For a world-famous wedding dress designer, there's no greater stage to showcase your impeccable talent than at your own nuptials. So it's little wonder breathtaking bride Trish Peng chose not one, not two, but four show-stopping gowns for her big day.
"I've been lucky enough to dress more than 1500 beautiful brides in my career and have often caught myself musing over what I'd dream up for my own wedding," says Trish, 32. "In many ways, it's felt like every scribble here, sketch there and ounce of inspo I've mentally stored away in between has been building to this very moment. I've just been waiting for the right person to share it with."
As the first notes of Dressed Up In White by Cal ring out at the Queenstown nuptials, the bride's hotly anticipated reveal is an emotional moment for all – but especially her groom Tim Begg, whose eyes are fixed on the stunning woman before him.
As she makes her way down the aisle on the arm of her proud dad Peter, the successful designer is a true vision in a couture ball gown. Adorned with individually hand-placed 3D flowers, dotted among the finest beading and small pearls for a touch of sparkle, it was a labour of love that took Trish's team more than 600 hours to make.
"It was such a beautifully surreal and intense moment," says Tim, 34, speaking to Woman's Day shortly after the ceremony. "You're aware you are surrounded by a huge crowd of people, but once I locked eyes on Trish, it was just me and her in the room."
The couple had curbed tradition by seeing each other before the aisle for an intimate first-look moment just for them, but Trish – who donned an elegant, hand-beaded fitted number then – later surprised Tim with a quick costume and hair change in between.
"I know how many eyes are on Trish, not just today, but always, so stealing her to myself was really special," says Tim, who admits to crying his way through this exchange. "I was completely floored to see her in a new dress. I feel silly saying that now because why wouldn't she have multiple dresses? She looked absolutely beautiful in both."
Trish adds, "I knew I wanted to walk down the aisle in something that felt like a truly once-in-a-lifetime number, but I had so many ideas for my dress, I couldn't pick just one.
"Six is a fashion show, two's not enough, so four was the magic number. To say I felt pressure to wear the perfect dress is a bit of an under-statement. It was always everyone's first question. But if it would ever feel overwhelming, I always came back to what was most important, and that was Tim and I coming together for the happiest day of our lives."
The couple's nuptials on 8 December – Trish's birthday month and a lucky digit in Chinese culture – marks just under three years since their first date. Though their rock-steady relationship has moved swiftly since, you might say Trish and Tim's love story has been a long time coming.
Prior to eventually stumbling across one another on a dating app in 2020, the pair were old pals from their university days. While they rarely kept in touch, Trish recalls another chance encounter backstage at New Zealand Fashion Week a few years earlier, where Tim was working for a popular men's suit brand.
"By the time we found each other online, it was like the universe was screaming at us to take a chance on love," smiles Trish, who describes her husband as the most genuine, gentle man you'll ever meet. "We took the conversation offline pretty quickly, enjoyed our first date – and our first kiss – and from there, the rest was history. It's crazy to think Tim was right there all along."
Meeting mere months before a second wave of COVID lockdowns in Auckland meant dating was fast-tracked. The loved-up duo joined each other's "bubble", officially moved in together and popped the question in quick succession. Naturally, plans for a wedding swiftly followed.
Yet despite their race to the altar, not a single corner was cut to bring the couple's dream day to life. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Queenstown's snow-capped mountains on a stunning day, their Italian-inspired venue – Colpo Di Fulmine, which translates to "love at first sight" – was the perfect setting for their glamorous, black-tie occasion.
"We're lucky enough to be the first wedding that's been held here," tells Trish, who worked with wedding planner and stylist One Fine Day Weddings. "It's been a huge undertaking. Such a beautiful, blank canvas means everything needed to be brought in – from catering, crockery, glassware, marquee, music, lights... the list goes on! Tim and I work well together as we have very complementary styles, except for his music taste. I had to question if we were at a funeral or a wedding with some of his suggestions!"
For the most part, however, they operate like a well-oiled machine, which is testament to the recent launch of T.Begg Tailoring, a co-founded line of customised, made-to-measure suits, which Tim and his groomsmen debuted.
Like Trish, who slipped into her third dress, complete with a plunging neckline and silk organza statement bow, for the reception, Tim also flexed his fashion muscle and changed into a fresh suit. He tells, "It's become the norm for the bride to have at least two changes, but what about the men? You only get married once and we wanted to have a bit of fun!"
A series of heartfelt speeches from the bride, groom and their guests kick-started the evening's celebrations, with Tim choosing to recite a passage in Mandarin, a thoughtful nod to his wife's Chinese heritage and family. But it was Trish's father Peter who really stole the show, rousing the crowd with a hilarious speech reminiscent of his performance at his daughter's 21st.
"That was a real full-circle moment for me," smiles Tim, who was at his bride's milestone birthday. "We could never have anticipated then what the future held for Trish and me, but I'm so grateful for the way things have worked out. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world!"
As day turned to night, the newlyweds performed their first dance as husband and wife, a short and sweet number to a Percy Sledge rendition of When A Man Loves A Woman. After "one dip, one spin and one lift", the familiar beat of Abba's Dancing Queen cried out, inviting everyone up off their seats.
After a fourth and final outfit change for Trish – party-ready in a soft-blush mini – Moët & Chandon flowed, Jupiter Project played on the decks and a late-night McDonald's delivery of 100 crowd-pleasing burgers was the perfect end to the best day the pair could have asked for.
"I can't believe we are finally married" smiles Trish. "It's like nothing has changed, but everything has changed. We are a unit now and forever, and we couldn't be happier."
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