Mana is a local Tairāwhiti boy and I’m an Auckland import with Motutapu Island roots. I’m a physiotherapist and Mana is a lawyer. We met after swiping right on Bumble. Our first date took place at Gisborne Wine Centre, and we joked that Mana would buy me a ring. We both left that night and texted our parents to tell them that we had found our future partner. It was love at first sight.

Mana is a local Tairāwhiti boy and I’m an Auckland import with Motutapu Island roots. I’m a physiotherapist and Mana is a lawyer. We met after swiping right on Bumble. Our first date took place at Gisborne Wine Centre, and we joked that Mana would buy me a ring. We both left that night and texted our parents to tell them that we had found our future partner. It was love at first sight. Whāngārā is a special place for Mana, his whanau and for us as a couple. It’s where we got engaged. Manu woke me up at 5.30am to walk the dogs and I was very reluctant at first, as I love my sleep. But he managed to drag me up Pukehāpopo, the hill behind his marae. At the top, Mana bent down to pat our dog and secretly fished the ring out of his sock. After mumbling a few words and completely forgetting the speech he had planned, he asked me to marry him. I said yes. From the moment we started planning our wedding, we knew that we wanted to get married there.

Three hundred of our beloved friends and whānau were welcomed onto Whāngārā marae with a pōwhiri in front of the wharenui in Whitirēia. It was important for us to invite everyone who has been a part of our journey so our guest list just kept growing and growing. There were a few moments over the year where we thought we might have to drastically reduce numbers because of the pandemic, but luckily we didn’t have to in the end. We held our reception next to the beach in a beautiful marquee.

The styling of the wedding reflected who we are as a couple, while complementing the marae and coastal setting. Many of the styling pieces were handmade by whānau, which was a lovely way for us to include special people on the day. We also made sure to support New Zealand businesses and sourced local kai that was hunted, fished or gathered.

I wanted a wedding dress that was simple and elegant. No frills, no sequins and no froufrou. When I came across Hayes Bridal, I knew it was the one, so flew up to Auckland for a fitting. Alice did a wonderful job and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful dress.

It was a perfect day. For us, the focus was to have fun and just go with the flow. We spent the day playing outdoor games, dancing and spending time with our nearest and dearest. A memorable moment was when our bridal party trekked up Pukehāpopo for some of the wedding photographs. Looking down over the village at our wedding and everything we had created was a very special moment for me and Mana. When planning your wedding day, make sure to listen to each other and make decisions as a couple. That’s what made our day so perfect.

Ceremony Location Whāngārā Marae (Whitirēia) | Reception Location On the beach in front of Whāngārā Marae | Photographer Zara Staples | Videographer Briar Hunter | Groom’s Shirt Hallenstein Brothers | Groom’s Trousers ASOS | Bride’s Dress & Veil Hayes Bridal | Linen Robe Made by Bride’s Sister | Flora Brooklyn Flowers | Flora Forms | Dried Flower Crown My Fathers Florist | Groom’s Shoes Hannahs | Celebrant Caitrin Lange | Bride’s Shoes Kathryn Wilson | Bride’s earrings Zoe & Morgan | Groom’s Ring Marika Pounamu | Bride’s Ring Alexandra Dodds | Bars, Carpets and Plates Hunter Gatherers Gisborne | Grazing Table Wolf and Lou | Catering Reka Cuisine | Drinks 27 Seconds , Pals, Organic Mechanic | Marquee Macpherson Marquees | Linen Tble. Linen | Bridesmaids’
Mug Gifts & Cake Stand Shanalee James Ceramics | Cake Tess Shaw

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