Frances and Pete – Photography by Coralee Stone

Tell us about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship:

Pete and I met almost six years ago through mutual friends at a movie in Silo Park, and have been together ever since.

We are active relaxers – we enjoy running, yoga, day hikes and travelling. We love our friends and our family. We are both managers – Pete’s in the construction industry and I’m in the health industry. Our favourite weekend ritual is just the two of us at a café with a coffee, bagel and the newspaper.

  We got engaged during a trip to Hawaii when we were holidaying with my identical twin sister Kate. Pete proposed on the first morning we arrived as he knew I’d want to celebrate with Kate and her fiancé for as long as possible (they live in California), which meant the world to me. The first people we Skyped to share the news with was Pete’s identical twin brother Ken and his wife, who of course knew all about his plans.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little more about the setting, the styling and your favourite details… 

We love dinner parties, so our aim was for our wedding to feel like a dinner party but on a slightly larger and fancier scale. Mantells in Mt Eden was the perfect venue for this, with its intimate dining room and amazing food. I grew up in the house behind Mantells, so it was nice to get married so close to my childhood home.

We felt our wedding was an opportunity to acknowledge those people who had made a real effort to be part of our lives, and this was the threshold we created for our guest list. This made it easier to assemble the guest list, but by no means was this an easy process. We didn’t want to upset or offend anyone, and it does cause you to reflect on certain relationships which can be tough. But it meant that the people we did invite were those closest to us, and our wedding immediately became more special to us because of that. 

Pete and I are very lucky to not only have each other, but to each have an identical twin that we are very very close with. So having just Kate and Ken by our sides was very special. But we found other ways to acknowledge close friends that didn’t involve them walking down the aisle, for example: we filled the bridal table on both sides with 12 of our closest friends, Pete’s best friend made a speech, one of my closest friends was involved in the bridal preparations the week prior, etc.

We chose to get married in November as it’s peony season. My late Aunt planted a peony farm in Martinborough shortly before she passed away, so it was incredibly important to us to have her peonies on our wedding day. Every peony was carefully picked by my amazing cousin, who drove them up to Auckland the day before the wedding, stopping numerous times to keep them iced so they wouldn’t open. The peonies were vibrant and spectacular – exactly the words I’d use to describe my Aunt; it meant so much to me to have part of her legacy there on the day.

Tell us about your main outfits: 

I tried on wedding dresses with my Mum in Auckland and my sister in San Francisco, and quickly realised wedding dresses were not my thing. Beautiful on the hanger and on other people, but I never felt like myself in all the sparkle and lace. But then I saw a Lola Varma outfit in the Together Journal, in an article where my friend was a bridesmaid. I loved the simplicity of the skirt and top together. It was modern and structured and moved really well.

Lola Varma is based in Perth. I was nervous to buy the outfit online in case it didn’t suit me. Lucky for us they had a pop-up shop in Melbourne for a weekend so Mum and I flew over. It was the only one I tried on, and ten minutes later we were out the door and able to enjoy a girls weekend knowing I’d found my dress! 

Pete’s suit, shirt and bow tie was purchased from Working Style. He needed a new suit anyway, and we thought what better time than for his own wedding!

We had the unique challenge of ensuring our guests could distinguish the bride from the bridesmaid and the groom from the groomsman. So the style and colour of Kate’s and Ken’s outfits needed to be vastly different to our own.

Kate and I love Juliette Hogan’s clothes, so we couldn’t go past their bridesmaid range. Usually I love a white bridesmaid’s dress, but as I was wearing white we put Kate in a ‘haze’ colour (a lilac grey). The colour was beautiful against my Aunty’s pink peonies. And best yet, the dress can be worn again (I get it for the NZ summer and Kate gets it for the US summer).

Ken’s suit was also purchased from Working Style. Pete went for the more classic groom look of a black suit and bow tie, so Ken wore a grey suit and a tie.

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

 Pete and I decided to do photos first. Sure, we missed out on the tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony, but it meant we were present during the champagne hour, where the love and excitement of the people around you is just too good to miss!

And the first look was an absolute highlight. Pete and I could just be ourselves in that moment, not being distracted or anxious about having lots of people watching us. Each to their own, but we are so stoked we did it this way.

 We stole a few minutes to ourselves when everyone was being seated in the dining room. It was slightly surreal to be slumped on a couch in our wedding outfits, knowing all our friends and family were just next door. This was a real highlight as Pete and I reflected on how well the day had gone so far, and we were so excited about the rest of the evening to come.

 Pete travels a lot so he was tasked with organising our mini moon. He kept the location a surprise from me up until the wedding which was fun, although I was slightly concerned about where he’d choose (Pete is an intrepid traveller, and his recent ‘holiday’ spots have been the likes of North Korea and Palestine). But he did amazingly well, organising Singapore and Langkawi for ten days immediately after the wedding. It was so nice to go when we were still on such a high from the wedding.

 In lieu of a gift registry, we asked guests to make suggestions for us of their favourite spots in Europe, which we plan on doing for a few months next year as a belated honeymoon. Everyone went to so much effort to think of places/activities that they’d enjoyed in their lifetime, and we’ve marked these suggestions on a large map in our living room. Their suggestions have guided our travel route, and it’s nice to have this to look forward to.



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

Being engaged is so much fun! It’s such a joyous time as everyone wants to celebrate with you; we felt like we spent our entire engagement being wined and dined by friends and family. So our advice is to let people celebrate you!

And, if you can, stretch it out. Give yourselves enough time so that you can slowly plan a wedding but even more time to just enjoy being a fiancé/fiancée. Being engaged is just another adventure to enjoy together, so make sure it’s not just about planning a wedding.

 Photography: Coralee Stone | Videographer: Deerlight Media | Ceremony and Reception location: Mantells Mt Eden | Celebrant: Christina McKay | Bride’s gown: Lola Varma | Groom’s outfit: Working Style | Rings: and Grew and Co | Shoes: Mi Piaci and Overland | Jewellery: Bride’s earrings, egetal |  Pete’s socks: Happy Socks | Make-up: Bobbi Brown at Smith and Caughey’s | Hair: Dry and Tea | Pete’s shave set: Barkers Groom Room | Bridesmaid’s attire: Juliette Hogan | Groomsman’s attire: Working Style | Entertainment: Aaron Bloomfield | Flora: Ponatahi Peonies (bouquets and inside mantel piece arrangement)  and Leaf and Honey, Outside mantel piece arrangement | Food/beverage/catering: Mantells Mt Eden | Cake: Moustache Cookie and Milk Bar | Stationery: Rifle Paper and Co