Jilly & Tim’s New Zealand Winery Wedding

by | Bride, Inspired Weddings, New Zealand,


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Jilly & Tim

I adore the chic, yet relaxed feel to Jilly and Tim’s New Zealand winery wedding. A glass of bubbles amongst the vines as the sun sets? I could think of nothing better! Sarah McEvoy Photography was there to capture this beautiful, modern wedding day.

Jilly starts their tale with the story of how they came to be. “We met at a Die! Die! Die! (punk band) gig at Bodega in Wellington. Well, we’d actually seen each other around town a couple of times before that night, and had some very cute ‘moments’, but the proper meeting was at the gig. Mutual friends introduced us, I didn’t waste any time – within a minute I boldly suggested that Tim “pashed” me right there and then, and that’s where it all began.”

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Jilly and Tim chose Poppies Martinborough for their wedding, remarking, “We knew we wanted to get married in Martinborough. It’s such a beautiful area of New Zealand, and the fact that’s ‘wine country’ suits Tim and I to a tee! We also liked that it’s close to Wellington – just over an hour’s drive. So easy for guests to get to, whether they were local or flying into Wellington Airport – plus loads of great accommodation options for all. Lots of our guests came over from Melbourne so we wanted to make sure we were getting married at a destination that our friends could enjoy for the whole weekend.

We went over to Martinborough on a Saturday in early Jan (2015) with a short-list of vineyard venues to visit – day one of wedding venue scouting didn’t quite go to plan! We ended up getting a bit “carried away” drinking wine and eating cheese platters in the sun and didn’t actually make it to the venues. But Sunday morning, our first stop was Poppies Martinborough and we both fell in love with it as soon as we walked in. We were sold and booked it on the spot. We never did make it to those other venues!!

Poppies is such a beautiful building, with large windows showing vines as far as the eye can see (creating a feeling of the ‘garden’ being indoors), indoor fireplaces and gorgeous wrought iron design work everywhere, two large chandeliers in the reception room – we really didn’t need to do much to bring our ‘sophisticated Spring’ feel to life. Poppies had three long wooden tables for our guests – we wanted the exposed wood (so no table cloths on guest tables) with lots of warm candlelight, so a natural outdoorsy feel but indoors.”

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Jilly walked down the aisle to Etta James’ “At Last”. “The whole day was filled with laughter, but probably the sweetest giggles were directed at Tim – Tim was so very emotional on the day. He started crying when guests were arriving, and cried even more as I walked down the aisle – it was gorgeous. All of our guests were reacting to Tim’s beautiful tears, and our celebrant made a joke that there was “an awful lot of dust in the air today” – a line which has been repeated a lot in our friend & family circle. I love being married to a man who isn’t afraid to show his emotion, it’s refreshing and real.”

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Ian Kearney officiated the ceremony, Jilly recalling,  “Our ceremony was outdoors in the vines of a beautiful vineyard (Poppies) late on a Spring afternoon. The sun shone for us, despite having rainy days leading up to “our day”.

We wanted our ceremony to be short and sweet – meaningful of course, but just an intimate and straight to the point (like our first proper meeting!) ceremony was what we wanted. Family and friends all gathered around, mostly standing, champagne in hand, and I walked in down the vines towards the guests (not from behind on the aisle as per ‘normal’) so the entrance was a bit unexpected and fun.

For our reading, we had Tim’s sister read “I carry your heart” poem by E.E Cummings. We have both always loved it, and we also wrote our vows based on words in this poem. Our celebrant was a good family friend of Tim’s family, so it was nice to have someone that was connected to us, and that helped us create a ceremony that was very “us” and respectful to both sides of the family.”

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The bride wore the  Maggie Sottero “Spencer” gown from Astra Bridal Wellington. She tells, “I was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to find a dress in my hometown of Wellington – I didn’t think I’d be able to find something as glamorous as I had in mind! But, I thought I should at least visit one Wellington bridal store before looking further afield – and low and behold, on my first visit to Astra Bridal, I fell in love with a dress – my dress!

At the start of my visit I was trying on quite long-sleeved lacy dresses that just didn’t suit me. My Mum quite rightly said that those dresses made me look like I was trying to pretend to be a ‘virgin bride’ which just isn’t me!!  But then I tried on a champagne gold dress that was covered in Swarovski crystals & tiny pearls, it felt so glam and sparkly – I felt like I was off to the Oscars. I was sold.”

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Of their photographer, Jilly remarks, “We really didn’t want lots of posey, kind of ‘awkward’ and cringey wedding pics (peeking out from around trees, and the likes?!) – Tim & I are both quite shy, especially in front of a camera! We really wanted a photographer who could just capture the essence of the day – all the natural smiles and laughter of us, our family and friends. Sarah understood exactly what we were after, even after just two minutes chatting at our first meeting. The smiles, genuine joy and love that Sarah captured through her lens are truly ‘real’ and stunning.”

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Flowers Manuela  styled the floral arrangements for the day, Jilly noting, “Honestly, every little detail blew me away on the day. Everything was truly better than I could have ever imagined – but if I had to say ONE thing, it would be the flowers. I wanted them to be quite wild & whimsical, not too uniform and “traditional”. All of the arrangements really bought the room to life, bringing the ‘outside in’ – the feeling of the wild & beautiful vines, carried through to the inside tables.

I really wanted Manuela to do our flowers as Tim has always bought flowers from her and her lovely team, throughout our whole relationship. I love her work – I love that it’s not prissy, old-fashioned typed flowers, all of her arrangements are unexpected and wild, yet somehow just simple and organic.”

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Of their first dance, Jilly remembers, “We chose ‘Baby’ by Donnie & Joe Emerson – we’ve always loved listening to it together. It’s a soft and beautiful song about wanting to be together “all my life”. Plus, it’s super slow – Tim & I were terrified of dancing in front of everyone, we wanted something really slow so minimum co-ordination and flair was needed! We didn’t practice a routine or anything, in fact, we both kinda pretended it wasn’t going to happen! Figured we’d just wing it on the night and be totally amazing after a few glasses of bubbles. We were in fact, terrible! But we just laughed at ourselves and ran with it. We had begged (and bribed!) our bridal party to join in dancing after 20 seconds. They made us suffer longer than that, but they came through eventually!”

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Congratulations Jilly and Tim! Thank you for sharing the stories of your day with us! Thank you also to Sarah McEvoy Photography for sharing today’s wedding!


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  • Bride's Shoes
  • Isabella Anselmi
  • Invitations & Stationery
  • Anna-Marie Antipas
  • Signage
  • Anna-Marie Antipas
  • Ceremony Officiant
  • Ian Kearney


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