“I was still in high school and Tom was a bit older than me, but from first sight we both knew there was something different about each other. We knew it would be a bit weird to start dating while I was still in school, so, ballsy 17 year old me marched up to tom and told him if he waited 18 months for me he could take me on our first date.”

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

MF – I am a graphic designer and love all things creative. Best part about working as a graphic designer is that I absolutely love what I get to do everyday – I literally get paid to do my hobby. Apart from design I’m a beach bum, hence we just moved to the Mount and we are loving it. I love fashion and interior design (I’m constantly moving my house decor around) and am the biggest foodie, catch me watching way too many food reels on instagram. Both Tom and I love to make the most of life, we love our Saturdays, biking to cafes, going for walks, see friends and making the best food.

TF – I work in sport, and love the opportunity which sport gives me to connect and make a difference in the lives of people.  We are both heavily involved in church, and this is a big part of our worlds – we love people and being part of a community which adds so much to our lives.  In my spare time I love being outside, running, taking photos, being on the go – as well as playing a bit of golf, drinking and making coffee, spending time with friends, and dreaming up my next (often unrealistic) business or social pursuit.

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

MF – Well, I was still in high school and Tom was a bit older than me, but from first sight we both knew there was something different about each other. We knew it would be a bit weird to start dating while I was still in school, so, ballsy 17 year old me marched up to tom and told him if he waited 18 months for me he could take me on our first date. And to my surprise he waited (very patiently)… and the rest is history. The best part about waiting that long is that once we got to the end of it we knew for sure we wanted to be together forever.

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

MF- This is cheesy, but literally from our first conversation. I remember saying to myself… “Where has this man been my whole life, I am going to marry him”

TF – For us, marriage wasn’t and isn’t something we have taken lightly – and although we are young and have committed to the wedding journey, we have also committed to the marriage journey.  A big part of the preparation for this season of life was to equip us relationally for the ups and downs of life together, knowing that we have made a commitment to each other and this is something that will never change.  We are so grateful for the mentors and people around us who have encouraged us, and will continue to encourage us on this journey.

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

MF – Our proposal was PERFECT. I married a man with the perfect mix of fun, creativity and sentiment. He took me to the Mount were we had planned to move at the end of the year. Oblivious me had no clue he was going to propose… (classic). It wasn’t till I saw the path of rose petals along the beach that I realised what was happening. He got down on one knee and I said YES! Best part of the day was that all our family and best friends were waiting at a restaurant for us – greatest surprise ever. He had sorted accommodation and we all stayed in this massive house together and got to hang out all night… the best 24 hours of my life.

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

MF – We wanted our day to be fun and different. We love tradition but we also wanted it to be unique and modern. If there were words to sum us up, it would be – “go big or go home” or as our friends would say “you guys just don’t do things in halves” and I think we lived up to that on our day. Because of Covid, our plans changed hundreds of times. Originally we were supposed to get married in a church – and we designed our outfits accordingly… Tom’s tuxedo and my very long train. When we changed our plans to get married outside in a backyard, and I really questioned our style choice, but we went for it and turns our the juxtaposition of chic attire and a laid back, summer, backyard wedding go quite well together. We achieved this through what we called ‘happy hour’ and kicked off our reception at 5pm with an ice cream truck, drinks and outdoor games – it was the coolest afternoon.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

MF – Our photographer, and we’re glad we did. For us, photos were paramount – as we could turn the days moments into forever memories. And our lovey Ash did just that. We can’t get over the photos she took. Best part was just having her there on they day, she felt like family (TF – the day wouldn’t have been what it was without Ash, she added so much to the experience!). 

Being young, we didn’t have all the money in the world to splurge on every detail of the day. But with a bit of creativity and some insanely talented friends – the day was everything we could have hoped for, and more. Our altar/backdrop for example, was a dream of Tom’s which came to life – through one of our groomsmen who made it with some wood from his dad, some spray paint – and a stencil my sister and I made at home. The first moment I saw it I shed a tear because it was just what we envisioned and we knew it was made with so much love. And our bouquets, our friends got up at 5am on the morning of the wedding to create the dreamiest flowers. I think the beauty of being creative with how you spend you money and a bit of DIY is that it makes the day that much more special, because we had all worked together to bring dreams to life.

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

MF – One of the funniest parts of the day was when our celebrant pronounced us so we could walk back down the aisle. We were ready, we were excited, as he announces, “For the third time (Yes this was our third ceremony due to covid… it’s a long story… ) I present to you, Mr and Mrs, Tom and Maddie… SCHNELL…. My maiden name. The music to walk back down started but he called it to stop. Everyone was in hysterics. He announced again, “for the FOURTH time, Mr and Mrs, Tom and Maddie… FLETCHER!!!!

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

TF – As Maddie has said, they were designed for a Church, and then worn in a green field.  So not the original plan – but we loved the juxtaposition of it – all things considered.  My outfit was exactly what I had planned to wear, my whole life – and to get it from Kingsway Menswear in New Plymouth was cool too, the same shop that my great Uncle worked at in the 1970s, and where my Dad bought his suit for his school ball, 21st and wedding.  I also wore my family Scottish tartan as a pocket square – which we had sent over from the UK for the wedding.  For me this was the best way fit to honour my family legacy, especially as the majority of my family couldn’t be in person at our wedding celebration.  And the R.M.s, I knew that the only way I could rationalise spending this much money on shoes was for it to fall under ‘wedding budget’ rather than out of my normal weekly expenses, so I had to take the opportunity. And then there is Maddie’s dress… wow.  I had no idea what to expect, other than it being the most talked about garment of our entire relationship.  But when I saw her come around the corner, I was shook.  I’m so proud of the dress she designed, and the way it was able to come together with the help, love and generous support of Anthea at Zeebo Creations.  Such a dream come true – she said she wanted something bold, fun and beautiful – and she nailed the brief.

Ceremony location: Private Property – Helensville, Auckland, NZ / Videographer: Milk and Honey / Photographer: Ash Muir Photography / Celebrant: Personal Church Pastor – Ps Scott Thornton / Entertainment: Singing DJ NZ / Styling: Friend of couple  / Planner: Bride + Groom / Cutlery + Crockery: Insphire NZ / Umbrellas: Capri and Co / Marquee:  LL Hire / Flora: Friend of couple  / Reception dinner: Wok Noodle / Reception drinks: Mount Wine Barrel / Reception ice cream truck: Lulus / Ceremony food: St Pierres / Cake: Bluebells cakery  / Stationery: Bride + Groom / Registry: My Registry / Brides Attire: Zeebo Creations / Grooms Attire: Kings Way / Ring/s: Frankie Ruins / Grooms Shoes: RM Williams / Brides Shoes: Novo Shoes / Pocket square: Clan / Earrings: Izoa / Bracelet: Stolen Girlfriends Club / Brides Makeup: Jade Beauty / Bridesmaids Makeup: Caked by Vita / Hair: Friend of Couple / Fragrance: Gucci / Bridesmaids Attire: Cos Stores / Groomsmen Attire: Barkers