Jess & Marcus by Ethan Lowry Photography

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

A chance meeting in a stadium full of thousands of people at the 2012 Wellington 7’s is where we first met.

We exchanged numbers and met up at the movies a couple days later. I lived in Auckland, and Marcus in Wellington, so we didn’t really count on anything progressing past that as we were both studying at University at the time. However, we kept in touch and decided to give a long distance relationship a go a couple months later.4 years of long distance ended in Marcus making the move to Auckland. We went through some pretty tough times with the passing of my dad in 2017, however the ups and downs over the years have only prepared us for a life-time of partnership and love. We have been together for 7 years now. We are so opposite in some ways – he is the dreamer, I am the realist he is more extroverted, I am a true introvert – but very similar in others. We both love food and travel, but also enjoy a quiet night in together with some good snacks and TV to watch. We love being active and enjoy spending time with friends and family. To me, we have the perfect balance.

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 knew we wanted the ceremony to be outside with a stunning view, but needed somewhere that had a back-up plan in case the weather wasn’t flash. Having the ceremony be so small and intimate (just 30 guests) we also needed somewhere to reflect that. Mahurangi West Hall turned out to be perfect – the hall only seats 30 people and the view on the front lawn is spectacular. Moreover, it is only a short drive from Auckland city as we had decided that we didn’t want a ‘reception,’ but wanted to celebrate with dinner at our favourite restaurant in Ponsonby with all of our guests. After a couple meetings with Jess from Two Foxes, she put together a concept board for us which pretty much nailed our personalities and a vision for the day that we probably did not even know we had. All we knew was that we wanted it to be a casual, laid-back, and stress-free day. She was able to hone in on the aesthetic by having us send some photos showcasing our personalities & things that we envisioned for our day. This ended up translating to stunning floral pieces with a tropical undertone – lush greens with some pops of colour – and a perfect mix of oak and cane furniture to complement.

My favourite piece from Two Foxes was the wedding ‘arch’ on the day. We went for pillars instead of a traditional arch just for something different — having it set against the backdrop of the Pukapuka inlet & rolling hills was magic. To think it almost didn’t happen as it absolutely poured all morning the day of – Jess phoned me a couple hours before the ceremony to let me know it was raining up there, so we could move everything inside the hall as the back-up plan, or we could go ahead and keep the ceremony outside as planned but the furniture would have to stay inside so people would have to stand during the ceremony. She warned that wherever they started building the floral installation was where it needed to stay as it couldn’t be moved! We bit the bullet and kept it outside & I am so glad we did! It turned out perfectly as the rain stopped about 45 minutes before the ceremony meaning we were able to take first-look photos before the ceremony, and got to move the furniture from inside the hall to the outside as well.

My mum had also got me a photo charm to tie around my bouquet with a picture of my dad in it. It was so special to have, and made me feel like I had both him and my mum walking me down the aisle, something he had dreamed of doing since his diagnosis in 2014. I was able to go and lay my wedding bouquet at his grave after the ceremony, and have the photo charm tucked away safely as a beautiful reminder of the day and of my dad.

Tell us about your main outfits:

I really wanted a simple, clean, classic gown that I could look back in the years to come and not cringe at what I had chosen. It was actually quite difficult to find something so simple, but that was also flattering and was not going to cost me an arm and a leg. There is so much out there and a lot of it just didn’t seem to be ‘me.’ Luckily I stumbled across Fiona Claire, a Melbourne-based designer, while doing some google searches one day. Her gowns are stunning and ticked all the boxes for me. I started following her on Instagram and one day she held a giveaway that I actually ended up winning! I was SO so stoked & grateful. It just so happened that I was headed to Melbourne at the end of 2018 for a friend’s wedding, so I was able to visit her home studio & pick out whichever gown I wanted from her collection at the time. Fiona was lovely and has such a talent for creating simple but elegant gowns that flatter any body shape. Plus they are all at such an affordable price point too. Before Melbourne, I had been online and noted a couple styles form her website that I liked. So on the day, the dress I chose and one other from her studio were actually the only wedding dresses I had tried on throughout the whole wedding planning process!

