Tulsa Gown – Lucy & Clint
Lucy Slight and Clint Roberts
2 February 2018
Old Forest School, Pongakawa, New Zealand. Old Forest School is the most beautiful venue in the countryside of rural Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. I found the venue online and it was love at first sight. After googling every wedding I could find that had taken place at Old Forest School, we both knew it was the one. We ended up booking it straight away without even going to look at it first!
My very dear friend Amanda Thomas photographed our wedding. We loved that she knew us so well and would make us feel really at ease on the day – plus her photography style was exactly what we wanted. She not only beautifully captured us, but the candid photos of our guests are just brilliant too.
I wore the Bo & Luca Tulsa dress, and with its floaty and bohemian silhouette, it suited the venue perfectly. I had fallen in love with the Tulsa dress while styling a shoot for a wedding magazine about three years prior and it had always stuck with me. I never went wedding dress shopping – the idea of trying on a million dresses didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I ended up ordering the Tulsa dress online from a boutique in London – I never even tried it on! But when it arrived it fit like a dream. I couldn’t picture myself wearing anything else.
My two bridesmaids wore olive green slip dresses from New Zealand label Ruby. The bias cut skirt with the ruffle around the neckline was so flattering and the colour perfect.
In November 2016, a week before my birthday, Clint surprised me with a “birthday” weekend away to the Hawkes Bay, a one-hour plane trip from Auckland where we live. It’s a beautiful wine region and on a Saturday night, he had booked dinner for us at one of the most picturesque vineyards, Mission Estate. It was raining and we were having a glass of wine outside under the shelter. When the rain cleared before dinner he suggested we go for a walk around the gardens to look at the view over the vineyard. Next thing I know, he was down on one knee, proposing with my great grandmother’s diamond cluster engagement ring.
The aesthetic was very rustic and casual because that’s how the venue is styled. Old Forest School was a former schoolhouse that was left abandoned before the now-owners purchased the property and refurbished it into a wedding venue. We got married under a huge sycamore tree, then had the reception in the barn which is light, bright and painted white.
Because my great grandmother’s ring was around 100 years old, I needed to have it remade to make sure it lasted another 100 years! The amazing Zoe from Zoe and Morgan remade it for me with the same diamond cluster setting but elevated the style of the ring slightly to make it more modern. I also chose to have the diamonds set into 12ct yellow gold rather than the original white gold. My wedding band – also from Zoe and Morgan – is an eternity band with various shades of champagne diamonds all the way around. They look so beautiful when they catch the light as there are hints of amber and yellow. Clint wears his dad’s wedding band, which is a plain gold band – exactly the simple style of the ring he was looking for.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS
We chose Tauranga-based florist Shaye from On My Hand to do our florals, as her rustic style was exactly what I had envisaged and so perfectly suited the venue – and my dress! I asked for soft pastels with a few statement blooms and I was so happy with how they looked – the peachy tones were beautiful with the ivory of my gown and the olive in the bridesmaids’ dresses too. The archway had really simple leafy greenery going half way up as I didn’t want anything too complicated and for the reception area she placed wildflowers in amber bottles for a little hint of colour.
We didn’t have a wedding cake, we chose to have a Mr Whippy ice cream truck just after dinner, which was such a hit with the guests! They could order anything they liked from the menu so there were plenty of people going back for seconds, thirds, even fourths!
Our aisle song was Perfect Day by Lou Reed, a song I had always dreamed of walking down the aisle to. Luckily Clint is also a Lou Reed fan so he agreed! I kept it a secret from Dad, who walked me in because I knew it would be a lovely surprise for him seeing as he’s the reason I love the song in the first place. Our first dance was to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, in honour of our two British Shorthair cats Ziggy and Bowie, who became part of our family the week that David Bowie passed away.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
For dinner, we went for a really casual option of catering by the Big Smoke BBQ Company. They attached a giant American barbecue to the back of a truck and drive it into the venue, and the smoky smell of the barbecue cooking all the food into the evening really added to the atmosphere. We bought enough bubbles so that guests could keep drinking it all night long if they wanted to, and had rose, pinot gris and pinot noir from New Zealand label Crafter’s Union and two types of beer. We almost ran out of beer because it was such a hot day!
In April, we went to Europe for almost a month, traveling around Italy for the most part. We caught the train all over the country stopping in Milan, Chianti, Florence, Rome, Positano, and Venice, before flying to Paris, London and Amsterdam. It was a whirlwind trip, but we had the time of our lives.
We didn’t have a gift registry as since our venue was out of Auckland, most of our guests had to travel to be there – and having them at our wedding was the best gift we could have asked for. Despite that, we had many generous gifts including spending money for our amazing honeymoon, as well as beautiful artwork, a glamping weekend away and gorgeous homeware.
One of my favourite moments was coming back from the sunset photo shoot to see a huge line of guests queuing for the Mr Whippy truck – it made me so happy! But I think the most memorable would have to be seeing all the smiling faces of our friends and family as Dad and I walked down the aisle – and then Clint standing at the end waiting for me!
ADVICE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE
It’s really cliche to say it, but don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have your heart set on something and it’s not available, just move on and try not to dwell on it – there’s always another option. And everyone will say it but it’s true, on the day all your worries will go out the window and you will have the time of your life. I thought I would be too stressed to have a good time but that wasn’t the case at all!
VENDORS & SUPPLIERS
Photography: Amanda Thomas Photography
Florist: On My Hand
Venue: Old Forest School
Bar staff: The Rusty Hare
Catering: Big Smoke BBQ Company
Hair and makeup: Melle Van Sambeek
Dress: Bo & Luca
Rings: Zoe and Morgan
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