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

We first met in high school through our youth group 10 years ago. What started as a cheeky and playful friend-ship in high school developed into a relationship by our first year of university, and before we knew it, Ben was down on one knee, 9 years later!

While that sounds super simple and lovey-dovey, it wasn’t all butterflies and googly eyes! It took me (Jess) winning a bet and Ben owing me a drink for us to finally go on a date (although we wouldn’t admit that it was a date at the time), but that date led to another, and another, and now we’re happily married nearly 5 years later! Jess fell for Ben’s ease. His ability to make her laugh, the warmth and kindness that he radiated, his zest and passion for life, and his selfless, caring nature. Ben loves Jess’ kindness. Her genuine care for all those around her and ability to make everybody feel included. He loves her sense of style, and has learnt a thing or two from her too! Together we try to keep it real! We like to have fun, we work hard to communicate well together, we challenge each other to be better and we champion & support one-another in all of our many endeavours – big and small! We acknowledge that neither of us are perfect, and we strive to remind each other of the many attributes that we love and adore about one-another each day. Ben is an eCommerce Manager and Jess works as a Communications Advisor. 

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…

When it came to planning our wedding the four words that played an important role in shaping our day were: stripped-back, relaxed, elegant and fun! We knew from the get-go that we wanted our day to be simple, yet beautiful, so we opted for neutral tones paired with effortless yet breathtaking details.

I fell in love with our venue the minute I saw it! The white walls, industrial floors and modern features made my heart swoon, and to my surprise, Ben loved it as much as I did! We locked in our date and started piecing together our must haves and nice-to-haves. Our budget was tight, so we knew we’d have to be thrifty and get our talented family & friends on board to help us out!

I put together a Pinterest board with ideas around florals and styling and got to work! I knew I wanted to avoid greenery and embrace dried, coastal blooms. My dream was to have 2 large floral arrangements behind us at the altar, which I knew was going to come with a heavy price tag, so we decided to do it ourselves! We’re super lucky to have an incredibly talented friend who was prepping to start up her own floral gig, so we sat down and planned what we needed. The next day I went out and foraged for what I could and we ordered some extra fresh blooms from the market to give the dried florals some life. I always knew Kesia (our florist) would do a phenomenal job of putting together our arrangement, bouquets and table vases, but I was truly blown away when I saw my vision come to life on the day of our wedding! It was incredible.

For the rest of our styling we got our people on board! I op-shopped for vases that we then spray-painted white, our family friends made our signs/decals, I designed our menu’s and invitations, another family friend organised and made our incredible grazing platter, and our epic wedding car (an old school plymouth sports fury) was leant to us by a friend – just to name a few ways that we got crazy to save some cash!

Our venue was a little too small to have a seated dinner for the amount of people that we had coming to our reception, so we went with a non-seated reception instead and it was the best decision we made! We brought in Citrus & Honey, an amazing food truck from the Waikato, hired some pieces from Flock Events to make into loungers, and purchased some additional bar tables. Our guests loved the fact that they could intermingle all night, it created such a relaxed atmosphere and it made our day so much less stressful as we didn’t need to worry about all the additional extra’s!

The best thing we did was utilise our friends and family. It made the memories of our day so much more special as people are tied to different elements of our styling and décor, so every time we see photos of our day they’re remembered through them too. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

I always knew that I wanted something super stripped back and elegant for my wedding dress. I went to a few bridal stores and tried on some stunning dresses but I just couldn’t justify the cost on a dress that I wasn’t absolutely head over heels for. My friend told me about this second-hand bridal store, so I figured I’d try it out and if I couldn’t find a dress I adored there, that I would head back and splurge on one of the original dresses I liked. We went, I tried on many dresses, and then we found the one! Simple, classy, low back – tick, tick, tick. To make things even sweeter we found the most amazing crocheted Rue De Seine over-lay blouse that paired incredibly with my dress, so we were sold! Better yet, it was half the price of the original dress I was consider-ing! I had always loved the thought of a pearl veil, so I decided I would go for two looks on the day! For our ceremony I would keep it fresh and sleek wearing my dress and veil, and for my reception I’d add some fun by ditching the veil and layering on my prized Rue De Seine blouse! We ordered my pearl veil from Samantha Stokes Bridal (3m in length) and my shoes from The Iconic (they’re still my favourite part of my whole bridal outfit – I’m obsessed!).

For Ben’s look we were keen on locking in a simple linen suit. We tried so many stores for suits but we weren’t feeling any of them… until we went into Zara. We loved the thin linen look, the fit was great and the colour way was perfect! To formalise his look a little, we paired his suit with a black belt & shoes to class it up. Ben’s pocket square was actually one of his sister’s neck scarfs that we tested out for colours and it surprisingly worked, so we kept it! To top off his look we added a white rose boutonniere which his mum made. He looked hand-some and he felt comfortable, so his suit was a win! 

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

Our initial plan for our bridal party and couple photos were to head out post ceremony, take some pics, head back for some food, and then Ben and I would head out again to catch the sunset. On the day we decided to change this up super last minute and grouped the photography slots into one, and we’re so glad we did! We managed to capture our couple photos with the most incredible setting sun dancing around us (which we would have otherwise missed). It was the most breath-taking golden hour and it was so incredibly special to have made it in time for it! We were all so stoked that we changed things up and went with the flow. Our wedding date also happened to be the day of a massive must-win loJo draw, so after our bridal photos and on our way back to our reception, we along with our videographers and photographers stopped in at a local dairy to try our luck! While none of us won big, it’s still a fun memory picturing Ben walking into the store, suit and all, to try his luck and purchase a ticket! 

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

It’s the best decision ever! There’s nothing better than knowing that you’ll have your best friend in your life, by your side, forever. Our best piece of advice is to have fun – and lots of it! Don’t sweat the small stuff and learn to communicate well together. Make sure to do your own things and make space for your hobbies and interests, but always lock in intentional time with one another too! Oh, and when it comes to planning a wedding, do it your way! There’s no right or wrong way to have a wed-ding, so have fun, add your personality to it, and when the big day comes, take it all in and enjoy it. 

Photography: Memories by Alena | Ceremony and Reception location: White Room Parnell | Bride’s dress: Charlie Brear | Bride’s top: Rue de Seine | Veil: Samantha Stokes | Bride’s shoes: Verali | Bride’s fragrance: Narciso Rodriguez | Grooms outfit: Zara | Rings: Michael Hill | Makeup: Kanui | Styling and Hire: Flock Events | Flora: Kesia Joy | Catering and Beverages: Citrus and Honey | Cake: The Caker

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