Basically, I needed an excuse to share all our photos with you!
Now that we have a handful of photos, it’s time to write up all the nitty gritty details of our big day. When we were in the early stages of planning, I was constantly googling, typing up wedding-related search queries, and reading blog after blog. While I love flicking through issues of Hello May and Together Journal, there’s something more relatable reading first-hand about my favourite bloggers’ wedding days. So, whether you’re recently engaged, thinking about getting married sometime in the future or just interested in seeing how our day panned out, this one is for you.
I’ve been super emotional since our wedding, especially when looking through our photos. The photo of us walking down the aisle with the rose confetti never fails to make me cry. I think it’s one of those images I’ll forever associate with our day.
Along with our invitations, my friend Amanda created our signage and menus for the day. She chose the font and ensured it remained true to our overall design ethos (pared back, modern and minimalist, words you’ll hear me repeat throughout this post…) Her designs worked seamlessly with the white signage from Bleu Studio. Our ceremony arch was also from Bleu Studio. If you’re planning a modern, minimalist wedding, Lucy’s creations will be right up your alley. We love the clean, streamlined aesthetic of her pieces and designs.
I researched dresses online before setting foot in the shops. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted (something simple yet elegant) and ended up going for a silk dress by Dan Jones. He’s a Sydney designer who steers clear of traditional bridal aesthetics and dresses modern women in the most luxurious fabrics. For shoes, I decided on a pair of Chaos and Harmony heels. A Mount Maunganui brand, they invented the comfy yet affordable bridal shoe for Kiwi women. One of the toughest decisions was jewellery. I don’t really wear much on a daily basis, but after scouring every jewellery site imaginable, I finally came across these Picasso earrings by Holly Ryan and I actually wore them a couple times before our wedding. My engagement ring is a green sapphire from Pieces of Eight Gallery and my wedding band was Nick’s grandmother’s wedding ring.
Monique Cadigan at Graceful Hair Art did my hair, my bridesmaids’ hair as well as Nick’s mom and my mom’s hair. Kasia Stanicich did all of our makeup. I put my trust in both these talented ladies and was thoroughly impressed. Monique urged me to wear a middle part and it ended up looking so glam. Kas’ makeup is fun and fresh, and I loved my peachy eyes because they matched the overall apricot/peach aesthetic. Kas and Mon are the type of women you will simultaneously admire and want to call your friends.
Nick and I were laughing the other day when we realised how many times he’s worn a tuxedo. He wore one for his high school leavers ball and also at our university balls. It made sense that he’d wear one for our wedding because he’s quite a formal guy and Riccarton House is a relatively formal setting. I was also adamant that he wear black because it’s so classic. His tux and bowtie are from Barkers as were his groomsmen’s suits and black ties. His ring is a brushed gold band from Kennett Crafted Jewels.
Both our ceremony and reception were held at Riccarton House. Many historic buildings were lost in the earthquakes, so we were fortunate to be able to celebrate amongst the oldest building in Christchurch (which was built over 175 years ago). The grounds are home to a forest that was established 3000 years ago and many of the trees are 600 years old! Amanda, Hannah and the team at Local did a wonderful job of planning our day. We worked closely with Hannah, the in-house events planner, who finalised every last detail, down to the second. She ensured the day went off without a hitch and if there were any issues, we had absolutely no idea! A few friends have asked me whether I suggest hiring a planner and I do! Your wedding day can be stressful enough without having to worry about little things going wrong. Having Hannah’s expertise in the lead up to and on the day, was one of the best decisions we made!
Here’s a bit more info on how we chose our venue. If you’re looking for a central city venue for either a wedding or event, I highly recommend looking into Local at Riccarton House.
Style & Aesthetic
We were fortunate to have Hayley and Co. as our wedding stylist. Hayley is immensely talented and also the loveliest person ever! I first discovered her work when attending a media dinner at Twenty Seven Steps a few years ago. We instantly clicked and she went over and above to ensure our day was as beautiful as we had envisioned. We opted for a pared back, minimalist reception. I didn’t want white tablecloths or anything too stuffy, rather we opted for wood tables from Silk Estate, white bentwood chairs (my personal favourite) that transferred well from the ceremony to the reception, and gold cutlery paired with Hayley’s charcoal plates. She sourced our linen napkins from Whistling Reindeer. Our florals were by Alicia at Bunch Floral. She uses what’s in season to create magical, natural bouquets and centrepieces with no waste.
We borrowed gorgeous bikes from our friends at Action Bicycle Club for the day. They are our go-to for all our cycling needs and my parents actually hired bikes from Ken and Charlotte in the lead-up to our wedding and ran heaps of our errands by bike. My mom is now buying a similar model back in Canada. We would’ve used our own bicycles, but my Linus is so well-loved and has plenty of bumps and scratches.
FYI: While we enjoyed creating the look and feel of our reception with a marquee, it’s an expensive route to take and we had to cut costs in other areas.
One of the main reasons we chose Local at Riccarton House as our venue was because the grounds are home to the Christchurch Farmers Market. We frequent the market by bike and love that it supports the best food growers and producers in the region. Our favourite producers were all part of our big day.
