Samantha & Christen
There was not a breath of wind on a stunning Autumn day when Samantha and Christen’s family and friends gathered to watch them say ‘I do’! With enviable backdrops throughout the incredible Highfield Historic House Estate, Samantha was able to live out her childhood dream and married her Prince! After a surprise proposal shoot in Lake Wanaka, the couple couldn’t imagine anyone else capturing their day than Katrina Elton of Imagine Images NZ. Reflecting on their gorgeous day, Bride Samantha shares all the ins and outs of their dream wedding!
I think everyone dreams of a fairy tale wedding and everyone’s picture of what this looks like is often going to be different. This is the story of our fairy tale wedding and the important moments along the way that made it so truly memorable. So where better to start than at the beginning?!
Tasmania has been home for both Christen and I all of our lives. We both spent most of our childhood on the North West coast of Tasmania and despite spending time on the mainland for work and study, we both returned to Tasmania as it was always truly home. We fell in love during our first date for coffee in Salamanca when we each gave cheeky first smiles at each other from across the table. Naturally, coffee turned into a 12-hour marathon date, from cafes to beaches, museums; restaurants and movies and finishing of course with plans for the second date.
One and a half years later we got engaged at picturesque Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, whilst on a ski holiday. Christen had planned the whole thing as a surprise and after walking along the lake for a while he said my full name, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said YES!
All the while, a sneaky photographer hidden in the trees was shooting away, capturing some of the most amazing images of a very special moment. Once home we went straight back into our busy lives. We were working full time, selling one house, while starting to build another and now we had to add planning our wedding in just 8 months!
I started the day getting dressed at Salt Hair, Stanley where we were in the excellent care of Bek, our hairstylist, who provided a platter and champagne for us ladies to relax with. Our make up artist Shannon Armstrong met us here and did a stunning job with all our make up keeping it all very natural.
I couldn’t thank Salt Hair Stanley enough for looking after us enough on the morning of our wedding! Bek was a wonderful host and styled our hair perfectly. And together with our talented makeup artist, you both did a perfect job with our hair and makeup.
Deciding on a venue for us was an easy choice. We were both from North West Tasmania and growing up I had always dreamed of getting married at Highfield Historic House in Stanley after making many visits during my childhood.
Choosing the photographer was even easier! Katrina from Imagine Images NZ had done such a stunning job with our engagement photos she was our first and only choice. Luckily Katrina and her partner Jedd were just as excited as us to travel to Tasmania and continue capturing our story in a state known for the similar stunning natural beauty to that of New Zealand’s countryside.
Naturally we turned to many of our married friends for advice and found a majority spoke of the lack of enjoyment in the lead up to their wedding due to the amount of stress and organisation required in planning it. This was not the experience we wanted with our wedding!
From the outset I was very keen to employ wedding planners as we were getting married 400km away from where we both lived and the task of planning a wedding was daunting on top of our already busy lives. It took a little bit more time for Christen to come around to the idea of paying someone to do what he thought we could do ourselves. But as the saying goes.. “happy wife, happy life” so he sceptically agreed, and he was quickly proved wrong.
Our wedding planners Ash and Brad Bespoke had access to styling elements, their organisation skills and their industry contacts meant we were able to enjoy the excitement and lead up to our wedding without stress. They had a plan for all situations including wet weather and dealt with any issues in the lead up to the wedding, as well as on the big day before they even arose.
Ash and Brad Bespoke were so easy to work with, their styling was unique and tailored to us as a couple. Thanks to our planners the wedding day far exceeded our expectations and cannot be described as anything other than perfect!!
It was at 2pm on the 13th of April when I married the love of my life. It was a sunny day with barely a breath of wind.
The feel of the day we wanted to achieve was to be relaxed and fun. We had lawn games and an outside bar, vintage couches coupled with hay bales and festoon lighting made for the perfect setting on Highfields grounds. One of the elements we had picked to spend money on was in the floral work.
This was styled by our wonderfully talented wedding planners. As soon as you saw the bouquets, arbour, reception and the gorgeous floral centre piece it took your breath away. Our colour theme and furniture were suggested by Ash and Brad and worked perfectly with the setting.
The day went by so fast, but was truly memorable for us and our guests, with 3 main memorable moments. The first memorable moment was the use of personalised vows which made the ceremony more unique and heartfelt. This made our ceremony feel individual to us and meaningful to our guests who had travelled to celebrate with us.
Secondly was the photography. From our experience, it is really important to find a photographer that you connect with. This will ensure you feel natural and comfortable with them as they will ultimately be the one responsible for capturing the memories that will last with you and your guests for a lifetime. Our photos around the town and on the beach with our very talented photographer were just stunning and we had so much fun capturing them. It was also an opportunity to have some time with just myself and my husband to soak everything in before the nights events took place.
Last but not least, was our first dance. We hadn’t exactly planned it other than the song and the location. It made for such a beautiful moment as it happened effortlessly while everyone was relaxing outside under the stars and the festoon lighting.
It was magical when, like a choreographed flash dance, all our guests naturally joined in at the same time and everyone was waltzing outside under the stars. There was a moment where the two of us looked at each other and then around at the crowd all dancing and we simply smiled at each other!
Our wedding day was perfect from the styling to the food and photography. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful people who helped us a long the way. We have to say a huge thank to Ash and Brad Bespoke. Their planning, styling and organisational skills absolutely blew us away.
Our wedding photographer Katrina Elton and her partner Jedd from Imagine Images NZ, you have given us the most stunning photos to look back on and we will be forever grateful for how beautifully you captured our wedding day.
Our caterers, Hugo’s Catering, dished up exceptional food that all the guests were raving about.
I was beyond ecstatic with the timeless elegance of my wedding gown. I was truly thrilled with it! Plus, we can’t thank Highfield House enough for their stunning grounds, facilities and barn. All of our vendors had a hand in making our dream wedding come true and for that we say a huge thank you!
The single piece of advice that both of us would give to any couple planning a marriage is to hire wedding planners, particularly those of the standard of Ash & Brad Bespoke. It allows you to relax and enjoy one of the most important days of your life and from our experience a skilled planner can even save you money or at least extract more value for money.
Ms Zebra Says: We wish this gorgeous couple the absolute best in their new lives together as husband and wife! Congratulations!!
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- Hugo's Catering
- Ceremony Officiant
- Pastor Shaun White