Mindy & Pete

New Zealand doesn’t get enough air time on Polka Dot Bride and my gosh does the country put on some amazing weddings! Mindy and Pete’s celebration is utterly romantic and such a joy to pour over.

How did they meet? Mindy remarks, “We both wrote our own versions of the ‘how we met’ story for our minister, and I always think the boy’s version is cuter somehow, so here is Pete’s: After a brief stint in the Navy (18 months) I headed down to Otago [NZ] to begin my Bachelor of Surveying. Being slightly older than the normal school leavers at the halls I decided to spend my first year of university on the notorious Castle Street.

If you are unfamiliar with this street it is a must for anyone who heads to Otago. Basically a cult student party street; the nicer flats on the left hand side were generally reserved for females while the dirtier, run down places on the right were left for the lads; great times had by all. The first time I met Mindy: I was flatting with an old friend I went to college with who had been in the hall of residence [with Mindy] the previous year; it was my first week in Dunedin so he was taking me down to the pub for a few beers when we stopped off at ‘the girls flat’. It was on the porch of 668 castle street that I first laid eyes on my bride to be!! However, having a boyfriend at the time meant I had to keep my distance. After becoming good friends with the girls down the road I became a constant couch surfer as their house was much nicer/warmer than ours.

I can’t remember exactly but it must have been around a month or so later Mindy broke up with her boyfriend due to mutual differences, much to my liking!! It was over the next couple of months that my friendship with Mindy really grew into something more. I remember talking to my brother Steve at a family wedding and letting him know about this blonde girl I had my eye on, ‘she’s way out of my league but its worth a shot’. We would have weekly ‘catch ups’ every Tuesday night at the local pub even though I would see her everyday. It was at these weekly dates where that friendship really began to grow into a deeper love for Mindy.”

Sutherland Kovach Studio captured today’s gorgeous photographs- full of romance and showcasing plenty of New Zealand’s splendour.

Leaf & Honey created the floral arrangements for the day, Mindy telling, “Our florist Naomi of Leaf and Honey was lovely to work with, and so genuinely excited for us on our big day!”

Anna Schimmel made Mindy’s gown, Mindy explains, “My gorgeous dress was made by Anna Schimmel, and I wish I could wear it every other weekend. She was fantastic to work with and really is a very talented lady.”

Natasha Radonich styled the bride and bridesmaid’s hair. Mindy remarking, “Our hairdresser Natasha Radonich was the most wonderful person to have with us girls on the morning of the wedding. Not only was she fun, but every one of us were stoked with what she did for our hair and felt beautiful all day.”


Epsom Presbyterian Church was chosen as the ceremony location .”The ceremony was held at Epsom Presbyterian Church in Auckland, a beautiful building over 100 years old, complete with a pipe organ and bell tower. The location was perfect and we fell in love with the pictures, and that was all before we realised that my parents knew the minister! We used the organ for both the procession and recession, and the bell tower rang as we greeted our guests outside after the ceremony.”


Melinda tells of her walk down the aisle. “I walked down the aisle to “How do you solve a problem like Maria” (or as Pete says, Melinda) from the Sound of Music, the same wedding procession as the movie itself – on the church’s fabulous pipe organ.”


Mindy remembers, “In the weeks leading up to the wedding, Pete kept teasing me, saying that when it came to the first kiss, he’d asked the minister to say after the vows ‘You may now high-five your bride’. Despite the nerves on the day, after we’d had the kiss I offered him a high-five – surprising both myself and him! It got a good laugh, and it’s one of his favourite photos from the ceremony. Our guests also got a giggle when it came time to exchange the rings. I went first, and had a moment of panic while I tried to work out which of his hands I needed to put the ring on. When it came time for Pete to give me my ring, realising that I was wearing my engagement ring on my right hand and worrying that that might confuse him, I wiggled my left fingers to indicate which hand to put the ring on. Of course to everyone else it just looked like I was impatient and telling him to put a ring on it already!”


veil flying into the air

“After the ceremony as we were greeting our guests outside the church, a huge gust of wind came and blew my veil right off my head. Luckily it got caught in a nearby tree, which a relative then climbed to retrieve it for me! Hannah got a great shot just as it was in the air with my hand trying to save it.”


Mindy loved, “Finally getting married after 5 1/2 years and the time we spent apart (we did long distance between NZ and Australia for a year) being all worth it.”


Mindy describes the day as, “The perfect mix of fun and formality, silliness and sincerity, and all in the name of love.”


Of their photographers, Mindy says, “Hannah and Jasmine of Sutherland Kovach Studio are fantastic, and we couldn’t have asked for better photographers for our wedding. Organising a wedding from across the ditch was never going to be plain sailing, but they were so helpful with other vendor suggestions and really made the whole process very easy. Having seen their work online, in blogs and on their website we were very confident with our choice of photographer, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. My criteria was simply to have two photographers – I wanted one to be able to capture Pete’s face as Dad & I came up the aisle, and the other to capture Dad & I.

Between the two of them Hannah and Jasmine have captured some really special moments that we will be able to hold on to forever of Pete waiting at the front of the church, and me waiting with Dad to enter. Pete’s only criteria was that he wanted a photo with a tree (!), and Hannah & Jasmine knew the perfect place with the perfect tree. They made us laugh, we felt instantly at ease, and they were great sports when our groomsman started to channel his ‘inner tiger’, and our bridesmaids photo-bombed them with an undie flash! We are thrilled with the photos, and couldn’t recommend them highly enough for anyone looking for a great wedding photography package.”


Okahu hosted the reception. Mindy recalling, ” Okahu is  a contemporary function venue down on the waterfront of Auckland’s Tamaki Drive. The staff were efficient and professional, the food divine, and the sun set was beautiful as our guests enjoyed 180 degree views of Auckland landmarks; from the Sky Tower, to Rangitoto, to Waiheke Island in the distance.

Scarlett Bradfield and her team at Okahu really did put on the most amazing food and service for the reception, and they took care of everything in terms of the night running smoothly. We were most concerned about providing good food and good wine, and are so grateful to Scarlett for helping us facilitate that – our guests were raving for weeks.”


“There are plenty of stories from the reception, but out of respect for the dignity of some of our bridal party and other guests, we’ve promised not to repeat any in public! Let’s just say there was a lot of love shared that day, and if we were to do it all over again, we would make sure there was a stash of life-jackets at the waterfront venue. Finally, if you look close enough in the photos you’ll see the remnants of a Mike Tyson henna tattoo on the right side of Pete’s face. It’s the only story to have come home from the 10-day stag party, in Thailand, with 16 of Pete’s closest mates, in October. And it lasted until the wedding in January! ”

“Our good friend is a cartoonist, and so we asked him to draw us, and we used the illustration to custom make labels for the reception’s wine bottles.”

“We designed our invitations, favours, seating plan and table names with the help of the graphic designer at my work. We wanted our wedding to be representative of us (doesn’t everyone?) so used our fingerprints as the theme for the invitations, favour labels and thank-yous, and spent a night out looking like criminals having sat in our lounge inking up our fingers so that our designer would have plenty of material!” The head table was named “Melrose Place” after Pete’s surname.”

Congratulations on your wedding Mindy and Pete! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to  Sutherland Kovach Studio for sharing today’s wedding with us!