Trash the Dress Comp Winner: The Hunter Rocks Her Frock

Remember the Trash the Dress photoshoot competition we ran a month or so back?

[For anyone who missed it, brides were invited to submit their ideas for a Trash the Dress Photoshoot , with the prize being to win that photoshoot, with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography]

The winning entry came from a bride who had the idea of photos wearing her gown, doing something that she really loves: Hunting. Yes, that’s right, she wanted to wear her wedding gown while hiking into the bush, shooting an animal and carrying it out of the bush, even gutting and dressing the meat. Yes, all that, wearing her wedding gown.

She was sure that we would never pick her entry, because, on the surface, it’s kinda gross. What Sandra and I loved about it, though, was that it’s genuinely something that’s part of her life, a passion that she shares with her husband, and, while it will, indeed trash her dress in the truest sense of the words, it’s not simply wrecking it for the sake of it.

We were hoping to even convince the groom to climb back into his suit jacket [and old boots and shorts] for a totally new take on the formal bridal portrait series. Then we discovered that her groom is willing, but [redacted for privacy] unavailable until later in the year, so those photos will have to wait, for now.

In the meanwhile, Sandra and Renelle headed out into the local countryside for a bit of a test run – and having seen these images, I cannot wait for the ‘real’ photoshoot.

Take a peek:

>More here<

Congratulations, Renelle, you really do rock that beautiful frock!



Would you like Anika Moa to sing at your wedding?

I love my job – I get all kinds of interesting queries. So far this year, I’ve had to find out whether it’s possible to have a naked wedding without breaking the law [Answer: yes, at specific locations and times of the year], whether it’s possible to close off an entire street for a neighbourhood ‘block party’ style wedding, [Answer: possible, but not terribly practical, let’s try plan B] I’m still trying to locate a candyfloss machine [new or used – if you know, please tell me!]  and I got about 90% of the way through the maze of booking Dave Dobbyn for a wedding before the couple decided they’d rather have the local pub band…

..but it’s never been this easy to arrange to have Anika Moa sing at your wedding.

In association with TradeMe, and in support of Women’s Refuge, Anika Moa is offering to come and sing at your wedding. And they’re throwing in a free wedding dress:

Imagine having Anika Moa singing at your wedding. ‘Awesome’ doesn’t come close. Well this is the prize that awaits one lucky bidder. Not only will Anika come* and sing two of her hit songs at your big day, but the prize also includes a fabulous wedding dress courtesy of Sera Lilly, one of the hottest ready-to-wear labels in New Zealand ( Together, it’s guaranteed to put the BIG in your day.

There are a heap of fantastic opportunities on offer as part of the Women’s Refuge Charity Auction – coaching with Ruben Wiki, or Paul Henare [or Suzanne Paul], tours, lunches, art, music and more.

* FINE PRINT The winning bidder will need to arrange and pay for her travel to the wedding, including airfares and accommodation if outside Auckland. Please note she won’t perform covers! The dress will be made in an off-the-rack size and length (8-16) – any further alterations or changes will be charged separately. You have 3 months in which to collect the dress. Anika is a Brand Ambassador for Women’s Refuge and has supported our campaigns for many years, volunteering her time and commitment on a number of occasions.


Good luck!


Speaking of Trashing the Dress…

In preparation for an upcoming competition…
[The Wedding Whisperer and Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography are giving away a fantastic ‘Trash the Dress” photoshoot on the Classic Hits Morning Radio Show! Watch this space!!]
….I got to tag along while Becky got her dress trashed for the promo photos!

I’m always banging on about how Trash the Dress doesn’t mean you have to wreck your frock… well, this time was a little different:
Our intent is to create a tiny tad of drama – so… Becky got paintballed:image copyright Sandra Johnson
But the paint wasn’t even the worst of it!
After being splattered with fluorescent paint, image copyright Sandra Johnsonand then being instructed to pose demurely under a tree
[read: sit in the mud, in the rain, and smile!],

Becky’s coworkers
[oh so lovingly]
doused her with buckets of coloured water.
Have you noticed that it’s winter?  And did I mention it was raining?
So do you think it was warm water? oops. No, sorry bout that, Becks.
And did anyone bring a towel? Oh, um, no, sorry about that, too Becks…

image copyright Sandra Johnson

Yet she still smiled and laughed and just looked gorgeous, all the way through. Becky totally gets my vote for Nelson’s next top model!

