A Sweet & Simple Lakeside Lodge Wedding by Tessa Chrisp

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I met this very special lady last year, and we discovered we had more than a little in common! Apart from our mutual love for four-legged friends, I discovered Cheree worked for one of my favourite mags, Life & Leisure (this made me behave a little like an overenthusiastic stalker), and Cheree discovered I was the brains crazy dog/cat lady behind Paper & Lace. And so I was excited to hear of her upcoming wedding, and her mission to find simple, affordable and realistic inspiration for her big day (let’s just say I was furiously taking mental sticky notes for blog post ideas!). Anyway, it gives me much pleasure to share Cheree and now hubby Dan’s beautiful day with you. Enjoy!

5 Ideas To Steal Getting married under a tree not only looks beautiful but you can hang lots of pretty props from it too! | ‘For Richer or Poorer’ Instant Kiwi guest favours are a brilliant and affordable idea. Just make sure you sign your name on the back so you get the money… KIDDING!!!! | Finding a venue that will let you BYO wine can save you mega amounts of money | Ask your guests to tell your ‘their song’ on the RSVP card and include it in the playlist for lot’s of ‘OMG that’s my song’ moments! | Add a little embellishment to your ‘mix and match’ bridesmaids dresses to tie them all in together.

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Who Dan Morrison and Cheree Phillips
Where Tawharanui Lodge, Tawharanui – about 15 minutes from Matakana
Guests 70

How did you meet?

Dan and I met at Waikato University about nine years ago, on our first day at Bryant Hall. We became best friends – then one day I realised that I was madly in love with him, and have been ever since!

In three words describe your wedding style…

We knew we wanted something classic, elegant and romantic, but our overall wedding-word was family. We are both lucky to have the most wonderful families, both of our parents have been married 30+ years and we wanted our day to be like a big, warm hug to them all. Looking back, there is nothing we would changed. It rained all day apart from an hour around the ceremony, and although it changed our plans, it still all worked out perfectly.

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What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

Our venue and reception was both our splurge and save. Tawharanui Lodge was the only venue we visited, and it was perfect. Jill, the owner, is incredible. Nothing was a problem, from decorations to bringing our own wine (very important as Dan works at a winery – a big save!) It just felt right; we stayed onsite for two nights with our families and bridal party, and the wedding and reception were in the same location – so easy and no travel.

I wouldn’t call them splurge items but some of the non-negotiables were the people we worked with. I work for a magazine so am lucky to work with incredibly talented people. Our photographer Tessa Chrisp has focussed more on editorial work lately, so I was really touched that she joined us. The photos speak for themselves, she is a genius. Nima from Jasmine Florists was also someone I knew I had to work with. I had no idea what I wanted – I sent him three photos and the words soft, romantic, not round. Again, another genius.

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun?

The most difficult part was keeping the guest list to 70. It was important to us to stick to that number, as we felt we could happily spend quality time with everyone, rather than having to rush between tables, but it was tough. I’m a fairly organised person, so with the help of the fantastic google spreadsheet (a must-use! google.com/weddings) we (almost) kept on top of everything. The most fun was doing things together, like untangling our foster cats from metres of photo backdrop ribbon, or painting gold numbers.

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What did you do for your hens do?

I’m sure all brides say this but my bridesmaids were amazing, and the hens do was no exception. They organised a party in town with around 20 friends and family and all of the hens-do must haves. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Did you DIY? If so, what did you do?

As our venue was fairly all inclusive, it left us with time to focus on what was important to us. We did a bit in the end, like we cleared out most of the crystal and glass from Auckland op-shops for table decorations, made a huge ribbon photo backdrop and sourced all of the glass globes for the tree. Our families helped where possible. My sister brought back lace and the name cards from Venice, my dad made the mosaic seating chart from a broken mirror. I made my own cake – it was soaked in Baileys and condensed milk for two days and was so big we had it for breakfast the following morning. We lost our greyhound Tom a few months before the wedding so our Etsy caketopper was really special.

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What music did you play for those special moments?

Down the aisle All of Me by John Legend Signing the register XO by John Mayer Back down the aisle Sugar by Maroon 5 First dance The Blowers Daughter by Damien Rice.

We decided against a DJ and instead made a variety of playlists on Spotify to suit each stage of the day. It worked perfectly! Our RSVP cards asked guests to tell us ‘their song’ or a song that will make them dance, so we worked those in as well.

Do you have any money saving tips for engaged couples?

We set our budget early on, and really tried to stick to it. I think the best thing is deciding on the few things that are really important, the non-negotiables. For us, that was venue/reception, photographer and flowers. Then you will see the things that you aren’t too worried about. For us, Spotify instead of DJ, making the cake. Make the most of friends and family, it’s so nice to have them involved and they have excellent skills!

Where did you/will you go for your honeymoon?

We took off to Borneo for two weeks and it was perfect. A lot of people asked why Borneo but it was the perfect blend of adventure, culture, warmth, poolside cocktails, shopping and relaxing. We absolutely loved it. We were lucky to spend two days in Singapore with family, which topped off a great holiday.

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Photographer Tessa Chrisp
Flowers Jasmine Floral Design, Kingsland. Keepsake Bouquets created the silk hanging behind the table.
Venue/Catering Tawharanui Lodge – the amazing Jill is caterer, organiser, planner, helper and friend.
Stationery Minted.
Hair & Makeup Hayley from All Made Up. Hayley was fantastic! Like having a wonderful friend with you on the day.
Cake Myself. Caketopper from Etsy.
Celebrant Tracy Munton. Tracy is a wonderful family friend, and it was so special to have her as our celebrant.
Brides Dress & Shoes Astra Bridal.
Veil Handmade by sister.
Accessories Lovisa.
Bridesmaids Dresses All over the place. ASOS/TradeMe/Miss Selfridge. My sister Emma found a sari in an opshop and embellished three of the dresses. The girls chose their own dresses, and we hadn’t seen them together until the big day. I couldn’t believe how well it worked out!
Grooms Suit Hallenstein Brothers.
Accessories Cufflinks from Etsy.
Rings Neville Jordan Jeweller, Manukau.
Music Spotify.