Barbara and Brian flew across the globe for their sunshine-filled vineyard celebration
For adventurous Barbara and Kiwi-born Brian a destination wedding suited them down to a T. The couple met and fell in love at work while sharing stories about their experiences down under and five years later Brian proposed as the sun set over the Greek island of Santorini. "I had never wanted a traditional 'run of the mill' wedding and always loved the idea of marrying abroad," says Barbara.
Photography by Emma Hughes Photography, emmahughes.co.nz
The couple chose the spectacular sunsets of Waiheke Island to wow their 50 guests, and the gourmet temptations of the hilltop Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant, with its menu of king scallops, filo-wrapped prawns, local snapper and New Zealand cheeses.
"Because weddings at the venue take place at 5pm, we were worried about not having enough light for the photos afterwards, so we had pictures of our bridal party taken on the beach before the ceremony, including ten minutes to ourselves for our 'first look'," Barbara says.
"I loved the way my San Patrick dress flared out below the hip and made a beautiful semi-circle for the photos," says Barbara, who carried a bouquet of Avalanche roses with lily of the valley.
Barbara teamed her glamorous dress with equally glamorous Jimmy Choos. "I fell in love with them the moment I tried them on!" she says.
And to finish off the luxe look Barbara's hair was swept back with a pearly headpiece from The Bridal Way.
"We searched high and low for a bridesmaid's dress for my sister Alison, then came across the perfect one online at BHS," says Barbara.
The theme of the day was black tie with purple accents - such as the fun pocket squares sported by male members of the bridal party - inspired by the lavender around the vineyard.
To personalise the ceremony, the couple's celebrant read out thoughts Barbara and Brian had written about their feelings for each other - "I think that was our favourite part!" To decorate the aisle, florist Virginia Thompson at the Waiheke Flower Gallery decorated two cast iron stands with elegant white bows and trailing ivy to stand either side of the bridal party as the couple said their vows.
"We kept the décor in the restaurant simple, with white linen and chair covers, and purple ribbons and lavender to bring the theme together," Barbara says.
The pops of purple continued to the stationery. Each menu was rolled with a sprig of lavender and tied with a ribbon to match the place cards and invitations all made by Lilylou & You.
"I wanted the flowers to be understated and classic, too, so chose white rose table centres to match my bouquet with purple ribbon around each square vase to match the stationery," says Barbara.
A dusting of diamond-shaped table decorations from The White Company added a bit of bling to the elegant décor.
Barbara and Brian added a personal touch to the tables by naming them after places they had visited together. "We made images from our travels into postcards with captions on the back saying what we loved about it," says Barbara. "We thought it would be something fun and interesting for our guests to read."
The couple chose an on-theme display of purple and white-iced passionfruit cupcakes, from Delish Cupcakes, topped with one tier of Barbara's favourite dessert - chocolate mudcake. "We wanted our day to be elegant and intimate, although details like the black-tie dove cake toppers reflected our fun side, too," says Barbara.
"When you're planning a wedding 11,000 miles away, you have to accept you won't have complete control over everything," admits Barbara. "Research everything: the best time of year to go, the weather, and use the venue's help with suppliers, because they've done it all before," she says. "Skype is great for shortlisting suppliers, too. After we'd seen our photographer Emma's images online, a Skype call confirmed she was right for us - easy to talk to, friendly and professional - and it was easy with the time difference, because everyone in New Zealand was starting work in the morning as I was getting home at night."