Kate + Matt by Jess Howzen Photography

It was quite early in the dating game that I knew Matt was someone I could see a long and happy future with. I loved how we both shared an equal passion for Architecture and Sport which is quite rare in our industry. I recall sending Mum & Dad a text telling them I had met someone following a dinner at Mexico and that was probably the moment!

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

Matt and I are both Architects, living in Auckland and working for two rival firms. I jokingly refer to myself as the creative director of the relationship, and Matt, the brains and workhorse behind the operation! With my passion for searching through the latest trends and Matt’s obsession with a good spreadsheet, we found the process of planning our wedding hugely enjoyable.

We are two extremely active people with a shared love for both sport and travel. Matt is a former New Zealand Track and Field athlete specialising in Long Jump and I grew up doing a variety of competitive sports. We both love exploring new places and eating our weight in gelato whether that’s at Duck Island in Ponsonby or a local shop in Italy.

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

Exactly 20 years ago prior to our wedding weekend, Matt and I were both representing our regions at the National Athletic Interprovincial Championships in Inglewood. Although we both attended the end-of-event “disco” as 12year olds, it wasn’t until 10 years later that we meet at Architecture school.

I recall Matt strolling into the design studio with so much confidence! I was intrigued by his sporty aesthetic within such an arty space. I feel like our paths were always destined to cross. However, it was another 18 months before we started chatting. They do say you fall in love when you least expect it, so falling for someone in the eleventh hour of my thesis year was definitely a surprise! That being said, the extra pair of hands to help with last-minute model-making was a great bonus!

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

In the months leading up to our 2022 trip to Europe, Matt secretly designed a ring and planned out his dream proposal. The creation of the ring went smoothly, the lead-up to the proposal however less so. Matt had booked a Hot Air Balloon ride just outside of Paris. With two weeks to go, he started checking the weather forecast – nothing but sunshine and then a heavy thunderstorm on proposal day. In the morning, the forecast still indicated heavy rain, so Matt spent most of the day stressing without being able to give away what was going on. After many phone calls, he got the all-clear and advised me he had a dinner booked a short train ride away departing in 40 minutes. We rushed to get ready only to miss the train. After purchasing four extra tickets just to be safe, we hopped on the next train and made it to the launch site just in time.

From there everything was magical just the way he had planned – a sunset balloon flight over a castle, a golf course, a river, the town square and general Parisian countryside, with a three-course meal and champagnes on board. Matt popped the question between courses but with no room in the basket to drop the knee we recreated the moment in a random paddock on the ground. It was the most romantic and special day, that we will cherish for a lifetime.

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

We wanted to create an elegant timeless wedding so kept our colour palette simple and took full advantage of the rich Queenstown landscape. Being an April affair, the autumnal colours provided the perfect backdrop to our classic black & white colourway.

We designed all the signage from welcome signs to menus and 3D printed our own bud flower vases. We completed the table settings with an array of candles and green pears that we decorated with pearl pins and white satin ribbons.

We wanted our day to be full of fun and little surprises for our guests. Matt set the tone early, entering the ceremony alongside his groomsman dancing to ‘Still Dre’ – a moment our guests were certainly not expecting and one I’m still yet to see! We then exited the ceremony by rein-acting the viral dance sequence from Jim & Pam’s wedding on The Office. Lastly, we set our guests up to sing us into the reception, complete with a variety of miniature musical instruments that had been hidden under selected seats. These are some of our best memories from the day!

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

I always thought I would design my own dress, however, six months before we got engaged, I saw a dress from Grace Loves Lace on Instagram. I was conscious of not planning the wedding prematurely as I wanted to savour that special moment. Following the engagement, and many trains through Italy, I realised there were no Grace Loves Lace stockists in New Zealand. Fortunately, we were on our way to New York, where they did have a store! I went for two fittings and absolutely fell in love.

I knew I wanted a slim-fitting, cowl neck with shiny satin fabric perfect for some nighttime flash photography. Being a Queenstown wedding, I finished the look with a bridal top from Kenny & Harlow that I wore during our sunset shoot and throughout the reception.

Matt went for the traditional Casino Royale look, wearing a satin black dinner suit from Working-Style and matching this with a slim-fit studded shirt, satin black bowtie and seriously shiny shoes. Matt refuses to wear a clip-on bowtie so went traditional and hand-tied his and all his groomsmen’s before the morning photos. The groomsman suits were rented from Frank Casey in Parnell, Auckland.

VENUE: The Winehouse, @winehousenz / PHOTOGRAPHER: Jess Howzen Photography, @jesshowzen.photography / VIDEOGRAPHER: Flat Roc Films, @flatrocfilms / CELEBRANT: Friend – Marshall Hall, @marshallhalldt / ENTERTAINMENT: Mountain Beats DJ Co, @mountainbeatsdjco / FLORA: Flower Ring – The Flower Room, @flowerroomqueenstown, Bouquet, Signage, etc – Flowers Inc, @flowersincltd / CATERING & BEVERAGE: The Winehouse, @winehousenz / CAKE: Sophie Rose Anna Cakes, @sophieroseannacakes / SUIT: Working Style, @workingstylenz / DRESS: Grace Loves Lace, @grace_loves_lace / BRIDAL TOP: Kenny and Harlow, @kennyandharlowbridal / RINGS: Guthries, @guthriesfinejewellery / SHOES:  Mi Piaci, @mi_piaci / EARRINGS: Amelie George Bridal, @ameliegeorgebridal / MAKEUP: Alarna Taylor, @alarnataylor_hair_mua / HAIR: Beautiful Bridal Hair, @beautifulbridalhair / FRAGRANCE: Chanel, @chanelofficial; The Architects Club, @worldbrandinnz / BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE: Billy J, @billy_j_boutique / GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE: Frank Casey Suit Hire, @frankcaseyparnell

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