We are bringing back an edit of our top-performing real weddings from the TJ archives. These are our very best weddings that our audience has loved the most, and the ones we think are still very relevant and aspirational.

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

Matt is a Marine Pilot and I am the Operations Manager for a renewable energy company. We are lucky enough to live in the beautiful Mount Maunganui with our blue Burmese, Odin. Matt’s work has seen us spend majority of our relationship living in different cities or Matt working at sea for long periods.

You learn a lot about resilience and have to be quite independent for that to work, but the positives are not a day is ever wasted that you spend together, and you value that time so much. 

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style?

Matt and I were fortunate that my uncle offered his stunning property in Wentworth Valley for us to have our special day. It was so much fun having people come in on a bus, crossing creeks and through construction yards and have no idea where they were going or what it was going to be like!

Having it at a family property means it will always be there for us to enjoy and reminisce and it was an entirely new venue for our guests to go to. It was set back in a clearing amongst native bush, we used uplighting for the giant Kauri trees dotted around and fairy lights to guide people down the shell driveway.

We wanted elegant, timeless style but kept things quite relaxed, our ceremony was short and sweet and we didn’t walk into dinner formally or have a first dance. I stuck to a mainly black and white colour scheme, we reused the bridal bouquets of long stemmed roses on the tables and had white hydrangeas on the bar.

We had the ceremony under a giant kauri tree, it is so impressive we felt we didn’t need an arch and it shone in the photos. Our friend was the celebrant, my brother in-law the MC, another friend did the music, one made the cake and another matts ring. Having friends and family play such important roles in our day was so special and something we are so grateful for.

Tell us about your main outfits

My wedding gown was by Trish Peng, I had an idea in my head from the start of exactly what I wanted. Everyone tells you the dress you end up with wont be anything like you originally thought, but after trying on a lot of gowns I ended up with the exact vision in my head! I loved that it was both sexy and classic at the same time and it fit like a glove.

My second dress was from ASOS, it’s not often you get to wear something so theatrical and what better time than your own wedding. No one knew about it aside from my bridesmaids and mum and I changed half-way through the night, a few people thought I was a late guest! 

Matt’s had a bespoke suit made by Crane Brothers, the velvet jacket subtly set him apart from his groomsmen but the intensity of the black really stood out in the photos. If you can, do invest in a tailored suit, it does make a world of difference in terms of fit and they can keep for 20 years. Crane brothers made Matt feel like a million dollars and was a fun experience designing the suit with them.

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

We did majority of our photos before the wedding which meant we got more time together and with our guests later on, the first look moment was special for just the two of us and didn’t take any shine off the ceremony. Everything felt more relaxed as you weren’t rushing to get back to the wedding guests.

We had six vintage motorbikes for all the groomsmen which was great for group photos, Matt came down and picked me up on one and we did a few laps in front of the guests which made for some great shots.

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

Marry your best friend and you will never spend a day lonely. When it comes to the wedding, just remember what is important to you both, I think with social media its easy for people to get caught up in the insta-hype when it comes to weddings, at the end of the day people remember how your day made them feel more than the flowers or marquee etc.

Websites like The Curator are good for helping you track costs, and if you don’t have a wedding planner, having someone on the day to ensure everything goes to plan is a worthwhile investment. Its true what people say about the day flying by, make sure you take a few moments just the two of you to stand back and look at your guests having fun and appreciate your hard work.

Photography: @kerynsweeneyweddings | Videography: @badpandaproductions | Ceremony and Reception location: Private family farm in Wentworth Valley, Whangamata | Celebrant: Jono Salisbury | Bride’s wedding gown: @trishpeng | Bride’s veil: @heracouture | Bride’s reception dress: @asos | Groom’s bespoke suit: @cranebrothers | Bride’s wedding ring: @cocoflorencenz | Bride’s engagement ring: creativejewellery.vpweb.co.nz | Bride’s fragrance: @yslbeauty | Groom’s wedding band: Friend Mark Usowicz | Bride’s shoes: @mi_piaci | Groom’s watch: @partridgejewellers | Groom’s cufflinks: Groom’s grandfather | Makeup: @belles_and_brides | Hair: @mattforsmanhair | Fragrance: @chanelofficial | Groomsmen’s attire: www.bondandco.co.nz and @asos | Bridesmaid’s attire: @boohoo and @theiconicau | Hire: @twelve_tables, @twofoxesrentals, @loveclubhire and whangamatapartyhire.co.nz | Marquee: paramounthire.co.nz | Entertainment: Dylan Brown | Styling: Bride | Flora and on the day coordination: @kwfloralstylingevents | Catering: @hereford_kitchen | Cake: Friend Amy Bramble   

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