Real Weddings

Harriet & James


Jim and I both swiped right on Tinder in 2017 and organised our first date after a month of texting when I enticed him over for dinner with my signature chicken fettuccine. I was frantically messaging my sisters asking for advice on what to do when he arrived because I was so nervous, but I really need not have worried. As soon as Jim stepped out of the car and I saw that large smile of his, my nerves subsided – everything felt right. From then on Jim and I spent most weekends together meeting up with friends or hanging with each other’s families. We also spent lots of time at Rings Beach in the Coromandel or at Parua Bay up north fishing and diving. After six months of dating, Jim and I moved in together and he proposed to me on my family farm in mid-2019. Now here we are married with our dog Jack and cat Lottie!

Our original wedding was to take place at Rings Beach in November with 200 guests. When Covid-19 hit we realised that our numbers would be limited and that, unfortunately, guests living overseas would not be able to make it – including my two sisters. After weeks of emotional turmoil, we decided to alter our plans completely as we had no idea when or how things would change. We were eager to get married and start our next chapter together, so we brought the date forward to September and changed the location for a much smaller wedding with 54 guests and a video link to my sisters.

My cousin Christine has a beautiful bach on the waterfront at Cooks Beach in the Coromandel. When I asked if she would mind if I had my wedding there, she was over the moon! Jim and I wanted to marry somewhere that had meaning to us and that we both enjoyed as a holiday destination. Christine’s bach was perfect as, not only were we on the beach, but the location included someone who means so much to me. I lived with her occasionally throughout my school days and she has done a lot for me over the years. Our wedding had four seasons in one day with sunshine, rain, hail, a thunderstorm and apparently there was even a small earthquake! Fortunately, everything was perfectly timed and not one moment of our special day was ruined. As part of our casual formal décor, we hired trees from Waitaia Advanced Native Trees Nursery. To complement the large trees, I went for a bouquet that was large and natural-looking, asking Lizzie Harsant from Wildflowers Coromandel to create something similar to an image I found on Pinterest. She did so perfectly.

After visiting four bridal shops and being unable to find a dress to ‘say yes’ to, I nearly cancelled my Vinka Design appointment with Anita. I was feeling despondent and expecting to be disappointed again! Fortunately, I decided to go to the appointment – and it was the best decision I made. As soon as I walked in the door Anita made me feel like the most special bride ever. She grabbed a whole lot of fabric and pinned it against me to make up the dress that she had in mind. It was perfect. My mum was there with me on the day and could see how happy I was. We both agreed that Anita had to be the person to make my dress. Every fitting from then on was so relaxing, enjoyable and exciting. My beautiful lace dress was long and white with to-die-for cap sleeves and I could not wait to show it off.

All our food was served cocktail style – both canapes and a walk ‘n’ fork menu from Sugarfish. It was all absolutely delicious and everyone raved about every single dish. Our personal favourites were the pork belly bao buns and the Argentinian style BBQ beef sirloin. I honestly wish I could eat all the food again – it was divine. We followed the savoury food with a dessert grazing table and a small two-tiered wedding cake with one layer of chocolate and another of lemon yoghurt with butter icing. I asked a family friend to make it and she was absolutely stoked.

Jim and I were both so happy at the ceremony and could not stop smiling as we walked back down the aisle after being pronounced husband and wife. We were so excited to celebrate with everyone! I am really glad that we took the time out to take photos – they’re what you look back on to remember how amazing your special day was and get those tingly feelings. Jim, a typical guy originally did not want many photos, but ended up asked for more! It is one of my favourite memories as I knew he was having the best time, and so was I. As a reminder of the effect the pandemic had on our wedding, we had one photo taken with all our guests wearing a face mask. It turned out to be one of our favourite photos! There are so many words that come to mind when we look back on our big day; special, fun, hilarious, emotional, stunning – perfect.

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