On a beautiful summer day, Denika and Billy vowed to spend the rest of their lives together surrounded by loved ones and the splendid scenery at Stoneridge Estate. Laughter, love and happiness were the emotions of the day and they can be seen from the gorgeous photos of the newly married couple.
Denika sparkled in Taylor Lynette by Maggie Sottero, a shimmering ball gown with a delicate beading over intricate lace motifs. The sparkle tulle skirt is the definition of a dreamy and the combination of glittery skirt and sunlight is a glimmering masterpiece, perfect for photo opportunities. She also paired her gown with our Swarovski crystal vine, adding an extra dash of shimmer to complete her look.
There are so many beautiful images to scroll through, so enjoy!
What was it that made this particular wedding dress catch your eye and fall in love?
Sparkles! I'm like a magpie. Anything with sparkles and I'm drawn to it! I also loved the idea of wearing a soft blush colour as I had chosen my bridesmaids to wear white.
Tell us about your search for the dress and the experience at Astra Bridal.
I searched online for a long time before I tried any dresses and decided on a dress that I loved. I thought I better try some on to get an idea of what I like and how they feel. Astra Bridal was the first place I visited with the dress in mind when I booked an appointment. The ladies were so welcoming and made me feel absolutely at home. Ilyese already had the dress I loved ready as it was in my wish list. It was the first dress I tried and I knew I loved it, but it was in blue and I really had wanted to see it in blush. I tried a few others before going away to have a think. I went to a couple of other stores and couldn't get the first dress off my mind. I went back to Ilyese and asked if I could try her again. She was so helpful and kind and understanding. She knew that it had to be absolutely perfect and I was worried about whether it would be as perfect in the blush colour I wanted. With Ilyese's reassurance, I took the plunge and ordered her. 5 months later she arrived and was everything I hoped she would be. Ilyese held onto the dress for me and kept her safe as I went back and forth for fittings. There were phone calls on the verge of tears at one point and Ilyese calmed me down and fixed all the problems, reassuring me each time. If the wedding wasn't in Queenstown I would've absolutely had her there on my big day!! I recommend every bride work with the wonderful ladies at Astra, they are exceptional at what they do.
Tell us your story, how you both met, and the proposal.
The first time we sat across from each other in a meeting room in Toronto, Canada. We each had absolutely no idea that the person we were sitting across from that day would change our life. The only reason we noticed each other for that brief second was because we both were staring longingly at the same box of donuts. We each went on our way, taking photos around the city, sometimes in the same spot at the exact same time. Completely unaware of each other. I flew back to NZ for 6 months before returning to Canada for a summer in the Rocky mountains. Here, we met for what we thought was the very first time. We started the same job at the same gift store on the same day not realising that we had already sat in the same room and stared at that same box of donuts 6 months earlier and three and a half thousand kilometers away.
Fast forward 3 years, we have lived in 3 different countries, traveled the world together and Billy decided it was time to wife me up. He knows how much I love to travel and explore, so he gifted me a trip to Taupo with a glamping experience and helicopter ride for Christmas. I was none the wiser as I figured he just really wanted to spoil me! (Later I found out the only way he could put me off the scent was to gift it as a present). We went on a fantastic helicopter ride around Mt Ruapehu, over the Tongariro Crossing and landed on the top of the Kaimanawa Ranges. Here, he popped the question with a custom made engagement ring (with the center diamond from my great gran's engagement ring). We celebrated with a bottle of champagne before flying back to town. Here, he took me out for dinner which actually turned out to be all my close friends surprising me. He'd organized and paid for them all to come down and celebrate with us! It was the perfect weekend.
What was your favourite part of the day?
It's hard to choose a favorite part of the day but I absolutely loved the first look! We decided that we wanted the first moment we saw each other to be private and a memory we share with just the two of us. It also gave us a chance to share some time together before the ceremony.
Tell us about your wedding day as a whole.
The morning was perfect. Billy and I had chosen a late afternoon ceremony so we could have as much time together on the day as possible. We chose to spend the night before together and wake up together on the morning of the wedding. We had a lovely breakfast overlooking the mountains and talking about the upcoming day. Then the clouds starting rolling in and the rain started drizzling. I chose not to let it dampen my mood though. Unfortunately, our photographer was sick and cancelled around 10am so a few tears were shed there! Billy had to leave and head for a pampering at the barbers with his groomsmen, so my wonderful bridesmaids were left to cheer me up.
We had lots of laughs and got ready before Billy arrived back for our first look. We had the perfect moment (albeit in the rain! but I hear that's good luck!) Then we met up with the rest of our bridal party for photos before the ceremony. The rest of the time before the ceremony was a blur of hair and makeup fix ups, and rushing around. I hoped the sun would be shining when I walked down the aisle, so my dress would sparkle, but the sky was looking rather grey.
Just as the music started, the sun came out of hiding and absolutely lit up my dress. The ceremony was full of laughter and personalized vows. Billy's favourite chocolate ever are peanut M&Ms, so I had discretely hid a red rose ring box inside my bouquet (with one peanut M&M inside it) and pulled it out just as the celebrant said the line "Denika's favourite thing about you is the way your face lights up at the sight of a single peanut M&M" He loved it and of course he ate it!
We had a gorgeous cocktail hour with lots of yummy canapes, and chose to stay and enjoy it with our guests rather than be away having photos. The reception room was like a fairytale. We had a sweetheart table nestled in front of the big gothic window with our delicious cake siting up behind us as a feature! I organized a few little surprises for Billy on the day including a custom made bobble head of the two of us which he had been dying to get! And his very own grooms cake as he's not a fan of buttercream.
After dinner and speeches we cut the cake, which was served alongside bite size desserts. We had our first dance as a married couple followed by lots of dancing and drinking the night away.
Finally, what is your biggest piece of advice for brides to be?
Make sure your wedding is about what you want - not what everyone else wants or what tradition dictates. Make your day about you! If you want to get ready with your partner - do it! If you want to have snack food instead of a meal - go for it! Make your wedding a reflection of who you both are and what you love.