A 1920s Inspired Countryside Wedding
A storm on your wedding day would be most bride’s biggest nightmare, but Rachel the bride in today’s beautifully intimate, countryside wedding from right here in New Zealand, took it in her stride. And these cloud-filled, windswept and utterly stunning photos captured by The Little Details, are proof that storms can make for just as unforgettable a day, and beautiful wedding portraits, as sunshine…..
Humanitarian workers Rachel & Blair live a life of adventure, and their relaxed, understated and utterly fabulous wedding, with a hint of jazz age glamour, perfectly reflects this and their unique personal style. But despite what can only be described as the perfect proposal (we’re talking a beach picnic on the magical Tavanipupu Private Island Resort, the same resort Kate & William stayed at in 2012 on their visit to the Solomon Islands) their wedding planning journey was no plain sailing! “It was horrible! I hate planning events and was dreading the job. We had just moved to the Philippines and decided we would travel back to New Zealand in three months time for the wedding. So I was coping with a new country, a new job, and organizing a wedding remotely with a three month deadline. There were a few dramas that resulted. Like I bought a wedding dress online that I hated and still didn’t have one a week before the wedding! I also changed the bridesmaid dresses at the last minute. But on the day it didn’t matter – we had heaps of fun and it was all worth it.
We married at Abbeville Estate in Auckland, which has beautiful grounds and stunning buildings. They have a restored old barn on site that we used for our barn dance party with a speak-easy style Jazz band set up on hay bales. They also have a beautiful small old church where we had the ceremony, and a homestead where we held the main reception. The combination of the three all together made it an ideal spot – especially considering the storm that hit on the day!”
Before we take a closer look a little bit from Heather of The Little Details “Rachel and Blair’s wedding stands out for me as being one of the most effortlessly elegant weddings I’ve ever had the pleasure to photograph. Two gorgeous human beings with big hearts and even an bigger sense of adventure, they nailed the balance of having a 20’s era inspired wedding, while still keeping the overall aesthetic modern and simple. I love the highlands feel the dramatic weather gave to their photos taken out at the Otuataua Stonefields, add to that a pair of red gumboots and a beautiful couple in love and you have winner.”
“My bouquet was made by a friend, which made it more special. I asked for wildflowers in soft peaches, whites and pinks. I loved how it looked both classic and elegant, at the same time as looking as though it was just picked from a field.”
“My wedding dress was simple but classic. A vintage feel that spoke of the 20’s but in a understated way. I loved it because I felt beautiful and elegant; and yet authentic, not ostentatious. When trying on wedding dresses in the shop, to be honest I was totally lost – I just didn’t feel like myself in the long while flowing things – I felt clumsy and could hardly move. Instead I wanted to feel free, to feel real and truthful to myself, to able to chick off my shoes at any moment to dash through a field or run up a mountain. That sense of freedom and authenticity was important to me.”
“My dad walked me down the aisle. I was dreading being the center of attention and doing the long walk – but to be honest, when the time came I just couldn’t stop smiling. It was an awesome moment – I finally could let go of all of the fuss and just enjoy the moment and why we were there.”
“A 20s style speakeasy Jazz band came up all the way from Wellington especially – the Shake’m on Downers – they were amazing and made the whole feel of the day. They played in the homestead for the guests immediately after the ceremony while we had our photos taken, and then moved into the barn later in the night for a good old barn dance boogie, 20s style. It got all guests up on the dance floor having fun – old and young.”
“I didn’t want a veil as I felt it would be too much and it would hide the real me. Instead I wanted a simple elegant look. I wore crystal drop earrings that caught the light beautifully and added sparkle to the outfit while not being over the top. I loved my shimmering silver shoes (Karen Millen), which were actually more expensive than my dress, and spoke more of 20’s glammer. They were the kind of shoes that might have been seen on the singer in a speakeasy dance bar or for walking the carpet. They were a fun addition and stepped up the outfit a little more. But by far my favour part of the outfit was my great-grand mother’s cream fur cape. It gave authenticity to the vintage theme, reminded me that I come from a heritage of amazing, strong women, and also made me feel a little like red-riding-hood, off on an adventure through the woods. That sense of adventure is an important part of my relationship with Blair and we wanted that feeling to permeate through the wedding – the idea that the day celebrated the beginning of a great adventure we were both setting off on.”
“The groom and groomsmen wore a dark blue suit with a slight sheen – a Gatsby look with bow ties and suspenders. They looked awesome.”
“I had just two bridesmaids – I wanted all of my girl friends to be able to be involved, but also to keep the wedding party small and simple. My best friend and my sister in law were my two bridesmaids – they were amazing at making the day fun and looking after all of the stress for me! They wore different dresses, both recycled vintage dresses found in a favorite store called Yellow Brick Road in Ponsonby, Auckland, the colours were different but in keeping with the navy, peaches, creams and pinks theme of the wedding. I wanted to avoid having something that was too matchy-matchy and instead have more of a vintage country girl feel. Since it was winter they both had coats in keeping with the 20s style. ”
Pearls of Wedding Wisdom from the Bride…..
“Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the details while they are there to be remembered. And let someone else fuss over the details – just enjoy the day and be present in the moment. Don’t take on anyone else’s stress – let this day be yours and let it be enjoyed.”
“We had reception served in the homestead – it was canapés rather than seated meal because we wanted everyone to be able to move around and talk to each other – we wanted it to be more of a party than a formal occasion. At the same time we wanted to make sure the food was substantial and to avoid that thing that sometimes happens when you have canapés where everyone still feels hungry and a little dissatisfied – like they only snacked rather than eating. So we served bowl food as well as canapés – it was delicious and satisfying – quality food buy de-formalised.”
“My sister in law (the same one who was also my bridesmaid) made our wedding cake together with another friend. I wasn’t expecting much but when I saw it I was completely blown away – it was the most beautiful wedding cake I’d seen! Again simple, but gorgeous – cream icing decorated with beautiful peach wild flowers. Even better, it was delicious – three layers of my favorite cake recipes – carrot, then chocolate, then lemon. Amazing. Everyone should have a sister like Amy.”
Tell us a little about your photographer….
“Blair and I are both photographers ourselves, so we are pretty picky when it comes to Photographers. Heather Liddell has been one of our favorites for a long time – we have admired her travel and fashion photography as well as her wedding photography for many years. So it was a no-brainer for both Blair and I that we would choose Heather. It was actually probably the easiest decision of all those wedding choices we had to make. I love how Heather brings a sense of fashion photography to her wedding shoots. Heather always brings out the natural beauty of her clients and portrays elegance as well as simplicity and ease. She gets gorgeous photos while avoiding the cheesy typical wedding shots. She creates a sense of fun and naturalness in her photographs. Her photos always tell a story and describe the feeling of the day and of the spirit of the couple. She pays attention to your story and personality; and ensures that emanates throughout the photos.”
Rachel, who is also a photographer, shares beautiful photos and prose from their adventures and humanitarian work through her blog www.friendsoftheweather.com – do take a look, it really is an inspiring read! And you can also find her and follow along on Instagram and Facebook.
A huge thankyou to Rachel & Blair and fabulous photographer Heather from The Little Details for allowing me to share their stunning wedding with you.
Photographer ~ The Little Details
Venue ~ Abbeville Estate, Auckland
Bridesmaids Dresses ~ Yellow Brick Road in Ponsonby, Auckland
Bridal Shoes ~ Karen Millen