We are both small-town people with busy working lives in the city. Matt works at Universal Music and I work for Adidas. At the end of each day, we retreat to Muriwai beach, where our chocolate Labrador Miles is waiting for us. We can really switch off there, play some records and relax. We met when I was working at a fashion PR company. We would dress people for special events and Matt came in wanting a suit for the New Zealand Music Awards. He was quite cute, so I loaned him a suit that he still has to this day. Our beginning was no fairytale and we love that it wasn’t. It took time, persistence and patience, but it was worth it. We shopped around for wedding venues, but nothing was quite right until we stumbled across The Black Walnut. It was everything we could have wished for — a new venue set in the Bay of Plenty countryside, in the North Island of New Zealand. It’s a country setting with a lush city twist. It’s very private and has multiple spaces, including a bamboo amphitheatre that’s perfect for photos. The main building is an incredible black barn. When you step inside, it’s like you’re in a beautiful, tasteful bar in the city, complete with a separate whiskey bar. Having a venue close to home and a dad who grows flowers for a living was a dream for our stylist, Marilyn, who worked with a mixed palette, anchored by grey roses. It rained just before our ceremony, but then the sun came through, which created a dreamy light mist. Matt and I both have big families and lots of friends, so we found it hard to limit ourselves to 150 guests. Sadly, we were missing one special person in particular: Matt’s incredible father, Warren, passed away six months before Matt and I got together, so I never met him, but he was a strong presence throughout the day and night. Matt had a beautiful suit custom-made by Crane Brothers, with intricate details. He looked so handsome! My dress was also custom-made, and everything I had always wanted, but I came across some giant lace flowers with Swarovski crystals in the centre that I fell in love with, so we added them to the design, and they tied into my flower earrings perfectly. Being married comes with a lovely new sense of contentment and solidarity, which really is the most wonderful feeling.
Photography: Chasewild– Groom’s suit: Custom by Crane– Groom’s shoes: Barkers– Venue: Black Walnut Venue– Bride’s dress: Vinka– Celebrant: Paul Flynn– Bridesmaids: Custom Mania Moko– Bride’s jewellery: Nana’s gold bangle, Oscar De La Renta earrings- Bride’s shoes: Karen Walker– Bride’s ring- Karen Walker Diamond Collection– Groom’s ring: Angela Daniel– Cake: Bride’s cousin, Olivia Hope- Groomsmen’s attire: Hallensteins– Make-Up: Friend, Kiri O’Brien- Hair: Zoe Clark using RedkenEntertainment: Johnny Parker & Matthew Benton- Special songs: ‘Baby’ by Little Bushman and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ by the Flamingos- Catering: No Biggie– Styling: Marilyn Cleland Interiors– Flora: Shaye Wolford, On My Hand.