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Understated romance at the Winehouse in Queenstown

A palette of rich rubies and deep reds set the tone for this classic, yet romantic wedding nestled in the heart of Otago. Trudi and James wed in the grounds of the stunning Winehouse, the ceremony decorated with floral in reds and whites, a nod to this vineyard setting and the couples love of fine wine. The bride adorned in a chic, minimalist gown, which beautifully complemented the understated elegance of the day.

This timeless wedding was beautifully captured by Lydia Rachel Photgraphy.

How did you meet and how long have you been together? 
We met in London during 2019. Our first date we hit it off immediately, partly due to James’s attraction to Trudi’s kiwi accent, and proceeded to wine and dine our way through some of London’s finest, ending overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a night to remember and we’re now coming up to 5 years together.

Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?
The proposal was a complete surprise for Trudi. Having lived together for 2 years during lock down in the UK, James didn’t have the chance to meet Trudi’s family in person and had to call her Dad over the phone to ask for permission to marry her. Unbeknownst to Trudi the secret was almost revealed at a bag search in Seattle-Tacoma Airport on the way to Hawaii in May 2022. Luckily, it was only Trudi who got the full bag search and the question was popped on a beach during sunset on Kauai Island. It was a beautiful day finishing with a rainbow which everyone in Hawaii said was a symbol of good luck for the future.

Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day?
We knew we wanted something that was timeless and classic that reflected both our British and Kiwi ideals well. A big influence was being able to provide a space that felt intimate for our guests and was centered around bringing our families together. We told vendors we were looking for a romantic, classic style wedding. A big part of the planning process was making decisions together so we felt like every element reflects who we are as a couple. We wanted a nod to a ‘wine theme’ given our shared love of choosing fine wines, the venue name and the local Otago area being known for wine too. This was brought out in various ways through the colour scheme, stationery, signage and choosing to select our own wines which were from our favourite local vineyard, Prophets Rock, Bendigo.

Why did you choose your destination?
We agreed on the destination the day we got engaged. Trudi had always wanted a Central Otago wedding after holidaying there for many years and with family living nearby too. James already had family in Queenstown, so it was the perfect place to bring everyone together from both families. We both love Queenstown as a destination and wanted our friends and family to be able to treat it as a chance to holiday and not just attend the wedding. A big factor was choosing a venue that could support planning and organizing vendors in New Zealand while we were living half way around the world. Winehouse were absolutely amazing in this regard and made the whole process really easy for us, while still giving us the flexibility to choose what we want and make the day our own.

What was your favourite detail from the day?
The florals absolutely blew us away. The quality and style were so perfect for what we had envisioned and really took the day to the next level. We didn’t go overboard on the budget choosing a truly classic design, but they really bought the whole day together including some of Trudi’s favorite flowers and nailing the brief. These were organized through Winehouse and provided by Bespoke Wedding and Events Queenstown. We worked with Sam at Winehouse to share some of our inspiration and Trudi was honestly speechless with the Bridal bouquet.

Did you have a stand out vendor from your Wedding?
Our favorite vendor we are slightly biased on, having flatted with her for many years in Auckland and London, but Lydia Rachel Photography definitely tops our list. She was more than just a photographer on the day making us feel so comfortable and stepping up to make sure everything went smoothly and followed the plan (especially roping all of the different family members into pictures!). It can be really tiring taking photos across the day but she has captured the fun spirit of the day perfectly and didn’t miss a single moment. The photos perfectly capture our favorite memories and be something we both will treasure for many years to come. We got the first previews the following day and all of our guests were so impressed with the quality. More than anything else, I think the style of Lydia’s photos really worked with the venue and scenery as we wanted to be able to capture the beauty of the natural surrounding and genuine emotions on the day.

Lydia’s photos were well complimented by video from Surge Media, who we initially discovered after watching hours of wedding videos on YouTube to get inspiration for ours. They worked really well together, capturing the moments beautifully and helping us relive the fun of our day.

What was your favourite moment from the day?
Our favorite moment was definitely right after the first dance. By this time, we had done all the formal parts of the day and could just enjoy it together. We were so glad we went with MOJO Band Queenstown for the reception as they really got the whole wedding party on the dance floor, and we love a boogie. Initially, we had been a bit nervous of not including a DJ as that is often our favorite part of attending weddings but having a live band was a real blast and they got everyone up dancing. Music can be such a hard thing nail when you have two different cultures coming together and the song list was pumping the whole night.

What does marriage mean to you?
Marriage is a commitment to love the other person through the good times and the bad, bringing our best qualities together to start our family and future together. We committed to being the best versions of ourselves and are so excited for the adventures ahead.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
The best advice we received was to set up a separate wedding email that you both have access to early in the planning process. We did this as soon as we started enquiring for venues and it meant we always both knew when there was something that needed actioning. It also provided us with time to think about how we might approach decisions before we came together to talk about it. Because of this we think the whole process felt more equal and also meant everything was very easy to find without getting lost in general emails.

This was especially helpful when we stayed apart the night before the wedding as we both had access to all the information without relying solely on one person to do all the planning and admin. It’s also important to set up a budget and we used an excel sheet in the shared drive of the email. That made it so easy to reference what was in the budget and keep track of payments as they became due.

Lastly, we are so glad we choose not to do a honeymoon straight away. It is such an emotional and joyous time but you do need time to recover after the high of it all. We booked our trip to the Seychelles 3 months after the wedding which gave us something special to look forward to after the big day and meant the week after we could chill with family which was much needed.


PHOTOGRAPHY Lydia Rachel Photography | VIDEOGRAPHY Surge Media | PLANNING + STYLING Winehouse | FLORAL Bespoke Weddings and Events | CAKE Sophie Roseanna Cakes | CAKE TOPPER Rosewed | VENUE Winehouse | INVITATIONS Paperlust | CELEBRANT Married by Emily | RINGS Loupe UK and Queensbury Jewellers | CATERING In2Food | WINE Prophets Rock | BRIDAL GOWN + VEIL Astra Bridal | HAIR Hair to Wed | HEADPIECE Aurorae Accessories | ALTERATIONS Shimmering Ivory | BRDIE JEWELLERY Swarovski | BRIDEMAIDS + BRIDES RECEPTION DRESS Azazie | GROOM + GROOMSMEN Hawes and Curtis | ENTERTAINMENT Mojo Band

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