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Renee Wright and Charlie Waide: Spring wedding

It isn’t difficult for Renee Wright and Charlie Waide to pick out the absolute highlight of their springtime Wairarapa wedding. While the entire day was magical, one moment stood out from all the rest.

“It was when I walked into the church and we saw each other for the first time,” says Renee (29). “Charlie looked so handsome and I got this feeling of calm after all the craziness and intensity of the lead up. It was comforting and lovely. It felt so right.”

While Charlie is not a man normally given to crying, he reckons he came pretty close right then. “She looked amazing, like an angel, and I had to hold back a tear. I really thought I was going to break down,” he admits.In keeping with the wedding’s spring theme, lambs frolicked in a paddock nearby as the pair exchanged vows at St Anthony of Padua Church in Martinborough, surrounded by family and friends.

“I promise to be true to you in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and I will love and honour you all the days of my life,” they repeated as they held hands at the altar.

“We’re quite traditional and I’d always wanted to marry in a church,” explains Renee. “When oum found this one, we knew it was perfect. We loved the priest from the moment we met him. He was jokey, fun and so sweet.”

The only teeny hitch of the day came when Father Donald oorrison somehow forgot to declare them husband and wife or tell Charlie to kiss the bride. “Everyone was asking us if we were married yet,” laughs Renee. “But we definitely are because we signed the register.”

“And it was a wonderful ceremony,” adds Charlie (30), “classic, with a religious feel. Not too long and the Father was cheeky.”

other than that slight hiccup, the day was perfect, even – amazingly – the weather. A blustery southerly had blown through and Renee woke to cloudless skies and barely a breeze. “I’d wished and hoped for that,” says the one News weather presenter. “The oetService guys had been in the newsroom a couple of weeks earlier and I’d told them to put a sun on the chart just to keep me happy.”

The weather was the one element of the day that couldn’t be carefully planned by Renee, her father Warren and her whirlwind of a mother Marian, who she refers to as “a wedding ninja”.

“Poor oum and Dad have had two weddings in a year because my sister oonique was married in the summer,” says Renee. “But oum has fabulous ideas and she loves it. Everyone at work was laughing at how many times the ‘bat phone’ went off in the run up to the wedding. My cellphone became a wedding hotline. oum could get me at any time. Then on the morning of the wedding I caught her sitting alone in front of the fire having a little cry. She said she was happy to have both her daughters married, but I suspect she was sad because it’s the last wedding she gets to do!”

Marian – who could pass for Renee’s elder sister – looked seriously glamourous for the wedding in an Alex Perry dress and Christian Louboutin shoes, but failed to steal the show from her daughter, whose gown was a show-stopper.

“It was big,” agrees Renee, “and pretty over the top. I certainly won’t be wearing it anywhere else! But I’m so spoiled in my job and get to wear fabulous evening gowns for awards nights and premieres. So I wanted this to be different, to really feel like a bride, not just be wearing a lovely dress that happened to be white. There’s no mistaking the purpose of this dress. It’s amazing.”

Renee went back and forth to Sydney several times for fittings with designer Maggie Sottero, changing the neckline and lowering the back of the gown almost at the last minute to be sure it was perfect.

She chose her Italian shoes, encrusted with Swarovski crystals, because they’re just like a pair her mum owned when Renee was a child. “We called them her ‘princess shoes’ and used to sneak into her wardrobe and stare at them,” says Renee. “They were for special occasions and we weren’t allowed to touch them.”

Her wedding look was completed with earrings borrowed from her sister, and beneath her gown she was wearing a garter an aunt had made for her.

“She made one for Charlie too,” says Renee. “She put so much effort into it, I had no trouble talking him into wearing it.”

Candles were a huge feature of the wedding and reception. During the vows, every one of the 300 guests held a taper candle lit for them by Marian, and Charlie’s mother, oarie. Later, at the reception held at Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, the rooms and the marquee were filled with hundreds of flickering candles. And each guest was presented with a wedding favour of a vanilla-scented candle and holder.

