Gina & Alan's handmade toadstool fantasy wedding

July 11 |
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Photos by Ruth Gilmour

The offbeat bride: Gina, Pastry chef

Her offbeat partner: Alan, Bistro Manager

Date and location of wedding: Matahui Lodge, Katikati, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand — April 28, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I am from New Zealand, but my husband and I live in Melbourne, where he is from. So we decided to have our wedding close to my family. A large group of us flew over, hired a beach front house (which turned out to be ultra cheap, being so many of us staying there), and felt like rock stars, drinking and eating good food every night.

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One of the things that makes me who I am, and my sister and my mother the same, is that we like to do everything! This worked out well since my sister is a graphic designer, I am a pastry chef, and my mother is an all-around artist. Everything about our wedding was handmade, and if it wasn't done by us it was handmade by someone we had found.

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Some of the handmade highlights were:

  • The fabric bouquets. I made a million yo-yo flowers with button centres. Using whisks and ribbons, we turned them into beautiful bouquets we can keep forever
  • "Cupcakes in a jar" bonbonnieres. I made the cake and filling, and my sister designed beautiful labels with every guest's name on it

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  • We had glass baubles with glass toadstool beads hanging from the vines.

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  • My sister made soft toy toadstools for decoration
  • My mother did all of our hair, and I did my own and my bridesmaids' makeup

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Tell us about the ceremony: I was quite particular in what kind of ceremony I wanted: short. And considering everything else was being made or done by friends or family, it seemed slightly off that we would then get a priest or celebrant who we didn't know to do the ceremony.

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My parents suggested, after seeing some friends do something similar, that we get legally married in Australia, and then my dad would walk me down the aisle and perform the ceremony. He walked me down the aisle, put my hand into my husband's, then turned and addressed the crowd. It caused quite a stir with all the family members who thought dad must have gotten his certificate. But we were already legally married and nobody knew. It was quite cheeky! Dad did a wine ceremony, as we are both big lovers of good wine.

My favorite moment: The most meaningful moments would have to be spending a lot of time with my sister. We have had so many years apart from each other, and it has only been recently that our relationship has become really strong. Since I was creating this wedding from Australia, she was my eyes, ears, and hands in New Zealand, and she always knew exactly what I wanted even if I couldn't properly explain it.

I also loved seeing Alan dance with such enthusiasm as though it was the last dance he would ever have, was hilarious and wonderful all at the same time.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: Do not read wedding magazines! They are there to trick you into buying things you don't need. And make a list of what you want in your wedding, then cut it in half!

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Photography: Ruth Gilmour
  • My amazing dress, my bridesmaids' dresses, and my flower girl Zoe's dress: Charlotte from Pixie Pocket. She is legendary. We used her designs, but changed to suit my specifications, and at a great price.
  • Skull and bones bracelet: The Yellow Brick Road

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. There's something extremely precious about this wedding. I hope you don't object to the use of the word "precious". It's so….dainty? I can't figure out what it is, but it's elegant and beautiful and serene and calming and just lovely.

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    • The Precious thing about this wedding is that it is so Real!! I love How family pulled together and made everything just like in the old days before weddings became so commercial ;) i love everything about it this wedding <3

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  2. So glad to see a shout-out to Pixie Pocket. She made my dress as well, and it was great!

  3. The pic of the couple by the little vineyard (?) next to the pic of the old-timey camera is OH MY GOD gorgeous. The colors of the land are so saturated and the couple looks so fantastic with that as the background and it looks like heaven is peeking down through the clouds. Love it.

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    • This what New Zealand looks like :) Katikati is a great place.

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  4. I can't decide what I like the most about this wedding! The dress, the toadstools in the glass bubbles, the cake, all the BUTTONS!, the cupcakes in a jar…I'm in love with it all! @.@

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  5. New Zealand panorama, toadstool cake & a vivid blue dress. Inspirational!

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  6. thank you all for the lovely responses! It really was a beautiful day! X

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  7. Oh my goodness. The overcast skies, the bright green grass! The bright blue dress! Ugh! So pretty!

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