It was all sunshine, daisies and woodland creatures for sweethearts Shaun and Isobel. Despite living in London, the New Zealand natives headed home for their Abbeville Estate wedding and Auckland based photographer Natalie McNally worked her magic, capturing all the English charm of their outdoor affair.
Planning a wedding from the other side of the world is not for the faint hearted but Shaun and Isobel were fortunate enough to have on-the-ground helpers in NZ – their friends and family. “We made almost every decision based on other people’s recommendations – friends who knew people etc.” Isobel’s parents even scouted venues for the pair and their efforts were invaluable, “My parents went to heaps of different spots around Auckland and sent loads of images/videos so we could pick without having actually seen it! We couldn’t have done any of this wedding without my folks.” She says.
Although it wasn’t what they originally had in mind, Shaun and Isobel quickly fell for Abbeville Estate, utilising the property’s different areas for each part of the day, “Once I actually stepped foot in the place, and saw the gorgeous barn, the cute herb garden, the pristine homestead, the open gardens and basically everything, I just knew I had happened upon a complete winner.” Isobel tells us.
You know we love a gutsy groom and it doesn’t get much gutsier than a pair of sunshine yellow shoes! Handmade by his best man with the bride and groom's initials embossed on the soles, the luminous kicks perfectly complemented Shaun’s bespoke three-piece blue suit by London tailor Thom Sweeney, with a yellow floral bow tie to top it all off.
For self-confessed fashion fiend Isobel, only a custom made gown would do and who better for the job than her fave NZ brand Ruby? All of the Skype dates, fabric swatches and email correspondence from opposite sides of the globe resulted in a stunning halter creation, which she paired with Jimmy Choo wedges for the ceremony and Charlotte Olympia flats for later in the night - after all, a gal's gotta dance!
Roses Florist is a local fave for Isobel when she’s in NZ so they were an obvious choice for her wedding. “We gave them a moodboard of daisies and wildflowers (aside from being Isobel’s middle name, the daisy also featured in her mother’s wedding and is the flower Shaun scattered on the ground when he proposed) and what they came back to us with was exactly what I wanted.”
A graphic designer by trade, Isobel was keen to get her hands dirty with some DIY - and she did, designing the stationary and signage, while her mum crafted the bunting and herb planter centrepieces - but she assures us she would have done more had she not been living in London.
“The food was a real treat and one of the best bits of the day.” Isobel says of The Great Catering Company. "There was no real theme - if we liked the sound of it and wanted to try it, we served it! Shaun and I love sharing food, and going out for dinner is a way that we show love to not only ourselves, but our friends too. We wanted there to be a sense of everyone ‘tucking in’, like Shaun's traditional big family dinners.”
A flourless dark chocolate cake with pistachio topping, a ginger and pear cake with glace stem ginger and ginger syrup, brandy snaps and white chocolate plus an almond butter and raspberry cake (all courtesy of The Caker) made for quite a lineup - “We didn’t anticipate the dramas about flavour choice,” says Isobel, “we just couldn’t decide! The only obvious choice was to have all the flavours. So we did!”
Natalie McNally never disappoints and Shaun and Isobel were rapt with their wedding snaps. “She was exceptional. Her photos were breathtaking and she was such a pleasure to work with. Natalie was so respectful of our requests, and really captured the fun of the day and the love between Shaun and I.”