Helen and David chose a "small, convivial family dinner” to celebrate their wedding, at Springfield. With French and New Zealand family, and a shared love of good food and wine, the relaxed celebration was a delicious blend of both cultures.
"Above all we wanted the wedding to be relaxed but well organised, stress-free and happy. Springfield was perfect: being able to get ready, have the ceremony and reception all at the same place was ideal.
"It was important to us that David’s French and Spanish heritage was reflected. Ruth did us proud with the menu, which brought everything together perfectly. The French relatives are still telling us how they "savoured every mouthful”, Helen said.
The menu was French style, with separate salad and cheese courses and finishing with Pièce Montée. We know it as the spectacular Croquembouche, but apparently the descriptions are interchangeable.
The family style paella entrée also raised some culinary cultural differences. Valencia is "the home” of paella, and after her time in Valencia with the America’s Cup campaign, Ruth’s paella is Valencian in style. This means it includes meats with the seafood. David’s Spanish relatives were more accustomed to the Basque style, which is seafood only.
"Everyone thought it was beautiful, and it was an interesting aspect of regional cuisine,” Helen explained.
"Two particular moments stand out in my memories. David and I decided to write our own separate vows. So he was very moved when I said my vows in French, and I was very proud of myself for managing to do so! It was a special and immensely personal moment.
"The other is that our French guests were amazed to find themselves playing cricket on the lawn. That was certainly a new experience and so New Zealand: having sports equipment and space available, and everyone having fun. The teenagers thought it was brilliant,” she laughed.
"We encouraged our 40 guests to wear casual clothes, and David’s colourful shirt set the scene. My dress was not traditionally bridal, although Alison Blain designed a very stylish dress in ivory silk, with silver and gold threads. As a second wedding for both of us, it was all very friendly and laid back.
"David is a details person, and after our first meeting with Ruth was perfectly confident they had everything under control.
"I was delighted when Ruth suggested they provide flowers from their own garden, whatever was in bloom at the time and picked by their gardener. They looked gorgeous, and so much better suited to our style than formal shop flowers.
"Our celebrant was Pinky Agnew, recommended by Ruth, and she was really good. She took the time to understand us as individuals and as a couple, and made the ceremony comfortable, friendly and authentic.
"Ruth and her team did everything we asked, made great suggestions and recommendations, added real value and simply made everything happen smoothly and effectively.
"All in all, we had a wonderful wedding. We loved it and so did our guests, which was what we wanted.
Photo credit: We Do Photography