The pragmatist in me didn’t want to spend a tonne on my outfit for the day, so I got my shoes online from The Iconic, and my veil I got online from Etsy and was pretty lucky that it matched the colour of my dress perfectly (who knew there were so many shades of white!). It was 3m long when I got it but Dani, my best friend and Maid of Honour helped me cut it to the length I wanted the night before the wedding. It was quite risky looking back at it now but it turned out great! My jewellery on the day were all personal pieces or borrowed from my Mums collection. Altogether I spent $80 on my entire wedding outfit – which I was quietly very pleased about.

I basically gave my Maid of Honour free-reign on her outfit and look for the day. The only thing I had asked was for a specific colour – a deep green. Turns out the colour I wanted wasn’t that easy to find! So it actually took a long time to find something in the colour I wanted, but also in a style that she was happy with. In the end we found something at Carlson on Ponsonby road – the stunning Pina Colada dress that can actually be worn multiple different ways. She wore it in a front-knot maxi-style for the ceremony, then changed into chucks and wore it in a midi cape-style for dinner. It’s such a versatile dress that she will get heaps of wear out of. I actually want one for myself!

Marcus chose his outfit from Working Style with the help of Maxim. He was a bit slower to decide on what he actually wanted, but knew he wanted something more casual to go with the overall theme of our day, rather than a full on suit or tux. He opted for an Italian-made blazer in navy blue, with a white shirt, stone coloured chinos & his beloved R.M Williams boots. He said he felt comfortable all day which was really important to him. He also wanted his best men to feel comfortable and relaxed so they went with a navy blue chino and white shirt from Barkers, and dark brown boat shoes from ASOS. The boutonnieres were made by Two Foxes and really tied the 3 of them together.

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

I come from a really large extended family and we are all really close – but as two pretty shy & ‘low-key’ people who do not like the limelight, we decided it was best for us to keep the wedding small & intimate. We would celebrate with our extended family at a later date. ceremony we spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun. We did the cake cutting not long after all the photos were done & everyone hung out and enjoyed cake and coffee from the Good Karma Coffee truck. They supplied sweet treats (including some vegan treats for a couple of my guests) as well – it was delicious (highly recommend their nitro cold brew)! I had actually kept the coffee truck as a surprise for Marcus & he loved it! Basically combined our two loves of coffee & treats, surrounded by some of our closest friends and family just relaxing, chatting, and playing a few lawn games in the afternoon sun. It was our perfect day.

We also decided against a traditional ‘reception,’ instead opting for a banquet dinner at our favourite restaurant, Mekong Baby. We hired out the function room upstairs & told everyone to make their way from the ceremony whenever they were ready & meet us there for dinner at 7. The food was amazing (as usual), and everyone was VERY well fed. We ended up going for a little boogie at a few of the bars along Ponsonby road afterwards as well. We, along with our guests, had an incredible day celebrating together. Everything was relaxed and stress-free – just how we had envisioned it for ourselves.

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

Support and encourage each other to grow as individuals, so that you can grow as a couple. Learn from each other, have fun & laugh often!

Photography: Ethan Lowry Photography | Ceremony location: Mahurangi West Hall | Reception location: Mekong Baby | Celebrant: Matt Warman | Bride’s gown: Fiona Claire | Groom’s suit: Working Style | Jess’ rings: The Village Goldsmith | Marcus’ ring: Titanium Rings by Ted Daniels | Shoes: R.M.Williams | Photo charm from bouquet: Perfect Charmer | Makeup: Laura Williamson | Hair: Shannon Leathem from Dry and City Works Depot | Maid of honour’s gown: Carlson- Pinda Colada dress | Best Men’s outfits: Barkers | Styling, Flora and Planner: Two Foxes | Catering and Beverages: Good Karma Coffee | Cake: Isabelle Janus