This clip shows a little more of the process, see some more of the stunning photos [and what a good sport Becky was!].
You can get an idea of how cold it was when you spot me [around 1:30] in thermals, boots, hat and coat… and *I* was still cold!

If you’re inspired to give it a go,  just tell us how YOU would rock your frock, and you could win your own fabulous Trash the Dress photoshoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography. Enter online at

The Engagement Photo Shoot

sandra johnson boutique photographyIn the countdown to your wedding day, you’ll have all sorts of practice runs – from the ceremony rehearsal to dress fittings, hair and makeup trials, and more. But what about your photos? You only get one chance to get them right… or do you?

In fact, a pre-wedding/ engagement photo shoot is the perfect way to ‘test drive’ your photographer – an excellent opportunity to experience working with them, BEFORE your wedding day. It’s easy to flick through the albums and decide you like the images they capture, but how do you find out about how they work to set up those images?

I’ve met photographers who take stunning photos, but are unpleasantly bossy, or even rude, on the day, so I know that it makes sense to have a test run before hand. Find out how you feel about being on the receiving end of their photographic style – how your chosen photographer sets up their shots, how they give direction to you, their models.

You’ll either have a fantastic time, and get some great photos as a bonus, or you’ll find out that your chosen photographer is not a good fit, with plenty of time to make a change – an excellent peace of mind exercise.

An engagement photo shoot not only gives you confidence in the skill and style of your photographer, you will also come away with some fantastic photos of the two of you in your ‘real life’: Happy, and so much in love, photos you’ll be proud to have on display, and are perfect for adding to your invitations, wedding website, and thankyou cards, etc.

This recommendation goes double if you’re using a family friend for your wedding photos – it’s easier to fine-tune the process beforehand than to live with regrets afterwards!

No matter who you have booked for your wedding photos, The Wedding Whisperer and Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography would like to offer you the chance to get some posing practice, and come away with a disc of photos ready to print, PLUS a gorgeous coffee table style photo book [which can be designed used as a custom guest book at your wedding]
At $390, it’s a bargain anyway, but if you RSVP immediately and book your photo shoot before the end of May, and you could get all this for just $55 [that’s right, fifty-five dollars!]

Just send e-mail to Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography with “shoot me before my wedding” in the subject line, and you’re in to win.

Terms and conditions apply: Prize consists of a FREE 1 hour pre-wedding photoshoot and disc of high-resolution photographs, with the option of a coffee table style photobook/guestbook for the discounted price of $55 [total prize package value $390] Photoshoot must be completed before 1 June 2011. Full terms and conditions at

Wedding Star Travelling Cake Topper Contest

The cake toppers from WeddingStar are among my all time favourites – the range is not only full of original and mischievous poses, they also have a huge variation of skin and hair colours in traditional caketopper poses.

If you have a WeddingStar cake topper for your cake, you could win a set of Mr and Mrs monogrammed bathrobes, towels, a pair of personalised toasting flutes and a cake topper display stand, just by sending in a photo!

Bring your cake topper on your honeymoon or newly wed vacation, strike a pose and then send your photograph, name, contact information and the destination you visited. You’ll be entered to win a WEDDINGSTAR Anniversary Prize Package valued at $300.00 CDN.

*Contest runs from December 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011.
See contest rules for complete details.

20 Additional winners will be drawn – each will receive a Cake Topper Keepsake Display Stand, and if your photo really catches their eye, it may even be featured in the 2010 WeddingStar Catalogue!

View the range of cake toppers at The Corner Store, or online. [OOH! I spy some brand new additions to the range at that link, too! YAY! ]

Happy Anniversary Baby! [competition]

Odd Fact of the Day: The Corner Store opened for the first time on a Wednesday. That’s because it happened to be my Grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary. Having stuffed up their last major anniversary gift [I knitted them a beautiful emerald green rug, before realising it was their DIAMOND anniversary… duh!] I  figured it was a as good of a way as any to honour Great Nana Chris and Big Poppa Joe.
Once my thinking processes get started, they’re hard to rein in, so now  I’m wondering how in the world we came up with the official wedding anniversary “gift by year” list?

