Real Weddings

Deborah & Louise

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Louise and I met on a night out in 2015, but whether our paths crossed by chance or design depends on who you ask. We realised we were falling in love on a spontaneous holiday to Samoa, about a month after we started dating. In the five years since then, we’ve shared many more adventures. 2016 saw us move in together and start exploring the world hand in hand. Louise also learnt how to be a dog-mum to Tiger and Kiera while I began my master’s degree. 2017 was a busy year as we travelled, even more, bought a house together and settled into our new home. Not wanting to waste a picturesque opportunity with a hammock and a quiet beach on an island in the South China Sea, I snuck in a nervous proposal on an evening walk back from dinner! In 2018 I started my PhD and the last leg of our pre-baby international travel came to an end with a trip to Cuba. Louise mourned the end of overseas holidays – not knowing what the future would bring! In 2019 we welcomed the light of our lives, our daughter Aria Catherine Heke-Moor. She has brought so much aroha, adventure, sass and laughter into our world.

While attending a wananga at my family marae in haeawai, Northland, part of the rohe (area) my father is from, we decided to stay at Paheke just up the road. We fell in love on our stay, cancelling our original venue to have our wedding there. It had so much meaning through my direct connection to the whenua (land), while we felt Paheke, as a historic homestead, also represented Louise’s English and Scottish heritage. We chose to have a summer wedding so we could hold it outdoors, and so that our local and international guests could enjoy a holiday in the area as well. It was amazing to soak in the extra hours of sunlight, dance under the stars and hold pre and post-wedding events locally.

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In terms of wedding attire, I wanted something cool and unique; an outfit that reflected my style and personality, though comfort was most important. I wore a custom three-piece cotton wool blend suit from Devonché with a train in the same lace as Louise’s dress, which I organised secretly with Jessica Bridal. I accessorised with a double chain on the waistcoat, a pocket watch that belonged to my late grandfather and diamond and pearl earrings borrowed from a friend.

LOUISE: I wanted to wear something that was flattering and classic with a little bit of an edge. I knew my Zavana Bridal dress was the one as soon as I tried it on at Jessica Bridal – I loved it. The mermaid style gown was made from fitted lace with a sheer bodice and was originally strapless until we added some thin sparkly straps for comfort at the last fitting. The mocha veil I chose worked so well and the dress was easy to dance the night away in as the train hooked up. I also wore a gold bracelet from my late sister Catherine and pearl earrings Deborah gifted to me on the day along with a beautiful poem.

Our vintage, rustic chic wedding incorporated a range of personal touches like our daughter’s korowai, my niece Lavinia reading a poem Deborah had written for me in our early days of dating and opening the wedding with a karakia. We even had a llama as ring bearer! I love llamas and Deborah does too (sort of!). I had arranged for the llama as a surprise, but could not not tell Deborah, and it turned out that she was in the process of organising a llama too! It was a great surprise for the guests. Deborah and I had written our own vows and lit candles to signify us as individuals, and a third for us as a couple – a ceremony of light as my parents had done at their wedding.

Following the ceremony, we had a grazing table for our cocktail hour before a sit-down meal. Korowha Catering served large platters banquet-style to each table with dishes like roast lamb, chicken, Greek salad, breads and a beetroot, mint and feta salad. Everyone loved the fresh salads and the beautiful New Zealand lamb – especially the overseas guests. Simply Cakes and Cupcakes by Caron created our three-tier cake and, inspired by one of my favourite cookbooks, the top layer was a Dolly Varden cake. The two Barbies in the top tier looked like me and Deborah (including her tattoos), wearing outfits and jewellery matching what we wore on the day with edible lace. It tasted delicious.

The day had so many memorable moments from seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony to sunset photos up the maunga (mountain), to saying our vows (apparently there wasn’t a dry eye). We look back fondly on the time we spent together running off to take photos and loved dancing under the stars with our guests. Our wedding day was magical, special, and very much ours.


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