Kate + Nathan by Lucy Li

Tell us how you meet each other? 

We met through mutual friends in 2015 and from the start we really enjoyed our conversations with one another. We remained casual friends over the next few years and started to date seriously in 2019.  When we first met each other there was a curiosity to know more of the other and there was definitely a question for both of us whether the other would be someone of significance.

By the time that we decided to go for it and date, we had a really great friendship and loved being around the other person. We travelled to the States to visit Nathan’s family at the end of 2019 and soon following this we knew that we wanted to get married.

Tell us about the proposal?  

Our proposal was a bit delayed but more special because of that. Nathan’s original plan was to propose at the top of the Pāpāmoa hills in Tauranga. But Covid struck the weekend before the planned proposal and the engagement ring got stuck in Auckland. As soon as we were able to travel we decided to get out of Tauranga for a few days and  travel to Wellington to see my family  for an extended weekend.  Nathan had convinced me that the ring hadn’t come back yet because of all re-opening delays. I fully believed him. The morning we were suppose to leave to drive back to  Tauranga Nathan declared that we needed to have one more Wellington adventure, which was a bit of an ask since it was somewhat of a typical Wellington day – rain and strong gails. We got coffee and Nathan convinced me that we needed to walk to the end of the Petone wharf despite the rain. Surprisingly, I still didn’t catch on. He surprised me there and proposed and later told me that he had secured and extra week of holiday from work for me so that we could spend longer celebrating with my family.  It was the best surprise and really did catch me off guard in the moment. We spent the next week with family and celebrating, whilst starting to get a few things sorted as we had decided to get married 5 months later.

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

Nathan is originally from the US and moved out to NZ in 2013. He grew up in Chicago and then moved with his family to the Upper Peninsular of Michigan. NZ is now home and he says regularly that New Zealand beaches and scenery has ruined him for living anywhere else. Kate was born and raised in Wellington, studied in in Dunedin and Christchurch and eventually migrated North to Tauranga for work.  Kate works in healthcare as a doctor, Nathan works in construction. Nathan is fun, warm and a steadfast sort. He has a quirky personality yet is someone who has a deep thinking mind, wisdom to share and is a great communicator. Kate is a kind and passionate person and has a big heart to care for vulnerable or hurting people. She has more of a driven and competitive  personality but is a lot of fun. We are similar in many ways but our differences complement and this makes life good. We are both serious food lovers – cooking and eating all things good quality and true to the authentic recipe. Nathan makes a great burger (food bringing out Nathan’s more obsessive qualities) and Kate more into baking/creating (bringing out her more perfectionistic tendencies). Cooking for people and discovering local good eats brings us both a lot of joy. We have strong connections and love for our families, which we discovered pretty early on in our relationship. We both are deep thinkers and like to learn and are currently trying to establish our home library. We believe in community and love walking with our friends and family in life. We like being outside and have spent many of our days swimming the beaches in the Bay of Plenty or finding a new walking trail. When borders open, we will be excited to travel again as both of us love to explore other countries and cultures. 

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…

I think as we got closer to the wedding we realised the main ‘theme’ that we wanted was more of an aim for an underlying feeling/sense for our day – that of love, celebration, thankfulness and family. We were so blessed with the weather, turning out a warm 25 degree day in the Wairarapa without any strong wind. In terms of style, florals and aesthetics, our aim was to keep things minimalistic, with clean lines but with an elegant vibe. I had a vision for whites with subtle blush tones and really wanted to accentuate and use the natural wood and light from the venues to add to the setting. Our ceremony was held in Burnside church, a beautifully preserved church established in 1875 in the outskirts of Pirinoa township. Our florist, Suzette, created a stunning floral arch to encircle the front window of the church. This, along with the preserved wood of Burnside, brought all the elements that we had dreamed of  together for our ceremony. The size of the church also created a warm and intimate setting. We had some of our photos taken up on Palliser Ridge overlooking the Cook straight following the ceremony, which incorporated the coast and ocean in our day. We had our friend bagpipe us into the reception at Rose and Smith – which was a special ode to Kate’s Scottish heritage. At Rose and Smith we focused on keeping the decor minimalistic- with whites, crystal table-ware and spring flowers. We were so touched by our friends and family speeches and the food was more than what we had hoped for.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Kate – I wore the Le chic gown  designed by Katie Yeung, Hera Couture – this was a dream to wear.  Initially, I had difficulty deciding which gown I would choose from Katie’s collection as they were all such treasured pieces, but the way that this gown felt on was beautiful and I loved all the elements of it. With this, I wore the minimalistic pearl veil, also by Hera Couture. My earrings were drop pearl earrings by A.B.Ellie |HDWR and shoes were by the amazing Chaos and Harmony. For Nathan, we chose the Princeton tuxedo with a tailored white shirt from Barkers. He paired these with a black woollen bow tie and black dress shoes to match.

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

Kate –  Favourite moments would be walking down the aisle to Nathan and seeing his face.  I loved wearing my Hera Couture gown. Our ceremony was my main highlight – our vowels, the singing and the celebration of all our friends and family around us. Also, our first dance was pretty unique – we had made it up a couple of nights prior (it was looking a little dubious for a while there) but actually went really well and was so much fun.

Nathan-  There are so many good memories from that day, the obvious first was the ceremony and when I saw Kate for the first time – I totally lost it (ha!). The second would simply having so many of our close people around Kate and I,  all who were so overjoyed about us and our relationship. As much as I missed my family being there, I had my NZ family with us – our wedding was the most loving and celebratory day of my life.

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

Overall, loving and serving the other person with patience and kindness is the most important thing. Communicating bravely to one another and having fun in the day to day moments is also key to remaining connected and growing in love and friendship. In terms of organising a wedding, it is easy to get caught up in details that ultimately don’t add extra meaning to your wedding or to your relationship.  Ask the question of what the most important things are to the both of you and then discard anything that you feel you “should” do or that don’t align with your values.  The joy of the day ultimately is being able to commit and promise in love to one another for the rest of your lives – and to stay present in that promise is the best and most beautiful part.

Photography: @lucyliphotography | Ceremony location: @burnsidechurchnz | Reception location: @rose_and_smith | Celebrant: @dave.wallace.70 | Bride’s gown and veil: @heracouture | Groom’s attire: @barkersclothing | Rings: @michaelhillj and @walkerandhall | Shoes: @chaosandharmonyshoes | Earrings: @a.b.ellie | Makeup: @katekeogh_mua | Hair: D’Vine Hair Studio | Fragrance: @ysl and @armanibeauty | Bridesmaid’s attire: @blakbridesmaids | Groomsmen’s attire: @barkersclothing | Flora: @suzettemay | Catering and Beverages: @rose_and_smith | Cake: @finomnomkitchen | Table Linen: @drape.linen