Venus and I met at Brightside Hospital in Auckland, where we both worked at the time. I am a surgeon and Venus is a nurse. While we had worked in the same building for six months, we had not seen each other before, until a fateful day when Venus was carrying a large bouquet of flowers delivered for a patient through the corridor. I spotted her and blurted out, “Are those for me?”. She looked at the delivery note and with a huge smile said, “Are you Barbara?”. We had a good laugh and I thought she obviously had a good sense of humour and was pretty cute. So I asked her out on a date. The conversation flowed really well on our first date. We were both so open and transparent and trusting of each other. We clicked straight away. We had an amazing courtship, totally embracing everything about each other, and a year later I put a ‘commitment ring’ on her finger.
After five years of being together, we had a calling from God to strengthen our spiritual lives. We decided to be baptised, and upon discussing this with our pastor and after prayer, we decided to be baptised and then marry the next day.
The day after speaking to our pastor, I went out and bought Venus a diamond solitaire ring. Three days later I proposed by arranging a plane to fly by with a banner saying, ‘Venus. I love You. Please Marry Me’.
She had no idea and was in total shock. I arranged for each family member to say something as part of the proposal and then I got down on one knee. She said ‘yes’. We were to be married just four weeks later with a guest list of 70 people, so planning took a fast priority. Our ceremony was held at Brentwood Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mount Eden, Auckland, which we regularly attend.
Sails Restaurant is a stunning waterside location, which we were familiar with. We chose it as a reception space because it is elegant and intimate, with all the facilities we needed. Before I proposed, we had already booked a trip to Hawaii, so we had a pre-wedding honeymoon. It was a lovely way to spend time together before we got married, and it meant we were full of excitement and anticipation.
On March 7th we were baptised, and in honouring the sanctity of holy baptism, we spent the night before the wedding in separate homes. The morning of the wedding we each prepared with our families and headed to church to see each other at the ceremony. Venus was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. Our ceremony was moving and heartfelt. We had a special meaningful song for each item on the ceremony agenda. After we were pronounced husband and wife, I washed Venus’s feet as a symbol of love and humility and we lit a unity candle. It was a very emotional part of our day. We then got to enjoy our first kiss as husband and wife!
Venus wore two beautiful wedding gowns during the day. Her church gown was from Thailand and it was magnificent, with a long train. The reception gown was bought in Melbourne and tailored in New Zealand. Both dresses were sleeveless and included floral elements and sparkly accents. She accessorised with a veil, crown, diamond earrings and necklace, a bracelet and rings.
Our two daughters, Wirin and Yarin, and their close friend, Pim, made up our three bridesmaids, who all wore satin cherry-hued dresses – a colour we love. Two of our friends’ daughters, Yasmin and Summer, were our flower girls. They looked gorgeous in their white and pink dresses. For the ceremony, I wore a hired black suit with tails, a striped gold waistcoat, a white shirt and bow tie, and heart cufflinks. My best men also wore black suits. Just prior to our reception, I changed into my own blue suit with a tuxedo-style jacket, and a white tie.
It was a sunny Auckland day and we had photographs in a few different areas and travelled by limo between locations. Upon entering our reception, we chose to mingle with our guests while songs played. The dinner tables looked amazing; we had spent countless hours on the elegant-yet-colourful decor, arrangements, and table place settings. (The control freaks in us came out and every last detail was very considered). We love roses, and the sight and smell of them enhanced the style of our special day.
We love hosting dinner parties, so the three-course, sit-down meal really resonated with us. Guests enjoyed fresh local oysters, beef tataki, spiced calamari, Hawke’s Bay lamb, free-range chicken or vegetarian options. Dessert was creme brulee, chocolate ganache, local cheeses and our wedding cake – a three-tiered treat with white chocolate and lemon, lime and coconut, and choc-raspberry mud-cake flavoured layers. The speeches from our family and friends were excellent, but by far the most memorable was from Venus’s two daughters. They spoke in tandem, talking about how their mum raised them in a new country and on her own. It was very emotional. The girls explained how they were so happy that their mum had found true love and happiness.
We created a music playlist from our favourite songs for the ceremony and other special moments throughout the day. Our first dance was to ‘You Are The Reason’, by Calum Scott. We had practised a choreographed dance, which we pulled off so well. The songs then drifted to Abba, Bee Gees – and for the kids, ‘Baby Shark’! DJ Ray was in charge of the dancefloor tunes, which were also decided on in consultation with us prior to the day.
Given the global health pandemic of Covid-19, we were so fortunate and blessed to have been able to have experienced a wonderful wedding day safely before the country went into lockdown. We know that this was part of God’s plan for us and we couldn’t have done it without Him.
BRIDE’S GOWN Thailand; Always and Forever, Melbourne. BRIDE’S SHOES Badgley Mischka. HAIR Jin & Jen. MAKEUP MAC Professional. RINGS Michael Hill Jeweller. GROOM’S ATTIRE Balmoral Suit Hire; Grooms Own. BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Forever New. GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Zara Black Suits. VENUE AND CATERING Brentwood Seventh Day Adventist Church; Sails Restaurant. OFFICIANT Pastor Hugh Heenan. FLOWERS Scarecrow. CAKE Sweet Bites Cakes. MUSIC DJ Ray from Auckland DJ Services. STATIONERY Down Memory Lane. SIGNAGE AND HIRE Covers Decoration Hire.