Catalina + Charles by Wildfolk Photography

Charles is of New Zealand and English descent and I am of New Zealand and Spanish descent, so our beautiful and COVID-sized wedding was a mix of Spanish/European styling with modern Kiwi paired back simplicity.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

Catalina: Charles is a bit of a maverick type who is incredibly smart and great with his hands. Senior Physics teacher by day but in his spare time, he can usually be found in his workshop. Charles is happiest when he has a project! Charles’ family were one of the original farming families in Canterbury so he has always had a strong desire to carry on the tradition. So when we were looking for our first property, we were looking for a farm to see if we could give farming a go. We were lucky enough to find a small piece of land in Bombay which we are in the process of relocating an old 1929 Californian Bungalow onto. I am the GM of Marketing at TheMarket. Working at a start-up is exciting but very busy! We have a strong team of talented people so that can be very inspiring. Outside of work I also like a project, usually, DIYing, crafting or sewing which I share on my blog. I love interiors and can’t wait to makeover our Bungalow! I also love yoga, Pilates and am trying to learn Spanish. Together we love adventuring, hiking, cooking, or binge-watching Netflix.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

Catalina: We met on a blind date during the summer of 2016. Charles was on school holidays and I had just landed back in Auckland after an eight-month overseas adventure and living in Australia for five years. Based on book value, Charles being a Grammar Boy wasn’t my “type”. I think I even said to Charles at some point “I’m not looking for anything serious, I need to move back to Australia”. This laissez-faire attitude seemed to suit Charles just fine. However, the first date lasted six hours and ended with Charles walking me to my door. After Charles snuck a very gentlemanly first kiss at the front door, I wondered if I should have considered Grammar Boys sooner. Three months later, after I got a job offer, we boarded a plane to Sydney and the rest is history!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

Catalina: Really early on, like within the first week I was head over heels for him and knew he was the one.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

Catalina: Charles proposed in August 2020. I had been hoping he would ask me for quite a while but was beginning to lose hope! We were on a holiday in Queenstown and were actually thinking about buying our first home there so we were out driving on the way to see a property when Charles thought we could get a quick hike in. So, we started walking up Mt Isthmus and about 20 minutes in we agreed that we would rather keep hiking than see this property. As we were walking, I thought, wow what if he proposed to me, but after not seeing any box-like shapes in his pockets and the fact that our hike was spontaneous, I decided that wasn’t going to happen. However, once we got up to the top, I started taking photos of the beautiful view, when I turned around Charles was down on one knee. Of course, I started crying and said “yes!” Because we wanted a summer wedding and didn’t want to wait over a year, we decided to get married four months later in December.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

Catalina: Charles is of New Zealand and English descent and I am of New Zealand and Spanish decent, so our beautiful and COVID-sized wedding was a mix of Spanish/European styling with modern Kiwi paired back simplicity. Think white, rustic cotton rag paper, linen napkins, single variety flowers, lots of texture plus Spanish words and traditions. Woven into the wedding were also the ideas of DIY, everyone helping out, keeping sustainability in mind as well as sticking to a very tight budget as we had just bought the farm (and may or may not want a nice kitchen!) The wedding ceremony was at the intrinsically stunning Mudbrick lodge in Waiheke with the reception in the main restaurant’s mezzanine. Due to COVID my best friends in Australia were unable to attend so we decided to have it family only, with no bridal party and have a party when the borders open up again – so it was a micro-wedding with only 20 guests. Additionally, the Mezzanine at Mudbrick can only fit a maximum of 22 people, so it seemed meant to be! For those we couldn’t invite, we shared a link to a YouTube live event – we are so glad we did as first it seemed a bit self-indulgent but afterwards it was clear it was a great way to connect and so many people appreciated being a part of our wedding even in a small way. As I have run The Unimpossibles for many years and Charles’ family business is the homeware store Leopold Hall, there was lots of inspiration to draw from. As the theme took shape, it became clear that the fewer elements the better which gave room for the good quality materials chosen to be centre stage.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

Catalina: We were not really keen to buy into all the hype of going nuts spending on the wedding and were trying to keep costs down at much as possible. Having a small wedding meant we could splurge on renting out the Mudbrick Lodge which made for gorgeous wedding photos and made the day very easy to run as it was all in one place. Staying the night there was amazing.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight?

Catalina: Overall the day ran quite smoothly and went too fast! The flower girl who was 3 at the time was really cute and didn’t quite understand how to walk and throw flowers at the same time – so she ended up walking to the end and throwing them all at once which was quite funny and made for a dramatic photo. I do feel sad that our closest friends couldn’t make it due to COVID-19, but given that lockdowns are still happening with no end in sight I am glad we went forward with it because you never know what the future will bring.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

Catalina: My dress was actually made by my Abuela (grandmother) who for many years was a senior seamstress for the legendary Vinka Lucas of Maree de Maru (now known as Vinka Design). Originally, Abuela making the dress was out of the question as it can be quite a big operation for a woman in her late 80’s. But after I dragged Abuela to all the bridal stores and tried on over 10 dresses, Abuela had had enough and thought she could do a better job (not to mention help us keep the costs down)! The end result was so beautiful, fitted perfectly and made for a very special now heirloom garment. The inspiration for the dress centred around a hail spot print fabric seen in a bridal magazine. The hail spot fabric had a tulle base with semi-matt white spots embroidered randomly creating a more casual-cool feel than a heavy lace but still with some interest. It was hard to track down this fabric as it was from a special manufacturer in Europe. After emailing every fabric store in New Zealand,  Elizabeth Jayne Bridal, a fabric store which owner Karen runs out of her downstairs room in Browns Bay was the only supplier and had exactly 3.8m left – just enough! The pattern for the dress was adapted from an old Vogue Bride pattern from the 1980s. The fitted bodice had deep v’s both front and back which Abuela applique hundreds of hand-cut spots to create coverage over the bust. The bottom half of the dress had a dramatic fishtail where the hail spot fabrics went further than the underskirt and had an unfinished hem. Abuela also made the 2.7m length cathedral veil. As Abuela had the under-skirt fabric, zips, buttons and a hair comb for the veil at home, only the hail spot tulle and veil fabric needed to be purchased – all up it only cost an incredible $450!

Ceremony + Reception location Mudbrick Lodge and Mezzanine, Waiheke  / Photographer Lauren Murray of Wild Folk Photography / Celebrant Lisa Baigent / Styling Amanda Norwood / Distressed white urns, Vienna cross back chairs candles sourced by Leopold Hall / Flora Blush flowers and DIY / Custom cake and chocolate stuffed churros goodie boxes Little Tart Bakery / Stationery, table settings and props DIY / Sign frame – Country Road / Easel – borrowed from Amanda Norwood / Silk Ribbons –  Tono & Co / Wax seals –  Stamptitude & AliExpress  ​​/ Napkins –  WonderLinen / Spanish sword borrowed from Abuela / Brides Dress & veil – made by Catalina’s Abuela with fabric from Elizabeth Jayne Bridal / Groom’s attire Country Road / Ring/s Walker & Hall / Earrings –  Maison Sabben / Makeup Beauty by Alexandra / Hair Chloe Zara Hair / Fragrance D.S. & Durga / Hair perfume Chloe Zara Hair / Ring Bearers attire Country Road / Flower Girls dress Blue Daisy dress