Shannon + Nick by Alpine Image Company

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

Nick: Shannan and I met in our early twenties and right away we felt something with each other that we’d never experienced with anyone before. I felt immediately drawn to her and she still gives me butterflies when I see her. She’s so beautiful and funny but also very cheeky and it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, it’s always fun. 

Shannan: Nick is my first and only love. I’m surprised I felt so comfortable around him right away, because I was always very guarded and careful with relationships. Nick broke down all my emotional walls and loves me just as I am. I love his kindness and generosity. He always makes me laugh and reminds me to be more spontaneous and adventurous.

Shannan and her brother Alex Makauskas co-founded the luxury vintage store Designer Archives eight years ago in Brisbane City, QLD Australia. Nick is a jack of all trades, he works as a retained firefighter, surf lifesaver, graphic designer and personal trainer. 

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…

Our ceremony was held in the afternoon at Thurlby Domain which is located between Queenstown and Arrowtown. This Heritage listed property is awe-inspiring. You enter the property through old iron gates onto a wilding, pine tree lined driveway which opens to the ruins of a schist castle homestead built in the 1800’s. Surrounded by established trees and a bubbling stream, the calls of native bird song surround you and wild daisies grow scattered throughout the grounds. We exchanged vowels in front of the romantic stone ruins on the last day of Spring. It had been raining every day in Queenstown and it felt like the sky parted just for us.

The natural beauty of our ceremony location was well suited to a wild, overgrown arch of climbing white garden roses, snapdragons and gypsophila. I loved the clusters of flowers at the start of the aisle which looked like they had grown from the ground beneath them. We went with Ghost Louis Chairs for the ceremony to add a contemporary element to the rustic garden. My favourite detail was the flower garland draped over the back of the vintage Triumph Spitfire convertible we drove on the day, it made for the most beautiful picture. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

My wedding dress was from Muse by Berta’s 2018 Sicily Collection. I fell in love with the detailed pearl and crystal embroidery, and the chiffon detail at the waist. I decided to go with a minimalist chapel length veil that would fall to the floor throughout the ceremony but still be light enough to catch the wind in our mountain top photos. I chose the Audrey Veil by Tania Maras because its single layer and simplicity allowed my wedding gown to take centre stage. I paired these with the Rosalind Bridal Sandals by Sophia Webster. These shoes are particularly fun because they feature the words ‘Wifey for Life’ in blue on the soles. Nick kept with our traditional theme, wearing a classic black tuxedo by Calibre and a simple buttonhole of white garden rose, gypsophila and green foliage.

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

I love event styling and setting the table for special occasions at home so I still wanted to feel like I helped set up our special day in some small way. In the morning I accepted the furniture delivery from One Fine Day at Thurlby Domain with my brother and his partner and together we set up the ceremony chairs, aisle and lounge suite. It seems like a strange thing to do for a bride on her wedding day but it was so nice to be able to see the setting beforehand so I had time to take it all in. When I walked down the aisle during the ceremony the surrounds were all a blur, so I feel grateful I was able to admire all the small details and work that Boutique Weddings and the Flower Room Queenstown put into our ceremony. 

Our celebrant, Charlotte Winkel from Your Big Day, really personalised our ceremony. She rekindled memories of our backstory and even gave special mention to our spoilt Pomeranian ‘Raja’ who sadly couldn’t join us for our family elopement abroad. It was a really funny and heart-warming way to start our vowels and she relieved any nerves we had. 

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

I was amazed by the amount of work that goes into this small but momentous day. I recommend enjoying the whole planning process and putting as much care and thought into the details as you can. The day itself goes by so quick compared to the time you spend planning it! Months after the wedding I realised how important the selection of your photographer is, because having those photos to look back on is what really forms your memory of the day. I’m so grateful to Nat Symonds from Apline Image Photography for capturing each moment in an authentic and unique way. 

Ceremony location: Thurlby Domain | Reception location: The Library room at Hotel St Moritz | Photographer: Alpine Image Company | Celebrant: Charlotte Winkel from Your Big Day | Planner: Sera Bowden from Boutique Weddings New Zealand | Ceremony Hire: One Fine Day | Reception Hire: The Dinner Table | Flora: The Flower Room | Cake: Cherry Blossom Cakes | Welcome Sign: BelleBoard Design | Wedding Car: 1962 Triumph Spitfire Convertible from Phils Rentals | Bride’s Dress: Muse by Berta | Bride’s Veil and Floral Hair Piece: Tania Maras | Groom’s Attire: Calibre | Rings: Designer Archives | Bride’s Shoes: Sophia Webster | Groom’s Shoes: Prada | Makeup: Juliet Henry at J.E.T Makeup Artist | Hair: Tina Andrews from Hair to Wed | Bride’s Fragrance: BYREDO