Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

Matt and I met through a mutual best friend over five years ago at university, and after months of group projects and causal flirting, Matt finally got the courage to ask me out and it’s been smooth sailing ever since…

We both grew up in Utah, USA and love the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with our families. We love good food, new adventures, and are always each other’s biggest support. Matt has dual citizenship in the US and NZ and has spent his summers in Tairua since he was two. So, after we graduated from University together, we decided to take a few months off and travel all around the North and South Islands. Needless to say, I fell even more in love with him and his home away from home. So much so, that after our destination wedding in New Zealand, we recently decided to move across the world and start a new adventure here as well. 

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

Matt and I really wanted our wedding day to be small, intimate and relaxed with the people we love most, so the idea of a destination wedding in New Zealand felt like the perfect fit. We chose to have the ceremony and dinner on Slipper Island, just a 20 minute boat ride from Tairua, and that turned into an entire weekend getaway. We had 40 people fly over from the States, as well as local family and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend. We didn’t have a specific theme for the wedding, we just knew we wanted a really easy-going vibe with earthy colours, good food, and tons of beautiful flowers. We picked the ceremony location once we got to the island and found the perfect spot with a giant Norfolk pine and rolling hills in the background. We then had our cocktail party and dinner under the marquee looking out into the bay. As someone who has worked in the wedding event and floral design industry, I knew what small details were important to me and everything else just fell into place. I found amazing vendors that perfectly captured my vision and I trusted them completely do to what they do best. The flowers were something out of a dream, I absolutely loved the tablescape from the handmade paper menus to the family style dinner, and the Turkish rug we were married on that we now get to see in our house everyday. Everything was above and beyond what we ever expected and the photos convey it perfectly. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

Bride: I wore a custom Natalie Wynn gown and absolutely loved helping her with the design process every step of the way. Natalie hand dyed all of the fabric and lace to get the perfect tones and created the most amazing sleeves and open back for me. I fell in love with the dress from the first fitting and cannot believe I get to call it mine forever. Natalie also handmade the most beautiful hair piece for me that will forever be an heirloom. I wore super simple jewellery, including beautiful diamond earrings Matthew gifted me the morning of our ceremony, and an incredible veil that unfortunately didn’t last long in the wind.

Groom: Matthew loved the idea of wearing a dark green suit with no tie and I couldn’t see him in anything else. He wore a custom Bespoke suit that had a few special monogrammed touches like our wedding date on the inside lining, dark brown leather shoes and belt, and a Shinola watch that I surprised him with that morning. 

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

We look back and just think about how grateful we are to have felt so much support and love from our family and friends. Every single speech was heartfelt and it was absolutely amazing having everyone we love together in such a beautiful setting. I think one of our favourite parts of the day was the lunch before our ceremony. It was super casual, family and friends were swimming and kayaking in the bay, and we had the most amazing grazing table set up. We wanted to entire day/weekend to be fun and easy going for everyone, including our vendors, and we were just so happy to be there and spend so much time with our nearest and dearest. Another moment we both loved was right when I started to walk down the aisle, with the sun still shining, the sky started to mist. It only lasted for a few minutes, but it created the most magical feeling and I don’t think I could have imagined anything more perfect to start our ceremony. Also, sharing our vows with each other in front of our loved ones was something so special that will forever be my favourite memory. 

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

When planning your wedding, start with the details that are most important to you and go from there. Try not to stress about the things that are not in your control and take in every moment from your day because it truly is something you will want to remember and enjoy forever. As a couple, make time with each other a priority. Go on new adventures, continually grow and learn from each other, and always let them know how much you love them. 

Photography: Frank and Peggy Photography | Ceremony and Reception location: Slipper Island New Zealand | Bride’s gown: Natalie Wynn Design | Grooms outfit: Bespoke Custom Clothing | Rings: Rocky Mountain Diamond | Bride’s shoes: Eileen Fisher | Groom’s shoes: Paul Evans | Hair and Makeup: Carrie Purser | Decor Hire: The Pretty Prop Shop | Marquee and Furniture Hire: Peninsula Party Hire | Flora: Where Rosemary Grows | Catering and Beverages: Juk | Invitation Suite and Stationery: Ink & Press Co.

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