Harriet laughs that “definitely I was taking notes for my own wedding” when she worked front of house at Ruth Pretty Catering weddings while at Wellington Girls’ College and Victoria University.
She may not have imagined that when she married Rob, they would be living in Dubai, and craving green spaces.
“We wanted our guests to be relaxed and outdoors, so the beautiful Springfield property was ideal for our small, informal and classy day.”
“Being close to Wellington for friends and family was also a plus. As we were overseas, my mother handled many of the details for us. Because I was so familiar with Springfield, and how well-organised Ruth, Paul and their team are, it was all pretty straight-forward – most of our decisions were made by email.
“There were a few non-negotiables. First, that wine from Immigrant’s Winery in Central Otago was served, as it’s owned by Rob’s parents. Ruru Rosé, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and of course Pinot Noir went down very well – and the special labels that Roland and Lucienne made for the wedding were a lovely touch.
“We definitely wanted a sit-down dinner, but equally did not want a separate top table. That would have felt uncomfortable, so being at the long tables with our guests was much more “us”. The casual, shared long tables set-up worked perfectly, and with 50 guests was much friendlier.
“Wanting our guests to have lots of choices for delicious food and drink went without saying! Ruth’s passarounds are always fantastic – it was great to taste a few ‘new-to-me’ items and revisit classics like scampi tails! See menu here.
“We wanted simple but delicious food, with a few surprises. The entrée tasting plates were loved by all and alternative menus for some guests greatly appreciated.
“I was lucky to try many great dishes while working for Ruth Pretty Catering at events and always loved the seafood dishes. So (hoping for a lovely fine day) a nice light dish of fish was perfect for a January wedding. Rob loves lamb so those were our two main dishes, with lots of vegetables and salads.
“We went to town on the ‘afters’, with a Celebration Cake, Ice Cream selection and a ‘real’ Cheese Cake with tiers of amazing New Zealand cheeses, decorated with grapes and rosemary – it was great to be able to give our guests a savoury dessert option.
“I adore Ruth’s Lemon Curd Cake, so it was the more traditional wedding cake’s top tier, with Vanilla next and Chocolate Mud Cake as the bottom layer.”
And what about The Red Dress? “I loved my dress! It was so much fun to wear and I was quite excited about doing something different”, Harriet says.
“The British designer at House of Moirai, Dubai, and I went back and forth a bit between a more traditional colour and something quite bold. She was fantastic to work with, and once I followed my ‘go bold’ gut feeling, totally embraced my vision for a red, floaty dress.
“Everyone loved it – I think people found it quite refreshing, although one guest I hadn't met before thought I was the bridesmaid! I totally loved the thought of being a stealth bride!
“My sister’s beautiful blue bridesmaid’s dress came from Kilt in Wellington. Georgie and my colour scheme plan were no more detailed than “the more colour the better”, and it all worked out. Our bouquets and table flowers from Horrobin & Hodge were simple, beautiful and vibrantly colourful.
“Rob and I were in the garden when guests arrived: we wanted to be laid-back and there to welcome and mingle with our guests before the ceremony.
“The big reveal wasn’t important to me, and it meant our photographer Paul Howell could get lovely casual photos that captured the day as we spent time with our guests, rather than leaving for a long photo shoot”, she explained.
In keeping with their “relaxed and happy” aim for the day, Rob and Harriet kept things as simple as possible.
“Celebrant Sarah Topliff understood our rather non-conventional approach, and happily pared back the ceremony to suit us. Not to diminish the importance of the marriage ceremony, but for Rob and me it was important that the day was spontaneous and fun and we could spend time with our friends and family”.
Harriet and Rob summarised “we were extremely happy with our wedding day. The weather was gorgeous, the food was to die for, and everyone was very well taken care of, which meant we could all just chill out and enjoy the event.
“The only thing I would change is not have a dress with such a tight-fitting bodice – a girl needs to eat and drink!” she laughed.
Photo Credit: Paul Howell