I was living in Auckland and had just graduated from AUT, when I was offered a journalism job in Rotorua. Luckily a friend from uni had three guy mates that needed a flattie. I was put in touch with Dan who helped me move in.The lads at the flat were all awesome and owned a wakeboard boat, so before I knew it, they had me out on some of Rotorua’s 18 lakes learning tricks on the water and they also taught me to mountain bike in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest. In no time, they had me hooked on the place.
Six years after our first kiss Dan told me to pack my bags. We were off to Melbourne to eat, drink & shop! The proposal was on the banks of the Yarra River at night on 15 July, the number 15 also won $300 at the casino that night afterwards.
We found our venue in September, giving us three months to plan the entire wedding which took place at the Lake Rotoiti Holiday Park on Friday 9th December 2016 with 100 friends and family.
As soon as Dan and I set foot on the spot we knew it was the place for us. It had a warm vibe and undeniable presence, with the entire venue area set lakeside. With a lot of family and friends travelling we also liked that the venue hire included 50 beds with cabins, so we were excited to make a full weekend of the party with everyone. A short walk from the venue was also one of Rotorua’s best café’s Okere Falls Store for everyone staying to eat at over the weekend and the beautiful Kaituna River and Forest walk was across the road which meant we could also get our forest feel in closeby too for photos.
I purchased my dress from Brides on Thorndon in Wellington where my friend Hayley Jewell (who had previously worked there 10 years) did her magic in finding me a dress. Hayley pulled out ‘the dress’ – a Martina Liana A-line wedding dress in beautiful silk Mikado. It featured a boat neckline with deep V back and a lightly pleated skirt that flowed with covered buttons into a cathedral train . To the dress we added a hand beaded Swarovski crystal belt And Hayley created a jacket from Spanish lace to go over the bodice for when it got chilly. I also loved the Henare Kuini crowns by the talented Nerida Johnstone - she had a bubble veil bride with a crown on her Instagram, which also inspired me to get a bubble veil, which Hayley made. The kuini crown Nerida handmade to go with it was just breathtaking and very meaningful. It turned out my nana Anne (who helped with wedding dress decisions over the phone since she was too ill from cancer treatment to come) had an uncannily similar wedding dress too. Unfortunately nana passed away before the wedding day, but we included her memory in many special ways on the day.
The bride, bridesmaids, flower girls and father of the bride boarded a vintage 25ft 1950s era wooden boat by the jetty at Okere Falls Store to get to the venue and then parked up at the Holiday Park jetty in view of all the guests at the ceremony which was heaps of fun. The boat was owned by a friend of a friend called Stef. The groom and groomsmen all arrived in a ute.
We held hands through a heartfelt ceremony written by celebrant Philly Angus. We had written our vows lakeside a month earlier together, so saying them on the day was incredibly special and the readings ‘The Master Speed’ and ‘The Word For Today’ were spoken beautifully and meant a lot as well.
My sister is a creative genius and she created the felt woodland masks for the bridal party, they took her hours, but we all loved them!
Dan’s 19 year old sister Harriet Boucher, created the three tiered wedding cake and organised the floral arrangement and styling of it. The top tier was banana, middle tier was carrot and bottom tier was chocolate cake, with a swiss meringue buttercream icing. She also created bliss balls, florentines and chocolate pistachio slice for dessert. Harriet is one of the most talented chefs we know and we were so proud of her – she nailed this massive job and the dessert was outstanding.
We entered the dance floor through a sparkler tunnel made by all our guests and then did our first dance, which we really should have practiced more! We were fortunate to have Rio Hemopo DJ our wedding. Rio is the bass player and singer/songwriter for Trinity Roots and he has recorded and played live with Fat Freddy’s Drop, Breaks Co-Op, Scribe, Fly My Pretties and Hollie Smith. Later in the evening, my flatmate from uni days Tim Lambourne jumped on the decks, he’s a George FM DJ and he played some top hit crackers that had everyone going crazy till the early hours of the morning.
My piece of advice is – go with a short timeframe! We loved pulling it all together in 3 months – we had to be quick and decisive with decisions and it was really fun and rewarding to feel like we blinked and the wedding had arrived. To make a short timeframe work though, create a detailed runsheet, have week by week planned to-do lists and make sure you nail the big stuff straight away.
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