Mary & Christian – by Estrada Weddings

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

Christian and I met in Whiritoa which a small settlement nestled between Waihi and Whangamata when we were kids in the nipper programme (Surf Lifesaving) and became childhood besties.

Both our families have holiday homes right around the corner from each other so summers usually entailed bike rides, ice creams, terrible tan lines and lots of swimming. Our relationship blossomed as we grew older which saw Christian move to Auckland for “study” when I was living there, and after 10 unforgettable years together Christian proposed at the blowhole lookout which has views out over Whiritoa. We were about to head off on six months traveling backpacking around the world but we both agreed that it wouldn’t make sense to get married anywhere else other than where it all began. Our travel was also accentuated as we had prolonged engagement celebrations with family and friends in every country we visited whilst traveling.

We are now working professionals in the legal and construction industry which means we truly appreciate the special place that our families and what our relationship have created. On any given long weekend or summer break you will find us heading down to the beach, swapping the work shoes for jandals and spending quality time with our loved ones in our own little paradise.

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…

Our wedding day was all about the detail. We have such a long and shared history together and we wanted to make sure that this was evident on the day. We also wanted to include our guests as they have all been on this journey throughout the years with us. This meant a whole year of wedding chores on weekends but we would do it all over again if given the opportunity. Go the extra mile when planning and preparing your wedding. If you choose your significant other correctly you’re only going to do this once so you may as well go all out!

I would describe our style as understated and natural. We were keen to incorporate as many natural flora from around the beach to highlight the beauty of Whiritoa and we wanted to incorporate this through all aspects of the wedding from decorations and buttonholes to lemonade made from our lemon trees.

Our wedding had a heavy DIY aspect to it which couldn’t have been done without the large amount of family and friends support in the lead up. My mother grew flowers for the wedding, the pressed flowers in the wedding cake were used from my sister’s wedding bouquet and my late grandmother’s garden. We even DIY’ed our wedding dance off a video on YouTube – which after many months of practice and patience was a great success!

Tell us about your main outfits:

I searched for my wedding dress for six months before panic buying a second-hand dress on Still White and then realising my mistake and making an appointment with Kelsey Jenna. I knew I wanted something feminine and relaxed and Kelsey was able to design and create my perfect dress. We chose a fabric that featured pohutukawa flowers in it which is the unofficial symbol of Whiritoa due to the abundance of its trees in the area. This was by far the hardest element of planning the wedding for me and I would say to all brides not to prioritise time or ‘ticking things off the list’ over your perfect dress even if it takes longer than expected.

Although we got married on the beach we didn’t want to style the boys in bare feet, rolled up pants and short sleeve shirts. Christian wore an unlined linen jacket from Barkers which kept him cool to differentiate himself from the groomsmen and we had them alternating in bow ties and suspenders as we didn’t want their look to be too uniformed.

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

Whiritoa is one of those places where everyone knows everyone. Our celebrant Sarah Lockwood provided us with the most heartfelt and sentimental ceremony, not only because she is amazing at what she does but because she was mine and Christian’s nipper coach when we were kids. My Father rowed me into the ceremony on a wooden boat that was made by one of Christian’s cousins. There is a small bend in the water right before the ceremony location so it was a surprise for most guests to see the bridesmaids walk down the aisle and then my Father and I pop around the corner in this gorgeous boat. It was a very personal touch that created some risk (if I fell into the water!) but it was one worth taking!

Jess Ellis a very talented artist and good friend restored an old surfboard and spray-painted Whiritoa Beach on it. On one side was this beautiful piece of artwork and on the side she created a canvas for people to write special notes on as our guestbook.

Christian and I both agreed that we needed a live band for the wedding. White Chapel Jak is more of a private concert than a wedding band in the sense that they will get your guests up dancing, moshing, on each other’s shoulders and having the time of their lives. They sang songs of all genres and had everyone dancing from toddlers to golden oldies. We could not recommend them enough and it was the perfect end to the perfect day.

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

We learnt this phrase whilst at university about “the six P’s of planning” but it translates perfectly to weddings – “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance”. Our wedding day was stress-free and enjoyable and we credit a large amount that to the planning and preparation that was put in the months leading up to the day including the amazing vendors we had and support from family and friends.

Photography: Estrada Weddings Videographer: The Wednesday Creatives Ceremony location: Whiritoa Beach Reception location: Ramarama Reserve, Whiritoa Planner: Kirsty West Weddings  Hire: Whangamata Party Hire Marquee: Make Your Day Events Flora: Arrow & Co Celebrant: Sarah Lockwood  Entertainment: White Chapel Jak Band Catering: Aroha Catering  Cake: Nick Maskell Bride’s Dress: Kelsey Jenna Groom’s Outfit: Huffer & Barkers Ring/s: Culet Jewellery & Meadowlark Groom’s Shoes: Barkers Bride’s Shoes: Merchant 1948 Surfboard Art: Jessica Ellis Earrings: Kura Gallery Makeup: Jess Drought Hair: Caitlin Kelly Hair Design  Fragrance: Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede  Bridesmaids Dresses: Evolution Clothing