GINA + BILLY by Georgia Verrells

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship:

We first met in August 2015 on a Contiki Tour of Europe.

Gina was just starting her solo European travels and was all set to start a new life in London, while Billy was over in Europe for just 6 weeks, with 3 of those weeks being on the Contiki. Like many people on the tour we started a ‘Contiki Relationship’, but this one actually lasted. We spent three worldwind weeks together, waking up each morning in a different town or country and often sporting a sore head or a broken phone. After the tour concluded, we took a trip to Dublin together to see if things were the same in the real world, Dublin was where we solidified our relationship and things started to get real. Billy flew back to back to Australia and we spent the next 8 months doing long distance. Fast forward to May 2016, Billy had moved to London with Gina, and we spent the next 3 years travelling Europe, visiting over 25 countries together and making another move to Dublin in 2017.

Nearly two years to the day after we first met, Billy pulled off a spectacular proposal in Cappadocia, Turkey in front of 300 hot air balloons with his late stepmother’s engagement ring. It was magical and our dream was to get married back in NZ in the beautiful wine region of Martinborough where Gina spent much of her childhood. Plus, it was the perfect way to show off NZ to Billy’s Australian family.

We love to travel, laugh, take adventures, climb mountains and practice yoga. We don’t take life too seriously and just want to spend the next 70 years of our life together, laughing and exploring the world.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details:

Our theme was to have a mini boho festival, surrounded by nature and great wine. We wanted to have a wedding that represented us and some of the best times of our life were at concerts or festivals. So it was important to us that we not only had great music, but we wanted to create a relaxed outdoor environment with loads of laughter, great street food, outdoor dancing and no formalities. We decided to give the portaloos a miss. Our venue was great, because not only was it a Racecourse, which had a picnic Race Meeting the day before which all our guests came to, the guests accommodation was on site so all our friends and family spent the entire weekend with us. Out of the 90 people that came to our wedding 76 flew in to be there (including us) so we wanted to ensure that we had plenty of quality time with everyone.

The outdoor kitchen was also a great hit, our guests loved watching the chef cook the pig on the spit, and we all enjoyed the smell!

Tell us about your main outfits:

Gina has been in love with the designer Rue De Seine for years, and had her heart set on wearing one of the dresses on her wedding day. The dress really set the theme for the whole wedding. It was so flattering and comfortable

Billy wanted to go for a relaxed earthy look, but the main feature had to be his hat. He’s a hat guy and it was a tough decision narrowing just one down.

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day:

Because we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our friends and family, we did a first look, however we also did a Sage Smudge Ceremony with just the two of us before the main ceremony. This allowed us to set our intentions for the day and cleanse any bad energy and replace it with positive energy. It was super important that both of us stayed ground throughout the day and remembered to be present and the smudging ceremony really helped with that.

Another amazing moment for both of us was during our ceremony, three huge Kererū birds perched themselves on the tree above us and watched our ceremony. Once we walked down the aisle as a married couple, the birds flew away behind us. The venue staff had said they had never seen those birds there before, we truly believe they were Gina’s Grandmother’s and Billy’s stepmother who had passed away before the wedding day.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together:

Just have fun, ground yourself and don’t take it too seriously. It’s a celebration and the main focus should be on the two of you having the best day of your life​.

Venue & Catering: Rose and Smith at Tauherenikau |  Photographer: Georgia Verrells Photography | Celebrant: Family friend – Jeff Sanders | Planner: Paula Bevege Events | Flora: Floriade | Bride’s Dress: Rue De Seine | Groom & Groomsmen Suit’s: Hallensteins Brothers | Bride’s Ring: HLSK Jewellery | Groom’s Ring: Tymber Gear | Bride’s Shoes: Boohoo | Bride Crown: Petal and Pup | Bride’s Earrings: Tree of Life | Groom Hat: Billy Bones Club | Makeup: Millie Sanders | Hair: Katelyn Coxson|  Bridesmaids: Fig and Florence