Isabella and Benson
Markovina Vineyard Estate, Auckland, NZ
Isabella is a proud NZ born Sāmoan model and opera singer living in London who…Read More
How did the two of you meet?
We met at a broadcasting school in Christchurch. I was in my second year when Guy started and I remember finding him very attractive – but we never became anything more than just friendly passing by in the hallway. 2 years later when I was 23 and he was 21 I moved to Auckland when we reconnected at Kim Dot Com’s album release party (of all places) and we became best friends from that night onwards.
How did the proposal take place?
Guy was very clever. We have a special place together called Rosebud Cottage just out of Auckland. We discovered it after they reached out to us to stay on one of our earlier anniversaries. It’s perfect and romantic and quaint.
I received an email from the owner in November 2018 saying she had a late notice cancellation and asked if we wanted to take advantage and stay there that night since everything was already set up.
Little did I know that Guy had organised everything, he’d booked the stay and asked the owner to help put me off the scent. He knew I would’ve been onto him if he had planned a romantic night away for us.
We arrived and within 4 minutes he asked me to look at the view with him on the balcony, that’s when my heart started to race. It just seemed so formal for us!
I joined him and he said he needed to put a jersey on because it was cold, something else that made me think something was going on.
He would never announce something like that, he would just do it.
By this point my heart was bouncing out of my chest. He said my name from behind me and I turned to see him down on one knee.
I think he planned a big romantic speech but we were both crying so much he barely managed to get out “would you marry me.”
We always knew we were going to have a relatively small wedding party (50 guests).
When it came to our vision of the day – it was more about it feeling like us than feeling like a certain style. Our invitations were a colouring-in-competition to win an open bar voucher, we had Auckland Puppy Rescue there with puppies for guests to cuddle while we were taking our photos.
For our wedding favors we donated money to a charity we support on behalf of each guest.
When it came to my dress I always knew I was going to go with something romantic and was going to have my hair down.
But I was open to trying a range of different looks.
Tell us about your journey to finding the perfect gown
I am a plus size woman, it’s hard enough trying to find a pair of jeans let alone a wedding gown so I was anxious going into it. The first few boutiques I visited, I didn’t call ahead and they didn’t stock my size – so I would have to order a dress worth thousands without trying on and I wasn’t willing to take that risk.
Or miss out on that experience.
I visited a Wellington store called Paperswan Bride and tried on the first dress that fit me like a dream. It was the Camellia by Hera Couture’s sister brand, Daisy
So upon returning to Auckland, I booked in to go to the flagship store.
There were so many dresses to choose from. All in different styles, and Katie made me so comfortable so quickly. She didn’t hesitate or have to think if she had anything that would work on me.
She took one look at me and came back with 6 options and kept popping out to get more.
I felt she wasn’t trying to just sell something to me and sensed her honesty in her opinions. I could completely trust her and it was my dream wedding dress experience.
It felt my size was completely irrelevant for the first time in my life. I just felt beautiful.
I knew the Casado was the one the moment I put it on. I felt beautiful trying on other dresses, but as dramatic as it sounds, I didn’t have words with the Casado. My Mum didn’t say anything either.
It was dead quiet. That’s when I knew. She has normally has an opinion on everything and just stared at me and started to cry. It’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen.
The lace is so unique, and the fit is perfect for my hourglass shape. We decided to add petals to the bustline to soften it and put more darts in the waist to make the hourglass as dramatic as possible.
My second dress is a classic – the Von Maria had no lace, or beading or sparkle. Just classic white with a perfectly cut silhouette that was perfect to twirl in for my first dance.
I mean it when I say Katie and her designs are phenomenal.
My experience with Hera Couture was totally different than any boutique I’d been to.
I had so many options that I loved, and not for a second did Katie or any of the women working there make me feel like I deserved less because of my size.
If you are engaged, and plus size (or straight sized) and scared – please if you can try her dresses, do.
I’ve never felt more amazing in mine.