** Warning that this is a very long, very photo heavy post...
|Simon's (Simon & Natalie) cufflinks...|
On Saturday the 11th June 2011 I had the huge privilege of witnessing my little brother publicly declare his love and lifelong commitment to his new bride Natalie & vice versa.
What a special day!
Simon & Natalie are clearly made for each other and I'm very excited to welcome a new sister into the family (actually the only sister on my side since I have 3 brothers!). It was the first family wedding since mine nearly 10 years ago, so I know it was a very proud day for my parents as well.
The day for me started very early as I had to rally my family and things for the entire day & be at the hairdresser for 9am. Then back for makeup at 10am while Hannah had her own pamper session with the bride, in preparation for her all important flower girl duties:
Now that we were all glammed up my mum, Hannah & I then headed over to the the boys house for family photos with them getting ready...
|my brothers & I|
Then back to the girls house to finish getting ready & head off to the reception...
Superhero husband played an absolutely essential role in this part of the day as baby overseer, taxi service, childcare coordinator, pack horse, emergency shoe cushion fetcher, toe-nail polish remover...
and general air traffic controller! His role in the day definitely needs special mention because he did such a fabulous job of organising the children (and me) to be where they needed to be when they needed to be there and keeping everyone in calm spirits. I certainly couldn't have done it without him.
Not to mention that he scrubbed up very handsomely too!
The ceremony was held in the gardens of The Mission Estate Winery, Napier, New Zealand my favourite vineyard of all time. Hawke's Bay turned on one of it's finest crisp but sunny winters days for the event.
Enter the flower girl & page boy (Nat's nephew)
I think we'd all admit that we rated them about 40% chance (or less) of being confident enough to perform their duties. But we had to eat humble pie because they not only performed them but were flawless! Proud mummy moment!
Enter the bridesmaids...
|Me walking down the aisle...|
My first time being a bridesmaid and it happened to be the longest aisle I have EVER seen. Long walk on wet grass + stilettos = panicked daydreams of falling on my bottom. But I'm pleased to report it was all fine and none of us did anything embarrasing!
Enter the beautiful bride...
While the handsome groom looks on in admiration...
The ceremony was beautiful & I felt very honoured to be standing up the front witnessing it...
|from left to right: Me, Rochelle & Anita (nat's sisters), Natalie & Simon, My cousin David & 2 brothers Malcolm & Peter|
|Escaping for a minute alone...|
|My family: Abbie, Neil, Hannah, Me, Dad, Nat, Simon, Mum, Malcolm, Peter|
After the ceremony the drinks & canapes were served & the bridal party escaped into the vineyard for some photos...
|Aren't the cars gorgeous!! (and Simon & Natalie obviously!)|
There were a few amusing moments during the shooting... namely when Kate the photographer had us walk down between the (very muddy) rows of grapes in our heels. At one point my foot sunk in the mud and my foot came out but the shoe stayed in. It was a very narrow miss of bottom meeting mud I can tell you!!
|Close call!! Note Natalie just about wetting herself laughing at me!!|
Bless my cousin Dave, the best man, who graciously came & cleaned off my foot for me! I think we all had a few near misses!
After the photos we entered back to the reception...
... and Natalie had a special surprise waiting for us back at our table of some comfy slippers & a hot water bottle. What a sweetie - they were very well received & appreciated!!
The reception went flawlessly.
The food was exquisite. The wine was exquisite. The speeches were perfect (and funny)...
The cake was beautiful, not to mention scrumptious...
|Made my my mum & youngest brother Peter|
The company of close family & friends set the perfect atmosphere...
And the venue was completely gorgeous...
I have to say that it was one of the most beautiful & classy weddings that I've been to. I particularly loved how Simon & Natalie gave all their close family important roles in the event. It really helped us all feel involved in their celebration and made the day that much more special.
They both did incredibly well with the organizing but special mention must be made of Natalie's fantastic attention to detail. She really did incredibly well at all the little extras (menus, table settings, invites, seating plan etc... etc...) and even wrote us each individual letters to thank us for our contributions to the day which I know we will all cherish.
And finally some of my favorite photos from the day:
|Miss Abbie's expression sums up the day...|
|My much cherished Nana with the happy couple|
|Cheeky Hannah refusing to sit in her seat during the ceremony. Here she is busy showing the photographer her new special bracelet (my bribe to her to get her to walk up the aisle lol...)|
|This photo makes me laugh so hard - Simon looks like he wants to smack someone over, but I suspect he is proudly showing his wedding ring or something.|
|Mum looking so happy (and beautiful) while she congratulates them|
|Dad giving his father of the groom speech...|
|bubbles while we got ready...|
|Natalie kissing her new niece Abbie|
|Me not looking too shabby...|
|Nat putting on the final touches...|
Thank you to Kate for the photos!!
More photos of the day (and ones slightly less skewed towards my family!) can be found on her blog here...