I thought my spontaneity was my weapon. I could catch her off guard at the town where we first met – Nelson. We were hiking in the hills and as we hopped out of the car to start our ascent, I saw a plastic tie from a houseplant that we’d just purchased – That could work… I knew this was the time. She must’ve just looked particularly marriable that day outside on the street. We hiked up and I accidentally shifted us up the wrong path… Carla was in jeans. It was hot. She was sweaty. She was angry. I began to doubt my impulsive decision.
We moved along the plateau, and the sweat dried. She calmed down a bit. This was my chance… And she said YES! After the obligatory, “Are you serious?”, of course.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
Jay — We both come from the United Kingdom: Carla from England (Shropshire); Jay from Scotland (near Glasgow) We both work as doctors: Carla, a General Practitioner; Jay, a Surgeon. What we love is quite expansive. Carla loves ‘doing’, she loves almost everything outdoors and especially activities in the mountains- hill running, mountain biking or hiking. She’ll bounce out of bed when the alarm goes off and be so ready to make the most of the day. She also truly believes that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
I’m more of a calm cerebral soul – A ‘thinker’ who enjoys an alpine vista but rather prefers to watch Carla run out the door than want to push my body to the extreme limits to get there. Although saying that, snowsports and running the dog have become heart-racing past-times we can share. But I’m most happy enjoying a cryptic crossword or board game.
We share a love for our pooch – Mr Bear – who is a big black dog that has become our inaugural dependant. He’s a lucky boy who gets to see some of the most amazing parts of New Zealand that Kiwi aversion training and the DOC allow!
Carla — Jay and I couldn’t be worlds apart. I’m quite lively, energetic, and spontaneous, struggle to sit still and quickly change my mind. I love adventure, travel and to be honest, can be quite wild. But I’m quiet and introverted and recharge alone.
Jay is very steady, stable and soft, barely flappable, and the kindest and most caring person I know. He is such an extrovert, most happy in the company. He’s everyone’s best friend and will say hello to every passing stranger with a smile. He has insisted we take home a feral flea-ridden kitten and then spend 1000s pounds on antibiotics for its joint infections. He also wears his heart on his sleeve, saying ‘I love you’ the first time we met… I tend to keep my feelings close to my chest.
How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
Both — We met by accident. Jay was doing a locum shift at the request of a friend in Nelson where Carla was working. I was living and working in Tauranga at the time. We met during an on-call across a busy intensive care unit. Unfortunately, we both had partners at the time but were both rattled by this instant attraction that passed between us.
Jay — I knew it. As soon as I saw her, I knew. I didn’t realise that love, at first sight, could be a thing. Perhaps it was just lust at first sight! But I knew as soon as I met her that she was the perfect person for me. Instantly, I felt a slight morose feeling come over me as I knew that we’d likely never meet again and that we were both in relationships. It’s impossibly difficult to meet the girl of your dreams only to see her pass you by.
However, as time went on, my partner and I broke up and I thought fondly back to meeting Carla that weekend in Nelson. I took a chance and messaged her and, to my delight, she was single and travelling up my way for a holiday! But there was a huge weight hanging on my uplifted spirits – Carla was moving back to England.
We travelled around the Coromandel for a week (our first date). It was genuinely like something out of a dream and I’d hoped that she’d never leave. I knew I had to let her go when she left… But we never let go. And about 6 months later, she came back!
When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
Jay — I knew instantly! Her smile and warmth really blew me away – She came across as someone who exuded vigour and fun.
Carla — Jay will say he ‘knew’ instantly. I’m not so sure when I realised it was never a particular moment- I knew he completed me perfectly, and has many qualities and attributes that I do not. He offers peace to my restlessness. But..forever was something that grew on me. It might have been when we realised what fun we had living together when we were immediately thrown into lockdown when I arrived in Gisborne, or it was when I stroked his hair as he grieved a dear friend’s death, showing me his vulnerability, or when he could comfort my homesickness when I was unable to return home during the pandemic through pivotal life events for people. There really has been so much sacrifice during our relationship- we move often and attempt to make new homes. I’ve missed being there for my Brother and Wife this year who had a very premature baby at 24 +5 weeks. I think I know it’s forever though because despite how difficult it is to keep our paths on track, continuing to work towards the same goal, despite all the forces that come up against us, It would be more difficult to do it without him.
Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
Carla — It was an absolutely miserable day and our plans to go to Nelson Lakes had to be cancelled- instead we went to Nelson where we had a couple of hours to fill before meeting a friend for dinner.
