The proposal: Shaun proposed to me on Christmas Day 2010, just a couple of weeks after our daughter was born. It was about 11pm and I had just finished feeding Chloe and was trying to settle her for the evening when he asked me to hand her to him and go sit in the lounge. I was very tired and grumpy at this stage and not happy that he was disrupting Chloe’s routine. Then I remembered that he’d said he would give me my Christmas present later in the evening. So I went bouncing into the lounge all excited, expecting to see something sitting on the lounge floor only to find… nothing! He told me to sit down and, being completely oblivious like I can be sometimes, I didn’t even notice him getting down on one knee, carefully balancing the baby in one hand, the ring in the other!! A nice romantic speech, tears and a big YES, YES, YES … and we were engaged!
Ceremony: The beach top chapel, Denarau Island, Fiji chosen because we love Fiji. We didn’t want a big churchy wedding as we are not religious, but this chapel was quaint and picturesque and overlooked the sea. We were married by a local Fijian minister, provided as part of the wedding package.
Reception: Sheraton Hotel – same venue as the chapel, and the staff were awesome and friendly!
Photographer: We didn’t choose our photographer as this was included in the wedding package.
Theme: Victorian Lilac and Silver – I fell in love with the colours when choosing bridesmaid dresses. The only downfall when trying to look for table props, flowers, stationary, etc in this colour was that it wasn’t available – I had to be very creative! The budget started at around $20k but I realised this was very unrealistic – it ended up about $50k.
Bride’s Dress: My dress was an Alfred Angelo design at $2,250. They had a new range of “Disney Princess” dresses; the one I choose was based on “Belle” from Disney’s beauty and the Beast – in ivory. My dress was inspired from watching “A Cinderella Story” – I loved the dress Hillary Duff’s character wore to the ball – that long corset with big skirt – but we are NOT talking “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” big!
Shoes: My shoes were purchased from Trousseau Bridal & Evening Shoes – ivory, strapy shoes with crystals ($320) My bridesmaids’ shoes were also from Trousseau– silver peep toes ($155 each).
Flowergirls: My two flowergirls (our daughter was one) wore sleeveless, calf length Alfred Angelo dresses in satin and organza ($325 each). The tops were Victorian Lilac and the skirts were white (they should have been ivory to match my dress – a mistake by Wilkins Formal Wear). Hanging from the waist down the length of the skirt was a double ribbon with Victorian lilac coloured flowers attached. They also worse silver pumps from Pumpkin Patch ($40).
Groom’s Attire: Venice suit from Frank Casey ($125), Marcella Dinner Shirt with winged collar from Nicholas Jermyn ($159.00), a handmade waistcoat in ivory material that matched my dress ($100), a handmade Euro tie in the same ivory material ($40) and “5c” cufflinks from Nicholas Jermyn ($79). The groomsman wore exactly the same as the groom except the waistcoats and ties were made from Victorian Lilac material to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. The pageboy shirt, waistcoat, tie and cufflinks matched the groom – Nicolas Jermyn was the only place we could find an exactly matching shirt for the pageboy. His shirt had French cuffs – he looked so cute!
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Also an Alfred Angelo design –floor length and flowing, with a flower pattern on the waist and spaghetti straps, in full Victorian lilac ($380 each).
Flowers: Limited choice given we were getting married in Fiji. All the bouquets and buttonholes were orchids; everything else was Frangipani’s. I had a trailing bouquet, the bridesmaids had posies bouquets and the flowergirls carried baskets. I took some fake lavender plants (Plant Barn – $12.99 a bunch) as these actually matched my Victorian Lilac colour, and the heads were used in the bridesmaids’ posies, as well as in the groomsman and family buttonholes, and in the table arrangements.
