Nakita — We’ve been wedding photographers and filmmakers for the past six years and have our own passions on top of that – Stephan’s into design, music and building, in the hopes of building our own home one day, and I pursue social work, writing and anything creative. We met in high school but didn’t really know each other until we got talking at a party.
We got engaged at our favourite spot, in the dunes of Uretiti Beach in Waipu, where we first connected on a camping trip in the summer of 2011. Steph and I are best friends, and I think that’s ultimately what makes a relationship last – friendship. From travelling and running a business together, gaining and losing loved ones, to who’s doing the dishes – at the end of the day, challenges or not, it’s about choosing to love that person day in and day out.
As wedding photographers, we’ve learned that things don’t always go to plan and we’ve come to love that – it’s all part of the journey. Our ceremony handouts arrived the week before our wedding, and instead of being hand-sized, they were record-sized. We laughed and decided it was one of those things! We just knew that we wanted to bring our nearest and dearest together in the Joshua Tree desert, and for them to feel loved and share in our love.
Before we left Auckland for California, we completed the legalities of our day over crumpets and honey at Orphan’s Kitchen with a few special people. Our event started with a road trip from LA to Palm Springs and the Mojave Desert. Stephan lives and breathes music, so we wed in an amphitheatre among the boulders of Indian Cove in Joshua Tree National Park. Our ceremony was short and informal, with tears and champagne. Our wedding party and guests all wore their own outfits in dreamy neutral tones.
We had sonnets for vows, had everyone take communion together, and made sure we took a moment to take it all in and give thanks. Our reception was held at our Airbnb, where we all sat at a long table to eat too much pizza and drink wine and spicy margaritas. Later, we gathered around a bonfire and enjoyed toasted marshmallows and a cake baked by our friends before dancing up a dust storm.
Instead of having a guest book, we created a print and had everyone sign it; it’s now on the wall in our home where the light catches their words. We’ve cellared two bottles of red, one from New Zealand and one from California, along with letters from our mothers and fathers to be opened in 10 years’ time. It’s rare to find a forever kind of love, so when you do, hold fast to it.
Photography—The Times We Have, | Groom’s suit—Trenery | Bride’s gown—Hayes Bridal, earrings—Christie Nicolaides | | Groom’s shoes—Clarks | Makeup—Makeup By Leonie | Bride’s hair—Tanya Marie | Veil—Made With Love | Flora—Allium by Olympia | Engagement ring—Natalie Marie Jewellery | Wedding rings—Bride’s mother’s ring and Sunset Tattoo | Bride’s fragrance—Diptyque Geranium Odorata | Groom’s fragrance—Creed Green Irish Tweed | Groom & groomsmens’ belts—Stephan Vermeulen | Bridesmaids’ earrings—Nakita Vermeulen | Furniture hire —Planks & Patina | Entertainment—Ry Cox | Ceremony venue—Indian Cove Campground, Joshua Tree | Reception venue—El Rancho, Joshua Tree | Stationery—Stephan Vermeulen | Catering—Wheat & Fire | Beverages—The Old Fashioned