A Colourful Chic Pongakawa Wedding by Courtney Horwood Photography

When you team a stunning venue like Old Forest School with a fab stylist like Casey from The Heirloom, and then choose super talented (and suuuuuper nice) Courtney Horwood to capture all the gorgeous details and emotion, the result is going to be one heck of an awesome wedding! Abby & Mark’s day is filled with colourful florals, crisp whites and a fusion of chic, vintage, rustic and bohemian styling (it’s simply perfect!). Congratulations to the gorgeous couple and a big thank you to the always amazing Courtney Horwood for sharing this fun day with us. xox

Who: Abby de Lisle and Mark Derry
Venue: Old Forest School, Bay of Plenty
Guests: 100

Our love story began… in our second year of university. We shared a group of mutual friends, but whilst we hung out a lot as a group we didn’t really know each other on a personal level. That all changed after our first date and we both began to realise we had found someone special. After 6 years together, living in the UK and travelling the world, we knew our love was strong and returned to NZ engaged and excited to spend the rest of our lives together in beautiful New Zealand.

I said yes… during a holiday in Thailand, Mark proposed up the top of a mountain in the island of Koh Tao. We were up this mountain looking out at the most beautiful view I have ever seen; the island below looked like something from a movie set. I went up the mountain with a boyfriend and came down with a fiance!

Our wedding style was… We wanted our wedding to be a fun, laid back event for ourselves and our guests, whilst being surrounded by a lot of beauty. In other words we wanted a gorgeous, stylish wedding, but without any fuss or stress involved (sounds easy right?!).

Early on, we chose white as the bridesmaid’s dress colour, but knew we would need to add a bit more excitement and fun, so did this by incorporating brightly coloured flowers. Choosing a forest location definitely enhanced the casual vibe of our day, and then pops of gold helped to bring in some style and keep the theming from becoming too rustic.

We wanted everyone to think back on our day as a true celebration of pure happiness.

We saved by… skipping the favours, and I do not think one person minded. I designed all our invites, stationery and seating chart. We had friends do our bouquets and make our cake – both of which turned out phenomenally!

We splurged on… our venue, photographer and a stylist were the most important thing for us. Having a stylist was an absolute life saver. Casey from The Heirloom set everything up, and packed it away, so we did not have to worry about the venue in the slightest, and could just enjoy the day. Also, we have had so many compliments on our photos and cannot recommend using a great photographer like Courtney Horwood enough.

Our advice to engaged couples is… try not to stress too much when planning your wedding day. If you keep the focus on the fact that this is the beginning of your marriage, rather than the fact this is a big party, then it is easier to not sweat the small stuff. Little things may go wrong, or turn out not quite how you expected, but that’s okay, because at the end of the day you still get to leave with your new husband or wife.

To brides – choose a dress that you are comfortable in. Make sure you can move easily and that you can enjoy your dinner without worrying. That is why I loved my dress!


Photographer  Courtney Horwood Photography
Stylist The Heirloom
Flowers  Nicky Richter
Venue Old Forest School
Catering Tag Burger
Dress Kellylin Couture
Celebrant Christine Grant
Cake Rebecca Lawrence, Cakes by Bex