The first time we met was classic! I was sitting at an outdoor table with a glass of red wine at a friend’s party. As Tyson arrived he tripped over a tile, knocking the wine off the table and all down the front of my white dress! I must admit it was a great entrance on his part! It’s where it all began as we kept in touch and went on a few dates. I’m a city girl and Tyson is a country boy, but I absolutely fell in love with life on the farm with him. Within a few months I had moved into his place and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Early on in our relationship we supported each other through some tough losses which only made us stronger. In August 2018 Tyson proposed in Mykonos, Greece. We were on a six-week Europe trip and he took me up a hill with a beautiful view. I was taking a panoramic photo and when I turned around he had the most BEAUTIFUL ring out and proposed.
Tyson and I visited Rarotonga two years prior to our wedding and absolutely loved the island. We decided it would be the most beautiful and relaxing place to get married. January was the best time for our family and friends to come to the Cook Islands to join us. Our previous trip had been at the same time of year and the weather had been great, but we still had to make sure we had a backup plan as it was the rainy season. Rarotonga was perfect for a small, intimate wedding. We went for a relaxed tropical style, incorporating fairy lights, tropical flowers, candles and rose petals.
I found our second-hand faux flower bouquets online. They were made by Aleisha Renee Everlasting Flowers and used artificial ranunculus, hydrangeas, roses, baby’s breath and eucalyptus bound with twine. Shona Lynch from Cook Islands Holiday Villas created our archway and reception flowers. She used freshly picked pink and white frangipani, white gardenia (Tiare Taina), pink and white ginger flowers and palm fronds. My favourite colour is pink, so we wanted romantic pastel pink florals with some white flowers and greenery to break it up. The flowers were beautiful.
I searched for a dress in both Christchurch and Invercargill. The ladies at Brides by Donna Rae in Invercargill were amazing – they had me try on different kinds of styles to get a feel for what I was after. Once they knew my style they brought out an Essense Australia dress. It was bohemian and soft with plenty of lace.
It was exactly what I wanted! It fit my figure perfectly and I felt so comfortable and beautiful in the dress that I knew it was the one as soon as I put it on. It was a classy gown with sequin lace, shoestring straps, a V neckline and a low back with a train. I accessorised with beautiful Swarovski earrings and chose not to have a veil as I felt there was so much detail in the back of the dress that I wanted to be seen.
My three bridesmaids wore maxi Forever New dresses in a soft pink. The fabric was light, and I know the girls can wear the dresses again. They were paired with a small strappy heel and silver thread earrings. Me and Tyson’s nieces were our three gorgeous flower girls and wore slightly puffy white dresses with a bow at the back and little pink petals embroidered along the bottom.
Tyson and his groomsmen wore navy floral short sleeve shirts from Farmers with light pink salmon shorts from Jeanswest and brown andals with thick straps to suit the heat and relaxed atmosphere. Their outfits tied in so well to the laid-back tropical vibe of Rarotonga, plus the pink shorts matched PERFECTLY with the bridesmaids’ dresses.
We chose to have a buffet menu featuring island dishes, with items like roast chicken, tropical slaw, white pepper sumac lamb, grilled eggplant salad and local ceviche. Our guests raved about the whole menu, but particularly the tender lamb and the eggplant salad – the flavours were amazing! We served carrot cake, chocolate cake and a seasonal fruit platter for dessert.
The most memorable moment of the day was when Tyson and I read out our own personal vows. We don’t often express how much we mean to each other, so it was really special to hear – especially knowing the best is yet to come. It meant the world to me that my mum and dad walked me down the aisle and gave me away. They both brought me up to be the person I am today and have been such important parts of my life. Tyson and I also had both of our nanas act as our witnesses as we wanted them to have a special role in the wedding. We loved having our wedding in beautiful Rarotonga and getting married on the beach. It was such a relaxed day, yet still romantic and so perfect! We wouldn’t change a thing.