Kayla and her husband settled on eloping in New Zealand (his home country) with just Kayla’s son in tow to keep their special day simple, but in simplicity, the most beauty is often found. This destination wedding is adventurous and absolutely dreamy, thanks to the stunning high alpine backdrop and, of course, Kayla’s gorgeous custom Anomalie wedding gown that she designed online. And we would be remiss not to mention just how adorable her son is in his dashing red suit! Kayla shares all the details of their wedding in New Zealand, from the quick-thinking of their wedding coordinator to the most unexpected moment of her wedding day.

Off the shoulder, fit and flare wedding gown with lace for destination wedding in New ZealandFirst things first: how did you two lovebirds meet?

My husband would prefer that I say we met at a local restaurant, but the truth is, we actually met online, got to know each other via text, and eventually agreed to meet for dinner.

How did you decide to get married in New Zealand, and how did it help shape your vision for your wedding?

Because my husband is from New Zealand and his family still lives there, we realized we would have some difficulties in getting all of the important people together for a big ceremony. We decided early on that in order to be fair to all of our loved ones, it would make the most sense for us to elope with just my son, my husband, and myself present. As we discussed locations and options, we realized we were already planning a visit back to New Zealand over the holidays, so what’s better than to get married in a place special to him?

We fell in love with our photographer’s work, and he just so happened to offer elopement packages for a number of locations on the South Island. Once we chose Lake Erskine as our location, we knew we wanted to have a simple ceremony with just the three of us. My son knew from the get-go that he absolutely wanted to wear a red suit, as it’s his favorite color, so we based the rest of our vision around it and the gorgeous alpine lake setting. It all came together!

Anomalie sketch of fit and flare wedding gown for destination New Zealand wedding

Photo (right): Williams Photography

Why did you decide to go with Anomalie to create a custom wedding gown?

I had trouble finding something in the bridal salons near me that had a simple but elegant silhouette without over-the-top embellishments and detailing. I saw an ad for Anomalie online and thought it was too good to be true, but after trying on way too many gowns and being disappointed, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give them a call. After the first conversation, I really felt like the Anomalie stylists were truly listening and understood my vision and my needs, instead of just pushing a dress off the rack because it happened to be what they had in stock at the time. Once I received the sketch I definitely knew they were the right choice. It couldn’t have gotten closer to my vision if I had drawn it myself!

Custom fit and flare wedding gown with off the shoulder sleeves for destination wedding. Lake Erskine

Were there any special considerations that went into your design because you were planning a destination wedding?

Since we were having a destination wedding, I knew I would have two issues: First, since we would be flying in a helicopter, I would need to have a dress that could move and climb in and out of a helicopter with ease. Second, since I wouldn’t have anyone to help me get ready, I knew I needed to be able to handle all of my fasteners myself. Since I really wanted a fit-and-flare shape, my stylist helped me to pinpoint the best location on my leg to start the flare, so that I could easily climb into the helicopter and explore the mountainside after our ceremony. She also helped me decide on an unobtrusive zippered back, tucking the zipper behind the lace so I could easily get it secured by myself.

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Share the details on everything from the ceremony, to the reception, and any post-wedding plans.

We actually had a bit of a surprise wedding day! We left Nashville on Christmas Day and began the 24-hour journey to Queenstown, New Zealand. We were supposed to have a few days in Queenstown to relax and sightsee and then get married on the 30th of December. When we landed for our last layover, we received a call from our wedding coordinator, letting us know that they were expecting bad storms all weekend and it was unlikely we would be able to fly on the 30th. He had already asked all of our vendors if they were okay to change our wedding date and time to 8 am the next day, and wanted to know if we would be fine with moving the date up. We decided we’d go ahead with it and had our lovely ceremony first thing in the morning followed by a delicious lunch by the lake and then naps for everyone! In the end, we were so happy to have moved everything up as we were all jet-lagged by Sunday evening anyway.

We spent 11 days total in New Zealand, splitting time between Queenstown and Auckland, and were able to enjoy a lot of wonderful family time with my husband’s relatives while we were there. A few weeks after returning home, we had a lovely reception with our friends and family. We had taken video of our ceremony and were able to share it with our guests at our reception, so they all were able to see our day on the mountain! And I got to wear my amazing dress twice, which I was thrilled about!

Destination wedding in New Zealand with bride wearing custom Anomalie wedding dress

Photos: Williams Photography

What was the best unexpected moment from the day?

The entire day was so wonderful, but we all got a kick out of my son wandering all over the mountain with the pilot while we were taking photos. He was like a little red mountain goat!

First look with father of the bride

Photos: Williams Photography

What was the reaction to your gorgeous gown?

My husband is not overly talkative, but I had kept the dress a surprise from him until that day. His first look photo still makes me smile so much. After the ceremony, he asked me 100 different questions about the entire design process, and kept saying how much he loved what we had made. We were also able to FaceTime my dad before the ceremony, and our photographer caught his reaction on film which is priceless.

New Zealand destination wedding first look, custom anomalie off-the-shoulder dresskayla_andrew-032

Planning a destination wedding includes some interesting logistics. Any advice to brides planning their nuptials with a getaway setting?

1000% hire a local coordinator. They know the area, the best spots, best lighting, and, most importantly, how seriously to take the weather forecast. Assume things might change, be flexible, and really, truly, enjoy your time together. I was so lucky that our team of vendors handled every detail with ease so that we could just sit back and enjoy our wedding day and time in New Zealand.

Stylist Tip: Ready to go an adventure for your wedding, but still want to look picture-perfect? Anomalie stylists can totally help you design a dress that fits your style and your wedding, whether you’re climbing a mountain or walking down a cathedral aisle. Schedule a call with an Anomalie stylist today.

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