I really didn’t see it coming.. I mean I don’t know that Jay did either. To be honest I thought he was joking when he bought out a piece of wire and bent down on one knee. We’d obviously spoken about it before… he’d even acted out proposals at different times before. So naturally when he pulled out a piece of wire on an ordinary day with no special plans, whilst we were running late for dinner I thought it was just another joke…
At first, I was upset, to be honest, sadly I can be a perfectionist and put such high expectations upon myself… I had thought of quite romantic ways he’d propose to me, but I worried it seemed so ordinary. And when we fell asleep in our camper van in a self-contained car park that night I was worried he didn’t think I was more ‘special’ to deserve something bigger. But actually, this just demonstrates another way why Jay is so perfect for me. He really grounds me and shows me what is important, he believed nothing about that situation beyond us making a declaration of ‘forever’.
Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…
Both — We wanted a Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) wedding. This is a special time of year for Scottish folks and beckons in a new era of hopefulness. Jay in particular had frequented many a New Year’s Party in Scotland and enjoyed a good ol’ Ceilidh! It was therefore important, and non-negotiable, that we would have a traditional Scottish social dance at our wedding! We wanted something to feel ancient and celtic and we managed to capture this in Forgandenny within a converted Cow Byre (barn) in the winter on Hogmanay – It even snowed later in the evening!
Carla — I had dreamed of a Winter Wedding in a castle in Scotland since being a little girl. I absolutely love winter, hygge, snow, candles, Christmas, and that gorgeous feeling of coming in from the cold, long nights by the fire clutching a glass of wine. Scottish Culture is something I love and has been so important to Jay so throughout the day we wanted to focus on significant Scottish ceremony traditions like tying the knot, in which you tie a rag around your hands as well as drinking Whiskey from a quiche.
From there the rest fell together, we chose evergreen vegetation that was in season and mostly locally sourced, local produce including wild venison and haggis as well as whiskey cocktails. There were 100s of beautiful candles to create mood, hygge and fairy lights on hanging Christmas trees to add sparkle and glamour.
Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?
Jay — Because of my background, I wanted to wear a kilt and highland outfit for our big day. I’d always had a kilt – It was a generic tartan and to be honest, I’d outgrown it. I thought it was high time that I had my own unique Kilt with my Family and heritage in mind. Tradition dictates that you wear the tartan of your Mother’s maiden name which was Wilson in my case. An ancient subsidiary clan of the Gunn clan in the far northeast. The rest of the ensemble is traditional wear reaching back to the time of the Jacobites – This includes the Sgian Dubh (Hidden knife) kept within the sock of the highland kilt wearer…
Carla —I had never really thought too much about what I had wanted my Wedding Dress to look like. It had always been so important to me that I would go try on dresses with my Mum, so naturally with her being in the UK it was a long time after getting engaged before I went to any Bridal shops.
I had wanted to choose a New Zealand designer because New Zealand is now as much a home as the Uk and I wanted it to be a part of our Day. It was so special that my Mum was able to come over to New Zealand in May 2022 and we booked an appointment at Vinka Design. It was actually in Together Journal that I first read a piece on Vinka Design. I was instantly drawn to how individual in style each dress was.
Anita at Vinka was absolutely fabulous, she is so creative and shows such a passion for making beautiful pieces of art to wear. I instantly knew that I wanted to wear a Vinka dress but I wasn’t sure exactly the style to suit our day!
VENUE: Rossie on the Earn, @rossie_on_the_earn / PHOTOGRAPHER: McGlynn Sisters, @mcglynnsisters_weddings / CELEBRANT: Andrew D Scott, @andrewdscottcelebrant / ENTERTAINMENT: Baltik Ceilidh Band, @thebaltik / STYLING, FLORA, CATERING & BEVERAGE: Platter & Pop, @platter_and_pop / STATIONERY: Eyi Love, @eyilovestudio / CHARITY: Bliss Charity for Premature and Sick Babies in UK / DRESS: Vinka Design, @vinkadesign / PARTY SUIT: Reiss, @reiss / WILSON ANCIENT TARTAN: The Kilt Company / RINGS: Alex Monroe, @alexmonroejewellery; Good Gold, @goodgold.nz / SHOES: Loeffler Randall, @loefflerrandall / MAKEUP: Lyn McKenzie, @lynmckenziemakeupartist / HAIR: Hair by Sian, @hairby_sianmartin__x / FRAGRANCE: Jo Malone, @jomalonelondon / BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE: Leave Her Wilder