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WHERE: Italian Renaissance Garden, Hamilton, New Zealand

WHEN: January 2008

PHOTOGRAPHER: Carmel Jane Photography

How they met

The couple met at a mutual friend’s toga party in London.

The proposal

Colin proposed on a secluded beach in Southern Italy in September 2006.

The bride’s outfit for her real wedding abroad

Claire found her beautifully delicate ‘Lydia’ gown by Belladonna at Brides of Merivale in Christchurch, New Zealand. The one-piece, strapless dress was made from ivory satin with pale blue embroidered floral embellishment around the bust and train. It was ruched around the waist and the back was detailed with buttons.

“A lovely dress needn’t cost you the earth – what makes a bride feel and look great is being happy.”

The accessories

The bride’s veil and tiara were also from Brides of Merivale. To complete her bridal look, Claire wore her own diamond earrings and Lucia Rossi ivory shoes with diamanté detail at the ankle
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The grooms outfit

Kevin hired his black suit from Linleys of Bangor, who gave the couple a great service. He wore it with an ivory waistcoat and cravat.

The bridesmaids

Claire’s four bridesmaids each chose their own dress in a shade of blue. They all wore lapis lazuli drop earrings, which were a gift from the bride and groom on the big day.

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The flowers

TThe bridal party all carried bouquets of ivory roses, created by local florist Carol Harrison.

The ceremony

Claire’s brother composed a piece of music for her walk up the aisle at the intimate ceremony of 45 guests.

The reception

Was held in a marquee on the tennis court at Claire’s parents’ house. The reception tables were decorated with centrepieces of blue and yellow flowers, created by the bride’s mother.

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The menu

Claire and Colin’s guests were treated to an Italian feast of dishes such as bruschetta with figs, melon wrapped in Parma ham, olives and chargrilled squid, prior to the wedding breakfast. This began with a starter of buffalo mozzarella and lemon pepper prawns, plus breads and olive oil for dipping. The main course was marinated roasted lamb loin with white beans and salad, and individual tiramisu as dessert.

“Our wedding was so special because it was a family effort, with help from everyone on the day.”

The cake

Was a heart-shaped sachertorte, made by Claire’s bridesmaid, Fiona.

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The music

Another of Claire’s brothers had sung during the ceremony and he performed again during the speeches. Claire and Colin’s first dance was a waltz to My cup runneth over with love. They had been practising their dance for a year so they looked great.

The theme

Was Italy, which was inspired by the location of their engagement, and influenced both the food and style of their real wedding abroad.

Special moment

Since the wedding day was such a family effort, the couple decided to hold a barbecue the next evening for guests to meet again and catch up with everything from the day.

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