We took Bud for a beach walk on one of our first dates, and I remember feeling so content and hopeful as Larry drove us back while the sun was setting.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
My wedding vows refer to Larry as the builder to my architect, which is not only literal but speaks to us as a couple – we are quite different but share important values and can work well together to achieve our goals. Larry is a carpenter, and my background is in architecture, but I now work as a design manager and people leader.
Although we’re mostly homebodies nowadays, we love a comedy show and a great meal out. Once a year, we usually go to the Bay of Islands almost exclusively to eat at Terra, which is one of our favourite fine dining restaurants.
We have the best dog in the world, Buddy, who is Huntaway X Rottweiler, whom Larry adopted a year or two before we met. My mum always reminds us that he’s a ‘once in a lifetime dog’ because is just so sweet, loving and easy-going (much like Larry). With our backgrounds, we are interested in property renovation and investing, so always have an unfinished project on the go. The rest of our spare time is spent with our family and friends. Plus, Larry is partial to a round of golf.
How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
I was close to giving up online dating when I matched with the tall, dark and handsome dog-dad, Larry. We were surprised to discover how much of our lives had overlapped, although we had never met previously. We went to the same primary school, partied at the same nightclubs in our early twenties, and still both go to the same hairdresser in east Auckland.
Our first date was at the Ponsonby Pool Hall, where we hit it off and laughed at my awful pool skills. I can vividly remember how he made me feel when we hugged goodbye, and less fondly, I can vividly remember his hoodie t-shirt.
When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
We took Bud for a beach walk on one of our first dates, and I remember feeling so content and hopeful as Larry drove us back while the sun was setting. We were due to move in together to Larry’s mum’s house in mid-2020 to save money and look for a house, but that was abruptly brought forward when the first COVID-19 lockdown was announced, and I had to move out of my flat. The way Larry kicked into action to help me move and how sincerely welcome I was made to feel by his family solidified my feelings about him and our future.
Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
Larry organised my engagement ring and wedding band through Four Words, who were up-and-comers in the lab-grown diamond space at the time. The design was based on a few vintage-style rings we had seen online, and both liked.
We aren’t particularly traditional, but Larry did ask my Dad for his blessing a few weeks before proposing. After losing my brother to cancer 15 years ago, it meant the world to my father to officially have a son-in-law. I was quite sure that Larry was going to propose to me when he planned a staycation at QT Hotel in Auckland because he is not much of a planner or a spender, but I went along with it anyway, feeling secretly pretty chuffed by his efforts. He arranged for champagne to be brought up to the room while I got ready for dinner, and after the first cheers, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The moment was so incredibly special and emotional, followed by dinner at the Sugar Club at the Sky Tower and espresso martinis at QT’s rooftop bar.
Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…
I absolutely love travelling and having met Larry a year before the pandemic, we had never travelled overseas together, so we had been interested in doing a destination wedding since before we were engaged. We loved the idea of grouping our closest friends and family all in one place and making a holiday out of it.
We wanted the vibe to match that of Fiji; relaxed, fun, full of love and laughter and for the day to be inclusive of our guests. We limited the formalities to spend as much time as possible with them by doing a first look and our bridal party photos before the ceremony and short speeches and requested that our photographer and videographer capture candid moments of our guests interacting. Although our ceremony was short, we personalised our vows, making them incredibly special to us. The vows, plus Larry’s (rare) tears, set off the emotions of a lot of our guests.
I worked closely with both Sofitel and Fiji Wedding & Event Atelier to clearly communicate my vision for the style of the wedding. It was important that it was simple, clean and elegant, with a pop of pink bougainvillea in my bouquet, the secondary arch and overhead table decoration. To compliment the pink, my bridesmaids wore custom-coloured brown dresses from BLAK, which matched the coconuts on the tables. The outdoor reception was set out in a U-shape, keeping everyone close and, most importantly, the dancefloor central. The lanterns strung between the palm trees capped it off beautifully and transformed the look as the sunset, and we danced barefoot on the grass beneath them.
What was one element you were happy to splurge on?
Being a destination wedding, we were very wary that we were asking a lot of our guests to join us in Fiji, so wanted to make their experience as enjoyable as possible, which meant two things; a fantastic venue and an open, unlimited bar.
We were truly lucky to find Le Roex Media, who were already planning on being in Fiji for another wedding around the same time. Being trusted photographers and videographers who are based in New Zealand meant that communication was clear. We couldn’t have asked for better results and a nicer team to capture our day.
A few days before the wedding, we hosted a Welcome Drinks function at Cardo’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar, where all our guests bought their families and dressed in bold shirts and bright frocks. It was a great way to introduce the different groups and set the tone for the actual wedding day.
Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?
Fortunately, nothing stressful happened on the wedding day itself! However, it should be noted that Larry’s best man, Matt, forgot his passport and only realised on the morning of the flight out of Auckland that it was still at his home in Blenheim. Luckily, he was able to get it up and come to Fiji the next day in time for the Welcome Drinks.
Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?
Brooke Tyson made my bridesmaid’s dress for Mikayla & Cruise’s wedding (previously featured in TJ), and I was blown away by her talent, process and ability to make flattering gowns, so it seemed obvious that she had to make my dress. I can’t recommend her enough.
I knew I wanted an organically shaped off-the-shoulder bodice with a cinched waist, but could not decide whether to go for an hourglass silhouette or more A-line. Brooke suggested a removable train which was the perfect outcome for me (and gave me two outfits in one!) Brooke also crafted by headband out of the same beautiful ivory fabric.
LOCATION North West Lawn, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, @sofitelfiji / PHOTOGRAPHER + VIDEOGRAPHER Le Roex Media, @leroexmedia / CELEBRANT Livai Nawalu / ENTERTAINMENT DJ Works Fiji, Mauri Fiji Creative Art & Entertainment, @djworksfiji, @maurifiji / STYLING Fiji Wedding & Event Atelier, @theweddingatelierfiji / PLANNER Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa – Wedding Coordinator: Evline Kumar, @sofitelfiji / FLORA Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa – Florist: Livai Kurukurukatini, @sofitelfiji / CATERING + BEVERAGES Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, @sofitelfiji / STATIONERY Zazzle, @zazzle / WELCOME DRINKS Cardo’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar, @cardos_fiji / DAY AFTER Cloud 9 Fiji, @cloud9_fiji / BRIDAL DRESS Brooke Tyson Ritual, @brooketysonritual / SUIT Connor, @connor_clothing / SHIRT ASOS, @asos / BRIDE’S RING Four Words, @fourwordsnz / GROOM’S RING Storm Baker Jewellers, @stormbakerjewellers / BRIDE’S SHOES Mi Piaci, @mi_piaci / GROOM’S SHOES Merchant1948, @merchant1948 / ACCESSORY Brooke Tyson Ritual, @brooketysonritual / EARRINGS LOLAKNIGHT, @lolaknightofficial / BRACELET Meadowlark, @meadowlarkjewellery / GROOM’S WATCH Fossil, @fossil / HAIR + MAKEUP Michelle John: Sofitel’s So Spa, @sofitelfiji @mmj_hair_makeup_studio_fiji / BRIDE’S FRAGRANCE The Only One Intense by Dolce & Gabbana, @dolcegabbana / GROOM FRAGRANCE K by Dolce & Gabbana, @dolcegabbana / BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE BLAK, @blakbridesmaids / BRIDESMAIDS EARRINGS Swarovski, @swarovski / GETTING READY ATTIRE Showpo, @showpo / GROOMSMEN’S PANTS Connor, @connor_clothing / GROOMSMEN’S SHIRTS ASOS, @asos