Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

Over 8 years ago in the summer of 2011 I had a tarot reading done and the gypsy lady told me I was about to meet someone who had dark features, dark eyes and dark hair.

Someone who was good with numbers, a student and someone loyal and caring. Cue two weeks later and I stumbled upon Matt at my sister’s 21st birthday party – he just so happened to tick all of these boxes. Fast forward a few months and Matt had pretty much moved himself in to my flat in New Plymouth where my girlfriends and I lived. We are both adventurous sorts and discussed the idea of travelling overseas at some point. It didn’t take long before we sporadically booked a one way ticket to the City of Love, Paris.

For the next 2 years we based ourselves in London where I worked as a Photographer for Net-a-Porter and Matt worked in Finance at University College London. Our relationship grew over this time and we were lucky enough to share so many special memories; football games, attending music festivals and of course embracing the London culture. Returning home to New Plymouth we lived a nomadic lifestyle for the first year or so. We crashed at our parents and housesat at every opportunity in order to save as much as possible until the time was right to purchase a piece of land to build our first home.

Unbeknown to me, Matt had secretly got in contact with the building company a week before we were given the keys to arrange access to the house. When we first walked through the front door Matt literally swept me off my feet and then got down on one knee to propose. He had organised a delicious picnic and bottle of Moet to be waiting in the lounge for us so we could celebrate in style. One of our friends quite aptly put it “New Roof, New Rock”.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

Being a wedding photographer in Taranaki I had photographed at most of the local wedding venues so we were both really keen for a unique location that was a little different and special to us. When I came across Cloud 9, thanks to one of my future brides, I instantly fell in love with the venue and surroundings. It was located high in the Kaitake hills, overlooking Oakura beach and there were views for miles looking back towards our home town of New Plymouth.

Our wedding planner, Victoria Jayne, had a huge lawn to work with and she styled the space impeccably. We decided to break the area into three parts; a welcome area, the ceremony area and the cocktail area. Each space having their own purpose and look. We tried to keep our style minimalistic, yet modern and elegant. We did this through the use of white and neutral coloured props and beautiful flower arrangements thanks to our wonderful florist, Pineapple Sage. I also really enjoyed designing signs to give each space some character. For example, we decided early on that we wanted to serve Pimms during our cocktail hour as this summer drink linked us back to our days living in London. So I got creative and made the signs “Pimp your Pimms” and “Love is intoxicating” to grace the cocktail bar. We originally weren’t going to do favours but we came up with the idea of having fortune cookies. We felt this tied in perfectly with our story whilst being another talking point for our guests.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Finding a dress was the toughest part of the whole wedding planning process for me! Working in the industry is great as I get to witness and photograph so many incredible dresses but it’s also confusing as I found myself constantly changing my mind over what style of dress to go for. I tried on countless dresses but in the end I decided to have it made by the talented Liah Roebuck Bridal. I really enjoyed the dress design process; right from the initial drawings, selecting the fabrics, and having the control over every detail. I loved the simplicity of my dress; the lace, the big split at the front and low back. My Tony Bianco shoes fitted perfectly with the theme of the day and my blue tassel earrings were a hint of fun!

Only a month or two out from the big day I decided I’d quite like a reception dress. Luckily Liah Roebuck Bridal came to the rescue with a beautiful silk slip dress with a low back and v neck line. It complimented my wedding dress perfectly as it was similar in style, modern and comfortable. This worked out perfectly as my first dress got super wet from our portraits in the misty fog and I wanted the freedom to dance the night away. I felt really fortunate to have the best of both worlds. Matt decided to go for a dark blue linen suit that he found online at Hallensteins. Having six groomsmen in total, with two of them living overseas, it proved difficult to find the best fitting suit for everyone. It was a long drawn out process which had me on edge right up until a week before the big day as that’s when his brother and his mate, who had travelled from overseas, tried on their suit for the first time. In the end I shouldn’t have been worried as everything worked out really well. The boys dark blue suit, white shirt, gold cufflinks, dark brown shoes and my favourite, the floral bowties, really complimented the earthy green bridesmaids dresses.

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

There were so many special moments it’s hard to choose just a few! Even though we are not car enthusiasts’, good friends of ours lent us a few of their classic cars for the day. I felt like a bit of a celeb being chauffeured to the ceremony by my father in an ol’ Rolls Royce, followed by the bridesmaids in two Buicks. As exciting as it was, I was able to have that moment to relax, breathe and take it all in. I really wanted to incorporate my Grandparents in some way during the day so we decided to have both of my Grandmothers walk down the aisle first with my younger twin sisters. I had both my mum and dad walk me down the aisle and when I finally locked eyes with

Matt for the first time he really took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to see him that emotional. And from that point on I don’t think there was a dry eye in sight! Following on from the ceremony celebrations it was nice for just Matt and I to drive away for the bridal party photos in the convertible Aston Martin as husband and wife. It was nice to have this moment to ourselves and reflect on the whirlwind of what had just happened! We had a relatively large bridal party of 8 Bridesmaids and 6 Groomsmen which made for a really good time with plenty of banter and lots of champagne! Danelle scouted a glorious location that was hidden away but only a matter of minutes from the venue. It was a dream to be photographed by Danelle & Dirk in the most gorgeous setting of long grass and rolling hills.

When we returned back to Cloud 9 our MC had all of our family and friends upstanding for when we entered into the clear marquee. Our entrance song, “Feel the Love” by Rudimental, had everyone dancing, cheering and clapping which created a surreal atmosphere and really set the tone to how we wanted the reception to feel… like a big party! About 20 minutes into the reception it started to lightly rain during speeches and I remember looking up and seeing the rain drops fall onto the clear roof of our marquee which instantly created a cosy and romantic setting. The speeches made us laugh till we cried, and then cried till we snot cried. It really was an overwhelming day, full of love!

I grew up going to dance lessons so I knew I wanted a choreographed first dance… with a bit of a twist! After we snuck away for some moody portraits in the fog (again another highlight) I quickly switched into my reception dress so we could get the party underway. Matt and I nailed our first dance which involved my Bridesmaids jumping in towards the end to finish with a hip hop routine. I think it surprised most of our guests and kicked the dance floor off with a bang. Josh Pow and his drummer were incredible. They had everyone up dancing, singing at the top of their lungs and even the Mother of the Groom ended up on one of the Groomsmen’s shoulders! It was an absolute blast!

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

I love the saying “remember when you wanted what you currently have.” It totally puts things into perspective and instantly brings you to a mindset of gratitude. Take time to reflect on how far you’ve come as a couple and the journey of what is yet to come.

Photography: Danelle Bohane | Videographer: Shaun Paul Creative | Ceremony and Reception location: Cloud 9 | Celebrant: Sam Bennett | Bride’s gowns: Liah Roebuck Bridal | Groom’s suit: Hallenstein Brothers | Engagement ring: Naveya & Sloane Jewellery | Wedding rings: Dalgleish Diamond Jewellers | Shoes: Tony Bianco | Ribbon on Bouquet: Feathers & Stone | Vow cards: Smitten With Love | Robes: Sage & Ivy | Makeup: Annalee Kemsley | Hair: Lola Hair | Bridesmaid’s dresses: Blak | Groomsmen’s suits: Hallensteins | Entertainment: Josh Pow | Styling and Planning: Victoria Jayne Weddings | Hire: Victoria Jayne Wedding & TLL | | Marquee: Marquee & Co | Flora: Pineapple Sage | Catering & Beverages: The Public Catering & Hello Audrey | Cake: Aimee Jane Cake Design | Caravan Bar: Hello Audrey | Invitations and Signage: Bride

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