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Alinta and Paul

There are magical views at Alinta and Paul’s elegant Queenstown wedding – jaw-droppingly stunning in fact. But it is not the views that make this wedding so beautiful, although they help. It is, as with all the weddings we fall for here at Polka Dot Bride – all in the stories. Alinta and Paul chose Dan Cartwright to photograph their day.

Alinta kicks us off with the story of how she and Paul met. “Paul & I are both in the Police Force and met on my first day in the job at a station in Sydney. We both remember the first time we saw each other as we passed in the corridor, it was definitely an instant mutual attraction. Over the first couple years, we formed a fun easy going friendship and loved working alongside each other. After this first two years, our friendship grew into something more and things moved quickly from there. We both share a love for the outdoors and Paul proposed at the end of a hike in front of a waterfall in the Minnamurra rainforest.”

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The bride chose an Annasul Y gown from Accapella Bridal  noting, “I always thought I wanted a lace silhouette style dress with a high neck and open back but I quickly discovered that style just didn’t suit me. I’m 160cm tall and have no hips so it made me look very square and I just didn’t have the height to really show off the silhouette style. I was very grateful that the lady at the bridal salon was helpful and allowed me try on all the styles of dresses that I was considering so I could see for myself what worked and what didn’t. I quickly learnt to trust the professional and ended up with the perfect dress, it was a combination of the style that I loved mixed with what actually suited me. I wore a dress from the 2016 Snow collection by Annasul Y. The dress allowed me to have a lace silhouette but by having a sweetheart neckline and silk tulle overlay falling from the waist, it really complimented my shape.”

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Alinta and Paul chose The Canyons Lodge for their wedding, noting, “We chose The Canyons Lodge firstly for the stunning views. No matter which way you’re looking there’s an incredible view of either the Shotover river canyons or Coronet Peak. We wanted to exchange vows in front of an impressive natural wonder. Something beautiful that would always be there to mark the spot, like an old Oak tree, or a stunning view. We stood under a wooden arch draped with fresh flowers and marked our spot in front of the Shotover river canyons. It was perfect! The packages offered by The Canyons Lodge only sealed the deal for us.”

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The Flower Room styled the floral arrangements for the day, Alinta noting, “Because we chose to have a destination wedding it meant a few of our friends and family couldn’t be there to celebrate with us, so we wanted to make sure we included them and a little piece of home. I mixed in some beautiful Eucalyptus leaves into the bouquets, which was our own little piece of home! Both Paul and I grew up in the country and the divine smell of Eucalyptus is a big reminder of home.”

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Alinta walked down the aisle with her parents to “Wanted” – Hunter Hayes (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover). “We chose this song for it’s lyrics, every time we hear it we feel like it’s been written just for us.”

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Kathryn Omond officiated the ceremony, the bride remarking “We wanted our ceremony to be short and sweet, not because it didn’t mean much to us but because we just wanted to say exactly what was in our hearts to one another and didn’t want that to get lost in the fluff that goes with a long ceremony. We wrote our own vows together and included the one reading, which was the wedding poem “these hands”. We said our vows in front of 27 guests and an incredible view of the Shotover River.”

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“Due to the fact we had a destination wedding I didn’t get to do too much DIY, which wasn’t such a bad thing but I did still want to put some personal touches in where possible. The night before the wedding the bridesmaids and I stayed up and got creative with the chalk, trying out our best cursive to get our welcoming board right! After a lengthy session of trial and error, we were successful and pretty damn proud! On our wedding day, it sat at the at the top of a stone path, adorned with wild flowers to welcome our guests. It was personal and beautiful. I was really happy we decided to do it ourselves.”

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“In between the ceremony and reception, we were flown by helicopter to the top of Cecil Peak, to have our photos taken. The bridal party was with us, and it was one of the most beautiful experiences we’ve ever had. We’d just exchanged vows, we’d been loved on by our nearest and dearest and then we were in a helicopter with our bridal party, looking over the breathtaking scenery of Queenstown! We were so overwhelmed by the whole thing, by love and by beauty, words cannot do the experience any justice.

My girls and I kicked off the heels and threw on our runners so we could be free to roam the mountain tops. I wore a pair of blue Chuck Taylor’s with an elegant wedding dress and I pulled it off quite nicely if I might say so myself! Paul and I had such a fun time having photo’s taken up there. We were running around, hiking up the mountain, chasing the best light! There were so much spontaneity and adventure in the photo session. I love the photos because they perfectly capture the joy, adventure and intimacy of the experience.”

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Of their photographer, the newlyweds remark, “We can’t speak highly enough of our photographer, Dan Cartwright, and the album he produced. We found him locally in Wollongong, Australia, and instantly fell in love with his work. We were over the moon to hear he is more than happy to travel for destination weddings. He literally flew in and out of New Zealand to shoot our wedding due to his busy schedule. He was incredibly committed to getting the perfect shot, even sacrificing a pair of his shoes in the process. Dan spent time with us and our guests before the wedding and we included him as one of our guests for the reception. We found him incredibly fun and easy to talk to and many of our guests spoke highly of him following the wedding, saying he seemed more like an old friend rather the photographer.This meant a lot to us as we only had a small intimate wedding.”

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Reception celebrations kicked off at Gantleys Restaurant. Alinta and Paul telling, “Gantleys Restaurant was a little-hidden treasure!! It’s a cosy and quaint, historical stone cottage that oozes romance and charm. It was the perfect venue for a small and intimate wedding. The inside walls are the same historical stone as you see outside with huge exposed beams that line the roof. The windows looked out to the gorgeous autumn coloured vines, draping down the building. We hired out the venue and had one long table set up in the main dining room which meant we could all sit together and share the moment.”

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“We had a tablescape of flowers and candles down the centre of the table and name cards and menus with white with gold detailing. We had an open log fire at the head of the table which made the room warm and ambient, and the wine go down a little too easily. The venue fit our wedding theme to perfection. Everything from the fine little details of the dinner setting to the incredibly genuine and professional staff created the perfect atmosphere for our wedding. We couldn’t have been happier.”

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Of the first dance, Alinta remembers, “Paul and I chose Ed Sheeran – ‘Thinking Out Loud’ for our first dance. We both love that song, it’s slow but upbeat so it was a fun song that everyone got up to dance to. Neither of us is big on the whole choreographed first dance, so we just got up and enjoyed the moment to ourselves not caring about what it looked like. We figured we will want to remember how we felt dancing with one another on our first dance, rather how we looked to everyone else.”

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Congratulations Alinta and Paul on tying the knot! Thank you for sharing your stories with us! Thank you No Limit Pictures  for sharing today’s gorgeous wedding!