Esther + Josh by Oriwia Soutar Photography

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

We met as advisors to Ministers in the Beehive. We started off as colleagues but it wasn’t long before we fell head over heels in love with each other. Josh secured a new job within the first few months of our relationship so we no longer worked together but we ended up being colleagues again during the peak of New Zealand’s COVID-19 response as we were both seconded to policy unit during lockdown. Professionally we really enjoyed working together but we enjoy being husband and wife even more!

We’ve a bit of a whirlwind romance.  We were engaged within a year of making our relationship official; purchased a house together; adopted a beautiful kitten called Luna; and were married by year two of our relationship. We have both never been happier than we are together.

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 love a good party so having a wedding that had plenty of good wine and music was a priority. We modelled our wedding on a wine and food festival vibe – something that my little hometown of Gisborne does well when they host the annual Gisborne Food and Wine festival every year.

Esther did all the styling herself as she had a clear vision of a classic relaxed boho vibe she wanted to create. The colour palate included a calming range of whites, beige, sage, and emerald greens. Inspiration from the natural landscapes of Gisborne was key to influencing the styling. There was a real effort to highlight local produce and support small business ranging from local wine and craft beer, to the cheese and most of the decorative foliage and flowers we used was grown locally.

As is the usually the case with weddings, most of the guests didn’t know each other well so we tried to create an environment that was conductive to relaxed socialising. This included little boho picnic areas set up on the winery lawn with giant jenga, connect four and other games.

A real hit was our ‘build your own cheeseboard’ where we had individual cheeseboards displayed next to our massive grazing table for guests to fill up their board with goodies. Our wedding cake was made out of local Waimata Cheeses. Josh and I made our own fruit paste, relish and pickles. The grazing table was a real hit! When everyone was seated at their tables for dinner, we had a short quiz. One of our first dates was a quiz fundraiser so this activity was a nice nod to that as well as being a great ice breaker.  The winning table got some shots.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Esther wore a classic bohemian dress by Lover’s Society called Niko. It was not the dress Esther had originally envisioned she would wear but it couldn’t have been more perfect. Niko is a modern gown with a classic, timeless shape, and fine lace detail.

Josh wore beige chinos, a crisp white shirt and a navy blue blazer from Barkers. As Gisborne is known for its hot summer days, it was important the attire was comfortable and fitted with the relaxed setting of the winery.

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

As is the case with most weddings – things go wrong on the day! On the way out to the ceremony, the brides’ step-father’s vintage car broke down which was their only transport to the event. A few calls to some friends and we eventually got the car going again and weren’t too far behind schedule.

Walking down the aisle in our little historic country church was a really special moment. Esther walked down the aisle by herself to meet her grinning almost-husband at the end of the aisle. To start the ceremony off, Esther lit a candle for her Dad who died a few years ago– it was a really lovely way to remember him.

Esther and Josh wrote their own vows and read them to each other – they were incredibly meaningful and personal. Not many dry eyes are were left in the Church after that!

We had an amazing live band called Boutique who had travelled from Wellington for the wedding. After the dinner in the marquee there was a big dance party outside under the fairy lights – a truly magical night!

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

Be prepared for things to go wrong on that day. When they do just laugh and enjoy the ride.

It’s nice to create opportunities to spend time with each guest. We achieved this by having a boho archway made. For 30mins we stood under the archway and all our guests came up to have a photograph with us. This way we not only were able to give them a big hug, have a quick chat but also ensure every guest has the opportunity to be in the wedding photos which was important to us. We chose this option over a group photo that are often less personalised and hard to see everyone.

Definitely write your own vows! Find an online template and follow that. If you can read them to each other using que cards, rather than having the celebrant do a ‘repeat after me,’ even better.

Photography: @oriwiasoutarphotography | Ceremony location: Gisborne Presbyterian Parish | Reception location: @matawherowines | Celebrant: Norman Maclean Celebrant | Bride’s gown: @loversxsociety | Groom’s attire: @barkersclothing | Rings: @thevillagegoldsmith | Shoes: @numberoneshoes | Jewellery: @starethelabel | Makeup: @jamiefoster_makeupartist | Hair: @houseofhairnz | Fragrance: @gucci | Bridesmaid’s attire: All Occasions Dressmaker | Groomsmen’s attire: @barkersclothing | Entertainment: | Hire: @thevintagepartynz | Marquee: Martins Event & Party Hire | Flora: @hannachalla | Catering and Beverages: Smoke House Cuisine, Gisborne and @waimatacheese | Registry: TheLovely