I’d really like to know who was the genius that decided you “should” celebrate with groceries for your 44th wedding anniversary? Where is the romance in that? For starters, by the time you’ve been married 44 years you’ve probably already shopped for groceries more than 2,000 times!  Sure, it’s not easy coming up with 60 different gifts, but… groceries? appliances?? porcelain?

It’s obviously time to add some Wedding Whisperer style to that list, and I’d love you to help me. Let’s come up with some creative alternatives for these oddball anniversary traditions… For instance, the first anniversary gift is traditionally paper. Wellll…. airline, concert or sports event tickets are paper, too! Or, if it MUST be groceries, how about if you shopped for those groceries in Auckland. Or Paris — yeah, THAT sounds more like it!

Here’s the list of traditional anniversary gifts. Email me with your alternatives, and I’ll add them in. Not only will you help change a tradition, you’ll get the chance to win a fantastic haircare package valued at over $80.
EDIT TO ADD: Congrats to our winner, Kelly, whose twisted sense of humour has had me chuckling on and off all day! [see below]

Traditional Gift/Gemstone/Official Modern Gift/Wedding Whisperer twist /Kelly’s version
1st: Paper /Gold/Clocks / love letter, message in a bottle, tickets for an event, vouchers, framed personal wedding vows
2nd:  Cotton/Garnet /China or bisque porcelain/ new pyjamas, parasol, beach equipment, chinese food
3rd:  Leather/Pearl/Crystal, Glass/ designer handbag, leather jacket,  optician visit, leather chaps and whip
4th:  Fruit, flowers, linen/Blue Topaz/ Appliances    [really! WHO makes up this stuff??!]  yes, appliances – (a vibrator), fruit or flower scented skin care or perfume
5 years:  Wood/Sapphire / Silverware, set of wooden stocks (for misbehaving husbands, or when the wife needs some alone time), jewellery (silver-wear)
6th:  Iron/Amethyst/ Candy Iron Man on DVD, an actual iron, candy gob stoppers
7th:  Copper, Wool/Onyx/ Desk set, linen /jewellery made from old NZ copper coins, loot bag full of 10c pieces, togas [waaay more fun than linen, then you can have a party, too!]
8th:  Bronze/Tourmaline/Pottery/fake tan bronzer, The movie “Ghost” on DVD
9th:  Pottery, China/Lapis Lazuli/ Linen, lace    [Pfft. Linen again? It’s not even like it was the hot item the first time!] sexy lingerie
10 Years:  Tin, Aluminum/Diamond/ Diamonds, brushed steel/replace old tools in the garage or kitchen, tin foil, otherwise known as aluminium foil – two birds with one stone
11th: Steel/Turquoise/ Fashion jewellery, something stolen [steal] flowers from an unsuspecting neighbour’s garden, for instance
12th: Silk or fine linen/Jade/ Pearls or coloured gems, dinner at a fancy restaurant [oysters, of course]
13th:  Lace/Citrine/ Textiles or furs, a razor and shaving cream, citronella-candle-lit dinner
14th: Ivory/Opal/ Gold Jewellery /piano lessons, white chocolate, african safari [the touristy kind, not the poaching kind]
15 Years:  Crystal/Ruby/ Titanium/eyeglasses/sunglasses, glassware, champagne breakfast, clarity, [though I’ve heard it’s in short supply this year!]
16th: Peridot/ Silverware, / cutlery/picnic set, spanish duelling swords
17th: Carnelian/Furniture/sex swing [to make a change from the kitchen table, or the couch, etc…]
18th: Cats Eye/Porcelain/ a kitten [catseye], dental work [porcelain], binoculars, cats eye contact lenses
19th: Aquamarine/Bronze/beach holiday [aqua marine+ bronzing?!], island cruise where one can enjoy both aqua, marine, and get brozned
20 Years:  China/Emerald/Platinum, their favourite platinum selling music group/singer
21st : Lolite/ Brass, nickel/ haircare [lo-lights/highlights], brass knuckles, a nickelback CD
22nd: Spinet/ Copper/ spinet: donate them an organ, the book David Copperfield
23rd:  Silver Plate/ armor
24th:  Musical Instrument/ Lounge party, concert tickets, stand outside the bedroom window holding a stereo above your head while belting out ‘your song’ from your wedding
25 years:  Silver/Silver / silver fern

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