Real Weddings

Eilis and Travis
Markovina Estate

Photography by Samantha Donaldson Photography

"Travis and I are high school sweethearts. It was through our 5 years of long-distance that our relationship grew and strengthened. We learnt how to communicate with one another and really got to know each other through this time. The distance really makes you appreciate the time when you are together. The proposal also took a while - after nine years of dating and a year or so living together. He convinced me to plan a Queenstown trip for our 9th anniversary, making me think it was all my idea. We booked a bunch of activities to make the most of our trip, and the day before we left, he snuck off to my parent's place to let them know his intentions. On the morning of our 9th anniversary, we hiked up Queenstown hill. We were taking in the view when the snow really started to come down, so we thought we best leave before we got stuck. That's when Travis dropped to one knee and popped the question. I bawled my eyes out and was so overwhelmed, obviously saying yes, that I forgot to actually take the ring from the beautiful wooden box that read "Past, Present, & Future". It was very well planned with a three-stone engagement ring and Queenstown Hill hike, also symbolising "Past, Present, & Future". It was the perfect moment! We knew we wanted a rustic theme for our wedding, with lots of timber and autumnal tones, without being too country. This was perfectly timed with our May wedding, and the timber tones coincided with Travis's previous job as a builder - plus, he really wanted a navy suit! We wanted an average-sized wedding, nothing too large, enough for our families and main friends. Something very special at our wedding, which we are very proud and blessed to have done, was our wedding favours. Instead of a small item or edible, we gave each guest two timber tokens initialled 'E&T' and "worth" $5. With these tokens, guests could choose which charity to donate their $10 wedding favour to by placing their tokens into any of the three charity boxes. Travis handcrafted the three timber boxes, a token slot on top of each, with seed lights inside, visible through the perspex window in the front, labelled with white circuit lettering reading either: German Shepherd Rescue Trust, Te Muka Rau, or Cancer Research Trust. Each of these charities is deeply important to us. Our own German Shepherd, a rescue, passed before our wedding. We wanted to pay homage to my whakapapa and contribute to Tangata Whenua. And lastly, we lost Travis's father the year we got engaged, after his short battle with cancer, which was also followed by his mother's successful battle with breast cancer only months later."

Thanks to all the contributing vendors:

Photography: Samantha Donaldson Photography
Venue: Markovina Estate
Celebrant: Jacqueline Nairn
Makeup: Shona Stevenson
Hair: Campbell Gordon
Stationery: Jessica Woodward
Dress: Jessica Bridal
Suit: Rembrandt
Florals: Petal & Leaf