Charlotte + Jonathan by Fay Carey

I was inspired by ‘Love shack Fancy’ – lots of pretty pinks, large bows, lace table cloths, buckets of flowers and vintage couches. We said black tie festival so guests would dress up. I believe if people make an effort, they feel good, which sets the mood.

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

JB – I’m a passionate farmer who enjoys hunting, fishing, motorbike riding and hanging out with the family. Charlotte’s very creative. If she’s not renovating, she’s sewing or running our Airbnb studio.

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

JB – We met in our early teens at a party in Feilding, it was love at first sight but we were so young. Charlotte went travelling and I bought a farm in Eketahuna. We met up 8 years later, the timing was perfect.

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

JB – We had a weekend escape to Taupo where Charlotte thought I would propose. I waited until we got home & dropped a knee in front of our two daughters.

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

JB – I wanted a fun festival wedding, where guests could relax and enjoy the day, with the ceremony & reception held at the same venue. The vision started with our ‘Willy Wonka invitations’. We did our own Baxter chocolate bars with a golden ticket inside each wrapper. Our wedding was also a good excuse to restore the HQ station wagon; the bridesmaids insisted they drive themselves to the wedding.

CB – I was inspired by ‘Love shack Fancy’ – lots of pretty pinks, large bows, lace table cloths, buckets of flowers and vintage couches. We said black tie festival so guests would dress up. I believe if people make an effort, they feel good, which sets the mood. I liked the idea of a mad hatter’s tea party; I had been collecting floral tea sets from op shops, so guests enjoyed drinking from tea cups during the speeches. I also found a retro bar & old liquor cabinet that I painted pink, we stocked the bar with crystal decanters. We hired a candy cart and my father-in-law and Dad crafted another two – we had them as a wine bar, candy bar and a self-serve Gin station. We served cocktails with maraschino cherries, the cherries were also on our vintage style wedding cake, “Life is better with a cherry on the top!” White helium balloons, entertainment and festoon lights tied everything together.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

CB – Styling & entertainment! We had a blank canvas and we wanted a fancy festival theme. We had performers walking on stilts as people were arriving. We had a brief reception and then the band started playing at 2pm outside on the grass. We had Nicole, the aerial artist, walking on bottles and performing hula hoop tricks throughout the day, the DJ started at 7pm and we finished the night with a firework display.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

CB – The wedding arch and isle meadow blew away before I arrived, guests were trying to piece it back together. It was a bit upsetting to see, but we forgot all about it when the ceremony began.

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

CB – I had a dream that Johnny turned up to the wedding in a red velvet suit. When I told him about the dream, he was keen to wear velvet. We found a black velvet tuxedo from Rembrandt. (cotton velvet was breathable for summer.) My dress is made from 100% silk Mikado, which is a rare type of silk. We were lucky enough to find 17 metres in Melbourne. I wanted a classic style with a long train and veil. “Demelza” created my dream gown! We also designed a structured silk mini dress for the reception. Before the fireworks started, I changed again into a sparkly gown by Retrofete.

Ceremony/Reception location: Te-Puna, @tepunaevents / Photographer: Fay Carey, @faycareyphotographer / Videographer: Binh Trinh, @binh.trinh / Celebrant: @skmarriagecelebrant / Band: Nothing Beyond / Entertainer: Nicole Maisey, @nicole.maisey_aerial / Hire: Flock Events, @flockevents / Flora: Dried flower bouquets – Hand-Picked Flowers, @handpicked3110; Flower farm – Wilflora; Arch and bouquets – Thicket, @thicketstudionz / Catering + Beverages: Artisan Kitchen, @artisankitchennz / Cake: The Cheesecake Shop / Invites & Menus: The Invite Store / Gifts: We had a wishing well set up on a table inside, although we didn’t write anything regarding gifts on the invites. We thought gifting is a personal choice and a lot of people travelled, which is a great gift. / Groom’s Attire: Velvet tuxedo from Rembrandt, @rembrandt1946 / Bride’s Attire: Demelza Davidson, @demelzadavidson; Retro Fete, @retrofete / Ring/s: Cameron Jewellery, @cameronjewellery – My ring was extra special, I had diamonds from one of my great grandmother’s rings, my Nana’s ring and mother’s ring. Johnny and I chose a few extra diamonds to create a beautiful diamond cluster ring. / Shoes: Jimmy Choo, @jimmychoo / Hair Stylist: @manawatu_stylist_nicole / Makeup: @makeupbyhayz_ / Fragrance: Chance by Chanel / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Gold dress – Designed & made by bride; Lace champagne maxi – Alice McCall; Tulle dress misty rose – Milla; Crochet tie-dye mini – Love Shack Fancy; Hot pink silk midi – Bardo Collective; White/pink floral maxi – Fillyboo; Candy pink backless mini – Mackenzie Mode; V-neck soft pink mini dress – Joslin Studio