A Very Personal Vineyard Wedding
"Most of our New Zealand guests were pretty relaxed about our great Otago Law School friend Sophie as best man, Simon’s sister Emma in the groom’s party and Kate’s brother Sam in the bride’s party. Some of our English friends were a bit surprised, but it was very important for us to have our closest friends involved,” Kate explained.
"Our friend Steven was the celebrant, so the ceremony was quite intimate and very personal to us”.
Even the flowers had a personal connection, with family friend and fellow lawyer Sue Gifford doing the table flowers, and "creating exactly the low key and not too fussy look we wanted”. Although Sue had never done wedding flowers before, Kate commented "she did an incredible job: I couldn't believe how beautiful the marquee looked”.
An extra legal flourish was added with Sue’s surprise rose petal confetti wrapped in cones made from old law reports, stimulating a great deal of comparing cases among the many lawyers present.
Kate’s stylish short dress with fabulous red shoes reflected her love of 1950-60s fashions, and she found the Ian Stuart dress at Mirror Mirror, a small bridal shop in London. The shoes were an on-line find, although crucially "I also bought a pair of flat red shoes in Wellington to change into for dancing!”
When it came to the food, Kate and Simon had very clear ideas, with Kate’s experience serving at many weddings to the fore.
"I was keen to have shared platters for the entrees (sets a chatty and friendly scene), plated mains (beautiful Ruth Pretty presentation for the main event), and a buffet dessert (people want to start walking around and mingling by that point).
"I also knew I wanted long trestle tables - I really like the big family feast atmosphere they create,” she said. "Ruth handled a few special dietary requests easily, including one guest who cannot eat onions who was very impressed to receive a separate individual menu.
See Kate and Simon’s menu here.
"I was very spoiled,” confessed Kate. "My absolute favourite is the Sugar Club Scallops, but as it was late in the season we couldn’t have them. I was thrilled when Paul presented the wedding party with a platter just for us, as a real surprise gift from them!”
During the week before the wedding, Paul Pretty and Eleanor Dodd from Ata Rangi conducted a wine tasting for the families so they could make the final wine selections. Not only was this a true wine treat, it was "wonderful to have that relaxed time with our families before the wedding”, according to Kate and Simon.
Summing up, Kate and Simon said that although they live in London the distance was simply not an issue during planning.
"We relied a lot on our families in New Zealand, and they were fantastic” said Kate, "and also of course I knew how organised Ruth and Paul are and that they would have everything running smoothly. That made a huge difference and removed a lot of potential stress for us. I wouldn’t want to do this from London without Paul at the helm!”
"We had such an amazing day - it was absolutely exactly what we wanted, it went perfectly and we had a fabulous time with our friends and family.
"Ruth’s food was incredible - so many of our guests gushed to us about the food. But it's not just the food: the attention to detail, the planning and preparation, and the care and thoughtfulness of the entire Ruth Pretty team from start to finish really made the wedding such an amazing experience for all of us.
"We could not have asked for more - the whole day was just what we had hoped for,” she concluded.
Photographs courtesy of Olivia Taylor Photographer