Handmade National Park Mountain Wedding in New Zealand

Emma+Steven-New-Zealand

There are a few things that make a wedding of any budget exceptional. Location: Emma and Steve chose the magnificent area near Mount Apriring National Park for their wedding. Fun: Bocci ball, croquet and roaring laughter punctuated the day. Personal, handmade touches: Emma, who is a graphic designer by trade, styled and designed all of the decorations and invitations. And epic photography: Jim Pollard is a master in capturing the emotional moments of the day, the sweet reception details and the grand scale of New Zealand's huge mountain ranges. He is a master wedding photographer, and I just know you'll love every beautifully captured detail of today's mountain wedding in New Zealand!
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Emma + Steven
Wanaka, New Zealand
March 1, 2014

Why a Mountain Wedding?

My husband and I are New Zealanders who live in Australia. The Wanaka area was where my family would holiday when I was growing up, and Steve fell in love with the area when I first took him there years ago. It was the first location that we immediately thought of for our wedding. We married at the Lookout Lodge, which is such a beautiful spot with incredible views of the mountains and surrounding countryside… it was the perfect backdrop!

Your budget

We thought we could do it for $10,000 but it ended up costing approx $16,000 (Australian Dollars).

Where did you find your inspiration?

The style of the day was inspired by the beautiful venue. Getting married outside in a garden overlooking Mount Iron inspired our rustic style and colour theme of greens, complimented by peaches and pinks. I loved browsing Green Wedding Shoes website for inspiration and also magazines like Hitched and Hello May.

Biggest splurge:

Our most expensive items in our budget were the venue and the catering…. worth every penny.

Biggest savings:

I'm a Graphic Designer so I did all of the styling, decorations, invitations, printing etc myself. My Mum, sisters, friend and I did all the flower jars ourselves the day before the wedding which saved florist costs, and the jars were collected by my parents in the months leading up to the wedding. Mum also grew the roses herself in her garden which saved us a lot of money. We didn't have a wedding cake, we instead made our own dessert table which was a ‘cheese' theme with cheesecakes (Steve's favourite dessert) and cheeseboards.

What were some personal details you incorporated?

  • Steve and I have been together for nearly 9 years and our wedding was a celebration of our time together and all the memories we've made, so we made a photo wall showing some of our favourite times together and with our friends and family.
  • The garden games we included were games we'd played with our families growing up.
  • I did little illustrations of Steve and I that were used for decoration and used in our ‘save the dates'.

Your favorite moment of the day:

Ohhh there's too many favourite moments to choose from! The ceremony and reading each other our vows that we'd written was a favourite, and all of our family and friends congratulating us afterwards was really special as they were so happy for us…. We felt surrounded by a lot of love in that moment.

Three things you're glad you did:

  • I'd originally hired our photographer Jim to be there for only 2-3 hours but we decided to have him for the full day which was a great decision… He captured so many special moments on film and he was a fun easygoing guy to have around too… our guests loved him! If you can't afford a videographer, get one of your friends or family to film for you – my sister and brother-in-law brought along their video camera and filmed the ceremony, speeches and dancefloor – we're so glad to have a record of the day on film!
  • We easily could have had over 100 guests but we decided to keep it small and just have our nearest and dearest there with us. It meant we could look around the room and know every single person there, and they all knew Steve and I as a couple which was really important to us. It also meant by keeping it small we had time to go around and talk to all of our guests.
  • We kept the entire day unique to us and our style. While planning our day, a lot of the normal wedding traditions didn't appeal to us or feel genuine to us. We pictured the day to be more like a fun party, with only a few formalities.

Anything you wish you hadn't done?

I'm glad to say no – we have no regrets!

What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?

Don't sweat the small stuff

Anything you wish you hadn't worried about?

The biggest worry was the venue set up on the day. We only had a few hours in the morning to get all the decorations up, and the tables laid out etc so I wasn't sure if we were going to have enough time. But thanks to my amazing family who all came along to help, and my sister who project managed everything, we got everything done hours ahead of schedule!

How did you choose your vendors?

My sister lives locally so she recommended a few vendors. Everything else I sourced online, I did a lot of research and looked around for places that came highly recommended. All correspondence was done via email. It was a bit difficult organising it all from another country… we didn't meet any of our vendors until the days before, or on the day! But luckily everyone was amazing.

What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?

  • Ask for help: If you're looking after the planning yourself, try to delegate jobs to family and friends, they'll be happy to help you. We asked my brother to be MC and gave him the run sheet for the day so he looked after all the bits and pieces and was the key contact for the vendors if they had any issues/questions. He was great and it meant Steve and I could just relax! Also if you are doing all the planning yourself, try to enjoy it all of it… it's meant to be enjoyable, not stressful.
  • Make it what you want: Don't be afraid to do whatever makes you and your groom happy and do things a little different if it feels right for you. For example we decided to we didn't want to have a first dance so we got all of our guests up dancing with us to ‘Signed Sealed Delivered' by Stevie Wonder. So much fun!
  • Get hair and makeup trials done – an extra expense but worth the cost
  • Enjoy: Don't forget that it's your day and you only get to do it once…. so just have fun!

Wanaka New Zealand Wedding Vendors

Photographer: Jim PollardHair: Sara of Absolutely Fabulous Hair  | Makeup: Janine of Janine Joseph Makeup Artist  | Celebrant: Jools McKnight | Venue: Lookout Lodge | Caterers: Flying Trestles | Florist: The Green Room | Cake: Cakes of Wanaka