Hair & makeup: A Fijian hairstylist did my hair-up (FJD$180 per person – for hair only). I added hair jewellery and a hairpin that my parents had designed and made for me specifically for my wedding. It was a silver rose (as I am English) but the leaves on the stem were made to look like Koru’s (as my husband is Kiwi). It is so beautiful! My makeup was by Siena Misiepo who is an Auckland-based mobile beauty therapist – she is a friend and was a guest at the wedding. I only found out recently that she actually missed the ceremony because she didn’t have time to get ready after doing all our make-up (which looked AMAZING) and was hiding behind a tree so I wouldn’t see her and get upset that she missed it.
Cake: A 2-tier fruit cake with white icing decorated with a “Me to You” cake topper and lilac paper flowers brought from New Zealand.
Décor: I purchased everything myself and, with the help of my sister Daisy and guest Kelly Ryan, we designed and made the place names and decided on the look for the table. The tables were laid with a white tablecloth and a dark purple runner. A black organza runner with silver patterns was placed over the dark purple one. A square mirror was the base for the flower arrangements, surrounded by tealights in glass. Swarovski crystals were scattered about the table. The Sheraton supplied a range of different sized and shaped jars for the lolly station.
Stationery: I used The Celebration Studio in Auckland for my invites. They were like a ticket with four pages in ivory with black writing, and placed in a silver sleeve embossed with our names.
Entertainment: The DJ was excellent, playing old school music, which is what we wanted, and took requests as and when asked.
Transportation: I was taken to the chapel by Bula Bus decorated with white ribbon and flowers. I was then transported from the hotel lobby to the chapel in a golf buggy as buses can’t go onto the hotel grounds!
Catering: We opted for the Sheraton’s international style buffet meal that provided a wide range to suit everyone. I selected the desserts, opting for mainly chocolate-based ones! The food was lovely.
The service: We had every intention of writing our own vows, but this got put on the backburner time and again. In the end we just said the traditional, non-religious vows which, to be honest, said everything we felt needed to be said. I walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. Yes, I am a twilight fan, but I didn’t choose it because it was in Break Dawn Part 1! We then had a Fijian choir who sung us back up the aisle after the ceremony.
Memorable Moments: Most brides might say the moment they started walking down the aisle and saw their future husband. As much as I remember that moment, another moment jumps out at me…. A piece of advice a friend gave me was that, at some stage during the day, I should just stop and reflect on what was going on and take it all in, as the day would be over before I knew it. I had this in the back of my head all day and kept meaning to do it, but I was being pulled here, there and everywhere and just didn’t have two minutes to myself. Eventually, just before dinner, my new husband was getting my meal – so setting the standard for married life! I sat there, watching all my friends and family, my daughter running around the dance floor, taking everything in and thought to myself “this is a great day, I feel like a princess and I can’t believe I am now Danielle Sellwood”. At that moment I was so happy, so content, and life was perfect! I should probably add that I still feel that way!
Special mentions: A massive thank you to my parents, Tim and Wendy Kitson, for all their contributions to our day (both financially and otherwise). They even paid for my UK Grandparents to come out! Liz, Tiff and Daisy who organised a fabulous hen’s night and, of course, helped out in the lead-up to the wedding. To all our guests who made the effort to come out to Fiji to spend the wedding with us, and to those special few who were unable to make it due to unforeseen circumstances.
Honeymoon: We haven’t YET – we are planning a trip to Hawaii sometime later this year.
Final thoughts: Ensure you plan ahead before making any commitments! I ordered the bridesmaid dresses in Victorian Lilac before I actually did my research into whether other things were available in this colour. It ended up costing us a fair bit making the guys’ waistcoats and ties – I had to order all the material from Alfred Angelo as I couldn’t source the right colour anywhere else. Also be very wary of overseas companies (especially if you’re getting married overseas). Write everything down, keep tabs on what they are or are not doing, ask every possible question to ensure you’re not missing anything!
Who We Used:
Flowergirl shoes: www.pumpkinpatch.co.nz
Fake Lavender plants: www.kings.co.nz