Coralee — I’m a wedding photographer and Brendon is the operations manager at furniture hire company ARKADE, so it’s quite cool that we both work in the same industry. We love our little cavoodle dog named Spencer, who stole the show at our wedding wearing a little flower collar, and have a shared passion for Mexican food, great music, coffee and travelling together.
We bring out the best in each another, don’t sweat the small stuff, make each other laugh and always have fun together – sometimes getting a little competitive, mainly during games of tennis! About six years ago, some of Brendon’s friends were getting married and he was shooting some video for them. I was hired to photograph the wedding, so that was how we met, although we only had a very brief discussion that day. We reconnected about a year and a half later, when we ended up living around the corner from each other in Auckland.
After our first date over Mexican food, we hung out for a few months, and somewhere along the way, we knew we wanted to be more than friends. Brendon proposed in New York City. He had big plans to do it somewhere amazing like the Brooklyn Bridge, but ended up proposing in our hotel room after a long day of sightseeing. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Afterwards, we went upstairs to the rooftop bar and had tacos and cocktails. The biggest challenge of our day was trying to organise a wedding outside of Auckland within our budget, so we were lucky to have some amazingly generous vendors who came through for us, big time.
When I discovered Orua Beach House in Hot Water Beach, I knew that it was the perfect place for a relaxed, fun weekend away with friends and family. It has a breathtaking view of the ocean and could accommodate our whole bridal party. Our theme was beachy with touches of Mexico, from the Papel Picado bunting I found to decorate the marquee with, to the food, drinks and favours – mini bottles of hot sauce and tequila. Everything went to plan on the day, apart from the weather. We ended up getting married under umbrellas in the pouring rain, but it didn’t bother us. We just went with it.
We danced the night away in the rain under the stars, so my dress got very muddy! Walking down the aisle to ‘Hoppipolla’ by Sigur Rós was such an emotional moment. Everyone cheered as I walked past, and I cried happy tears when I saw Brendon waiting for me. We smashed a piñata instead of doing a first dance, and let off beautiful fireworks and fire lanterns later in the night.
Photography: Janneke Storm | Bride’s gown: Brooke Tyson Ritual | Groom’s jacket, shirt & pants: Barkers | Groom’s hat: Will & Bear | Videography and stationery: Sophia Bayly at Bayly & Moore | Ceremony & reception venue: Orua Beach House | Groom’s shoes: Vanishing Elephant | Bride’s shoes: St Agni | Bride’s fragrance: Gypsy Water by Byredo | Bride’s earrings: Meadowlark | Rings: Diamonds on Richmond Silvermoon and the bride’s grandmother’s ring | Groomsmens’ attire: Barkers | Groom’s fragrance: Men by Marc Jacobs | Hair for bridesmaids: Sarah Knight | Hair & makeup for bride and makeup for maids: Natalie Dent | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Leave her Wilder | Flora & styling: Rosie’s Wildflowers Co | Marquee: Twelve Tables | Celebrant: Justine Russell-Cowan | Hire: ARKADE & Two Foxes | Coffee: Coffee Supreme | Cake: Made by friends | Styling & Planning: Coralee Stone | Catering & beverages: No Biggie