When we were fourteen, Brad and I met at school in a music class. He’d moved to Auckland after the Christchurch earthquakes. Two years later we hung out properly for the first time and I went home and text a friend: “He’s the type of guy I want to marry.” I just knew it, he was the guy I’d been praying for since I was 6. Two months later we started dating and that was it! We fell for each other incredibly fast. We were high school sweethearts and he was my first and only kiss. We are the same in our core beliefs and values yet in other ways we are really different so we help balance each other out. He’s so patient and relaxed and has taught me a lot. Dating from such a young age has meant we not only get to grow old together but we got to grow up together.
Brad is 2 days older than me, we both turned 21 a month before our wedding, making 2017 a huge year of celebration. In 2013 we had our first date at Musick Point it was pouring with rain. He asked me out properly at One Tree Hill in the rain – so he was secretly hoping for rain when he proposed. Brad proposed in April 2017, at Musick Point in the pouring rain. It was the most romantic thing. I burst into tears and said yes about 10 times. I’d found the ring in the Antique Shop months earlier and I had absolutely fallen in love but it was way out of our budget. Brad told me it wasn’t possible and that he’d design one. I was happy to get one designed but still a bit sad, I figured after a few months it had sold to someone else. So when he proposed pulled out the antique ring I was over the moon.
We are both studying Brad is doing Bachelor of Construction, he also works for Hawkins Construction full time. I’m studying a double degree in Business and Communications and I’m also a wedding photographer/videographer.
We wanted our wedding to be a day of absolute joy, peace and celebration, centred on our faith. We wanted it to be timeless and for everything represent a love that will last a lifetime. It truly was the best day of our lives so far. We had a big church wedding and slightly smaller reception. We sung praises to our God and during our vows we all cried. The applause when we were announced husband and wife is something I’ll never forget. We loved looking back and seeing everyones glowing faces.
My favourite detail was the dress. It had a jacket no one knew about which came off for party time. Brad’s favourite was seeing me walk down the aisle and the cars, our families are into cars so we had a mix of our favourites, we had 4 1950’s-60’s American V8’s (two of the Chevrolet’s were my Dad’s and the rest were his mates). We also had a classic Porsche 356, a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and a BMW M5.
My dress was even better than my dream, I was so incredibly happy with it. I wanted something timeless and classic, I’d dreamed of lace sleeves, a huge full train and a cathedral veil for years. Mum had laughed at the beginning “just go full Disney princess” – so I did. Working with Grandmama to cut and sew my two veils was so special, she was a seamstress and made Mum and her sisters’ wedding dresses so it was very cool. Brad looked at renting a tux but he couldn’t find one that was right. One of the guys at the stores suggested Hallensteins because of Brad’s build, we popped in quickly to have a look. As soon as he put it on we knew it was the one. It just worked, he just looked so good.
My dress was a complete surprise to Dad and the bridesmaids and their reactions were just fantastic. Our youngest flower girl burst into tears walking down the aisle and her Aunty (one of the bridesmaids) just scooped her up – it was gorgeous. I walked down the aisle to Love Story, Taylor Swift but the Piano Guys version (which is totally different and dramatic). It felt like a fairytale walking down with Dad, seeing friends who had flown in from South Africa, Austria, Australia and Malaysia to be there. Then we got to the end of the aisle and I saw Brad and it was the best. We both cried saying our vows. We loved all the little moments when it was just us during the day and we could just talk and try take it all in. Having our photos at Cornwall Park where Brad asked me out – having to climb huge fences in my dress!
Our parents speeches were incredible, both sets of parents have been married between 25-29 years it was so special to have them speak and give not only us advice on marriage but all our friends too. I think about half the crowd shed a tear. Dad also surprised Mum with a Tiffany charm half way through. When my good friend Patty Lagera posted our wedding trailer she wrote: “There was an abundance of happy tears, praises sung, and grace upon grace. There was the love of a whole community that held them together, and will continue to support them as a married couple.” That’s what we’ll remember, the love of a community. For our Daddy Daughter dance we did Butterfly Kisses and everyone cried and then it changed to Yeah by Usher and we did the Kevin James dance scene from Hitch. We hadn’t told anyone we were doing it and Dad’s quite reserved so it was very unexpected. The roar of laughter was unforgettable and I’ve watched the video about 20 times just to hear everyone scream in surprise and laugh again!! It set the tone for the night and the dance floor was pumping!! There were friends and family that never dance and even they were up, it was flippin awesome. It got pretty crazy by the end which was hilarious because we only had 1 bottle of wine per table so people were just hyped on life hahaha. My best friend (a bridesmaid) caught the bouquet and she got engaged 4 weeks later!
Pre-marriage counselling is fantastic, don’t overlook it! Plan for your marriage not just the wedding. Prep for marriage by Family Life is a great book to walk you through it. Even though we’d been together for 4.5 years and had talked through a lot it was super helpful and made us feel way more prepared for the years ahead. Soak in those moments with everyone around you, this may be the only time you have all those people in one place, don’t waste it.
Photography – Cam at Chasewild | Videographer: Patty Lagera | Ceremony location: St George’s Church | Reception location & Catering: La Cigale French Markets | Celebrant: Clive Wilson | Entertainment: Going Bananas | Lighting: La Lumiere | Flora: Flowers by Anna Carrie | Cake: Joshua Singleton | Bride: Pronovias from Modes Bridal | Veil: Made by Bride’s Grandma | Groom & Groomsmen: Hallensteins & Suits on Broadway | Bridesmaids: Show Me Your Mumu | Flower Girls: Dresses custom designed & made by Trelise Cooper | Groom’s ring: Walker & Hall | Bride’s engagement ring: The Antique Shop Howick | Bride’s wedding rings: Howick Village Jeweller | Bride’s shoes: Country Road | Groom’s shoes: Merchant | Earrings: Swarovski | Cufflinks: Barkers | Bride’s Makeup: Makeup By Leonie | Bridesmaids’ Makeup: Bianca Kloppers | Hair: Sophie & Sita at Lipstick & Co