Rhea + Richard by Bek Smith

The best times in my life have been with Rhea, as well as some of my worst, and I’ve always been so thankful to have her there with me.

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

Originally from the UK, we (Richard & Rhea) have called Wellington home for the last 6 years. Not long after we became a couple, we decided to buy a one-way ticket and travel the world; that’s how we ended up in New Zealand!

We now both work for the Government here in Wellington, in our spare time we love to travel and always have plans for our next trip, we have a long list we are working through. We have two little sausage dogs, Freddie & Rosie, who we adore and who keep us on our toes! We love to spend weekends checking out new foodie places, catching up with friends and hosting cheese and wine nights!

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

Rich – I can’t pinpoint a single moment, but it was certainly early on that I knew that Rhea was special. There is just something about her that makes me feel like I can do anything. The best times in my life have been with Rhea, as well as some of my worst, and I’ve always been so thankful to have her there with me.

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

Rhea – Three years ago, we were on a trip to Rarotonga with friends; at the end of the holiday, we flew off to Aitutaki to spend a few days just the two of us. Rich had organised with the hotel a surprise dinner on the beach that evening, surrounded by candles and rose petals. He was acting so strangely and minutes before we were due to leave, he started helping me into my outfit to get me out the door quicker, he knows time keeping isn’t my strength! Once we walked out of the beach villa and reached the table, I remember thinking this was elaborate just for a holiday dinner… but once we had sat down and he started shifting his chair back to get enough room to get down on one knee, the penny dropped. The setting was perfect, and I loved that it was just the two of us. We spent the rest of the holiday in a newly engaged bubble. It was lovely. 

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

Thankfully, we had Haus of Heras help to style the wedding, and she was able to create a mood board from inspiration I had sent her; every detail was infused with love and dedication. We wanted to create a style that was chic & timeless but fun and that would compliment the venue and beautiful surroundings at The Winehouse. We wanted to create the feel of an elegant garden-style party for 80 of our closest family and friends with beautiful details, fabrics and lush florals, turning into an epic party in the evening, with a photobooth, disco balls and espresso martinis on the dance floor. We wanted the guests to have the best day, filled with great food, drink and music.

We entered the reception to Nigel, our sax player, who had everyone up singing and dancing to ABBA – Dancing Queen; the energy was unmatched. Our band was also incredible, and the dance floor was packed all evening, the whole day was perfect, and we loved every minute of it!

We knew we would want an ‘afterparty’, so we decided to hire Sundeck in Queenstown to continue the celebrations the following day; we hired Saxy Lady, who was brilliant on the sax and got the party in full swing with Postman, the DJ. Sundeck is an amazing venue which looks out onto the Queenstown lakes, the sun was shining and the pizza and drinks we’re being passed round, it was the perfect relaxed day we were hoping for.

We didn’t want the weekend to end!

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

Florals & photography were the two main elements we wanted to splurge on, I absolutely love flowers and their visual impact, we wanted them to be a main focal point of the wedding. We wanted our guests to feel like they were surrounded by flowers throughout the day. I first discovered Fontana Florals on Instagram, and I was in awe of her work (she is absolutely incredible); I knew she would create something beautiful for us- our wedding was the first she had done in New Zealand, so it was even more special. Photography was also super important to us, as we wanted to look back at the beautiful documentation of such a special moment. Bek Smith is incredible at capturing raw emotion and candid moments.

Having guidance and help along the way from a wedding stylist/planner was also so worth it for us; we knew Christie (House of Hera) would make everything look effortlessly beautiful and would take any stress away from us worrying about the styling on the day.

If you asked Rich, he would say everything was a splurge!

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

It was raining the morning of the wedding. After days and days of beautiful weather in Queenstown, waking up to rain pouring down the windows was absolutely gutting. Especially considering the ceremony was planned for outdoors, and I struggled to see the vision of that being moved indoors. Just knowing the flow of the day wouldn’t have worked as well with the ceremony and cocktail hour being inside. I had a call from Christie (Haus of Hera), asking if we wanted her to buy clear umbrellas so guests would stay dry if we still wanted to have the ceremony outside. I asked her to hold off for an hour or so as I still had hope we wouldn’t need them; in the meantime, everything was being set up in the rain! Shortly after, the skies cleared and the sun was shining, it turned out to be the perfect weather, the sun was out the full afternoon. I can look back now and laugh, but at the time, I remember praying to the weather gods!

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

When we first got engaged, I was a typical Pinterest bride-to-be; the first wedding dress I pinned on my mood board was a dress from Berta.

I tried on numerous gowns in New Zealand but none of them felt like ‘the one’, and I always had the Pinterest Berta dress at the back of my mind, almost comparing every dress I was trying on to that one. As Berta didn’t have any NZ stockists, I decided to take a risk and purchase the dress from Berta without trying it on and have it flown over to New Zealand from New York. The duration it took to ship over to me was pretty nail biting but luckily when it arrived it was perfect and was everything I dreamt it would be.

I knew I wanted a second dress, something that would be easier to dance in and a little more sleek, I was originally going to purchase a short dress, but I figured your wedding day is the only day you are able to wear two long wedding dresses, that’s when I found the Lucia dress by Kyha Studios. I loved that it was the complete opposite of my first dress for a very different second look, and I paired that with my mother-in-law’s diamond earrings as something borrowed.

Rich and the groomsmen they wanted a timeless and formal look, so decided on black made-to-measure suits from Rembrandt.

LOCATION Winehouse, Gibbston Valley, Queenstown, New Zealand, @winehousenz PHOTOGRAPHER Bek Smith, @beksmithimages FLORIST Fontana Floral, @fontanafloral PLANNER & STYLING Haus of Hera, @hausofhera__ CELEBRANT Philippa Thomas, @weddingcelebrantnz CATERING In2Food, @in2foodcateringnz CAKE Sophie Roseanna Cakes, @sophieroseannacakes STATIONERY Paper/Paper, @paperpaper.co ENGAGEMENT RING Partridge Jewellers, @partridgejewellers WEDDING RINGS Culet Jewellery, @culetjewellery CEREMONY DRESS Berta, @berta RECEPTION DRESS Kyha Studios, @kyhastudios BRIDE’S SHOE Loeffler Randall, @loefflerrandall ACCESSORIES Earrings & Locket: Walker & Hall, @walkerandhall MAKEUP Olivia Jane Jenner, @olivia.jane.jenner HAIR Tina Andrews, @hairtowedbytina BRIDE’S FRAGRANCE Maison Francis Kurkdjian – Baccarat Rouge 540 SUIT & SHOES Rembrandt Menswear, @rembrandt1946 GROOM’S FRAGRANCE Chanel – Allure BRIDESMAID DRESS Shona Joy, @shonajoy GROOMSMEN SUIT Rembrandt Menswear, @rembrandt1946