Surrounded by the gorgeous greenery at Tawharanui Lodge, Courtenay and Edmund promised to spend the rest of their lives together under a tall willowy tree and surrounded by their loved ones. Photos of the day showcase the couple's happiness, excitement and sunny smiles.
Courtenay glowed in -Marley- by Jenny Yoo, a modern fit and flare crepe dress with a chic V neckline. The open back and soft chiffon knot detail that cascades into a flowy train adds a whisper of romance to this dreamy gown. She also weaved a delicate pearl headband into her hair, a touch of shimmer that flawlessly completes her look.
We hope you enjoy scrolling through their special day as much as we did!
What was it that made this particular wedding dress catch your eye and fall in love?
I was looking for something fairly simple - a bit minimal but with an extra special something, and a dress I could move myself around in, dance, and enjoy myself on the day. Marley ticked all those boxes - such a gorgeous silhouette, fit like an absolute dream, the fabric felt amazing, and it was fitted but still so easy to move around in. I felt like me but dressed up, rather than someone playing dress-up, if that makes sense, and I really wanted to feel like myself on the big day. It also felt like a great fit for the venue, which was outdoors, and so across the board it was perfect!
Tell us about your search for the dress and the experience at Astra Bridal.
From start to finish, I loved it! The team were able to squeeze me in much quicker than expected (I was looking for a weekend appointment and they got me in right away on a cancellation!). It was Covid-times and my mum and bridal party were overseas, so I was flying solo. Ilyese was so sweet and supportive, it was like having one of my best girlfriends at the apartment. I had some ideas about what I wanted (I'd had a Pinterest board of dresses FOREVER), but was really open to anything. I tried on a lot and honestly would have been happy with any dress, but when I tried on Marley I knew it was the one. For fun, Ilyese pulled another dress - a gorgeous sequin dress in a really simple style - and I almost had second thoughts, but knew Marley was the one. Still, she was really kind and squeezed me in for another appointment so I could show my future sister-in-law the dress in person before making it official. After picking the dress, Ilyese and the team were great about keeping in touch with updates and recommended a fantastic woman for alterations for a few final adjustments when the dress was ready.
Tell us your story, how you both met, and the proposal.
We met through friends in Vancouver, and as those friends (mostly Aussies) started moving back overseas and the group whittled down a bit, we started spending more time together. After a particularly eventful and entertaining trip to Vegas, I talked Ed into a first date (public consultation meeting on Vancouver House, followed by Thai food), and we never looked back!
After about eight years of incredible trips and big milestones, but no proposal, Ed gave me quite the shock at the finish line of the Queenstown Marathon! While I was running 42.2k (over very hilly terrain), he was practising his lunges so he wasn't the one who pulled a hammy! (We were really lucky that some lovely locals captured the moment and shared the photos with us.)
Over the next couple days we had a lot of great moments to celebrate together - an incredible dinner at Sherwood Queenstown, a visit to Onsen hot pools, a day-cruise in MIlford Sound, and a helicopter ride into the Remarkables. (Clearly he saved up eight years of romantic gestures!)
What was your favourite part of the day?
I had a couple - to start the day, just relaxing and having a great morning getting ready with my amazing Maid of Honour (Amy) and Bridesmaid (Megan) - both of them make me laugh harder than almost anyone else, and we had such a great time that I wasn't stressed about how things would go at all! They both live back in Canada and I hadn't seen either of them in about four years, so it was great to get to spend SO much time with them. It was also great to sneak off with Ed (and our photographer, Lionel) for a bit after the ceremony to get some photos, since it gave a bit of time for it to sink in. And then the speeches! We had other guests ask if we hired professional speakers to talk, but we're just really lucky to have such amazing and eloquent friends and family - definitely a highlight!
Tell us about your wedding day as a whole.
Our big day started the night before with a casual rehearsal dinner for all the overseas/out-of-town crew we hadn't seen in a while. We were SO lucky with the weather, nice and warm but not too hot. We stayed at the venue so it felt a bit like sleepaway camp - we all chatted over breakfast and us girls got ready on-site while the boys snuck off to the Matakana Market for some oysters and food before suiting up. It was really relaxing to have Naeema come to us for hair and makeup. Once we were all ready, we did a first look, and then photos with the bridal party.
The ceremony started with Jasper & Jane Hawkins playing live for the processional, and I was already tearing up before I made it to the altar! Rebekah (our celebrant) wrote our ceremony just for us, and it was the perfect. We wrote our own vows, and since Ed isn't always the most expressive it was incredible to hear his vows! We had people laughing and crying through the whole ceremony.
Afterwards we did some family/friends photos during cocktail hour, while delicious canapes were served, Jasper & Jane played a live set, and the lawn games were out for everyone to enjoy. Ed and I snuck over the road to a little secluded beach for some photos and a bit of time to ourselves.
Dinner was delicious - Jo & Karl at Tawharanui Lodge served up an incredible feast and it all looked and tasted SO good.
The speeches after dinner were a definite highlight. The last speech was my dad's, which led into our father-daughter dance. Ed & I then cut the cake and had our first dance. He's not a big dancer, but I somehow talked him into online lessons and we danced to the Toploader cover of "Dancing in the Moonlight". The rest of the night was just a blur of dancing and partying. We sent everyone away on the shuttles, and then stayed up with the bridal party that were staying at the venue for a little longer, and then called it a night!
Finally, what is your biggest piece of advice for brides to be?
I think making sure that your partner is also involved and making the whole process fun for the two of you! We turned cake tasting into a little date afternoon, venue visits as excuses for days out or weekends away, and organised hikes or market visits when we were up in Matakana for meetings at our venue once we'd chosen it. Basically, we turned all kinds of wedding planning "tasks" into more fun occasions, and it was such an enjoyable process overall. We also played to each others' strengths; Ed's an engineer and great with logistics, so he made the shuttle arrangements and fine-tuned the groupings and routes for pick ups. Working together on things really made it feel like "our" wedding, and not just the party I planned and Ed got plunked in the middle of, so it was a special day we were both really happy with and gave us some new challenges that we worked together on and connected over!