Dani + Oli by Stephan and Nakita Photography

We’re both people who seem to have become known for our sense of individuality within our style. Knowing that we’ll wear them forever — we wanted our rings to reflect that. 

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

Dani –  When I meet new people, I like to ask “What do you do in your spare time?” Rather than ask what they do for work. That’s when you hear what truly makes someone tick! Oli and I love music. When we’re not out at a gig together, we’re relaxing at home with our cat and our record player, or these days even DJing together. We’re so lucky to have found each other in that regard; we never run out of things to talk about. Professionally, I’m currently an event producer, with a background in television and marketing. It’s safe to say I love creating, and my biggest love of all is connecting with people.

Oli –  What Dani said! Professionally, I am a doctor and a musician, currently working part-time as a locum doctor throughout the country and spending the remainder of my time on building my band, Written by Wolves. I think it’s fair to say the majority of what I love (aside from my wife) is centred around music and connecting with people also. I’ve been lucky (so far) to have been able to balance both a career in medicine and music, and it never would have been possible without my incredibly amazing and supportive wife, Dani.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

Dani – At Rhythm and Vines, I first encountered Oli while sitting with friends. His intriguing presence and distinctive tattoos on his feet caught my attention, although I couldn’t immediately place where I’d seen them before. Hesitating to speak up, he disappeared. Hours later, amid the festival’s bustling crowd, a chance collision reunited us. I blurted out my recognition of his tattoos, leading to an awkward yet memorable encounter and hours of conversation. Returning home, I excitedly shared my experience with my best friend, who shockingly revealed that she had camped with him and his girlfriend a year earlier. She had shared pictures of his tattoos from his Instagram, inadvertently introducing me to my seemingly perfect match with unexpected connections to my life.

Oli –  To this day, I don’t think I would’ve ever had the confidence to actually talk to her if it weren’t for the fact that I was absolutely brimming with confidence on the back of having just been accepted into medical school! I spent the whole time thinking that she was just being overly friendly and nice, but never thought she actually had feelings for me!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

Dani – A few months into dating, Oli and I went on a weekend away to Wellington together. It was just a short weekend spent doing super mundane things like going to the museum and drinking cocktails on Cuba Street, but I remember it so vividly even though it was eight years ago. I just remember it being full of SO much fun, laughter, adventure and conversation. I’d never had so much fun with someone whilst feeling so secure and so on the same wavelength. We told each other we loved each other for the first time whilst lying in bed at the end of the weekend, and I remember thinking, “is this what it feels like to fall in love with your best friend?” 

Oli – I think a big moment for me was after travelling through Europe in 2019. This was definitely when I began to plan the proposal anyway. Dani joined me for the first half of my trip before I started working in Glasgow for my medical school elective. That period away was the longest we’d ever gone without seeing each other, and you know what they say… Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

I aimed for a surprise proposal, despite our limited prior discussion about marriage. To create a memorable moment, I organized a trip through the scenic South Island and booked a glass-roofed retreat near Lake Tekapo, knowing Dani’s fondness for stars. Earlier that day, we took a helicopter flight over Mount Cook and Franz Josef Glacier, with a discreet photographer secretly in tow.

Upon our return to our accommodation, I set the mood by lighting candles and played the mixtapes I had lovingly curated for Dani over the years. As she emerged, I went down on one knee and asked her to marry me, an emotional moment captured by our hidden photographer. Dani was pleasantly surprised by this unexpected addition to our special day.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

Dani – Our wedding vision was clear: “modern and sophisticated but fun and flirty.” We wanted everything to flow naturally without any forced or contrived elements, especially when it came to our theme, florals, and decor. Wānaka’s natural beauty was our backdrop, and it was crucial that our style harmonized with and accentuated the stunning Central Otago autumn palette. Michelle Coomey, our florist, masterfully enhanced the seasonal colours.

In crafting the mood for the day, we prioritized personal significance over traditions or trends. We embraced a diverse wedding party, mixed genders, and no matching outfits—just our closest friends. I had the honour of both my parents walking me down the aisle, and we incorporated meaningful touches, such as using Polaroid photos of our friends and family as dinner placeholders. Our love for music and festivals inspired custom ‘D&O’ beaded bracelets for each guest, granting them admission to our special day. Oli’s tradition of creating mixtapes for special occasions met its match when I surprised him with one on our wedding morning, filled with songs that captured our excitement for the day. We also expressed our gratitude to our beloved mothers, Sue and Lisa, by crafting wedding bands with diamonds gifted by Lisa and gifting them little bezel-set, solitaire rings as tokens of our love and appreciation.

