Esra & Gunes by Ruth Gilmour

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

I, Gunes the groom, am born and raised in Turkey and I’m a lawyer admitted to the Istanbul Bar.

While law is my profession, my passion is photography. My wife, Esra is also born and raised in Turkey, now a procurement manager at Griffin’s Food Company in NZ. We know each other from elementary school, while we were not close friends or anything but we were in the same class for 5 years. However, after graduation, we drifted apart and never spoke to one another for around 18 years, until I left a comment on a Facebook Esra made, about the movie Forest Gump (one of my favourite movies of all time!). Then we started talking and decided to go for a hike on valentine’s day. We met very early in the morning (I picked her up), we talked and walked the whole day. We had an amazing time. So then, Esra proposed to go to the movies the next day, we went and that’s actually when we started our relationship, on Feb 17, 2016. We both love being in nature, so we went on to many camping trips and hikes together. We both love travelling abroad, so we went to Spain, Sweden and Belgium together. After a year into our relationship, I proposed her at a very romantic hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, during the trip I took her on as a birthday present. However, just 3 months into our engagement, Esra received a job offer from Griffin’s Food Company in NZ. She took the job and moved to Auckland on May 19, 2017. It took me almost 2 years to move to NZ due to financial and immigration related issues. As a result, we spent around 1,5 years apart, almost half of our relationship. However, we persevered and made it through. I moved to Auckland last December and we finally got married by the end April 2019. The marriage process on its own was a wild ride. Our parents’ visa process turned into a nightmare, we even had to postpone our wedding once. But in the end, everything turned out perfect.

What makes our relationship unique is the proven strength of it, we managed to hold on to each other, despite the 18000kms between us, despite the 10h time difference and despite all the hardship that came with these.

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…

We always wanted to have a very small, cosy, rural country style wedding. With this in mind, we started looking for farmhouses and small venues that can address our wishes. The Rocks was the perfect spot. After finding The Rocks, we didn’t look for anywhere else, we knew it was the perfect spot. Not only it was perfect for us, the facility managers, Frances Healey and her mom happened to be so talented and so helpful, in the end our special day turned out a lot better than we expected. The florals, the bouquet, the pin, the table setting, the food, the cake (especially the cake, it was the best cake I ever ate) were amazing. Five stars.

Tell us about your main outfits:

We never liked how fancy wedding gowns or tuxedos looked at most weddings, and such outfit wouldn’t suit the theme of our wedding either. So Esra started looking for bridal dresses ad Rue de Saine, but couldn’t find the model she was after, and our schedule was too tight for them. So, they advised us that Secret Lace Bridal at Kumeu might have the model she was after. While we didn’t get a Rue de Saine branded dress, we did find bridal dress that fit Esra perfectly, without the need for any alterations, and one that Esra looked like the angel she is.

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

I believe there were two most memorable moments of our wedding. First was the whole photography session with our lovely photographer Ruth; we all laughed and giggled the whole time and had so much fun. I believe it’s reflected on the photos. Second was the moment of marriage during the ceremony. Our celebrant Hayley is Maori, and being in NZ, we wanted to have our wedding in Maori as well. So, right at the moment where Hayley pronounced us husband and wife, it started raining. I later learned from Hayley that it’s a very good omen in Maori belief.

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

Being married just two months ago, I really don’t see myself in a position to advise couples about their relationship. However, I can advised them on their approach towards their wedding day. Just try and have fun, don’t dwell on anything that didn’t go as planned or don’t micro manage anything. Do your prep beforehand, and enjoy your day. It doesn’t have to be “perfect” of “100%” as planned, it won’t be. 80% is a good spot. Remember the Pareto Principle.

Photography: Ruth Gilmour | Ceremony and Reception location: The Rocks | Celebrant: Hayley Tamati | Bride’s gown: Secret Lace Bridal | Groom Suit: M.J.Bale | Rings: Bride- Artisian Jeweller Ararat Vartanyan, Groom- Pacal Jewellery | Shoes: Bride- Zara, Groom- Hotic | Bride’s watch: Omega | Bride’s Hairpiece: Twigs & Honey | Bride’s Bouquet: The Rocks/ Frances Healey | Groom’s watch: Breitling | Groom’s watch strap: Zaidmade | Groom’s pin: The Rocks/ Frances Healey | Groom’s tie: Tino Cosma | Groom’s shirt: Istinye Terzi | Fragrance: Bride- Calvin Klein Euphoria, Groom- Hermes d’Orange Verte | Flora: The Rocks/ Frances Healey | Catering and Beverages: The Rocks/ Frances Healey | Cake: The Rocks/ Frances Healey