Though we had met in passing, Roma and I first got to know each other on a trip to Mana Island in Fiji, where Roma was born. We hung out around the pool and I asked her 20 questions. Two years later, Roma ended up at my house party and we hit it off. We were both single, so I invited Roma around for dinner and it went from there. The next thing you know, Roma came to Rhythm and Vines and then I took her to Tahiti for a friend’s wedding. Soon enough we were spending time together meeting family in the Hawke’s Bay. It was not long before we had moved in together, bought a house, and a little puppy. Roma is such a supportive person and has taught me how to love and be loved.
I was hoping to propose in Fiji where we first officially met, but then the first lockdown happened, and we could not travel. Instead, I proposed on a trip to the South Island. We had travelled to Fiordland and were staying at the Fiordland Lodge when, on a magic blue-sky day at Milford Sound, I surprised Roma by getting down one knee. I told her I had brought her to the most beautiful place because she is the most beautiful girl and asked her to marry me. Of course, she said yes! We spent the day up in a helicopter and enjoying the beauty of the region before heading back to Queenstown to continue celebrating with friends.
Five months after our engagement we tied the knot in three days of wedding festivities in between two of the lockdowns. I founded and run Rhythm and Vines and as a co-owner of the venue Waiohika Estate, it was only natural to get married there. We chose to have a midsummer wedding to make the most of the Gisborne weather. The warm summer nights were magic and reminiscent of balmy Indian evenings, especially with the Indian theming of the Sangeet night.
ROMA: The Sangeet night reflected my Indian heritage with lots of lanterns, lights, bright colours, and bold, vibrant flowers. The wedding day had a formal summer garden party feel. Waiohika is so lush and green that I really wanted to tie everything together with vines and greenery – from the invitations to the menus and place settings. For the reception, I had a vision of a white marquee with lots of natural greenery and white flowers with gold accents right down to the cutlery. Lots of crystals and candles really created the perfect romantic setting. I kept to the colour scheme of white, gold, and green throughout. On the Sunday after the wedding, we had a Brazilian barbeque. All three days were reflective of our personalities.
I always knew I wanted a very classic, timeless gown for my wedding day. When I was designing my gown I was thinking, ‘if I have a daughter one day, would she be able to wear this?’ I did not want a dress that would date or go out of season. Trish Peng is a very old friend of mine, so it was only fitting to have her design my dress. I paired my wedding gown with large pearl earrings in a diamond setting and a very long six-meter veil with pearls. For the Sangeet night, I wanted a floral pattern in pastel colours to tie in with all of the flowers in the estate’s garden.
At the Sangeet, Hamish wore a turban and costume jewellery from Roop Darshan. For the church ceremony, Hamish wore an Indo western tunic in a long royal cut with gold buttons before changing into a dinner jacket. My bridesmaids fit perfectly into our theme in their white and gold saris.
HAMISH: Our caterer Anthony Price from Private Fine Dining is a friend and absolute genius. We served all of our food family-style, beginning with a selection of condiments and local Waimata cheese and a charcuterie board. The braised lamb and smoked salmon were the standout items of the day, and though our guests raved about everything, they also particularly loved the truffle butter, smoked salmon dip, and salmon pancakes. The dessert station featured Chef Anthony’s handmade bonbons, chocolates, and crème brûlée. Inspired by a wedding I attended, we served a croquembouche with traditional vanilla custard crème filling created by local pastry chef Kathy Rutherford instead of a typical wedding cake.
There were so many highlights throughout our wedding celebrations. Celebrating Roma’s Indian heritage with the Sangeet night. The fun Bollywood dance-off by the bridal party. The pōwhiri welcome. The church wedding was so special – it was nice to have a formal part of the day offsite at the Holy Trinity Church. The grand after-dinner fireworks display was another highlight. Extravagant and original, our wedding was a celebration to remember.
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