Andrew + Aki by Dawn Thomson

We are a Tinder love story gone right! We both made it very clear that we were looking for a potential other half, so when we first met, there were no guessing games about whether it was a friendship, work partnership, or casual date.

Our first date was almost like a job interview. Aki even supplied Andrew with a creative brief to crack, as a test. That might sound a bit cold, but it was a chance to be super honest about where we saw our lives going. We had the kind of conversation in our first three hours together that others might not have for months or years. When you start with true honesty, it reduces challenges down the road.

I’ve been an art director for more than 10 years. Andrew is an entrepreneur and a radio host. We complement and complete each other. We started working together very early in our relationship and are surprised by how easy it has been, for the most part. Andrew has taken trips to Europe to assist me with my fashion business, accompanied me on trips to Milan and Paris fashion weeks, and I help Andrew churn out social media campaigns for his start-up. We have learned to be more deliberate about when it’s work time and when it’s our time, as Aki never stops working! Her passion is inspiring but it’s crucial to take a break and recharge. We now have an ‘Aki and Andrew day’ once a week — date nights, movies and shopping days.

We planned our elopement in 16 days and tied the knot a week after the second lockdown lifted in New Zealand. Our vision for the day was “Vogue meets Tarantino”. We wanted luxury, drama and class. A memorable location was a must, and when we realised overseas travel was impossible, Queenstown was the obvious choice. We flew down there, jumped into a helicopter, and were on top of a breathtaking mountain just before sunset. We spent 55 minutes making an announcement video there. None of our family or friends knew about our plans, so this is how we chose to reveal our wedding. Aki switched into director mode, pulling out her storyboard and directing the short film. We said “I do” accompanied by our celebrant, photographer and videographer, and a beautiful sunset. Now, we have a super cool video to show our family, friends and future baby Curtis.

Afterwards, we went back to the QT hotel, got changed and went out for a date night as Mr. And Mrs Curtis. When we got to the restaurant, Andrew said, “Aki, are you ready for this?” then told the receptionist, “My wife and I would like a table to celebrate our wedding.” It was heart-melting, hearing him say that for the first time. We’re big advocates of staying debt-free – you don’t need to create a new burden of stress to carry into married life by borrowing too much at the beginning. The complexity of wedding planning is exponential — each new element can bring a multitude of challenges. We overcome that problem by having as few elements as possible. We’d advise other couples to have the courage to ask yourself what you really want — not just from your wedding day but from your life — and then have the courage to pursue it unapologetically

photographer Dawn Thomson / bride’s top Safiyaa / bride’s pants Jacquemus / bride’s attire NET-A-PORTER / groom’s suit Ted Baker from George Harrison / ceremony location Roundhill summit / helicopter Over The Top / reception location Downtown Queenstown / accommodation QT Queenstown / videographer Jared Donkin / celebrant Charlotte Winkel / flora Rose Tinted Flowers / wedding announcement film (Directed by the bride) The Sleek Avenue / rings Tiffany & Co / shoes Amina Muaddi / bracelet Paco Rabanne / fragrance My Way by Armani from Smith & Caughey’s