Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBride

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Nicole & Stephen, a city girl and a country boy, declared their love in the New-Zealand summer, last year. With a mix of rustic country and boho vibes, the couple reflected their love and passions with personal DIY touches, such as handmade napkins and macramé decorations. Marrying at their local church, Toko Toru Tapu, this sentimental venue was also where Stephen’s parents married many years ago. Their reception at Gisborne A&P showgrounds, was complete with a gorgeous outdoor fireplace, cattle stalls, wine barrels and romantic fairy lights, completing the relaxed, country atmosphere.

Nicole kept her look relaxed by layering our Voulaire lace overdress on top of our Payton dress. This romantic look suited Nicole’s bohemian style and worked perfectly in their outdoor setting.

Nicole & Stephen's wedding day was captured by Brennan Thomas at  Strike Photography.

When and where did your husband propose to you? Did he have a ring ready?
I was proposed to a week before Christmas, in bed, at our home! He had asked my dad if he could marry me quite a few weeks before and things kept getting in the way! He couldn't turn up to Christmas day & not be engaged! I had actually got grumpy at him about not being able to use his phone when mine was flat to google something - apparently he had been looking up rings and didn't want me to see it in his search history hahaha!

It wasn’t an extravagant proposal at all but was a big surprise and I bawled! He's not a "romantic" boy - I would have been on to him in a second with a big grand gesture. 
He had met up with a friend, Jaime, from Jaime Lucinda Jewellery, a local ring designer and bought a wooden ring box with a "fill in" ring to ask me with. Then I was able to design my own ring with Jaime!

Where did you purchase your dress & why?
I live in the small town of Gisborne, NZ, so I had booked an appointment in Auckland at a wedding boutique which stocked a range of designers. My mum and bridesmaid, Katie, came along and we had a great morning. I loved my dress straight away! Simple but beautiful.

What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
To put the dress on and know instantly it was the one I wanted to get married in. The boutique I purchased the dress from closed suddenly, so I contacted the team at Charlie Brear. I dealt with Jess who was absolutely incredible and helped ensure I could still receive my dress from London direct to my doorstep. The amazing team at Charlie Brear really saved the day! A local designer Chelsea Thorpe then did the final fitting for me.

What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Take people with you who you trust and that you can read, I knew straight away by looking at my friend that it was the right dress! Make sure it’s comfortable and you can sit/walk/dance in it! Looks are obviously important but it’s a big day, so it’s important to be comfortable!

How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Relieved haha! I'm a terrible shopper - I dreaded it so it was great to be so happy with my decision. It made getting married feel very real too which was so exciting!

What shoes did you wear?
I wore some simple EOS white and tan leather heels called "Star". Which importantly had a solid heel and were very comfy as our reception was on grass.

Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
Due to the low back I couldn't wear a bra - so used some "stick on" covers, and then just some comfy lace seamless bottoms. Make sure the dress suits underwear you're happy in! I didn't mind not having a proper bra due to my bust size, but a fuller busted girl would probably want some support. 

Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
I am so lucky, my sister is an amazing hair dresser so she came out and spent the day working hard on myself, my bridesmaids and family! She was so amazing!! She managed to get everyone done and the hairstyles looked so beautiful.
Our make-up was done by Nat Hovell. She is the beautician I go to, so she also did all my prep work - lashes, spray tan etc! She travelled to our home which was great, and allowed us to have a relaxed morning in one spot! She was pregnant by the time we got married but still managed to do 7 people in one morning!! She was incredible.

What was the most memorable moment of the day?
We had so many! I feel like I was laughing the whole day. Our speeches were filled with light hearted humour to begin with!
A main silly thing that stands out is - for Stephen’s stag do, they played a game "Man down," where everyone dives to the ground and the last one standing has to drink. The bridal party had a dinner on the Thursday before the wedding to get to know each other and spend some time together before the day. This game came up in discussion. During the speeches our MC called "Man down" over the microphone and the entire bridal table threw themselves to the ground in front of 170 guests who many had no idea what we were doing! It happened again on the dance floor where most guests knew what to do this time!  

What traditions did you follow? 
We didn't see each other before the ceremony, my dad walked me down the aisle and gave me away and we did the usual "speeches". We followed the traditional style but with our own flare along the way.

Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
We had our dog at the whole thing, Church and Reception! She’s really important to us so we had her with us the entire wedding! We got carried into the reception on an old horse cart pulled by two of the groomsmen which was entertaining! We also had wooden tables with mismatch vases and candles, country garden flowers, and an amazing sticky date cake covered in caramel sauce as our dessert! We had a photo-booth set up by our amazing photographer which people could use and snap photos all night!

Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
Brennan Thomas - Strike Photography! This was the very first thing we booked - we literally didn't set a date until we knew that he was available! I'm photo obsessed so I really wanted who I consider the best. He is just amazing! Hard working, genuine and brings a very calm vibe to what could be a stress filled day!

How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Tummy filled with butterflies! When I saw Stephen, I got very excited!



Take 5 with this week’s #FridayBride NICOLE


1 Soak it all in - It’s very surreal! Everyone warned me how fast it goes by - and it does.

2. Stick with what you and your husband-to-be want - it is your day! It’s so much fun planning and making the decisions together, the wedding really felt personal and "ours".

3. Lists!! I'm a list girl, I had lists for everything! It kept me feeling calm. I had no panics/stressful days because I always felt like we were in control. 

4. Be realistic. Budget, ideas etc.. you can go crazy with "wants" otherwise.

5. Getting our bridal party all together a couple of nights before hand was the best idea . We had friends from all parts of our lives and they didn't all know each other so it was a really awesome way to bond before the day and make personal jokes! They're all so important to us and it made for a relaxed set up and wedding day knowing they all felt comfortable around each other. 

If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
Probably go away for a couple of days afterwards to just enjoy each other’s company. Not necessarily a big honeymoon but just a couple of days to be alone after such a busy time.

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We did things a bit backwards and had a ten week trip away travelling together the year before! We did have time off together over Christmas and New Years together, but it was so busy the whole time. We have a mini-moon in April planned which we’re both looking forward to!

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? What parts were easy, what parts were trickier?
I loved it!! We started pretty much straight away and had lots of fun doing it. We knew what we wanted! It was a bit tricky to convince family members that our ideas would be good - eg: no table linen, "simple" flowers etc..but we stuck to our ideas and it all worked out amazing. The worst part was the guest list. That was very tricky.

What will you do with your dress now?
I'm keeping the overlay lace for sure! Not sure as yet for the underlay dress but I don’t feel like I can part with it yet!

What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
The speeches - everyone who spoke did such an incredible job.



SHOES - Footloose EOS "Star" Heels

VEIL - Modes bridal in Auckland

CEREMONY VENUE -  Toko Toru Tapu church, Manutuke, Gisborne

RECEPTION VENUE - Gisborne A&P showgrounds 

MARQUEE & TABLES - Macpherson Marquees

PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER - Strike Photography by Brennan Thomas  

BRIDESMAID’S DRESSES - Local designer, Chelsea Thorpe  

RINGS - Jaime Lucinda Jewellery 

MUSIC - "DJ bruce"

FLORIST - Family and friends 

CATERER - Scott Fussell  

CAKE SUPPLIER - friends, Alan & Jess Thorpe

HAIR - my beautiful sister, Ashleigh 

MAKE-UP - Nourish Beauty by Nat Hovell