Kayla + Jordan by Keryn Sweeney

Jordan proposed on Christmas Eve on a little lookout on the walk to Octopus Bay in Onemana.

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

Michaela – I am a food technologist and work as a technical manager. I love to bake and cook, which is why I studied food, my job allows me to create awesome new products whilst keeping them healthy, which is a bonus. I love to be outdoors and keep fit, I love surfing in the summer and going on road trips with all our friends.

Jordan – I am an electrician, but that is just my day job. I love to play golf and rugby, I enjoy being outdoors and keeping fit. I surf when I can and love going on road trips that include 4W driving. Each weekend looks a little different but tends to include rugby, golf and some beers with our mates!

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

Michaela – We have actually been going to the same school since we were 5 years old, so we had always known each other but never properly met until later in high school. We started hanging out in a group of friends when we were in years 11 & 12 (I was one year above him – Michaela), I was adamant that we were “just friends” but deep down, I knew it was something a little more than that. I always thought Jordan was pretty cool, he was very sporty and into surfing, he was easy to get along with and was suuuuper funny. I think I spent most of my time with him laughing and feeling a bit giddy, this is how I knew I liked him a tad more than friends. It took a while to win me over, but we eventually started dating in my last year of school.

Jordan – I had always thought Michaela was super cute, but she was a year older than me, so I never really did anything about it. When our friends introduced us and when we started properly hanging out together, I thought there was definitely something there, but she was adamant I was “just a friend”. We got along really well, so I wasn’t too bothered and played the long game haha. Eventually, I wore her down, and we started officially dating. My first impressions of Michaela were that I thought she was very genuine and kind, she made me laugh with her dry humour (maybe more laughing at her but was still funny) and was just very easy to be around. She got along really well with my family, we always had a lot of fun when we hung out, and obviously, I thought she was stunning.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

Michaela – I think I knew pretty early on that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Jordan, he was technically my first boyfriend, but I couldn’t picture myself with anyone else and didn’t want anything else in a relationship, he ticked all my boxes. We had gone travelling together, I had started and finished uni, gotten new jobs, started flatting and done all this growing up and changing. Jordan remained a constant throughout it all, he was truly my safe space and the person I wanted to come back to at the end of every day. I think that what we have is super special and quite rare, we were so young when we got together but have somehow managed to grow up alongside one another and keep developing and growing closer in our relationship as well.

Jordan –  I always knew that I wanted to spend my life with her. But if we’re referring to a specific moment, there was a time during the COVID lockdowns when Kayla had stayed with me for a couple of weeks, and when the time came for her to leave and go back home, it was then that I knew that I never wanted to be apart from her ever again. I looked into rings the next day.

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

Jordan proposed on Christmas Eve on a little lookout on the walk to Octopus Bay in Onemana. Onemana is a super special place to us, so getting engaged and then married there as well has really been so amazing. Some of our friends and family made the trip out that afternoon to surprise me (Michaela) when we got back from our walk. We had a little celebration together that evening, and it was truly one of the best days ever.

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

We always wanted an outdoor wedding with a marquee near the ocean. We struggled at first to find a location, but then some people we had met through my mum (who are now great friends) allowed us to use a piece of their property in Onemana for the wedding. It was so generous of them, and we truly would not have had as amazing of a wedding day if it were not for them opening up their space to us. We didn’t want a sit-down dinner as we liked the idea of everyone roaming around in different areas rather than being designated a seat, this is why we went for a wood-fired pizza truck. We wanted an open bar, music all night, dancing and for it to feel like a big party rather than a structured event. We had a couple of traditional wedding things, such as cutting the cake thrown in there, but for the most part, it was super relaxed and just a big party with all our closest family and friends.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

We knew that everything on the day would eventually come to an end, so we chose to put most of our budget towards photography and videography, something that would last. We are very grateful we did this, as we can now look back on our wedding day and see all the special moments through such amazing photos and videos.

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

Michaela – There was a massive storm the week before the wedding, and our original marquee company had to cancel on us the day before as they couldn’t put up the marquee due to the high winds. This was obviously very stressful as that was the shelter of our entire wedding, but my amazing mother-in-law hustled and managed to find another company to put up a marquee the morning of the wedding at 6am. This meant that everyone (friends and family that were in Onemana the night before the wedding, including all the groomsmen and Jordan) were up on the hill at 6am setting up the wedding. I, as the bride, didn’t see a single part of the wedding set up until I was walking down the aisle that afternoon, I got to drink my champagne and enjoy the wedding morning, which was so special. I look back on this day and am unsure how I remained so calm… I just know that I have the best family and friends that were willing to go to the ends of the earth for Jordan and I to make our day so special.

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

I am still obsessed with my wedding dress, Brooke did such an amazing job, she was so receptive to my feedback and any little changes I wanted to make. I love that I was able to wear it in so many different ways, eventually, when enough time has passed, I may even cut and dye the overlayer to wear again as another dress!

PHOTOGRAPHER Keryn Sweeney, @kerynsweeneyphotographer / VIDEOGRAPHER Stephan & Nakita, @stephanandnakita / HIRE Whangamata Party Hire and Peninsula Party Hire, @peninsula_party_hire / MARQUEE Peninsula Party Hire, @peninsula_party_hire / FLORA Pretty Wild Floral, @prettywildfloral / CATERING & BEVERAGES Drifters Pizza, @drifterspizza / GIFT REGISTRY SoKind Registry, @sokindregistry / GROOM’S SUIT Connor, @connor_clothing / BRIDE’S DRESS Brooke Tyson Ritual, @brooketysonritual / RINGS Cullen Jewellery, @cullenjewelleryand Guys Gold, @guys.gold / MAKE UP Stephanie Make Up NZ, @stephaniemakeupnz / GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Connor, @connor_clothing / BRIDESMAID’S ATTIRE Dissh, @dissh