Frances and Richard got married at Waikopou, one of Waiheke Island’s most exclusive venues. For the bride, getting married on the island was a given since it has been her home for most of her life. However rather than choosing one of the many vineyards that most couples utilise for their weddings, they searched for a beautiful home that would accommodate their numbers. Waikopou, with it’s extensive decking and million dollar views offered them everything they wanted. After the ceremony overlooking the water, they held a cocktail style reception where guests could informally sit wherever they liked – most choosing to linger around the property’s stunning infinity pool. Waiheke based photographer EMMA HUGHES spent the day with the gorgeous couple documenting all their special moments.
HOW DID YOU MEET? We met in business school when Richard stumbled into our postgraduate class a week late. He is quite a clever cookie and usually only ever turned up for exams. He must have felt sheepish when he realised a week in he needed group participation to pass this one. I saw a lost looking soul that I quite liked the look of and invited him into our group. We didn’t start properly connecting until we discovered a shared passion for food and wine towards the end of our course, during a group study session I had brought some boutique wine to.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL? It was Christmas Eve and we had both been working hard. We took the boat over to my parents’ house on Waiheke Island. He fell asleep on the ferry so one could hardly say he was nervous! We stopped by my parent’s home to drop off our bags and he asked my father’s permission while I was upstairs. He suggested a walk on the beach (very unlike him) so I was very happy to oblige. We walked along Onetangi beach and because of the stormy weather there was hardly a soul around. He proposed under one of my favourite Pohutakawas trees with a swing that has been there since my childhood. We went back to celebrate with my family and then my close friends who only make the pilgrimage back home from around the world at that time of the year.
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: I always knew it was going to be simple as I was never a tulle, sequins and veil kind of girl. I didn’t want to spend time trying on store dresses as I used to run past several on the way home from work every day and knew those styles were not for me. One of my bridesmaids recommended her friend Sarah whom she met doing a bachelor of fashion design (my friend has always done menswear). Sarah had done a few dresses for friends and had wanted to start her own bridal boutique. I gave her the pictures of the ideas I wanted (low back, long and a touch of lace with cap sleeves) and she sketched up a gorgeous design and created it using high quality silk and lace.
FAVOURITE DETAILS OF THE DAY: Dad had spent a lot of effort setting up gold floating lanterns with fishing wire and sinkers so they wouldn’t float off down the infinity pool. They looked excellent. Also my 3- tier cheese wheel “cake” – something I was dead set on doing since I was about 14. Neither Richard or myself are fans of cake, and it doubled as both a cake, desert and snacks for weeks to come afterwards.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? The entire day but the ceremony was my favourite. Dad had a bad couple of years with his health – first cancer and then two heart attacks – so I was incredibly grateful to have had him there to walk me down the aisle. It had been very hot and muggy night before so I got very little sleep. When the aisle song – XX angels – started playing I became quite emotional. Seeing all our friends and family in one place was overwhelmingly beautiful. Our celebrant was Richard’s mum who became registered for us – and we read our own vows. Towards the end there was a little sprinkle of rain which I considered good luck then the sun shone strong for the rest of the day. We had done our photos before the ceremony so we didn’t have to run away for hours, and could enjoy spending time with everyone.
ANY OTHER DETAILS THAT HELP TELL THE STORY OF YOUR DAY: We wanted to make the most of our time with everyone so had our photos before the ceremony. Emma captured a photo just after our “first look” where Richards looking misty eyed. He’s a typical kiwi bloke who doesn’t get emotional often so it’s an extra special moment for me. We then got a chance to take photos under the tree on the beach we got engaged at before moving on to other locations. That wouldn’t have been possible if we had photos after the ceremony as the venue was so far away.
It wasn’t until the day after the ceremony that I was told our wedding certificate went for a swim in the pool after a gust of wind picked it up. Everyone kept me distracted talking so I wouldn’t see, but there are some hilarious photos of people in suits using chairs as paddles trying to get the certificate to float towards them. It’s a bit worse for wear but still legal.