After our ceremony, we had canapes and ice cream by Utopia Ice. Our dinner started off with bread by Bellbird Baked Goods, cheese by Barrys Bay and olives and antipasti from Robinsons Bay. Our salmon was sourced from Akaroa, the eggplant and halloumi stacks as well as the rest of the sides came from the gardens. Our three-tiered cake was by the talented, Cakes by Anna.
For us, it wasn’t so much about what we served, rather we wanted to ensure the meal was fresh, local and seasonal. We decided to host our wedding in Christchurch because it’s a city that has been so good to us and in a small way, this was how we could support and celebrate the incredible local businesses in the area.
We first experienced a family style wedding dinner at my cousin Jimmy’s wedding in Hyas, Saskatchewan several years ago, and loved how intimate and laidback it felt. We trusted the Local team to come up with an amazing menu and they delivered on all accounts! They even managed to create Canadian poutine for midnight lunch! It was such a hit and we’ve since had so much comments about how good the food was…
Photography & Videography
I’ve talked about our photographer, Ana Galloway on numerous occasions and she really needs no introduction. Ana is sweet, kind and thoughtful. She’s the type of person who will amaze you upon first meeting. She’s both professional, and super organised, which was very important to us both. When I was stressing about timings, her calming presence immediately put me at ease. It goes without saying, her photography style is exactly what we were wanting; artistic with a documentary style approach, which lends itself to hundreds and hundreds of gems. Seriously, she filled up ALL of her memory cards! Along with Ana, we had Olivia Spencer-Bower, an architectural photographer who took all the progress shots at Christchurch Town Hall while it was being restored. She got us into Town Hall for our bridal party photos (the first photos taken here in over eight years!)
Like most couples, we spent a long time deliberating on whether or not we needed a videographer. It’s a big expense, but after watching the wedding videos of complete strangers, I knew we couldn’t go without. It sounds obvious, but it was actually quite difficult to find a videographer who records the vows, the ceremony and all the important bits. We met with Craig from Lovelight Cinema about eight months out. He was friendly, engaging and his work captures the sentimentality of marriage that I so adore! We met another time to go over the details of the day and I knew we had made the right decision. My sister, Natalie kept commenting that he was so fun to be around and she’s exactly right. Not only is Craig immensely talented, he has the best personality and energy. He kept us laughing all day long and provided just the right amount of guidance.
Nick recently said that having Ana and Craig with us throughout the day was “deeply calming” and it was “almost like having wedding mentors at your side on what is one of the most biggest days of your lives.”
Choosing Our Celebrant
Finding a someone to officiate our wedding the first big challenge. I relied on Christchurch Weddings for advice on choosing a celebrant. We wanted someone we could truly connect with, who understood our modern ideals and views on equality within our marriage. Hannah Duder came up in conversation a handful of times and I had heard of her through her business, Indigo & Iris. We initially met and were impressed with her sincerity and warmth. My parents also commented on what a wonderful job she did. She is personable, thoughtful and well-spoken.
Music & Entertainment
We hired Praesto String Quartet for our ceremony music. I am obsessed with string music (why did I study piano instead of violin?!) and my dad studied music at university, so having a string quartet was an obvious choice. They quickly learnt the list of songs we requested: the bridesmaids walked to Home by Edward Sharp and my processional was to Here Comes The Sun because my dad loves The Beatles My only regret is that I didn’t get to hear them play longer.
After doing extensive research (aka attending A LOT of weddings), we decided on a DJ for our dance. Along with being super helpful throughout the entire planning process, Lucy at Christchurch Weddings recommended Paul McKessar. He did a fantastic job at ensuring everyone was up and out of their seats all night long. Our first dance was to Home by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes and my parents managed to find tambourines that were used the entire night. The highlight was definitely the kolomeyka, which a traditional Ukrainian dance (typically danced at festivities and weddings) where everyone takes turn showing off their skills. See the photo below.
Other Details Worth Noting
My sisters, my mom and Nick’s mom spent the morning getting ready at The Britten Stables, which is just a short walk from Riccarton House. Catherine and Penny brought a picnic basket with breakfast and coffee. Here, my godmother brought in a traditional kolach to bless us before our wedding day. This was a quiet moment with our close family and something I’ll remember forever.
We also returned to quickly freshen up after our photos. I highly recommend doing first look photos before your ceremony, so you can spend time with your guests, many of which have travelled huge distances to be with you. It also allowed us to relax, catch up with old friends, and enjoy the champagne and canapes with our guests before the reception.
Nick and I spent our wedding night back at The Britten Stables and gosh, it was glorious. The property is stunning and completely self-contained. I’m already dreaming about returning for a second visit. They were also so lovely about us taking heaps of photos in the main areas of the house and these are some of the best shots of the day!
The day after our wedding, we invited our out of town guests to Smash Palace for brunch. It’s our go-to hangout for after work drinks and the team created the most delicious menu for us.
Well, there you have all the details from our wedding day. It was more magical than I could’ve ever imagined and it feels surreal to call Nick my husband after a decade together; a decade that has been filled with highs and lows and so much growth. Many of our family and friends travelled more than 10,000 km to spend the day with us and we felt immensely blessed to share this major milestone with them.
I never felt like marriage would change our dynamic as a couple, but lately, I feel as though we are closer than we’ve ever been and we appreciate each other more and more every day.
Oh, and I only cried four times during the day. Not bad for a sap like me.