It was all the way across the sea, in Melbourne that Nigel and David planned their New Zealand wedding “It was hard! We are based in Melbourne, and so we planned EVERYTHING via Instagram. Every one of our vendors was found on Instagram. I can’t remember who came first, but once I found one vendor I liked, I checked to see who else was tagged in the images I liked and from that, I managed to find the entire vendor list. I loved pulling together an incredible group of creatives that clearly love what they do.”
Inviting just a handful of their favourite people as their guests, the couple chose their 15th anniversary to wed, and with Michael Schultz behind the camera, opted for a stunning winery venue, the very same place where they’d holidayed frequently with their family. “We had stayed at Black Barn Vineyard in Hawks Bay, New Zealand on a few holidays with family and so it was a clear choice when we were trying to decide on our venue. We got married overlooking the Tuki Tuki river, with incredible views. The venue is part of several holiday houses so we had most of our family staying on site for the few days around the service. We also loved that we could have our ceremony and reception in the same place.”
It was the most beautiful celebration, of a couple who met as teens at a local bar. “We meet at a little bar in Prahran, Melbourne called Diva Bar” explained David. “I was 19 and had just broken up with my first “boyfriend” (of like 2 months) and I was miserable. My friends decided to take me out to shake it off and long story short, Nigel and I were the last ones at the bar when they closed. 18 years later, I still can’t believe what came from that random night out.
Nigel proposed while on a holiday to Hawaii. We had been travelling around the island for a few days and I knew he was up to something. On our last night, we had finished dinner and were about to get the bill and I could tell he was out of sorts. I just came out and said, “so what’s the plan?” And he knew exactly what I was asking. He got flustered and said that he had been wanting to propose the entire trip but every time he went to do it, something would pop up. Like a bus load of tourists turned up just as he was about to propose at a secluded beach, or he wanted to do it while on a helicopter tour we did. Still, they said he wasn’t allowed to take loose items up… so in the end, with all his best-laid plans ruined- I coaxed it out of him at the Cheese Cake Factory, and it was perfect.”
The grooms both had custom-tailored suits made by Institchu. David noted “We went with classic tuxedo style with deep blue velvet jackets. Mine was lined with pink flamingos and Nigel’s with his favourite floral pattern. Bow ties from Burberry. We also love the movie The Birdcage – so we went with hot pink socks as a secret reference to a scene in that film. “One does want a hint of colour”.
One of our favourite parts of the day was the suits. Wearing tailored, custom suits made us both feel our very best and we still wear the jackets whenever we get a chance! Although we never wear them at the same time!” David added his grandfather’s watch to his look so he could feel like he was a part of the day.”
Tells David “Our best friends Brent and Michelle (husband and wife) were our best “men”. They both wore black tuxedos with bow ties. Their daughters along with our younger nieces and nephews stepped in to fill the roles of flower boys and girls and were so glad they got to be a part of our day.”
The pair met their photographer after David stumbled across his work on Instagram. “I found Michael while flicking through Instagram one day and fell in love with his use of light and shadows. He arranged a meet and greet with a mini photo shoot a few days before the wedding and we were so happy he did as it made us so much more relaxed on an actual day. We felt like we knew him so well and so it was so comfortable. He was just an absolute joy to be around, but more often than not we didn’t even know he was there – super star ninja photography.”
The couple walked hand in hand down the aisle to an acoustic version of “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol played by a live duo.
David shares the vibe of the day. “We wanted our wedding to feel homely and relaxed. We didn’t set out with a theme as such, but looking back I guess the venue somewhat dictated it – nature-inspired while embracing the winter season.”
The ceremony was officiated by Nichola Nicholson. “Hands down she was the best choice for us and she instantly felt like family” remembers David. “I was sad after the ceremony finished and she had to leave – I felt like I wanted her to hang for the night like she was a part of the family. We got so lucky with that find! We kept our ceremony fairly low-key and basic. Our celebrant sorted most of it out and our dear friend Ally gave a wonderful reading that I honestly don’t remember a single thing about except for the fact that it broke the flood gates for most.”
Nigel’s memories of the day? “I remember being incredibly nervous before walking down the aisle – not because of the event, but just the emotion of it all. But as soon as David took my hand I calmed down instantly (although I have never walked faster than that walk down the aisle).
I also remember thinking just how fast the entire day went. For some reason we had it in our heads that the day would be relaxed and chilled… but from the moment we woke up we felt like we were on the go! Everyone turned up at our holiday house – kids, wedding party, make-up and hair, before we knew it Micheal our photographer was whisking us off to take photos and then dropping us off to walk down the aisle. An incredible whirlwind of a day but one I would do again and again if I could.”
The couple enlisted Pixie Blooms to create stunning greenery and floral details for their day. David explained “Pixie florals did an incredible job! When planning the wedding I had originally only wanted white flowers – no greenery at all. But then I got the quote and had to flip that on its head! So, my direction was to make it look like “a forest exploded”. And that’s what we got! Beautiful ferns and silver-coloured fronds, all different types of textural greenery. We then both wore white floral button holes and our cake was topped with an amazing all-white arrangement. The foliage was just incredible and I highly recommend this for saving a tonne of money while still creating something pretty special.”
The couple not only chose their venue, Black Barn Vineyard for their ceremony and reception but also stayed onsite, citing the stunning views as one of the most wonderful perks. “Black Barn is just an incredible winery with plenty of amazing accommodation homes for hire and several wonderful venues. We choose a late afternoon ceremony that went straight into an evening cocktail reception. Incredible views, fire pits, plenty of wine and amazing food. We loved the venue for its views and being such a nostalgic place for us.”
Love the look of that cake? Oh, it was a beauty! Made by Pretty Little Details, says David “Omg it was three of our favourite cakes in one! Tiramisu, banana cake and mud cake!!”
This was a day that was all about the guests. “The most important thing for us was to make sure that our family and friends felt welcomed and relaxed. We do love art though and I wanted to have something to hang as a reminder of the day – so we made a word find style “guest book”. It was super simple to create using an online word find generator and our guests’ names. We then just had it printed on an A3 core flute board. It came up so well and it now takes pride of place in our guest room.”
“The only real DIY we did was setting up the kids zone. We had many family and friends with kids that we wanted to try and create a space where they could be entertained. Being a cocktail reception too, we figured that having a kids zone would also be a great break-out zone for people wanting to have a seat and take some time out.”
These two have no regrets about hosting a cocktail-style reception. “Go cocktail!! By far this is the best way to ensure a relaxed vibe that encourages mingling between family and friends. It was absolutely the best decision we made and I would highly recommend the format.”
David hated the idea of a first dance but ended up caving, the couple taking to the dance floor to the sounds of an acoustic version of “Finally” by Cece Peniston. “Our DJ let that run for a minute or so and then mixed it into the original dance version of that song and everyone took to the dance floor,” he tells.
The biggest of congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us and thank you to Michael Schultz for all of the stunning images!