Wilhelmina Shrimpton and Michael Sanders’ summertime nuptials captured the essence of European elegance. They got married on the 24th of February 2018 on Waiheke Island.
Mike was a year above me at high school, but it wasn’t until uni that we were properly introduced. We were friends for a couple of years, but after a few dates and a game of hard-to-get, we fell for each other. In 2016 while on holiday in Europe, Mike organised for us to go on a private tour of the Het Loo Palace, an hour from Amsterdam. We were walking down a beautiful pathway and I took a seat under a pergola when he suddenly got down on one knee. The amazing part was that the palace he’d picked had been home to the Dutch Queen, Wilhelmina!
We wed on Waiheke Island at Tantalus Estate, as Waiheke is incredibly special to us. Being summer, we stuck with a neutral, light colour palette: whites and greens with gold accents. It was already such a beautiful space so we kept décor minimal, using white flowers (orchids, lisianthus and hydrangeas) and greenery to dress the space. I’m obsessed with trailing bouquets, so opted for one comprised mainly of orchids. The feature of our ceremony was a six-metre garland which we later transferred to our bridal party table, all created by the talented Vicki from Wildflower Waiheke. We also had two artificial flower walls set up for photos, made by Boutique Backdrops, owned by one of my lovely bridesmaids.
My Martina Liana gown from Felicity’s Bridal was elegant and sleek with a touch of drama. With structured lace, a fitted bodice and silhouette leading into a dramatic train, it ticked all the boxes. My accessories also included both of my grandmothers’ wedding bands; they are sadly no longer with us so it was lovely to have a bit of them with me as I walked down the aisle.
Five long tables and a bridal table accommodated our 115 guests who enjoyed a delicious sit-down menu. Our semi-naked, three-tiered cake was created by Bluebells Cakery, each tier a different flavour: banana and salted caramel with buttercream, vanilla and buttercream, and lemon with cream cheese icing – all dressed with cascading orchids.
We prepared a medley for our first dance – the first two songs we did ballroom dance moves, then as the music got funkier, so did we! It was a hit and really got our guests in the mood.
The absolute highlight was seeing each other for the first time at the altar. It was as if I was experiencing tunnel vision – all I could see was Mike and the big smile stretched across his face!