Real Weddings

Olivia & Steven

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Steven and I stayed up all night talking to each other after a friend’s 21st party and realized our relationship was meant to be! We had been friends since high school. In 2018, we travelled to Hawaii together for my brother’s wedding and one week later, hiked Koko Head in Hawaii with my brother and his new wife. She asked to take a photo of us and when I turned around, Steve was down on one knee.

We were engaged for three years before our wedding. Covid postponed two dates in June 2020 and November 2020. We then moved the day back to June 2021.

We always wanted a low-key wedding and dreamed of getting married on a beach. We both enjoy snorkelling and swimming. We came across the packages at Muri Beach Club Hotel in Rarotonga. It looked relaxed and exactly what we had pictured. We went for a June wedding to escape the winter and when temperatures are in the mid-20s in Raro so not too hot.

Our theme was beachy with lots of greenery and white. We wanted to keep it fresh, as the backdrop was the blue ocean. We had an archway and I wore a floral crown.

Due to the wedding being postponed twice, I had four dresses by the time we got to Raro! The first one wasn’t weather appropriate and the second was too transparent. Thankfully, the dress that arrived on time was perfect! It was strapless and flowing with a slight train. I kept my accessories minimal with the floral crown, Pandora earrings and a gold heart necklace that Steve had given me. I went barefoot.

We made our own party favour bags and added bottle openers that Steve engraved himself. We bought bottles of port to toast my grandparents, as they couldn’t be there. We had 30 guests.

For the meal, we had a buffet. For dessert, we had crème brulee and coconut lime cheesecake as well as our two-tiered wedding cake in chocolate mud and coconut.

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We asked all our guests to share their song requests with us before the big day. We created a big playlist from their selection and it was awesome to see their reactions on the day when their tune was played.

My Dad was MC on the night and made the first speech, followed by Steve. A handful of friends spoke too, which was unexpected as we didn’t have a bridal party. There was a lot of love and happiness in the room.

My four-year-old niece was our flower girl. She wore a pink floral dress. Steve wore a white linen shirt and beige chino shorts with a traditional Rarotongan Rauti ei (flower garland).

The most memorable moment was Steve and I standing under the arch and laughing after a rollercoaster three years. It was so surreal. For guests, the holiday was memorable as to travel again after Covid was a buzz. We arranged two tours for guests: the rehab party bus tour and a snorkelling BBQ lunch tour the next day.

After landing in New Zealand, we drove north for our honeymoon to Kourawhero Mountain Lodge near Warkworth.

My advice to anyone getting married would be to do exactly what you want and don’t consider everyone else! I’m so glad we opted for a small wedding. A lot of time and money goes into the day so do what you want so there are no regrets.


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