Sophie + Henry by Brijana Cato Weddings

For our first date Hen dragged me away from the library and took me for a flight around Dunedin and the Otago coast in a Cesna followed by lunch. It set the bar pretty high! 

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

SJ: We enjoy a lot of the same things: friends, food, travel. We try to make the most of what we have and the time we have together, after a turbulent few years of covid with my at the time working at a busy Auckland Emergency Department and Henry being grounded and needing to find temporary work. Now things are more settled with Hen flying the Tasman for Qantas and I’m the Lead Nurse at a local GP Practice. Lover of summers at the beach, BBQs with friends and rumbos!

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

SJ: We met through a mutual friend in Dunedin whilst I was studying. Initially during a casual game of volleyball and a few BBQs. But didn’t really connect until a few years later when Henry returned to Dunedin after getting his pilot license in Nelson. For our first date Hen dragged me away from the library and took me for a flight around Dunedin and the Otago coast in a Cesna followed by lunch. It set the bar pretty high! 

HT: First impression… pretty good at volleyball! 

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

SJ: I think when my studies wrapped up and was moving back to Auckland I knew I really wanted Hen to stay in my life. We had been dating just under a year. We did long distance for a while whilst Henry was flying for Stewart Island Flights until he got an airline job and moved to Auckland thank goodness! 

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

SJ: Hen really took me by surprise. It was a relaxed Wednesday after work where he went down on one knee and proposed. I was shaking like a leaf and cried. He had flowers, a stacked cheeseboard and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and we went to Baduzzi to celebrate. 

HT: I had had the ring for a while after making it with the Diamond Shop. But just couldn’t find the right moment. So decided to just do it in our home, keeping it intimate but relaxed. 

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

SJ: We really wanted to find a venue around Omaha, which has been a special place for us and the family for a number of years. Songbird was a new venue which emerged after Covid, and we fell in love with it instantly. I was never necessarily set on a marquee wedding, but as soon as I saw the venue I could see it all planned out in my head, with a relaxed lounging area amongst the beautiful gardens and the clear marquee the main lawn. I also wanted to keep the vendors as local as possible, so Bri was the perfect choice for our photographer. Not only had I followed her work for a long time, but she is a local to the area so knew some great spots for the bridal shoot!

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

SJ: Food is pretty important to us. Little Wolf were awesome to work with. The tasting night they run is a fun way to try the options. And the staff were amazing. It started raining pretty heavily during dinner but they were champions running from the catering tent to our marquee.

HT: The band was also a key part. We heard Lee play initially in a duo at our local brewery Little Creatures, enjoyed his voice and looked him up. He put together a 3 man band and every danced the night away. Would highly recommend. 

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

HT: My best man thought he was being hilarious and pretended to have forgotten the rings during the big moment in the ceremony. To be fair we were getting married on April Fools day so had to expect something from him.

SJ: Henry also ripped his shirt before the wedding even started which sounded stressful at the time but he laughs about it now. He was standing on a stool trying to get the marquee cover off and fell off the stool, nearly taking out the bar with him! Thanks goodness he was ok.

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

SJ: Two of my uncles owned a menswear shop in Kerikeri, so they measured Hen up and got a suit ordered which was pretty special. I looked around at a few designers finding my dress, but really fell in love with Meg’s designs at Kenny & Harlow. The stretch silk was a dream to wear. Meg was hilarious and honest which I loved. Going from measurements to the calico mock up to the final dress was a fun experience with her. In terms of the bridesmaids, it was always going to be Marle! My sister and I have been big fans since day one with our family connection to Marle. So that was really special to have the girls in a dress that they will re wear time and time again. 

Ceremony and reception location: Songbird Retreat, @songbirdretreat / Photographer: Brijana Cato, @brijanacatoweddings / Entertainment: Lee Gray Music, @leegraymusic / Marquee and Hire: LL Hire, @llhire / Flora: Miss Botanicals, @missbotanicalsfloral / Catering: Little Wolf, @littlewolfbite / Cake: Lunchroom Onehunga, @lunchroom.onehunga / Stationery: The Signery, @thesignerynz / Brides Gown: Kenny & Harlow, @kennyandharlowbridal / Grooms attire: Barkers, @barkersclothing and Savile Row Co / Rings: The Diamond Shop, @thediamondshop / Brides Shoes: Merchant, @merchant1948 / Grooms Shoes: Crane Brothers, @cranebrothers / Earrings: Lola Knight, @lolaknightofficial / Makeup: Pure Makeup, @puremakeupartistnz / Hair: Patrice McNee, @blush_me_beautiful / Brides Fragrance: Coco by Chanel, @chanelofficial / Grooms Fragrance: Who Is Elijah, @whoiselijahparfum / Bridesmaids: Marle, @__marle / Bridesmaid earrings: EEG Jewels, @eeg.jewels / Groomsmen Attire: Rembrandt, @rembrandt1946