Keely and I met each other while studying at Calvary Chapel Bible Institute, then located in Rotorua, during the spring of 2016. I had come over from Oregon, USA to get some travel under my belt while also fortifying the foundation of my faith in Jesus Christ. Keely was starting her fourth and final semester as I began my first. During our time at CCBI we were both part of the audio-video team and had the same friend group, so we got to know each other through many a movie night and coffee break. We grew really close as friends but near the end of the semester, we decided that it had grown into something more. Neither of us had ever dated or been in a relationship before, so we wanted to make sure that we were intended for each other. We agreed that we would not kiss while we were dating in order to save our first kisses for our spouses one day – each hoping that it would be the other of course. There were many instances throughout our relationship that showed me that she was the right one for me and made me want to spend the rest of my life with her. We love each other, therefore any hardships – like distance – are worth it. In April 2019 I proposed to Keely at Waihi Beach while we were on a long weekend trip with friends. We woke up early to watch the sunrise together on the beach one morning and when the sun had risen above the ocean I got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife. She said yes!
We chose to have a summer wedding as it is our favourite season of the year. Woodlands Estate in Gordonton, Waikato has been a regular get-together spot for Keely’s family for many years. We both love the grove of trees there and the calm feel of the gardens. It was the perfect spot for a summery New Zealand experience for our guests. We had hoped for an outdoor wedding and fortunately, we were able to have our ceremony under the trees where it was warm yet also had some shade. We really liked that we could have both our ceremony and reception at the same venue – both us and our guests could relax without having to do any extra travelling. We did not plan a specific theme for our wedding, though it ended up having a rustic bohemian feel – it was an outdoorsy setup with wooden details.
KEELY: I was originally looking for a snug fit lace wedding dress and Astra Bridal in Hamilton gave me some options as well as a few that were different from what I was originally looking for. I tried on one that had just arrived in store – I was a little sceptical as it was not a dress I would have chosen myself. I was not expecting it, but I ended up falling in love with the gown. Even though it did not have any lace on it at all and I was not looking for one with beading, it was perfect! It was a super fun dress and very different to anything I had seen before.
It made me so happy and excited when I put it on, so I knew it was a keeper. It was actually much more ‘me’ than the others I was originally looking at! The Sottero & Midgley mermaid style gown had a low back and a sweetheart neckline overlaid with sheer netting that also created cap sleeves. A beaded fringe on the back added lots of bling. Business in the front, party in the back!
Right before the ceremony began Josh and I wanted to pray together, though without doing a first look. Josh closed his eyes as we met at the top of the stairs in the estate house and we held hands and prayed for each other. It was super special and intimate. It helped settle a few nerves and made us more excited to see each other at the ceremony. The entire day had so many memorable moments. We will never forget the excitement in each other’s eyes on seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. We had friends play a worship song that means a lot to us at the beginning of the ceremony – It was a reminder to us, and our guests, of what Jesus Christ has done both for us individually and in our relationship. Josh and I wanted the day to be a God-centred celebration of our commitment to each other. Our wedding demonstrated our love for each other and felt very relaxed and genuine. So many words come to mind when we look back on the day: beautiful, amazing, joyous, exciting, powerful, and perfect.
For more Real Weddings click here