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

Mark is a pilot in the Air Force and Jess is a lawyer. We met at university in Wellington almost a decade ago, but our paths didn’t cross again until five years ago.

We started off long-distance, and now we both live in Auckland together. We love spending our weekends exploring Auckland with our golden retriever, trying new restaurants and cafes, and heading to the beach. Living in different cities, and with Mark in the military, our relationship has required a lot of commitment to making it work from the very beginning. Needless to say – it has been so worth it. 

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…

Jess’ parents were kind enough to offer their amazing home in Cooks Beach as a venue for our wedding, so it was pretty cool bringing our vision to life, and transforming it from a family home into a wedding venue! We made the most of local flora – using toe toe, manuka flowers, olive leaves, and flax branches in our decorations. We wanted the wedding to feel chill, relaxed and beachy. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

Mark’s suit and tie were from Barkers – he particularly loved his tie. Jess’ dress and veil were made by Anna Schimmel. She really struggled to find a plain, classic wedding dress, but fell in love with the first one she tried on with Anna. The scalloped lace on the veil added some texture to the plain dress. 

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

The day was full of so much joy, laughter and emotion, it completely blew us away. We loved hearing each other’s vows for the first time. And the speeches were beautiful, heartfelt and hilarious. Our favourite moment of the day was probably when we looked around the dance floor at the end of our first dance, and nearly all of our wedding guests were up there boogying with us. It’s pretty spectacular seeing all of your favourite humans in one place having an amazing time. 

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

In terms of the wedding itself, embrace the last minute changes and the things that don’t go to plan! They will inevitably happen, and they make your day what it is (and sometimes even better than planned). Always remember why you are there – to marry your favourite person. We had a thunderstorm scheduled (in the middle of a drought!) for the exact two hours of our outdoor ceremony, so we had to move our ceremony inside. The rain made our photos amazing, and the indoor venue made the ceremony really intimate. We wouldn’t change a single thing. In terms of more general advice – cherish each other. If you invest time and effort into showing each other how much you adore one another, then everything else falls into place. 

Photography: Two Birds & Co. | Videography: Shine Wedding Films | Ceremony and Reception location: Private Residence | Bride’s Dress and Veil: Anna Schimmel | Groom’s outfit: Barkers | Bride’s Wedding Ring: Layla Kaisi Collection | Bride’s Engagement Ring: Naveya and Sloane | Groom’s Wedding Ring: Walker and Hall | Bride’s shoes: Mischief Shoes | Groom’s shoes: Hannahs | Earrings: Lota & Chain | Hair and Makeup: Rouge Beauty New Zealand | Entertainment: The RVMES | Hire: Peninsula Party Hire | Marquee: Stretch Tents | Flora: Wild Flowers Coromandel | Catering: On a Roll Food Truck | Beverages: LK | Cake: Cakes by the Ocean Tairua | Photobooth: Hotshots Photo Booths

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