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!


Wedding Planning Extravaganza: Nelson Wedding Show 2011

If you’re even remotely dreaming of getting married in the next few years, then the wedding expo this weekend should be at the top of your ‘things to do’ list.
This Sunday, 26th June, 9.30-3.30 at the Trafalgar Centre, $10/person.

It’s a great opportunity to get ideas and information, but most of all, it’s a really efficient way to meet with a wide range of vendors and get a feel for how they might fit with your wedding plans. It’s a really important factor in your decision-making, and usually, the only other way to do it well is by spending literal hours traipsing around meeting with vendors individually.

This Sunday, you have the opportunity to wander the aisles, checking out over 75 different options in one go, watching the way different vendors interact with people, and actually getting to see their setup.

Given the choice between two similar, great options, you’re always going to go with the one that you ‘click’ with – whether that’s a good rapport with the people, or a preference for the colour of their particular version of things – and those are the kind of things you can quickly and easily get a feel for at a bridal show.

If you haven’t already, you still have time to enter the competition to win a wedding dress from Beautiful Brides of Hope, just by telling us about your proposal [enter here or submit to the entry box before 11 on show day] or tell us how you’d rock your frock and you could win the opportunity to do it in an awesome Trash the Dress photo shoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography [enter here]

As well as all of that, there will be three really practical, FREE wedding planning workshops, at 9.30, 12 noon and 3.00. I recommend you arrive early, and plan to stay a while – It’s going to be busy:
The first workshop starts at 9.30, as a warm up to the wedding show opening at 10.00, followed by a fashion show at 11, a second wedding planning workshop at 12, the winner of the Beautiful Brides of Hope gown will be drawn at 1.45, before the fashion show repeats at 2, and the show closes at 3 with a final workshop to finish up the day.

– Just for coming along you could win one of the following great prizes: a luxury night’s accommodation at The MudCastle,  $250 voucher for wedding decoration or hire items from Creative Occasions, Custom designed wedding bands from Glen James jewellers, or an engagement photo shoot from Tasman Photography.

I’ll be there, of course – the last site as you head out the door, and at the workshops – and I’d love to chat with you about what you discover, and how what you’ve learned fits into your wedding plans.

I’m looking forward to chatting with you see you Sunday,


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

How To Live Happily Ever After

Happy Valentine’s Day, bah humbug. It’s really foolish to measure the success of your relationship by the way you celebrate Valentine’s day, or even by how beautifully you plan your wedding. No matter how carefully chosen, flowers wilt, and chocolates turn into nothing more than a boxful of empty wrappers [though, okay, diamonds are pretty much  forever!].

I wonder if I’m such a Valentine’s Day grinch because I’ve seen so many putting all their energy into one or two elaborately planned days without making any real plans for the success of  “the rest of their lives”?

No matter how much [or little] you’ve already spent on each other this Valentine’s Day, we’re encouraging you to invest in the future of your relationship. To help with that, The Wedding Whisperer is offering 20 couples a comprehensive “Couple Check-Up” at the rock-bottom price of just $20 each! [details after the jump]

The Couple Check-Up is like a W.O.F. for your relationship – a checklist to keep you on the road to a successful relationship. It’s a way to recognise and celebrate your relationships strengths, as well as identify and resolve any problems before they become major issues.

Here’s why The Wedding Whisperer recommends The Couple Check-Up

It’s private: You access the Couple Check-Up from your own computer, so you don’t have to wait around an appointment, or hash out your relationship history to a total stranger. The Couple Check-Up is entirely self-managed, totally DIY unless you request the input of a facilitator, or decide you need the assistance of a professional counsellor.

It’s personal: Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution, the Couple Check-Up compares the answers you and your fiancé give, making the Couple Check-Up totally relevant to your relationship, taking into account factors such as how long you’ve been together, whether you have children, and so on.

It’s practical: The Couple Check-Up evaluates 20 core areas of your relationship such as, the way you handle conflict, gender roles and expectations, finances, in-laws, etc. Just answering the questionnaire will stimulate you to think more about your relationship. The results are available to you within minutes, and presented in an easy to understand format, with discussion questions to help you make your relationship even better.

It’s precise: What began as a pencil and paper inventory has now had more than 20 years of scientific research, testing and use. The Wedding Whisperer recommends using the Couple Check-Up on a yearly basis, creating an accurate snapshot of your relationship, making it easy to celebrate the growth of your relationship, and setting a pattern of open communication to last beyond your 50th wedding anniversary.

The fine print:

The Couple Check-Up is available at the price of $20 each [$40 / couple] to the first 20 couples who register with The Wedding Whisperer between 14 February 2011 – 14 March 2011. Couples may be dating, engaged, de-facto or already married. Upon registration and payment, couples will receive a link and a log-in code for the online Couple Check-Up.
Both partners must complete the online inventory process in order to receive their results.
Evaluations will be emailed to the address provided by the couple.
Payment can be made online or in store.

To register, or just find out more,  phone: 03 545 7531 / 021 027 04638, email:, or enquire in person at The Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store, Waimea Road, Nelson

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! ]

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: