Melanie is Group CEO of Socialites Group, Australasia’s largest indie social media agency. Her four children – Zac (15), Jasper (13) and Indie (12) with baby Willow (8 months) makes for a colourful, loud and crazy life but something she is thankful for…

Nothing is straightforward or linear in my world and having a 4th baby in my 40s was the wildest undertaking of them all. Gary is a client director for Crestline a commercial furniture business as well as a director of Apsol an Environmental Coating business. Enjoying weekends a the beach, surfing with the kids, sneaking out for a game of golf as well BBQing with a beer in hand with family and friends. Our family love to have funny, wild and weird conversations at the dinner table, listen to music from all generations (including Zac’s hardcore rap music) and a bit of dancing in the kitchen sometimes ensues. We are all chomping at the bit to travel as a family, see more of the world and experience different cultures and sights of the globe. We all love the snow and heading to the beach in summer.

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

We met through work in a meeting and it’s fair to say there was an instant connection which grew through friendship and the time we spent working together. Mel thought Gary was one of the most handsome humans she’d ever met and Gary can remember to this day what Mel was wearing. He thought she had great style.

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

M – There was something different about the connection we had. It was pretty strong and hard to ignore. There was definitely a pull that had never been felt before but I (Mel) knew when I saw how beautiful Gary was with my children.

GW – From the days of working next to each other, to our relationship, we have always worked as a team. Always by each other’s side and always each other’s greatest fan and support. From the beginning I thought that she would be the best person to share the rest of my life with, there wasn’t one particular moment but many. From work events that we attended together to skiing, making meals and drinking wine and laughing to the wee hours.

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

GW – The wedding was on Waiheke and that is important because so was the proposal. I had suggested a weekend away for the two of us and hired a great Air BNB by the beach. The plan was to take a walk along the headlands to a surprise picnic that was to be set up looking back towards the city where I would propose. The only issue is that it was blowing 35 knots and there was no way the picnic would have lasted 2 minutes so a quick change of location to Little palm beach for Mimosa and pastries followed by The sandy proposal due to still some wind. But we quickly remedied that with close friends joining us at Mudbrick to celebrate the announcement.

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

A Mediterranean long lunch was the vision. We wanted it to be super relaxed with a small group of family and friends around us – good music and big party vibes. We just wanted everyone special to us to have the best time and the day was really a thank you to those closest to us for being great friends to us over the years. We knew everything else would just fall into place and it literally did – it was perfect.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

We were splurge on the DJ! Music and dancing is so important to us and we were so glad we did. Our DJ was off the charts, played the Sax over old house tunes and everyone at the wedding wanted to sign him up for future parties. The venue, food, drink all came a close second.

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

MS – YES! We were so relaxed about everything and Gracie did such an incredible job of taking all the stress away and really what we needed with demanding jobs and four kids. When the weather turned I still didn’t worry. We had a contingency plan and I was of the opinion that ‘whatever will be will be’. Well, when I turned up in the morning, there were two Vector trucks and I was told there was absolutely no
electricity and we’ll be hard pushed to get anything sorted that day. So… for about five minutes I thought we weren’t going to have a wedding. Hilarious, because I thought it’d be COVID that would take us down. Thankfully, we just happened to choose a house covered in solar panels and back-up batteries and generators. Apparently we ran on solar for the whole night! And a plus, the weather was incredible. Calm, beautiful and blue skies. I really do believe my Mum was looking after us from above.

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

MS – I was going to buy something super cheap and online but when I went to Hera Couture try on some dresses for inspiration with one of my besties and my daughter, the dress I wore was the 4th one I tried on and I just knew straight away it was the one for me. I don’t muck around, ever and I know what’s right and make decisions quickly. I did add a split to the dress to make it a little more day-time and sassy.
Gary, wanted a classic well cut suit and found it at Hugo Boss so it was a no brainer.

Ceremony Location: Waikopou | Photographer: Brydon Photography | Celebrant: Anne Johnson | Entertainment: Sam Jones | Styling and Planning: Indigo Waiheke | Hire: Royal Lab, Indigo Waiheke & The Island Collection | Florals: Madame La Fleuriste | Catering: Waiheke Chef | Beverage: Waiheke Cocktail Inc | Cake: Waiheke Cakery |Stationary: Indigo Waiheke | Hair and Makeup: Made By Amy | Bride Attire: Hera Couture | Groom Attire: Hugo Boss | Rings: Grew and Co | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Jewellery/Accessories: Hera Couture