this for our own family and create these bonds with the next generation. While we didn’t need the party to do this, we used the opportunity to celebrate with those we love after a tough couple of years personally.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Give yourself plenty of time in the lead up. We started planning over a year out and locked in the key vendors we had our eyes on to make sure we didn’t miss out (Photographer, Marquee, Dress, Make Up and Hair). Once we had the essentials locked in if you have enough lead time it allows you to do bursts of planning when you have the time.

|| Vendor Credits ||

Photography Amour Weddings | Event Planner / Stylist Florence Elsie Weddings | Florist Floral Construct | Cake The Raspberry Cafe | Venue Private Residence | Marquee + Hire Loula Hire | Rings Meaden Jewellery | Bridal Gown Kenny and Harlow | Hair Ashleigh Jane Makeup and Hair | Makeup Kasia Stanicich | Bridesmaids Custom Ruby | Suits Barkers

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