Esther's country themed wedding.

Wedding theme:

We wanted a theme that was unique to us- that showed our personality. We live in the country and are small time calf rearers on top of our jobs as an accountant and Brad as a joiner. With Brad being bought up on a small farm and my learning the ropes for the last few years we felt a country theme was the most appropriate for us, and our wedding setting at the Gardens. We felt it matched exactly who we are.

On the day:

It is traditional to have the wedding in the Bride’s hometown, however, Brad and I always wanted to have our wedding in Invercargill and I was prepared to sacrifice that so that his grandpa who was 96, would be able to attend our wedding without having to travel. Unfortunately he passed in December, a few months before we were married, but we decided that Hawthorne Gardens in Invercargill would be the perfect place for our wedding. Exactly 4 months after Brad’s proposal Brad and I shared our wedding day on the 27th April 2013 in Invercargill in the beautiful Rustic Hawthorne Gardens.

The whole week before the wedding was torrential rain and the 27th forecast for rain. I could not get any sleep the night before our wedding as the rain was so heavy & noisy on our roof, thinking that we would definitely be having an inside wedding at the marquee in Hawthorne Gardens, which did not worry me. A month or two earlier we had had my hens party and all the girls gave me a small gift. My sister in law had given me some ear plugs as a joke. As I was lying in bed listening to the rain and not being able to sleep- I remembered the earplugs, found them and put them in my ears- thanks Sharyn!

We had not had a practice outside as we definitely thought the wedding would be inside. So what a surprise it was when I woke up the next morning and it was a beautiful sunny day - the perfect day for our garden wedding! As we made our vows to each other, we were surrounded by 160 of our family and friends.

Brad has his sister Amanda on his side with his 2 brother in laws and I had my two sisters and 2 best friends. Brads other brother in law, Mark got his marriage licence especially for our wedding and was our celebrant. Marks son and daughter were our page boy and flower girl.

Favourite wedding day moment:

At the gardens we got married in you wait behind a bit of bush before you walk down the aisle. When I came around the start of the bush I saw that Brad had a few tears in his eyes- it was a pretty special moment and lucky for Brad- one that the photographer captured.

We also got ready at our house & brad at his parents place. Brad and the boys came over later on in the morning as he wanted photos at our house. We closed the curtains so they couldn’t see in. We had chervolet impalas as wedding cars and I heard them pulling up our drive so I peeked out the curtains to have a look and I saw Brad standing there in his suit. He didn’t know he could see me but it was a pretty special moment seeing him there all dressed up and it gave me reassurance and comfort that soon we would be staring our lives together as husband and wife.

We had our rings engraved and it was a surprise to each other- when we got married we looked at each others rings to see what we had both got engraved. The messages are very personal & it was special looking to see what each other had got inscribed.

Why did you choose your dress?

I chose the Christina Rossi 914.

I wanted a dress that had something special to it with a little sparkle, without being too overpowering. I tried on some beautiful dresses with lots of material, big trains and sparkles but the beautiful simplicity of the CR914 really stood out to me.  The beautiful beading is what drew me to my dress, it was the little sparkle I was looking for and the style of the dress in general (strapless, sweat heart neckline) really suited my shape. I also wanted something that I was really comfortable in for the day and this dress did all these things for me.

Advice for future brides:

Choose your wedding photographer wisely and get someone you really want and who suits your style. Your photos are your memories that will last forever so make sure you have someone good to capture those memories. I had an amazing photographer who captured so many special moments without us even realizing at times that she was there and I`ll treasure these memories.

Hire a photobooth! It’s so much fun and guests love it! It also gives them a momento of your wedding and makes a great guestbook!

I didn’t really have any dramas on my wedding day or leading up to the wedding, everything went surprisingly smoothly. However, I did have an incident after the wedding where I took my dress to get dry cleaned (not at Astra) and the beading came off- so my advice to brides who are getting their dresses cleaned that have anything delicate on your dress is to ask the drycleaner first if is ok to be drycleaned and make them well aware of the delicate part. Fortunately for me I had done that and the drycleaner had to fix my dress.

You don’t have to spend heaps of money on things like table decorations to make them look effective. Make something that’s personal to you as a couple. We brought cheap photo frames and joined them together to make a box & then put a glass bottle in the middle of the box with reed flowers in them. Each frame had photos in it of us growing up and also together as a couple. The table number corresponded to our age in the photo e.g table one was us at age one. We were able to take the box photo frames home and I’ve now joined the boxes together to make a small photo tower.

Also, just have fun on your day, everything goes so fast and you’ll get to the end of the night and think where did that day go - just sit back and relax and watch it all unfold before your eyes.

Your wedding in one word:


The dream team!

Gown: Astra Bridal Wellington Christina Rossi 914.

Bridesmaid Dresses: Val Jones of Hedgehope Invercargill- she is an amazing lady who can make your dress with virtually no pattern! She also made Brad’s mother’s outfit.

Mens Suits: McKnight & Brown- Invercargill 

Hair: Rosie Thomas (my sister) from ZO-AR in Kilbernie, Wellington

Makeup: Kerry Peninsula Spain (Venom Hair Invercargill) 

Flowers: Janice McBride of Woodlands Invercargill

Location (Ceremony and Reception venue):  Hawthorne Gardens Invercargill, Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill. 

Photography/videographer: Sonia Simpson and Geoff Horrell (Sonias Father) from Sonia Simson Photography (Dunedin). Geoff shot photos of the boys getting ready and Sonia took pictures of us girls- so awesome having a 2 person team!

Darran Horrell and Phillip Green videoed our wedding.

Cake: Michelle Findlater of Invercargill


Theme | Rustic
Setting | Farm Wedding
Designer | Christina Rossi
Gown Style | Modified Mermaid