A homespun wedding in New Zealand

Two weeks ago I went to one of the most special and gorgeous weddings I’ve ever been to. Obviously I’m biased, as it was my little brother’s big day, and I travelled 11,700 miles to the other side of the world (Queenstown, New Zealand) to be there, but the day really was overflowing with love and fun from start to finish.

Billy and his gorgeous Brazilian bride Dani kept things small, with around 50 guests – a real melting pot of nationalities, with an eclectic mix of people from all over the world. The ceremony and reception were held in their back yard (transformed from an overgrown patch of land into a fantastic garden), and together with friends and family, lots of effort went into making the day look and feel as magical as possible on their tiny budget. Billy and Dani have a wonderfully laid-back approach to life, and their wedding suited them down to the ground.

The colour scheme started off as purple in the planning stages, but other colours later found their way in for more of a carnival feel. A homespun, handmade approach gave the whole event a real sense of warmth and heart – homemade decorations included birds and butterflies, and there were lots of natural materials and vintage and rustic elements mixed in too.

The altar was made from driftwood found by the lake, and more driftwood was used for an archway leading into the garden. After a rainy start to the day, the sun shone for the ceremony and the rest of the day was warm and dry – perfect weather for an open air celebration.

Flowers were simple and informal – pretty, wild flowers arranged beautifully in jars by Dani’s friend Viviana, dotted all over the garden, deck and house. I brought a couple of sprigs of the lavender home with me to keep as a reminder of the day. The afternoon tea included British favourites such as cucumber sandwiches, vanilla cupcakes and homemade fudge (made by my mum), as well as Torta fria, a Brazilian dish, homemade hummus by Billy and Dani’s landlady and friend Catherine, and gluten-free, vegan Bliss Balls made by another friend.

Drinks were a help-yourself affair, with vintage teapots to mix cocktails in, and glass jars to drink from (well done to my parents for cleaning off all the sticky labels in the sink in their hotel room!). Having sampled a number of teapot mixologist’s creations, I can confirm that Brazilians make the meanest cocktails! Yum.

Instead of a traditional first dance, the couple entered the roda (a circle of people singing capoeira songs and clapping along with the traditional capoeira instruments) for a spot of capoeira action (a Brazilian martial art). Then friend and DJ Tony kept the tunes coming for well over 12 hours with the bride finally leaving the dancefloor at 8am (I crashed many, many hours before that)! What a day and what a party.

Congratulations Billy and Dani. I hope your life together is full of as much warmth and happiness as your wedding day.









    • Heather Young March 26, 2014 / 10:35 am

      Thanks Katy. It really was the trip of a lifetime. Even thinking about it now makes me teary!

  1. Viviana
    March 2, 2014 / 3:45 am

    Thanks for your words and please mention yourself.
    You did a great job as well. Many thanks to you for making the birds and for help us at all. Was a lovely time 😉

    • Heather Young March 26, 2014 / 10:36 am

      Thanks Viviana. It was so great to meet you and I thought everything you did was just so beautiful. x

  2. March 2, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    It looks utterly perfect. What a beautiful celebration – and how great that you and the twins could be a part of it! x

    • Heather Young March 26, 2014 / 10:37 am

      I loved every minute of it, and being there with the twins felt so special x

  3. Caroline
    March 2, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    It looks just perfect. I loved the photos of the prep too. It reminded me of a good friend’s wedding where we all went up two days before and it was all hands on deck. There’s something about when everyone is so involved in the prep that makes it so special. In many ways, those days before the wedding were just as beautiful as the day itself. Looks like you had a wonderful trip, great memories, welcome home 🙂

    • Heather Young March 26, 2014 / 10:38 am

      Oh totally – it was the feel of everyone working together that made it so magical I think. Everyone felt involved and part of it. I want to get married all over again so I can recreate that special feeling! Obviously to the same person. I’m not ready for husband number two yet 😉

  4. March 7, 2014 / 1:49 pm

    I love the idea of weddings such as these – so much more personal and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    • Heather Young March 26, 2014 / 10:39 am

      Yes, it felt so intimate and personal. A really magical experience to share with people whether I’d known them for years, or had only just met them.

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