Oli –  It would be remiss of me not to say that Dani carried the bulk of the load when it came to planning the wedding, however, one area where I got particularly stuck in was the music. We let it play a key part in driving the overall mood of the day. One of my high school best friends (who was also the vocalist of my first band) sang at our ceremony, I then had a curated playlist that I’d timed to finish bang on when we sat down for the reception (lots of Fred Again, Rüfüs Du Sol, SG Lewis and Harry Styles); we were pretty keen to avoid any of your ‘typical’ wedding songs. We then had another playlist for the reception (more mellow, Angus & Julia Stone, Leisure, Tom Misch-type vibes). After the reception, Queenstown-based covers band, LA Social, smashed out all the classic sing-alongs, before our friend DJ Fray closed the evening with more of the festival/EDM music that we’ve become so known for, from our many house parties!

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

Dani – Our top priority vendors were our photographers and videographers, booked immediately and with unwavering certainty. Stephan & Nakita perfectly matched the style we desired, often capturing photos we admired together. We decided against setting aside specific time for photos on the day, wanting to cherish every moment. Thus, we sought professionals who could seamlessly blend into the background, capturing raw, organic moments without interrupting the magic.

For anyone considering a videographer, we wholeheartedly recommend it. Despite initial concerns about the cost-per-use, we’ve found immense joy in repeatedly watching and sharing our wedding video with family and friends, making it a cherished post-wedding experience.

Oli – We both value our unique styles and wanted our wedding rings to reflect our individuality, considering they are symbols of our lifelong commitment.

Dani had a clear vision for her wedding band from the start, aiming for a “wow” factor that remained subtle enough for daily wear. On the other hand, as someone who frequently wears jewelry, I sought a ring that harmonized with my existing pieces while retaining its distinctiveness. What makes my ring truly special is the inner engraving – Dani’s actual ECG, captured with precision by our jeweler, Colin from The Diamond Shop. This engraving serves as a constant reminder of her presence, no matter how near or far we may be.

VENUE The Rippon Hall, @ripponhall / PHOTOGRAPHER Stephan and Nakita, @stephanandnakita / VIDEOGRAPHER Haute Wedding, @haute.weddings / CELEBRANT Married by Emily, @marriedbyemily / OFFICIANT Groom’s Uncle / ENTERTAINMENT La Social, @la.social / PLANNER & STYLING Kim, @kimonefineday from One Fine Day , @onefinedayweddings / DISCO BALL & AUDIO HIRE Visual Events, @visualeventsqueenstown / FLORA Michele Coomey Floral, @michelecoomeyfloral / CATERING & CHEESE WHEEL CAKE Moreish Kitchen, @moreishkitchen / STATIONERY Paper Darling, @paperdarlingnz / CEREMONY DRESS Blanche Bridal, @blanchebridal / VEIL Couture by Francesca, @couturebyfrancesca / SECOND DRESS Rebecca Vallance, @rebeccavallance / CUSTOM GLOVES Kerry Parker, @kerryparkerofficial / CEREMONY SUIT Crane Brothers, @cranebrothers / RECEPTION SUIT Belance, @belanceworld / BRIDE’S ENGAGEMENT & WEDDING RING Zoe & Morgan, @zoeandmorgan / GROOM’S RING The Diamond Shop, @thediamondshop / BRIDE’S SHOES Amina Muaddi, @aminamuaddi / GROOM’S SHOES Dior, @dior / ’D’&’L’ INITIAL STUD EARRINGS Sarah and Sebastian, @sarahandsebastian / DIAMOND CUFF LINKS Generously loaned from The Diamond Shop, @thediamondshop / MAKEUP Seborah from Beautiful Bridal Hair, @beautifulbridalhair; Eve Makeup, @eve.makeup.artistry / HAIR Stacey from Beautiful Bridal Hair, @beautifulbridalhair / FRAGRANCE Baccarat rouge 540 by Francis Kurkdijan, @franciskurkdijan; Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford, @tomfordbeauty / BRIDESMAID DRESSES Leave Her Wilder (No longer taking orders) / GROOMSMEN SUITS Nemo Suits hired from Omen Suit Hire, @omen.suit.hire; Yves Saint Laurent, @ysl

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