Where to start with this utterly gorgeous wedding from the lovely Larissa from Fineline Photography - who really has knocked it out of the park. Mind with such gorgeous subjects and a stunning venue she had some pretty fine material to play with!! It’s not often I share the full proposal story but this one – as told by the handsome groom Hone – is one worth reading. It’s so incredibly thoughtful and touching, Mandy his beautiful bride is one lucky gal!
“Mandy had mentioned a few times that “if she were to get engaged”, she would love her grandmothers engagement ring. I thought this would be a good idea but wanted something from my own family too. So I grabbed my brother and a future groomsman, and flew home from Hong Kong to the Arahura, a sacred river in the South Island of New Zealand, where pounamu (greenstone) is formed and found in the wild. Pounamu is rare in New Zealand, and they say, “you don’t find it, it finds you.” We firstly visited the guardian of the river, a 70-year-old woman, to ask for her blessing, and fortunately, she gave it to us – even though there is very little pounamu left. After three days of hiking up into the mountains to the source of the river, we had no luck and were cold and very dejected. The local guardian of the river came to help, prayed for us and guided us on the lower echelons of the river – ultimately discovering the piece. Her husband then cut it into pieces, and I brought it back to Hong Kong where a piece was then forged into a silver necklace, with other pieces claimed on the journey set aside for their children. I had documented the entire process on video and made a video for Mandy. I then proposed to her at a Ball in Hong Kong – in a private room – but with her friends aware and waiting in the wings to come and celebrate.”
For Mandy & Hone the inspiration behind their wedding was simple; ”having the people we love together for three days on one site.” They chose to hold their wedding at Lacewood, an old estate in Martinborough, a famous wine region, an hour north of Hone’s hometown of Wellington in New Zealand. Lacewood had a noble history of an ancient bond between the indigenous Maori (of which Hone is) and the Scottish settlers who arrived in New Zealand in the mid 1800s (Hone’s mother was born and raised in Scotland). To this day, it is the only private estate where a Maori chief and a European settler are buried side by side. The original barn still exists, and the new owners gutted it, transforming it into a rustic venue for 200 guests.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: My dress was picked from trying just seven on. I have always admired Jenny Packham and her beautiful designs. When trying on dresses with my mum and sister in Sydney I tried on a few and felt uncomfortable. I then tried on two of Jenny Packhams and could have worn either. Her dresses are elegant yet comfortable. I am not a traditional girl so this dresses suited me!
Favourite detail of the day: We searched for weeks to find a picture of each of our guests with us at some stage of our lives – whether it be as babies together, birthdays, school photos, rugby field – the more dated and intimate the better. We then printed out the photos and wrote on each of them – describing how they have influenced our lives. These were placed at their place settings for them to encounter as they sat down. With 180 guests, we envisioned it to be a daunting task, but it was a pleasure to revisit relationships and reacquaint ourselves with old friends and family.
What advise would you give out to a couple planning their wedding? Nothing can go wrong. Rain, wrong dress, drunk guests – none of this matters. The love that exudes from your guests overcomes anything that you think maybe wrong. Little things on our day definitely didn’t go to plan but nobody notices – not even us. Also – get a wedding planner! Our planner, Paula Bevege, was nothing short of a miracle worker who put us at absolute ease at every turn.
Most memorable moment? The speeches. It is when it dawned on us how much we were loved, and how we were both supported by the right people on both sides. We laughed and cried the whole way through them – with standing ovations and a haka for good measure!
Anything other details that help tell the story of your day: We had our Kapa Haka group (a Maori performing arts group) in Hong Kong fly with us to NZ and sing all of our guests into their seats – as the guests sit down and see the photos that we have printed out for them. The Kapa Haka group is an extension of our family here in Hong Kong, and Mandy and I sang Maori songs with them after all five speakers. Our last song, a song about love being the water of eternal life, was when time literally stood still.