Annalise & Ben

Annalise and her Husband Ben were married on February 17th 2017 at her family farm in Geraldine. As her photos show and as Annalise herself said, their surroundings were beautiful enough so they kept things simple and classy with a colour palate incorporating dusty rose, grey, black and white with some natural greenery thrown in for good measure.

Bringing together Ben’s Samoan culture as well as their mutual love for musical theatre made their day truly special and as Toni May from Silk Estate Marquee Weddings told Heartbeat Bridal, their day was truly unique and magical!

The Love Story

Ben and I met while studying at NASDA (National academy of singing and dramatic arts). It was a year 3 degree and we were engaged in our 3rd and final year, tying the knot the following summer.

Ben proposed to me on his birthday, in April. My Mum, Dad, Narny (Mum’s Mum) and Ben’s Mum had all come to Christchurch for his ‘birthday’ when really they were there for something more special as well. We all went out for a picnic in the park and Ben did a ‘birthday speech’ ending with him getting down on one knee.

He could have proposed any way he liked, but doing it with our loved ones there to share the exciting moment was so special. I DID know it was coming one day as Ben had taken both my Mum and Dad out at separate times to ask for their blessing, which meant the world to not only me, but my parents as well.

Annalise and Ben’s Dream Team!

Silk Estate Marquee Weddings

“They were incredible and worked hard to the finest detail!

They set up the Marquee 3 days in advance and were on hand early on the morning to set up the chairs for the ceremony outside and set up the tables and decorations inside.

They were so great at communicating leading up to our day and knew every finer detail.”


Sandy’s Catering

Sandy is based in Ashburton and is also recommended by Silk Estate.

“Delicious food, great communication, cheap pricing and she did an incredible job to feed 250 people!”


Kate’s Cakery

“We had a vision in our head of having a cake that mixed our classic white theme with our Samoan theme. we explained it to Kate and we were incredibly happy with the finished product! She gave us lots of options for flavours which all tasted amazing.”



Annalise had the most amazing idea for her blooms which I’m sure all brides would love to recreate!

For Annalise’s bridal shower guests were asked to bring an artificial flower and write a small message on each one. These were then turned into the archway Annalise and Ben were married under.


CM Photography

“Cassandra was amazing! Her quality is so high and she makes it an ease to take photos. She shot our engagement and wedding photos. Cassandra is great at catching candid and arty photos as well as the classics. She was there from the early hours till the end of our night. Everyone involved had such great feedback on how lovely she was to work with.”



It’s clear to see from Annalise’s feedback that having a videographer as well as a photographer was an excellent investment in preserving memories of their special day.

“Emma and her other videographer were great. they captured some beautiful candid shot throughout our whole day. They were there from start to finish. They had 3 cameras set up during the ceremony and reception, and we got full recordings of both sections, as well as a beautifully put together highlights video.”


Wilkins Bridal

Annalise was lucky enough to find her dream dress months in advance! And as her photos show, she looked just stunning!

“Wilkins Bridal were great with how the fitted me. I really appreciated their honesty, which is what you need before you spend $$$ on a dress that might not quite look right. I’m a curvier girl and they helped me find the dress that looked good but also made me feel like a princess.”



For those brides looking at purchasing online you will be pleased to hear Annalise had a fantastic experience. It’s so great to her an online shopping success story!

“I highly recommend this to anyone who is wanting to buy online! I had 8 bridesmaids so buying in bulk and for different sized girls wasn’t easy in a local store.”


Charlotte Woodley MUA

“Charlotte was amazing! She did all 8 of my bridesmaids and then my makeup but never made us feel rushed. Doing 9 girls makeup quick enough was impressive, but she also made it look very natural on all my girls. Everyone loved how they looked!”


Hair by Solly Love

“Solly Love was also amazing to do 8 girls hair! everyone had different hair types and lengths but he made the look I wanted work on everyone. He stayed with us all until we walked out and before our photoshoot, fixing up any flyaway bits.”


Annalise and Ben chose to use locals to Geraldine and friends of theirs to be their Celebrant, DJ, Performers and Wait Staff – what a special way to include all of those people that mean so much!


Tips from the Bride:

Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?

NOTHING! It was perfect.


Were there specific components you spent more or less on? Did you have a budget and did you stick to it?

The planning process was so enjoyable. My mum loves organising and decorating so this was certainly right up her alley.

With Ben being Samoan we knew it would be a large wedding (with my family also being big). We put a max to 250 people, which Silk Estate happily provided for. We budgeted for $40 000 but ended up over that by a few grand. Because we wanted our wedding on my family farm, the marquee was the only way to go, which ends up costing a bit when tables, power, toilets etc. are all included. We spent most of our money on the marquee, caterer, photographer, videographer, my dress and our cake. Everything else we either sussed and payed for it by ourselves (or my mum), or friends or locals gave us great deals. Family members were amazingly generous and helped pay for things. Bens Mum and my parents especially put in so much effort and I am forever grateful.


Any tips or tricks you can offer brides-to-be?

We made a wedding website for our main invite.

You can check it out here:

We then just printed with ‘Vista print’ postcard invites that referred people to the website. We spent less than $60 all together on printing then posting out. Invites was something we wanted to save money on so we could spend money somewhere else.

For our gift registry we set up a honeymoon account with House of Travel where guests could put money in before or on the wedding day. Our whole honeymoon was payed for by guests. We got to travel all around Europe for a month! This was a great idea for a gift registry if you already have a home and everything in it.

Having your own personal unique touches are so important! All of our guests went away in awe because they could just feel US in everything.

If you know that your wedding is full of YOU it is so easy to enjoy. I couldn’t believe how at ease I was! The morning of I was walking around outside in my gumboots having a chat to everyone arriving and helping set up.


Last Words

I got to marry my best friend. there was nothing else I could think about on the day!!