Photographer: Chris from Focus CS Photography

Even though they’d met a year earlier when Dillon was the new kid in year 11 at Geraldine High School, it wasn’t until after they had left school that Olivia and Dillon sparked up conversation at a party, and romance blossomed from there.

Moeraki Beach was the spot Dillon chose to propose. The couple were spending the weekend at Moeraki, and after enjoying a beautiful lunch at Fleurs, as they wandered along the beach Dillon dropped onto one knee and popped the question to a very surprised Olivia.

Olivia’s beautiful dress, made by Melbourne wedding dress designer, Gwendolynne, had French lace and beading on the bodice, capped sleeves and even more lace detailing at the back. “I couldn’t have my Mum or bridesmaids fly over to Melbourne to help find the perfect dress because of Covid restrictions, but I was so lucky to have a good friend come with me.”

Rustic and vintage was the theme for the day. Olivia really wanted the flowers from Mum, Anne at flowers Inc, to be a main feature, with the idea of bringing the nature from the forest into the hall.

Forty-two friends and family celebrated with the couple as they exchanged vows in the lush garden at Waikonini Homestead, before adjourning to the Peel Forest Hall for the reception.

“We wanted the day to have a very chilled and relaxed vibe. We have been together for a number of years and wanted a small wedding, so we could spend time with all our guests. It was absolutely perfect.”

The couple did a first look before the ceremony, which they say was a great way to calm their nerves. They also spent time having a number of stunning photos taken pre-ceremony so that they could spend special time with their guests.

Two highlights of the day were Olivia’s Dad walking her down the aisle, and spending the time together before the ceremony enjoying each other’s company and taking in the moment.

Plans for a honeymoon travelling through Sri Lanka have been delayed at the moment but will definitely be re-scheduled when the world is a safer place to travel.  

One piece of advice? Take in very moment and enjoy the day. And try not to stress!

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.