Real Weddings: Ellie and Sam Hutchinson
Be inspired by the boho island wedding of this real couple
Sam proposed in 2014 during a visit to the United Kingdom to see my friends and family. He suggested an early morning walk on my birthday, on the Sussex Downs in my hometown of Lewes which is where we first met. It was a beautiful morning and he totally took me by surprise, pulling the ring out of his pocket and getting down on one knee, when we got home my mum was ready with the bubbles as he had asked her permission two days earlier so she was ready to burst with excitement. It was so special to have my grandma there too, it brought her to tears.
The ring Sam choose for me is so stunning and elegant. The timeless solitaire is just perfect and we had it engraved with the date he proposed.
We had a Mad Hatters tea party at home, so everyone arrived with a hat and we went to town on decorating the garden, even making a giant keyhole for the front door and a rabbit hole in the back garden.
Our vision of a relaxed and informal festival style wedding came true. We created a laid back daytime wedding, where we could take our time and show our guests one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.
As soon as Sam proposed we knew we wanted to get married on Rakino Island in the Hauraki Gulf. Rakino is a very special place to Sam and his family and we have spent a lot of time at their bach since I first moved to New Zealand. It is a unique and magical place, where long lazy days are spent snorkelling, swimming and having BBQs whilst taking in the views. We loved the mystery and exclusivity of Hurakia Lodge, complete with stunning 360 degree views. We wanted our guests to feel what we do every time we visit — that as soon as they stepped onto the private wharf that something special and exciting was about to happen.
THE DRESS AND SUIT
My mum visits once a year in January and I knew I wanted to choose the dress with her while she was here. It was the first one I tried on and we knew it was the one — a two piece Bo & Luca design. I fell in love with the boho elegance and gorgeous intricate beading. The dress took nine months to make so I was glad we decided early. Sam wore a navy suit, his bow tie had a hidden message we both shared; a subtle Union Jack design in gold, ivory and silver to match my dress.
I wanted the girls to feel comfortable on the day so they chose their own dresses, that way they could go for the style they wanted. I sent them a colour swatch, a light peachy pink, and they all came together beautifully. I loved having individuality, I think it brings a modern feel to the day. The groomsmen wore navy suits and minty green bow ties, so the overall theme felt very summery.
HAIR AND MAKEUP
As we had an island wedding, which was quite logistically challenging, we had to compromise on some luxuries and hair and makeup was one of those. I did my own make up and my sister did my hair exactly how I had imagined. My friend Manjeera kindly offered to do the six bridesmaids' hair, and she did an incredible job and they all looked stunning. Having that personal touch was so important to me. We wanted to involve our close friends and family in our day as much as possible.
I chose white roses and gypsophila for my bouquet. Morag from Devonport Flowers put together some whimsical gypsophila bouquets for the bridesmaids, the tables, cake topper and pagoda, which was said our vows in front of.
The weather was just perfect so we were able to have the picnic-style buffet lunch we had hoped for. Sam’s aunty made picnic baskets to keep the guests going during speeches, which included homemade pate and Rimu chopping boards they made from recycled wood. Sam’s dad Perry made the most delicious legs of lamb and beef on the BBQ to accompany the caterer’s salad selection for the buffet lunch.
Sam’s aunty Maxine and our friend Emma made the white chocolate cake, we opted for cup cakes with a small top tier to cut, so our guests could grab one easily and continue partying.
David Shanhun and Harry Kleyn were our two-piece band complete with congas. We first heard them playing at Gulf Harbour Markets and decided to snap them up straight away for our big day. They created the perfect atmosphere and ambience. We had Side Project films who brought their drone and captured mind blowing footage, and they also set up a slow motion photo booth for us. The groomsmen arriving by helicopter was a pretty spectacular start to the day.
We asked our good friend Captured By Keryn to photograph us on our special day. We knew we would feel relaxed with her and had seen how stunning her work is. Her candid style complemented our wedding perfectly and we could completely relax on the day.
There were so many special moments, having a great friend Grace MC for us, receiving my first All Blacks jersey from Sam during his speech and just having all our close friends and family there in our special place, some from the other side of the world which was unbelievable.
We still have that to look forward to — a week in Aitutaki, where we can go kite surfing. We spent a good week with all our friends and family after the wedding which was the best way to keep the celebrations going, and we managed to sneak in a mini moon by spending a couple of nights at Hurakia Lodge after the big day.
Persevere, because if you really want it, you can make it happen.