Our 2012 Bride & Groom of the Year winners

The team at Bride & Groom were once again overwhelmed with the number of amazing entries we received for our Bride & Groom of the Year competition. The love, creativity and dedication put into your weddings is truly inspiring, and made choosing the winners very difficult! But, it is with great pleasure that we introduce you to this year’s winners, Alyssa and Brenton Helleur, whose story and photos really touched our hearts. Don’t they look so incredibly in love!

2012Bride&Groom of the Year WINNERS
Photos by Anna Allport
Alyssa shares their story…

We wanted our wedding to paint a picture of the two of us as individuals, and how these two very separate elements work so well together. This started from our colour scheme, through to our music selections, vows, and overall wedding style.

I am more formal, while Brenton is less so. He is an arborist and very outdoorsy, and I am an architect, so it was a no-brainer that we needed to find a beautiful homestead on manicured gardens, shaping the atmosphere of the wedding we wanted to create – a fairly formal wedding in a relaxing, garden setting. Woodlands Historic Homestead was the perfect venue. Our colour scheme was an important element in our wedding, as we wanted both our personalities expressed. I am minimalist; I don’t like a lot of overwhelming colour. My now husband is the opposite. He loves bright, bold colours. We decided on shades of grey, with a bold accent of yellow. Like most couples, we had a budget to stick to and we used the skills of our family and friends to create our dream day. I created every bit of stationery for the wedding, from the invitations and seating plan to place cards and table numbers. Our ceremony was magical. I wanted an element of surprise for my husband so I organised Nick Afoa (who often sings the national anthem for All Blacks’ games) to sing. I kept all the ceremony song choices secret and chose songs I knew my husband would love. He was absolutely blown away. Our daughter, Milla, walked out first and was met halfway up the aisle by her daddy, who walked her the rest of the way. We chose our mothers to act as witnesses in signing the register. While we had photos onsite our guests enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and canapés on the lawn, and then moved to the reception room for the dinner and dance. Nearly a year on, I look back at our photos and video fondly. There is not one thing I would change on that day. The wedding represented my husband and myself perfectly and we had the time of our lives celebrating with family and dear friends.

Alyssa and Brenton have won a romantic seven-night getaway to The Havannah in Vanuatu, a Kenwood mixer, De’Longhi kettle and toaster, Novadown duvet, Nespresso Pixie coffee machine, Dyson fan heater, a knife set from the House of Knives, a cookware set from Kirkcaldie & Stains, custom framing from Factory Frames and his and hers fragrances from Giorgio Armani.

The other fabulous winners…

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Photos by Sutherland Kovich Studio
Bride’s gown: Jessica Bridal

Our beautiful Bride of the Year, Sue Pat, told us: ‘It’s not about how much money you spend on things, it’s about creating those personal touches that money can’t buy’. And Sue, along with her husband Julian, definitely created a unique, personal and memorable wedding filled with creative touches. Sue tells us about their day…

Our relationship started off as long-distance, so naturally travel and adventure was our wedding theme! As a graphic designer, creating our wedding stationery was my passion. Our save-the-date fridge magnet was in the shape of a plane, and for the invitation I created a 16-page book illustrating our story and inviting our guests to be part of the next chapter. Our wedding was one big DIY project – if it was possible to create something ourselves, we would. The decorations had a garden party feel – there was about 80m of bunting, artificial grass as table runners, hand-painted wooden table signs and flowers in assorted jars and bottles. To tie in the colour theme we made 166 turquoise felt balls and used them in the buttonholes, bouquets and table decorations. The table-seating plan was a world map, which showed the places we’d travelled, and each table was named after a city we’d visited. At their seat, each guest found a postcard addressed to them with a picture of us taken in that city along with a fun story. While we were both born in New Zealand, we wanted to acknowledge our Chinese heritage, so incorporated the Chinese tea ceremony into our wedding, which made the ceremony more personalised and meaningful for us. Julian and I received lovely feedback from our guests, saying how much they enjoyed the day and how they felt part of our journey. It was a memorable day for us, but also for our friends and family, who wished us a happily ever after.

