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

Ernie and I met in Auckland, 2 months before my 30th birthday which I was going to be heading to Argentina to celebrate. Ernie is from Argentina so when I told him that I was heading there he was super excited and suggested all these places for us to go.

At that point we had just started seeing each other and it was nothing official but he would message me daily and ask for updates, that was when I started to realise that maybe he liked me a little more than I thought.

When I arrived back in NZ we made it official! Something I will always laugh about and think is funny, was when we very first met, I asked him what his secret for his youthful looks were, and he said “It is because I’m not married yet.” Ernie is a Digital Designer and I own a clinic and store; I am a naturopath and medical herbalist. He has been such a big supporter of my business journey, from helping me with my design work to just telling me how much he believes in what I do (which is probably the most important thing!).

I love that Ernie is a big kid at heart who knows how to live in the moment. He helps to keep this big dreaming adventurer grounded. He loves that I bring the adventure and fun into our lives. One thing we both love about each other is that we are both pretty open-minded and our lives together really is a journey. Twins run in both our families so we hope that one day we can have little “Jernies” venture alongside us. He proposed to me during our hike up to Mount Everest Base camp; a 12 day hike which was the most challenging thing ever, physically, mentally and emotionally for both of us! About 10 minutes before we reached the spot I told him that I started to feel altitude sickness and would have to start heading down as soon as we got to the point. As we kept walking he asked “If we can do this together, we can do anything right?.” 5 minutes later he proposed and we were all so overwhelmed with emotion that we forgot for a few minutes about our frozen fingers. One of the most amazing things was that my twin brother who is like my other “other half” was with us and witnessed it all. 

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…

We started the day at the lodge where my family and I stayed in; beginning with the Chinese ceremony, we threw in some touches of Chinese decor which naturally was red, yellow and gold. We didn’t really need to think about how to intentionally bring in the Chinese elements, as the traditions of giving red pockets (money in red envelope), gold gifting and serving tea in red traditional tea ceremony pots and cups just happened as my mum and aunty planned it.

The overall theme for the wedding ceremony and reception was “timeless magic”, Ernie is a bit of a “classic man” and I wanted a “magical” feel and something that I wasn’t just going to love temporarily. The ceremony backdrop of the lake, islands and mountains at Rippon was indeed magic! When I came across the venue I just knew this was the spot.

The hall was a beautiful blank canvas for our reception which meant we could create something that was totally us from scratch. To achieve the magical feel, we covered the ceilings and poles with fairy lights, the candle lit tables added a romantic touch and we had elements of crystals, like the wedding favours for our guests which were magical raw crystals (we thought about giving the kids chocolate instead but in the end we decided the kids would love the crystals and they did – my page boy took his one to school for show and tell and he has now started his own crystal collection).

I dyed the cheese cloth table runner myself with a blend of butterfly pea tea and hibiscus. Our florists did an amazing job with the ceremony flowers/table bouquets, and cake flowers. We went with a mix of bright pink florals including wildflowers to add some colour. Our bridesmaids wore dresses from Blak which were custom dyed to an “amethyst” colour which I thought went well with the whole theme. Our photo booth is definitely an original as well. Ernie designed a giant standing book – the illustration in the book of Ernie and I in the Wanaka landscape was done by my brother. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

I wore a dress by Lovers Society from Rue de Seine. I had tried some dresses from a few bridal studios and got an idea of the type of cut I wanted, I just had to find one with the perfect lace. When I came across my dress on instagram I thought, wow this is exactly what I was looking for. My veil from Serendipity Bride added more depth and made me feel even more like a bride.

It is not often that you get to wear a tuxedo so why not wear one to your own wedding we thought, plus a tux totally goes with the “timeless magic theme” – magicians wear tuxedos right? It was hard to find a tux that was the mid-night dark navy that we wanted so we got it made. Ernie added a touch of his nerdiness to his outfit when he came across compass cufflinks and a chronometer lapel pin.

My engagement band was custom designed by Ernie and Julian Bartrom. The shape of the diamond is a very symbolic chestahedron shape; when you fold it in a certain way, it becomes the shape of a heart. The bottom is lined with blue sapphires – Ernie researched the meaning of different stones and he thought the blue sapphire was perfect for me. When I first saw the ring I was not sure about it because it is not something I would usually choose but I could not love it more!

We decided to get our bands made by Julian again as we loved his calm nature and the way he brought our visions to life. My band is a simple rose gold crown which has a slight “natural” texture like my engagement band and a delicate pink sapphire in the middle. Ernie’s band is also rose gold with a faint hammered pattern of the shape of the diamond of my engagement ring. The coordinates of the spot where we got engaged is engraved on Ernies wedding band and mine has the coordinates of the wedding ceremony spot. Yes! Ernie really thought about the perfect rings for us. 

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

For the Chinese ceremony we did a traditional “gates game” where the groom and the groomsmen do several challenges to get closer to picking up the bride. My cousin and younger brothers’ girlfriend guarded the first gate which they crossed by Ernie listing 5 reasons why I should marry him. The second gate was guarded by my bridesmaids who challenged them to eat cricket protein and the third gate was guarded by my brothers (one of them was my brides-man). They had to sing backstreet boys “as long as you love me”. They were right behind the door of the room where I was waiting and I was very entertained by their singing. Ernie is pretty introverted so that was definitely a challenge for him, my brothers were not letting him in easily!

I also enjoyed doing the tea ceremony. I think every traditional Chinese parent looks forward to the moment where their soon to be wedded daughter and son-in law respectfully offers tea for them and they give their blessings. It was very special for Ernies’ family who travelled from Argentina to be part of this. We hadn’t rehearsed this part so there was a little bit of awkwardness and laughs during this little formality.

One of the most amazing things that happened was that the rain literally stopped for half an hour, EXACTLY when the ceremony was due to start and held off until the end of it. I am SO thankful for my optimistic maid of honour and groom who made the decision to keep it outdoors even when others insisted that it should be moved inside! It wasn’t on our agenda that it would rain but it sure gave us some mystical sceneries. It just meant we did our helicopter shoot on the peaks the next day (oh well – I guess it was another chance to wear my dress!)

I was nervous about the first dance since I get stage fright so I was afraid that it was going to take me. I was even told that during the dance you could see how hard I was concentrating. But when it came to the end and the confetti cannon went off and I was being spun around by Ernie, I was so happy and the thoughts in my head were “we made it!” One of my favourite photos was one that captured this very moment. 

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

If you have friends and family who are wanting to help, get them involved! I am someone who can be particular about things but I was also lucky to have some talented friends and family who just wanted to help. It is actually really special to look back and think about the amazing people in your lives who love you and helped make your special day magical! Take your time to find and research about the optons you have for vendors. Check out the reviews and go for the ones who you feel are going to be helpful and care about the little details as much as you do. It will make the whole planning and the wedding day more enjoyable. I was lucky to have some amazing vendors, who could help create what I envisioned! 

Photography: Kenny Chick | Videography: Light Per Second | Ceremony and Reception location: The Rippon Hall | Celebrant: Lily Celebrant | Bride’s gown: The Lovers Society | Veil: Serendipity Brides | Chinese dress: Purchased by mother in China | Hair piece: Olivia Headpiece | Rings: Julian Bartrom | Bride’s shoes: Mi Piaci | Groom’s shoes: Barkers | Earrings: Zoe & Morgan and Swarovski | Hair and Makeup: Charm Beauty | Fragrance: Able Odor | Bridesmaid’s dresses: Blak | Hire: Major & Minor Hire | Flora: The Green Room Flower Co. | Cake: White Rabbit Cakes

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