Jess + Mitch by Natasha Maria

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love… 

Mitch is from the Mighty Waikato and I was raised in small town Kerikeri. We made the move from Auckland to the beach side town of Mangawhai with our fur-baby Keiko at the end of last year, to be closer to my family and the waves. 

Our lil’ family have a magnetic pull to be at the beach, Mitch is a keen surfer, Keiko loves swimming in the ocean and I love having my toes in the sand while reading a book in the sun… By day, you’ll usually find us out on a walk with Keiko in the bush or at the beach. By night, dancing in our kitchen together making dinner or snuggled up on the couch binge watching a show. We love our families more than anything, and spend as much time with them whenever possible.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions? 

We were both not long out of long-term relationships, and were wholeheartedly in the process of ‘finding ourselves’ when we accidentally found each other dancing in the middle of the crowd to ‘Red Eyes’ by The War On Drugs at Laneway Festival. We locked eyes through the crowd… and when the crowd dispersed Mitch came to ask for my number. It was all very unreal and magical. 

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

Mitch took me to Waipu for a weekend away to our favourite spot and we stayed back in the cabin where it all started. I was told we were having dinner at The Cove with some of our friends. We walked down the length of the beach with our golden retriever Keiko, I knew something was up when we parked down the very other end of Waipu Cove and I wasn’t allowed to take anything with me! I was half expecting him to bend down on one knee during our slow walk along the (freezing) beach… we got to the far end and instead of going to the restaurant he asked if I wanted to walk up the little hill overlooking the ocean. With Keiko bounding around in the long grass up the hill, we got to a path of candles and to my absolute surprise we were met with some of our best friends and family, where Mitch proposed in front of the waves crashing and our loved ones. We popped some bubbles on the hill and then went to Matt and Annalie’s for a bonfire and danced the night away with everyone. It was perfect.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

We wanted it to be super low-key beachy vibes. More of a party than a wedding. It was more important to us that everyone we loved was there and that the music made everyone want to dance.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

Styling + hire was what we decided to splurge on, because we had limited time and our lives were already super stressful and busy. We thought if someone could look after what the event looks like and set it all up on the day that it would save us a lot of time and effort better spent else where. We loved the idea that our friends and family could just enjoy the day rather than having to spend the whole day helping us DIY it.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

The weather!!! We searched every weather app we could find in hopes one would tell us it wasn’t going to be raining all day on our outdoor wedding day! It rained right up until the absolute latest point the furniture could be set up and then it fined up for the whole night! Sweet relief!

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

Originally we were having the wedding at a venue in Auckland, so I brought a more traditional wedding dress from Lovers Society. But, at the time my mum’s health was sadly declining after a 4 year battle with Ovarian Cancer. So as a second option if we needed to we had an idea to have a beach ceremony prior to the ‘wedding’ to make sure she could be there. I wanted something that felt a bit more ‘me’ so I decided on the Maggie Marilyn ‘The Jones’ Dress with the ‘Somewhere 01 Blazer’ in ivory. When we decided just to bring the whole wedding forward by a month I decided wearing the MM outfit for the party was perfect and teamed it with my classic choice of footwear, chucks!

Location: Private home in Waipu, Northland / Photographer: Natasha Maria / Celebrant: Matt Warman / Styling, planning and florals: Two Foxes Styling / Catering: The Cove Cafe & Duck Island Ice cream / Cake: The Caker / Registry: Mildred & Co / Brides first dress: Lovers Society / Brides second dress: Maggie Marilyn / Grooms attire: Country Road / Grooms ring: Heirloom signet from his great grandfather / Brides ring: Naveya & Sloane / Makeup: Laura Williamson Makeup / Hair: Hare & Hunter / Fragrance: Maison Marginal