As the huge doors of Auckland wedding venue The Glass House slide open to reveal a black Lamborghini, the eyes of the gathered guests are drawn to handsome groom Reid Stephen, who steps out of the sleek vehicle in a tailored Rembrandt suit.
Dotted with three-dimensional flowers, the off-the-shoulder dress with a romantic full skirt and train mirrors the white rose petals strewn down the aisle, which is aglow with a forest of candles.
“I wanted drama – and I think we nailed it!” says Edna, 32, speaking to Woman’s Day shortly after the breath-taking ceremony. “I even snuck through the kitchen so I could make my surprise entrance!”
The reality TV star had her heart set on an epic frock to match her big reveal and couldn’t be happier with her choice. “Everybody expected me to wear a super-tight dress, but this was the one day for me to go big!” smiles Edna.
“We wanted to get married on our one-year anniversary and the 30th of April was the date of the housewarming party where I kissed Reid for the first time, but the 1st of May was the closest wedding date we could do. But then, looking through our old messages, we realised that our first kiss actually happened at 2am on the 1st, so we ended up getting married on our anniversary after all!”
With only four months to get everything done, Edna made lightning-quick choices, including deciding on her all-important wedding dress design in under 24 hours! “I’m so proud of how it all turned out,” the South African-born star says. “We didn’t do anything traditional or expected.”
Nodding, Reid agrees, “For example, we took our pictures before the ceremony, so that was the first time I saw Edna in her dress. The photographer made me wait facing a wall while Ed came in. I was nervous, but when I turned around, she was just stunning. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful dress or bride. We spent the whole shoot whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears.”
The Auckland couple chose their venue for its indoor-outdoor flow, decorating the interior with dramatically draped fabrics and elegant chandeliers, all centred around a spectacular installation by luxury candle company Revel & Light. “I wanted our guests to feel like they’d been whisked away somewhere magical and romantic,” explains Edna.
One of her most memorable moments of the intimate, 80-person event was when her father Morkel helped her to rearrange her veil and “fluff up” her frock as she prepared to walk down the aisle.
“My dad was so sweet,” recalls Edna. “I was a bit nervous and he calmed me down by saying, ‘Just enjoy it and take deep breaths.’ You could see he was feeling a lot! Dad and I also had a moment when I popped my wedding dress on for the first time. I started crying and so did he! It was really nice.”
What made this even more poignant for Edna, who was adopted as an infant, was that she’d spent the lead-up to her big day thinking a lot about her adoptive mother Sandra, who passed away when she was just 17.
“Obviously, I couldn’t have my mum at my wedding like most brides, but she was there in spirit. She had these 3D flowers on her veil when she married my dad and Trish Peng was able to put them on my dress. That little detail connecting me to Mum made it even more special.”
With his best man, younger brother Connor, by his side, Reid watched his gorgeous bride walk towards him to the song From The Ground Up by Dan + Shay.
“She looked so beautiful,” the Christchurch-born Hirepool manager remembers. “She had this big cheesy grin on her face, smiling the whole time.”
Meanwhile, Edna’s surprise arrival and show-stopping dress weren’t the only moments of drama on the wedding day. Midway through the speeches, a small kitchen fire set off deafening alarms and guests had to be evacuated from the venue as four huge fire engines arrived.
Edna laughs, “At first, I was like, ‘Noooo!’ But it actually turned out to be really fun! We did a photoshoot in front of the fire truck, which looks epic, and in the end, we were only out there for about 10 minutes, so it wasn’t a big deal. Obviously, with me, there’s always a little bit of drama!”
Back in the building, after a sumptuous wedding dinner of ceviche and steak, the bride and groom had one last surprise up their sleeves.
As they finished their elegant slow dance to In Case You Didn’t Know by Brett Young, a record scratch sounded and the couple began a choreographed dance to You’re The One That I Want from Grease!
“He’s the hottest dancer, so it was really cute,” recalls Edna, who executed a costume change mid-routine, removing her full-length skirt for a sheer, feather-trimmed Trish Peng mini dress.
“It was the perfect intro to everybody coming onto the dancefloor. It was such a magical night. It’s over-whelming. My heart’s so full. It’s so rare for everybody who you love and respect to be in the one room.”
Of course, there were some important people missing from this special day, including Edna’s birth mother, who wasn’t able to travel for the wedding. However, she’ll soon get to congratulate the couple in person as Edna and Reid will be heading to South Africa after their honeymoon on Italy’s Amalfi Coast in June.
“We just want to enjoy being married,” grins Edna. “This year, that looks like a lot of travel, then at the end of next year, we’ll probably think about trying for a baby, but I don’t want to put any expectations on it. Reid’s mum is pushing for as many grandkids as she can, but we’ll start with one – hope-fully a girl – and then we’ll see!”