Sue has won a stunning 18-carat white-gold-and-diamond necklace from Carats Jewellers, a Zoe by Finepix camera from Fujifilm, and his and hers fragrances from Giorgio Armani.
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Photos by Emma Rogers
Bride’s gown: Maggie Sottero

Sharon Whyte told us that her groom, Ranui, went above and beyond to make their wedding day special, including agreeing to have pink as their colour theme! He helped with the planning, and in the days leading up to the big day he organised all of the last-minute things so Sharon could relax. We think this earns Ranui the title of Groom of the Year! Sharon tells us more…

The night before our wedding, while the girls were getting pampered, Ranui had notes for each of the bridesmaids delivered to our room. The notes were personalised, thoughtful and instructed to be read aloud. Each note thanked the bridesmaids individually for the help they had given me throughout the planning of the wedding, and ended with a sentence to the bride such as ‘…tell Sharon not to stress’, or ‘…tell Sharon everything is going to work out’. The last note read ‘…tell Sharon I love her’. The morning of the wedding as I was sipping Champagne and getting ready, my husband-to-be and his groomsmen set up the ceremony, rolling out the carpets, tying bows around pillars and stabbing flower bouquets into the ground. We personalised our wedding vows, with Ranui promising to let me shop as much I need with no questions asked, and I promised to keep the pantry full and always give him the bigger half! As the day went on, Ranui made sure everything ran smoothly. During our photo shoot he carried the bottom of my dress, not once complaining. Ranui worked so hard to help fund our wedding, working weekends and overtime and even taking a season out of playing rugby so we could have the day we both dreamed of. I feel so lucky to have married someone as involved in the planning as Ranui was. He wanted the same perfect wedding that I did, and he went to every extreme to make sure we got it. I really did get to marry my prince.

Ranui has won a full suit package from Barkers plus his and hers fragrances from Giorgio Armani.
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Photos by Coralee & Alex

Thanks to their five gorgeous bridesmaids and five dashing groomsmen, Hayley and Heath Howlett had plenty of help and lots of fun leading up to their big day. We think this makes them deserving winners of the title Wedding Party of the Year!
Hayley shares their story…

Heath and I have been together for over nine years, so apart from a brother and sister, the rest of our wedding party were all friends we went to school with and spent time with for years. Two of my bridesmaids are even married to two of the groomsmen! I think the fact we have been friends for so long made our day so much more relaxed and fun – it was like hanging out with your best friends in fancy outfits! Our amazing wedding party helped decide the theme and style of our wedding, and made all of the DIY tasks so much easier. The girls and I spent a lot of time poring over wedding magazines and blogs planning what they would wear, deciding on cream dresses in different materials and styles, and different coloured shoes to match their dress. The girls and I all started the day in robes I had brought from Thailand, as we had our hair and makeup done – again in different styles so they could each be unique. The boys were not quite the wedding mag and blog type, but all looked handsome in rolled-up grey plants, light-blue shirts and white jandals. To us, our bridal party were the best. They were a massive part of our wedding and the time we spent with them leading up to and on the big day was precious. It was awesome to say our ‘I dos’ with our best friends beside us, they have been a constant support, offered their time and help to us, threw Heath and I amazing hen and stag parties, and they all looked incredible on the day!

Hayley, Heath and their wedding party have won 12 bottles of Deutz Marlborough Prestige Cuvee,
as well as his and hers fragrances for the bride and groom from Giorgio Armani.
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Photos by Alpine Images Co.
Bride’s gown: Felicitys Bridal
Groom’s attire: Frank Casey  

Our amazing Pageboy of the Year, five-year-old Ethan Harman, got involved in all many aspects of Amanda and Jon Crook’s wedding. ‘Ethan was excited shopping for his suit, helped make decorations, and was an expert at pulling the petals off rosebuds for confetti,’ says Amanda. ‘Despite being very nervous, he walked down the aisle himself carrying a banner, stood next to the best man for the entire ceremony, and danced alongside all the guests at the reception!’
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Photos by Chris Dillon.  Flowergirl attire: Miss Frilly

Our gorgeous Flowergirl of the Year, Elliot Job, didn’t mind the freezing weather when taking the shot for parents Kirsty and Stephen’s wedding invitation, and was so excited to wear her dress on the big day. ‘Our two-year-old daughter Ellie was such a good girl leading up to the wedding,’ says Kirsty. ‘Despite the florist telling me she probably wouldn’t wear the rose wreath on her head, I asked if she could for Mummy and Daddy, and she did!

Ethan and Elliot have each won a fantastic range of books from Random House NZ and a themed party pack from Jazabaloo.
Both couples have won his and hers fragrances from Giorgio Armani.

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