At the heart of Fairfield House, Sophie and Tom wed in a meadow surrounded by wily, native Nelson bush. Old worldly and quaint, Fairfield House is an historic home, built in the nineteenth century. Pristinely manicured, its rich history and charm wooed guests and provided an impressive backdrop for Sophie and Tom’s celebrations.
The al fresco reception was shared by guests in the brick-lined courtyard under strings of white bunting and fairy lights that shaped the perimeter. Long rows of tables were topped with a crisp palette of white, brushed gold and green, with a soft dose of baby’s breath and layers of votive candles heightening the ambience of the dimming sky. An afternoon of toasts and remembrance trickled into a heartfelt evening under the stars with those very close to their hearts.
True devotion through the lens of Ana Galloway.
“These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
How did you meet and how long have you been together?
We met two and a half years ago the millennial way….on the dating app, Bumble. Tom was living in Pukekohe and I was on the North Shore of Auckland so we had our first date at a cafe in Ponsonby. From there it was many one hour trips back and forth to see each other…a year later we moved to Nelson.
How would you describe each other?
Tom is such a genuine, honest and loyal man. He’s also a big goofball – he never takes life too seriously!
Sophie has a very fun, and light hearted attitude to life. Everyday is exciting with her, and she is very loving and caring to top it off.
Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?
It was our last day of work before Christmas break and Tom had planned to go for an evening walk along the Maitai River to propose (our favourite walk). Unfortunately it was raining and I was being stubborn so we went home. He did however finally convince me to go for a walk as the rain died down, up the hill near our house, overlooking a beautiful view of Nelson. When he got down on his knee I was completely surprised (I think I asked him if he was joking a couple of times because I was so shocked!) I was standing there in my track pants not looking my greatest but it was perfect – just the two of us. I cried, he cried and we just stood there hugging each other for a long time. We were flying to Kapiti the next day to stay with my family over Christmas so we got to tell them in person which was extra exciting and special.
Why did you choose your destination?
We decided to get married in Nelson – our new home after moving there from Auckland a year earlier. Tom is from the UK so most of his family had to travel, we loved the idea of giving them a proper summer NZ wedding! To make it easier on our guests we wanted the reception and ceremony in the same place, which Fairfield House offered. The upper lawn was perfect for our ceremony and the outdoor courtyard surrounded by lush mature trees and blooming summer roses was our reception (the ballroom was a back up if it rained). We had the dance floor inside which flowed onto the balcony out to the courtyard. Fairfield House also allows you to bring your own food and alcohol to the venue so that saved on costs. It was also a great venue for kids to run around the gardens and explore!
What does marriage mean to you?
After going through the lowest of lows together (and almost having to postpone our wedding), marriage suddenly meant a lot more than just a “wedding”. Marriage is a support system – it’s having your buddy there, your best friend to share life’s highs and lows on this rollercoaster life. When all else fails – we will always have each other.
Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day?
I’d already been to quite a few friends’ weddings in my 20s so I gathered a few ideas along the way. When we started planning it came down to three basics for us: good food, good drink and a good dance floor! We wanted our day to be informal, relaxed and summery so we chose to go with an outdoor ceremony and reception. Our guests relaxed with lawn games, cheese platters and champagne. For the reception we had an Argentinian food truck serving sirloin steak and pork belly, complemented by some local Nelson beers and wines. We ended the night with strawberries, cake, sparklers and a banging Spotify playlist!
We are very family oriented so we wanted them to be involved in our day. My sister made the bouquets, Tom’s sister handmade all the candles for favours, my dad wrote and sang a song, my step brother did the videography and my step dad and other sister read a bible verse. That made it all the more personal and special – it wasn’t just “our” day but it was a day for both our families to really look forward to.
Who were your stand out vendors?
It was important to me that we had a good photographer and Ana was amazing! After I first emailed her we met up over a wine and discussed ideas, we also went for a location scout the week before the wedding. There’s no doubt that she’s extremely talented and on the day you could see her clear eye for detail is really what makes her photos stand out – she knows what she’s looking for! She was also a lot of fun to work with and very easy going.
Catherine from Fairfield House was also excellent to work with. On the morning of the wedding she was busy running around helping people find extension cords, table cloths etc she also helped set up the bar and put up the white bunting which was a lovely touch.
Our caterers Viva La Vaca (argentinian food truck) were fantastic. The meat and salads were delicious! So unique and full of flavour we had lots of compliments from our guests.
What was your favourite moment from the day?
There were so many it’s so hard to choose! Seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle…and dancing with all our friends who we hadn’t seen in so long! There were many emotional speeches and tears…Tom’s dad passed away when he was younger and sadly his mum passed only 6 weeks before the wedding after a short battle with cancer. My mum also passed 5 years ago so we did a special tribute for them, the guests all lit a candle as I read a prayer. That was a beautiful moment.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
I know this is said a lot but don’t go overboard worrying about the small details. When I was stressed a few days before the wedding I started panic buying/hiring stuff we didn’t really need… like cushions and rugs – turns out people were just happy to just stand on the lawn and drink! Choose three or four big things and stay focused on that e.g. good food, good drinks and a good dance floor!
|| VENDOR CREDITS ||
Photographer: Ana Galloway | Videographer: Ben Rogers, bride’s step-brother | Bride’s gown: Rue De Seine | Veil: Modes| Bride’s Shoes: Hannahs | Florals: Bianca Tozer | Arch Florals: Thanks A Bunch Bouquets | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Evolution Bridesmaids | Rings: Michael Hill | Hair: Hair Envy Nelson | Makeup: Asher Artistry | Groom’s suit: Nelson Tailors | Groom’s shoes: Clarks | Groomsmen’s suits: Moss Bros | Prop & Furniture Hire: GK Events Hire | Venue: Fairfield House | Flower girl outfits: Arabella & Rose | Stationery: Optimal Print | Celebrant: Shannon Johnston | Catering: Viva La Vaca | Cake: Blackbird Cakery
If you want to see more of Ana Galloway’s beautiful photography, see her over on our exclusive Wild Hearts Vendor Collection here. For another real wedding by Ana – Sarah & Jeremy’s day is another stunning example, check it out here.
Words by Isabelle McKay.