Mariah + Teina by Valo

I can’t really remember what he said, but I do remember him saying, “I know you’ve waited a long time for this” lol it was gold.

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

Mariah – Small town girl, grew up in Tokoroa which is South of Hamilton. I moved to Auckland in 2010 and refused to drive in Auckland for about 3 months. I am an Operations Coordinator for a Retail company here. I love my family time, hanging out with friends and date nights with my husband. I love exploring and going for walks/hikes; it’s my escape from the city. That’s how I ground myself.

Teina – born and raised in Akl, important things in my life are my family and sport (much more watching than playing these days) – our family are mad Warriors fans (even prior to last year!). I work in a corporate role in Retail.

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

Mariah – I had just turned 17 when I met Teina in 2010, one night while I was out. He lived in Auckland and I was living in Mount Maunganui. We did long distance for about one year, just texting or calling each other regularly before it turned into daily/lengthy conversations.

The Mount wasn’t offering me what I wanted, and I considered moving to Australia to be with my sister, who was living in Perth at the time. He convinced me to stay so we could connect, and the next thing you know, I packed up my things and moved to Auckland to be with him in 2011.

Looking back, it was a pretty risky move to make being so young, but it was worth it in the end haha.

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

Mariah – Pretty early on if I’m honest, which was so weird for me because I was never that girl who wanted to marry at a young age. I thought weddings were a waste of time and money lol.

That all changed when I realised Teina was someone I could see myself with for the rest of my life.

Teina – we did things the unconventional way and had kids first. Those early (and tough) days while still at uni fast tracked our relationship a lot. Mariah’s unwavering support and resilience are something that I admire about her each and every day. 

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

Mariah – Yes! It was cute, lol. He proposed on our 11th-year anniversary when we had our second date together. (I waited 11 years for a proposal)
I’ll rewind the clock a little bit. On our second date, he took the day off work but hadn’t told me. So, in the morning, he got ready for work as usual and headed out. 2 hours later, I got a call from him saying he was picking me up and to get ready. He took me to Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, where he set up a picnic with my favourite food and wine. Cute 😊

Fast forward to the proposal; it was a similar situation, but I’m working this time. He takes half the day off and tells me I need to be ready by the afternoon. My day at work was hectic, and I was in the midst of the COVID-19 traffic light system in Auckland. He was calm the whole time while waiting for me to finish work. I was convinced I would know when he was going to propose because I thought he would be a nervous wreck lol so in my head I thought “you don’t look like someone who’s going to propose today” I was in no hurry haha.

I wrapped up, and he took me to Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, where again, he had set up a picnic with my favourite snacks and wine. During the picnic he asked to take photos of us together at first, then asked me to take photos of him on his own lol he doesn’t like taking photos of himself at the best of times, so I thought absolutely yes haha I took a few snaps then he dropped a knee.

I can’t really remember what he said, but I do remember him saying, “I know you’ve waited a long time for this” lol it was gold.

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

Mariah – My father-in-law can whakapapa (has ancestral history) back to 10 generations on Waiheke Island; this is where his father and uncles were born and grew up. The actual land itself that Mudbrick sits on has history back to my husband’s whanau, so it had significance and meaning to us. We decided not to go over the top with anything (including colours), keeping it neutral and timeless in all its glory. It was amazing and just what we asked for!

Both our families are rich in culture, and on the day, we had a Tongan dance, Tahitian dance, Samoan Siva, Haka and Waiata (song). We wanted to take nothing away from the location but instead embrace everything about it the best way we knew how. 

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

The venue and kai (food) for sure. No one really talks about the decorations on the tables, the invitations, or the flowers you had. But everyone remembers the location and food lol

Not far behind that was the wedding dress and photographer. If I had my time again, I would have loved to have my dress custom-made for me, as I’ve never really been a girl who likes wedding dresses. We also wanted a specific photographer for our wedding—someone who would be able to capture the essence of the venue and special moments. We thought Laura and Rohan from Valo Photography did an amazing job!

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

Mariah – Lol, yeah, my uncle, who was driving the bridesmaids, almost crashed into the garage door of the Air BnB. In his defence, so many steep driveways on Waiheke Island. The driveway was left with a few skid marks, oops lol

Our son lost the groomsmen’s toilet bag with everything in it: toothbrushes, cologne, hair wax, you name it. So, Teina was at the supermarket just before the wedding buying everything again, passing by guests who were like, “Aren’t you meant to be getting ready for your wedding?” lol

If that wasn’t enough, Mariah and her bridesmaids headed over to the Island a few days before the wedding. The bride forgot her dress hanging in the lounge at home, and one of the bridesmaids who flew in from Brisbane took the wrong suitcase from her husband, who was travelling to Rotorua to be with his whanau. He had no NZ sim card just yet, so no one could get hold of him until he arrived in Rotorua. He had to come back to Auckland the next morning, then catch a ferry to Waiheke to deliver her bag that had her bridesmaid dress and shoes. None of the girls were stressed, we knew the boys would move mountains to bring the goods lol

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

The wedding dress was from Felicity Bridal here in Auckland City. This was the 4th Bridal dress location that I had been to. I struggled to find something that I liked. Everything was white/ivory, and I wasn’t sure I even wanted a white dress to begin with! In the end, I was running out of time. So, I went with something I knew I could keep and give to my daughter when she gets older. I’ve kept it as a keepsake to be passed down for as long as I can because I love the idea of this!

CEREMONY & RECEPTION Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant, Waiheke Island, @mudbrick_nz PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER Valo, @valophotocinema PLANNER By the Groom – Teina Clarke FLORIST Wildflower Waiheke, @wildflowerwaiheke CELEBRANT Nate Dunn, @_natedunn ENTERTAINMENT Mischief Band, @mischiefbandnz HIRE Island Collection, @theislandcollection CATERING Mudbrick, @mudbrick_nz CAKE Little Tart Bakery, @littletartbakery STATIONERY & SIGNAGE Kindly Made by a Friend RINGS Naveya and Sloane, @naveyaandsloanejewellery TUX, SHOES & ACCESSORIES Taro Cash, @tarocash GROOM’S FRAGRANCE Dior – Sauvage, @dior WEDDING DRESS Felicity’s Bridal, @felicitysbridalnz BRIDE’S SHOE Billini BRIDE’S ACCESSORIES Naveya and Sloane, @naveyaandsloanejewellery MAKEUP & HAIR Taylored Beauty NZ – Makeup Artistry, @tayloredbeautynz BRIDE’S FRAGRANCE Jo Malone, @jomalonelondon GROOMSMEN & PAGE BOY SUIT Taro Cash, @tarocash BRIDESMAID’S DRESS Billy J