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

Jack is a bit of a handy man and works as a builder in Hamilton/ Waikato.

Renee is passionate about improving the lives of marginalised populations and is completing her PhD on homelessness in New Zealand at the University of Waikato.

The story of how we met is not something we voluntarily bring up in conversation! We worked together part-time at the local supermarket whilst studying/training in our professions. Our eyes ‘met across the frozen peas’ as Jack likes to put it. We were friends for a year before we became a couple- nothing romantic or glamorous about that, but we believe that gave us the chance to build our relationship on a solid foundation of friendship.

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…

For our wedding we wanted the environment to be really chilled out, relaxed, effortless and as informal as we could get away with! The thought of having an up-scale venue and wedding ceremony  would have only made the fear of two introverts declaring their love for one another in front of 60 people even worse.

We chose the second venue that we looked at which was ‘The Boatshed’ on Lake Karapiro. It felt homely the second we walked around the grounds and it  took advantage of the beauty in the surrounding natural landscape.

We decided to keep the  styling simple and bohemian inspired- using an archway crafted out of tree branches and adorned with a gorgeous array of flowers from the local florist. Our colour inspiration was a palate of earthy warm tones. And for the reception we wanted to keep it elegant and simple, greenery was placed on the table centres with strings of seed lights.

Some of our favourite details were:

the grazing table that Jacks father set up (even though it was practically bare once we got to it!)we spend the previous few months trialling different meats and cheeses picking out our favourites.

Wedding favours/ name placings: Jack and I spent evenings assembling personalised tea viles with tea that we selected from the herbal apothecary in Raglan and a little message for each guest on the back. These were particularly special to us because we spend most of our nights together catching up on each other’s day over a nice cup of herbal tea.

Tell us about your main outfits:

I actually bought my wedding dress a few months before we were officially engaged.  I saw the dress online at Grace Loves Lace and immediately knew it was the one for me- something a little bit unconventional and fun! I love how the lace on the dress combined both classic Chantilly lace with more modern geometric lace, everyone commented on how they had never seen anything like it before.

The team at Grace Loves Lace were absolutely incredible- it’s not every day that you purchase a dress that you haven’t tried on before, but when it arrived, it fit me perfectly and was exactly what I was looking for. Something that is really important to me is to dress to your body shape. And the styling team at Grace Loves Lace make every effort to make sure you feel amazing on your wedding day.  Another key item in my outfit was a gold Chinese bracelet passed down to me by mother who passed away about a month before our wedding- nothing was more special than feeling like I had a little bit of her with me on the wedding day.

Jack (not being a suit and tie kind-of-guy) went for a casual and relaxed attire by pairing navy blue chino’s with an off white corduroy shirt and suspenders. Surprisingly putting together the groom and groomsmen outfit for the day took a lot more effort than the brides!

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

One of the most memorable moments was definitely having Jacks cousin, Sebastian Lowe, and his friend Yotam play for us down the aisle. Jack and I hand-picked ‘The Swan’ from Carnival of the animals and two Joe Hisaishi pieces of music which was particularly special as we both love Studio Ghibli films (and nothing sounds better than a live viola and cellist!)

The best man speech was also very memorable! Our two friends put on a wee skit of how Jack and I met (almost completely fictitious) but it was hilarious none the less. The two best men started stripping off to reveal a supermarket uniform and the entire room was in fits trying to figure out who was playing who.

And I’ve course one of the most memorable moments was the first time we saw each other on the day- nothing is more relieving than to see your future husband/wife standing there ready and waiting to marry you. The moment I saw Jack all of the months’ worth of stress and nerves of planning a wedding fell away!

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

For the wedding: Create the day that you and your partner want and are comfortable with. We think that it is so important for your wedding to reflect you as a couple- it’s easy to get caught up in trying to impress everyone and keep up with all of the trends but it’s your wedding day after all so it’s important to do it for yourselves and not for others.

Take some time out of the day to spend with each other. It is so ironic that the wedding day is about two people joining together and yet you get pulled off in different directions trying to talk to everyone at your wedding. Jack and I took some time to sit out on the terrace with a picnic blanket and to just be present with each other. 

Relationship: One of the most important things that has bonded us over the past four years is being independent individuals and not needing to rely on each other for happiness- but having shared goals and aspirations that we can work towards and celebrate together. It is so important to be happy with who you are and to keep working on yourself over time- not only so that you are the best version of you, for you, but also for your partner.

Photographer: Clare Gordon Photography | Ceremony, Reception & Catering: The Boatshed | Styling: The Royal Laboratorie |Flora: “The Flower Lady” Anna Sinclair | Celebrant: Hannah Porter | Cake: Sweet Avenue Cakes | GROOM: Country Road, Barkers, Shoes by Rodd & Gunn, Ring was Family Heirloom redesigned wedding band by The Goldsmith Gallery | BRIDE:  Grace Loves Lace, shoes Novo Shoes, Ring was a Bespoke engagement ring by The Goldsmith Gallery, Wedding band by Natalie Marie Jewellery | Makeup: Mandy Priestley – Blush Cosmetics | Hair:  Gemma Grey | Groomsmen: Country Road & Barkers | Bridesmaids: The Bronze Snake | Entertainment: Cellist: Yotam | Viola: Sebastian Lowe