We met in high school and were simply friends to start with, though I had a massive crush on William for the last two years of school. He never knew! William spent a year working and travelling in Europe after high school and when he returned our high school friends all caught up out at Pukehina Beach. Our chemistry was instant – we went from friends to soulmates immediately. From there we went on a few dates, then spent the next year together. We parted ways a while after I went off to uni, only to realise what we were missing a year later and rekindling our love story.
Call him crazy or hopelessly romantic, but William planned to ask me to marry him in the ocean off Waiheke Island – a place very close to both of our hearts. The one catch? It was winter. The cold didn’t stop him though and in August 2018 he got down on one knee in the freezing waters of Little Palm Beach and asked me to be his wife. An easy yes, a few tears, and many chattering teeth later our journey to husband and wife began.
We happened to drive past The Waterlily Gardens in Waihi by chance. It was closed as new owners had taken over and Rachel, one of the co-owners, was in the garden up to her elbows in dirt. She saw us hesitantly approach the gate and offered to show us around. We fell in love straight away. We had really wanted an outdoor venue so we could feel connected to nature while we were becoming husband and wife and we definitely got that. The setting was stunning, and everything felt calm and serene.
I love that we got to have lush greenery around us still and that our florist, Rosemary from Rosie’s Wildflower, could create features that tied into that. We wanted natural, wild and meaningful flowers. I also asked Rosie if she could include our birth flowers (chrysanthemums for my November birthday, and daffodils for William’s march one) and she managed to do so. She also sent a card with the different flower meaning with my bouquet on the day which was very special. We kept our colour palette simple as we didn’t want to compete with the nature around us and kept to the green and white of the venue and the pink of our bridesmaids.
I went dress shopping saying I didn’t want anything strapless and poufy but ended up getting exactly that! I didn’t feel like a bride until I put it ‘the one’ on. The lace embroidered bodice was tight and corseted before flowing into voluminous layers of tulle with structured waves. It was stunning and I felt like a real-life princess.
We did a first look and photos before the ceremony on the sand dunes at Waihi Beach and in Bowentown. We wanted to experience the moment of seeing each other completely by ourselves. We are pretty emotional people and there were tears everywhere, so it was nice to just be able to embrace that without people looking on. It was magical and something that neither of us will ever forget. Both my dad and stepdad walked me down the aisle. I feel like I have two dads and loved that they were both okay with it. All three of us in were in tears by the end! One of our best friends was our celebrant which made for a very personal yet funny ceremony. Everything was so natural.
William and I are pescatarians, so the family-style dinner at our reception needed to have a seafood option and plenty of vegetarian dishes, while still keeping the meat-eaters happy! Not a small order! We went for dishes like roast lamb, pork belly and pan-fried fish with a multitude of salads – Mediterranean couscous, roast pumpkin and feta and beansprout and cilantro with five-spiced tofu. As expected, the lamb was a hit, but so was the tofu surprisingly! Dessert was our three-tier cake with a bottom layer of chocolate mud, second of white chocolate passionfruit and top of lemon, coconut and raspberry. It was delicious and didn’t last long!
The speeches were an amazing thing for me and William; hearing how much we are loved and cherished by our family and friends was an unforgettable experience, and having a song written about our love story by a close friend was unbelievable – a lot of people were in tears.
Later in the night the photographer stole us away for a few night-time shots, and on our return we took a few minutes to stand back and watch the party unfold. It was an amazing moment just looking on at our family and friends having fun. The day was so emotional and memorable. One of the things we appreciate the most when we look back on our big day is family. For us, that’s what it’s all about.
BRIDE’S GOWN St Patrick. BRIDE’S SHOES Miss Wilson by Kathryn Wilson. HAIR Tracey Harris. MAKEUP Chrissie Callard. RINGS Meadowlark Jewellery. GROOM AND GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Bond & Co. BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES Blak Bridesmaids. FLOWERS Rosie’s Wildflower Co. CAKE Clares Cake Design. VENUE AND CATERING The Waterlily Gardens, Waihi. CELEBRANT Zoe Mahon. MUSIC Adam & Naomi Acoustic Duo, Drift the DJ.