“I’m candle-mad,” admits Renee. “To me, they’re about light and energy. When I was travelling for Getaway, I learned the Swiss have a tradition of lighting one so loved ones can find their way home.”

While Charlie took a backseat in most of the wedding planning, he did organise some romantic surprises for the day. The first came in the morning, when Renee received a bouquet of red roses and a gift box with a Jo oalone candle and White Tie & Tiara fragrance. Then, at the end of the night, in their room at Wharekauhau, he’d made a love heart out of rose petals, chilled her favourite Bollinger champagne and wrapped another gift of her signature Chloé perfume.

Neither of the pair knew about the surprise arranged by bridesmaid and TV one sports presenter Toni Street, who secretly made a newsreel-style film of their lives that was played during the reception.

“It was a day full of surprises. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, something else wonderful happened,” says Renee. “The newsreel was the icing on the cake – I can’t believe Toni managed to make it at the same time as she was flying all over the country for the netball.”

While their wedding was lavish, with so many special details, Renee says she and Charlie never lost sight of the reason they were both there – love. “While you’re planing a wedding, I don’t think you appreciate that it’s not just about your love for each other but also the love of all the people around you. We felt that so strongly – we were blown away by it.”

Renee also believes she sensed the presence of her beloved grandfather, who passed away just days after learning his granddaughter was to be married.

“Poppa and Nana were a beautiful example of a happy marriage,” she says. “They were married for about 60 years but Poppa would still chase Nana round the kitchen table for his nightly kiss.

“After she died, he didn’t last for long. I think his heart was broken. But through the ceremony we could hear a morepork calling. In Maori myth, moreporks are guardians and protectors. Poppa was Maori, so it felt like both my grandparents were there, watching over us.”

There was lots of laughter during the wedding feast and speeches, much of it thanks to Renee’s fellow weather presenter Jim Hickey, who was a sparkling master of ceremonies.

“He calls me Renners,” smiles Renee. “He’s such a darling friend at work and always takes care of me. It was wonderful having him be part of our day.”

By the time the wedding feast and speeches were over, night had fallen and there were yet more surprises for the guests. First, Renee changed into a second dress – a vintage-style, slinky Jane Yeh number – and everyone was ushered out onto the terrace for a spectacular fireworks display, with red love hearts exploding in the sky.

The guests then moved through to a ballroom lit with fairy lights, and were treated to a spectacular first dance.

The couple had been rehearsing a routine with Nerida Lister, of Dancing with the Stars fame, and Charlie put in some nifty moves with his bride, before unleashing a solo routine. “He was the Patrick Swayze of the dance floor,” laughs Renee.

The partying went on until past two in the morning, with Renee and Charlie among the last to leave. “That’s pretty good for me because usually I’m such a grandma,” she laughs.

After the high of the big day, there is still so much for the newlyweds to look forward to, including honeymooning in Paris, Italy and Koh Samui. And when they return, Renee suspects there might be a very special letter waiting for her from her father, Warren.

“I love my dad, he’s my rock,” she says. “He’s got an amazing calm about him and an incredible perspective when things are crazy. Before big events in our lives, he’s always written us letters. When I went off to the US to work at Disneyland for a while, he wrote to me about everything the world has to offer.

“He hasn’t given me a letter for my wedding yet, but I’m sure he’s reflecting on it and biding his time until we’re back from the honeymoon and things have calmed down. He likes to pick his moment.”

And it’s a fair bet their parents will be hoping that Renee and Charlie don’t leave it too long before giving them some grandchildren.

“The next stage is to have a family,” agrees Charlie. “It’s something I’m really looking forward to.””We’d like three,” adds Renee, “but we’re in no hurry.”

They don’t think marriage will change much else. “We’ve been together for five years and lived together for four,” points out Charlie. “While marriage is awesome and something I’ve wanted to do, I don’t think our life will be that different.”

“I don’t feel changed in any way,” agrees Renee. “Maybe it’s too soon for that. But I’m getting a kick out of saying ‘my husband’. And I feel very happy and secure that my best friend will be with me for the rest of my life. I’m really excited about that.”

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