Stephanie + George by Meredith Lord

We had so many fun times in the early stages of our relationship that I knew I wanted to continue this for the long term.

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

I work in Sales, and George works in Marketing, which means there is always a healthy debate over the dinner table when discussing anything work-related. We have a three-year-old golden retriever, AKA our fur child, who we love walking during the week and taking on adventures over the weekends. Family & friends are the core values we share, along with loving entertaining, so we always enjoy hosting our nearest and dearest cooking up a storm and sharing a drink or three. If we aren’t in the kitchen, you’ll find us outdoors, probably at the beach!

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

Originally, when we met, I was 10, and George was 12. George came up to play in a tennis tournament, and he & our mutual friend James stayed at my family home. Six years ago, our mutual friend James re-introduced us in a chance meeting one night at an Auckland bar. I remember being quickly charmed by George’s humour & good looks. And George said there was an instant attraction, our sense of humour was on par and then we danced the night away. The rest is history!

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

Very early on, I had a suspicion George would end up being the one. Cliché but we really clicked, his laid back & relaxed attitude balanced out my organised side. I, to this day, admire how open-minded George is and how willing he is to give anything a go; before we met, George wasn’t much for fishing or seafood. Now, his passion for all things boating has outgrown mine! I knew Steph was the one for me not long after we first moved in together. We had so many fun times in the early stages of our relationship that I knew I wanted to continue this for the long term. Her zest for life is contagious, combined with her caring and fun-loving nature, made the decision very easy.

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

I had a feeling it was coming up during the summer, on the trip, I thought it was going to happen I broke my collar, so after that, I thought it was off the cards for a month or two. The following week we went up to the Bay of Islands with our dog. George had been acting a little ‘off’ all morning, and that afternoon, over some wine in the sun, George popped the question! We went back to our accommodation to celebrate with our dog Shelby and some champagne. We had so much fun Facetiming and sharing the news with our families and good friends.

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

Even before we got engaged, we had always spoken about getting married in Hawkes Bay, where George grew up. We’ve made so many special memories of visiting the region over the past few years together. Because we both love hosting, we wanted the day to feel like an elevated version of this. Timeless, with a few fun details thrown in! We focused on the beauty of the surroundings with a few pops of colour added in. Ensuring our guests were well looked after (good food and great wine) was one of our top priorities. Along with having an awesome band to dance the night away to.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

The venue, we wanted somewhere in Hawkes Bay that had a beautiful backdrop and was a winery, but we were able to make it feel like our own. The Riverhouse ticked all the boxes and more, we loved having the different areas on the property to be able to style & move between for different elements of the day.

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

With the ceremony being held in the middle of the vines, we were very conscious of the impact the weather was going to have on the proceedings. With the forecast looking decidedly dicey, we ended up organising a backup Marquee to move to in case of rain. Of course, it was time for the wedding, the clouds parted, and we were able to get married under the beautiful Hawkes Bay sunshine, and the costly second Marquee was not needed. We should have known to trust in the superstitions we had been following, the most bizarre of which was cooking and planting a sausage in the garden the night before the big day, which appeared to have made the difference.

Later in the evening, we did end up having a stunning show of thunder and lightning during our speeches, which made the night even more special!

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

I wasn’t exactly sure going into my first fitting what I was after, I loved the idea of some drama for the ceremony but something that showed off my figure later in the evening. Vinka was able to dream this up. We combined a few of her different styles, a dramatic overskirt that was made from the most incredible silk dupion and underneath the most flattering evening slip with beautiful draping across the bust. The dress of my dreams! Finished with some special borrowed family jewellery and heirlooms.

George was happy to go with the flow when picking his outfit, he went with a classic black Tux paired with a bow tie to be a little different from his groomsmen.

CEREMONY + RECEPTION The River House, Havelock North, NZ, @theriverhouse_hb PHOTOGRAPHER Meredith Lord, @meredithlord STYLIST Bride, Flock Events, @flockevents PLANNER Flock Events, @flockevents FLORIST Botanical Lane, @botanical.lane CELEBRANT Sophie Hansen, @sophiethecelebrant ENTERTAINMENT Cocktail Hour: Wet Bandits,; RECEPTION: Stolen Records, @stolenrecords_nz FURNITURE Flock Events, @flockevents TABLEWARE Royal Laboratorie, @royallaboratorie DECOR Pretty Prop Shop, @theprettypropshop; Touch of Elegance, @elegance_nz; Tble Linen, @tble.linen.hire MARQUEE Flagship, @flagship_events CATERING Ortons, @ortonshawkesbay STATIONERY + SIGNAGE By one of my lovely Bridesmaids RINGS Louis the Goldsmith BRIDAL DRESS Vinka Design BRIDE’S SHOES Aere MAKEUP Josie Brenstrum, @josie_brenstrum_mua HAIR Debbie Pearce, @debbiepearcehair FRAGRANCE Gucci Bloom SUIT Barkers, @barkersclothing GROOM’S SHOES Barkers, @barkersclothing WATCH Giorgio Armani, @giorgioarmani BOW TIE Workshop FRAGRANCE Aesop: Hwyl BRIDESMAID HEELS Jo Mercer BRIDESMAID ACCESSORIES Cold Hearted GROOMSMEN SUIT + SHOES Barkers, @barkersclothing