Maddi + Josh by Andrea Stephens

Tell us how you met each other?

Josh and I met on a blind date. One of my friends was working with Josh at the time and thought we might get along well- her only disclaimer was that Josh was shorter than me. After a little bit of facebook stalking and few over-eager texts (on my part) we agreed to meet to go kayaking on lake Karapiro to see the glow-worms.

 I (Maddi) am not the most adventurous, and so a blind date and kayaking were well out of my comfort zone. However as soon as I met Josh I was instantly at ease, and I knew as we were singing Taylor Swift songs on the way home that he was someone really special. The date was magical-  we kayaked as dusk, and sat on the bank of the lake with snacks while we waited for it to get dark. Josh will tell you the most memorable part of the date is that I wore a denim jacket to Kayak (fashion first amiright!?) but seriously, kayaking in the dark surrounded by glow-worms was breath-taking and a pretty romantic first date.

Tell us about the proposal?

Josh and his twin brother and sister in law had planned a double date to go back to Lake Karipiro to see the glow worms. I (Maddi) had picked up that something was going on, especially as it was cold and rainy, and Josh was insisting we still go out that night despite all my complaining about kayaking in the rain.

We Kayaked past the spot we had our first date, and at that point I had convinced myself that maybe the proposal wasn’t coming on that night.

We eventually stopped at a bank further up, and Josh and I headed up a hill in the dark, where he led me to an area on the bank with fairy lights and a picnic that he had set up earlier that day. It was here, in the rain and dark in the place that we first met, that he got down on one knee and proposed. Best moment ever!

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

I’m (Josh) a physiotherapist and Maddi is an occupational therapist, and working at the same DHB in rehabilitation areas was something that we connected on.  We both love people and being around friends and family, and we love our cat crumpet. We know its cliché, but opposites attract, and we really are opposite in a lot of ways, but our differences seem to compliment each other. During our relationship we have both changed in response to our differences. I (Josh) now realise there is more to clothing than purely comfort and convenience. And Maddi has now endured not just one, but two tenting trips. Maddi has introduced me to brunch, matching socks, and the love of indoor plants, and she has learnt to appreciate running, adventures outdoors, and watching the occasional cricket game.

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…

When our celebration finally came around, we had been thinking of all the details and planning everything for much longer than we had thought we would have, and It was amazing to see it all finally come together.

It was so special to have our reception at the beautiful Jakama lodge, overlooking Lake Karapiro-  the place we met and got engaged. The clear marquee from LL hire was something I wanted from the start of our planning, and we loved how it so perfectly fitted into the stunning setting. It was perfect weather, and it was such a relaxed evening with festival style food, and trumpets for dessert- we honestly couldn’t have imagined a more perfect evening. It was magical seeing the sunset, and spend the rest of the evening dancing under the festoon lights.

When planning the day, I knew I wanted a modern, clean style, and I love the tropical leaves and flowers that we incorporated into the style. The fresh green and white of the bouquet inspired the rest of the details, and I based all the styling off this.

My dad spent the whole week leading up to the celebration foraging in friends’ gardens for tropical leaves for the décor, and we had so many lovely friends and family pitch in to help set it all up.

Tell us about your main outfits:

I had been stalking all the beautiful ‘Made with Love’ dresses on pinterest and instagram for a while before we were actually engaged- and had a few dresses in my mind that I thought would be perfect.

Mum and I went up to the lovely Felicity’s Bridal I tried on all the dresses I had been imagining, and they were truly gorgeous. But they just weren’t feeling like ‘my dress’. It wasn’t until Felicity, pulled out the Harper dress, and I put it on that I fell in love. Its incredible train, and simple style fit perfectly with the modern, clean look that I was imagining. It was a very different dress from what I had imagined- but once I had tried it on, no other dress I tried compared.

The harder choice was finding the right white bridesmaid dresses. I heart set on white bridesmaids dresses, and my girls tried on so many dresses, and had even bought a few options, but they just weren’t quite right. They were either too casual, not the right white, or just not flattering to all my girls. It wasn’t until last minute,  in desperation- we went to Pagani, and miraculously found dresses that were perfect!

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

Our day was a little different from what we were originally planning due to Covid 19.

We had originally planned to get married right in the middle of April 2020, which ended up being the middle of level four lockdown. Because of this, we decided to get officially married in a small ceremony of 7 people on the first day of level 3. We decided however, that after all the work and time we put into planning the wedding, that we wanted to celebrate with all our loved ones how we had originally imagined.

When our day finally came around, it was so special to be able to walk down the aisle in my family church, share our written vows for the first time, and celebrate our marriage with all our people.

We are so grateful for how flexible and generous our vendors were with rescheduling with us and working with us in amongst all the changes that covid threw at us.

Unfortunately 2 bridesmaids and one of our groomsmen were overseas at the time of our celebration, but it was so lovely to be able to video call my sweet bridesmaids on the way to our vow renewal.

Some of our favourite parts of the day we being pelted with the confetti that my sisters had cut out from leaves as we left the church, and oh man, some of our guests did not hold back.

We loved the coffee cart we had which helped get us through the rest of the day, and oh man- we enjoyed all the great food on the day.

We were amazed at the huge, beautiful cake my aunty so generously made for us, and were so grateful to our bridesmaids who put together an incredible grazing table.

And man, our photographer Andrea was amazing! We had so much more fun taking photos than we expected we would- we were both a bit apprehensive about this part of the day- and she just did the best job of capturing our day and helped us enjoy it all so much.

We truly loved every aspect of our day- and cannot have imagined anything more perfect. Our original lock down wedding was so special, but there was something so meaningful and confirming, being able to celebrate with our community.

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

Marry the person who makes you feel like yourself and loves the real you- the crazy, silly, emotional, self. And marry someone who no matter what, encourages you to be who you were made to be. We know that we are each other’s biggest fans. I think even amongst the craziness of a covid wedding, we were able to truly be there for each other, because we knew each of our strengths and weaknesses, and were able to carry each other through the craziness.

I (Maddi) feel so blessed to have met and married someone who gets me. Who wanted to see my dream wedding happen, even though he would have been happy to just have our little lockdown wedding as our only wedding, because he understood me.

Photography: | Ceremony reception: Mardon road church | Reception location: Jakama Lodge | Celebrant: Rev Joel Rowse | Bride’s gown: @felicitysbridalnz and @madewithlovebridal | Bride’s ring: @zoeandmorgan | Groom’s rings: @michaelhillj |Bride’s shoes: @theiconicau | Groom’s shoes: @merchant1948 | Bride’s earrings: @rubytakessnaps | Makeup: @marniejademakeupartist | Hair: @hairbyjen_a | Bridesmaid’s attire: | Groomsmen’s attire: @hallensteinbrothers | Hire: @thewhiteweddingclub, @llhire and @anelementof_fun | Marquee: @llhire | Flora: @morethanflowers_florist_nz | Catering and Beverages: @roamfoodcaravan and @little_cherry_coffee