Nicola + Jai by Ash Muir Photography

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

Nicola was born and raised in Hamilton, and Jai was born in Whangarei, living there as well as Auckland, Hamilton and a brief stint in Thailand as an infant. We both went to school in Hamilton, including the same middle school, but we didn’t meet until we were doing tertiary study.

We were introduced by a mutual friend and went to a few parties and beach trips together before we started dating. It didn’t take long and the rest is history. We were 18 and 19 when we met (six years ago!) so we have grown into adults together.

Jai is a software developer and Nicola is a marketer. We both work for small companies in Hamilton. We got engaged, bought a house, and planned a wedding all in 2019, it was a busy year! Our first home is a 1920s bungalow which requires A LOT of work, so we have been putting most of our energy into fixing her up and we love it, we are both super house proud.

We both love nature and bush walks, and Jai is super into surfing and tramping. Nicola is a keen gardener.

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…

We got marries at Bruntwood Homestead, a beautifully restored farmhouse with gardens, a barn and paddocks just outside of Cambridge. As it’s not set up as a wedding venue all year round, and people live there, we had to start from scratch.

The owners, Gary and Jane, are the nicest people you’ll ever meet and they were so accommodating! They worked hard in the months leading up to our date to clean up the property and remove a lot of equipment form the shed so we could use it for our drinks area.

We wanted a rustic and casual wedding, and the venue was the perfect blank canvas for us to create our vision. We hired our furniture from Love Club (they were amazing!) and the minimal style of it was ideal.

One of Nicola’s favourite details was the bunting she made together with her mum, sisters, aunty and grandma at our so called “bunting party”. We did this on the cheap by getting the material and string from op shops and it was so fun making it all.

Another highlight was the cakes made by Nicola’s sisters. They put in so much effort and they were stunning, such a hit! Our family was eating leftovers for several days after the wedding so that was awesome too.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Nicola got her dress from Grace Loves Lace – I fell in love with it when I saw it online! It felt a bit risky spending so much without being able to see it or try it on (as it was from Australia), but it was almost perfect when it arrived – just far too long! Luckily my mum is a whiz on the sewing machine, so she was able to hem it flawlessly!

I absolutely loved wearing my dress, it was so comfortable and absolutely gorgeous, I felt amazing in it.

As we were going for a pretty casual, summery style, we made the decision not to have the boys in jackets, which turned out to be a great one as it was a 30°C day! We chose simple cotton shirts and plain black pants, both from Barkers. Mum also sewed the boy’s ties with the same fabric as the Evolution Bridesmaids dresses.

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

We had so much fun hanging out with our bridal party getting photos before the ceremony, our photographer Ash made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera.

The speeches were amazing too, I wish we had them recorded! Jai’s speech made Nicola cry and she made sure to keep the ripped and wrinkled bit of paper he had written it down on the morning of the wedding. One of Jai’s groomsmen decided to do a last minute speech a few minutes before he made it, and this was one of the best ones despite the lack of preparation.

Our first dance was highly memorable as we totally messed it up and hadn’t practiced at all. We went to the same middle school, although we didn’t know each other then, and we were taught how to dance there. We couldn’t remember it at all! We waltzed for a couple of steps and then skipped straight to a two step because we totally failed at waltzing. It was embarrassing but I think we pulled it off okay.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?Take the time to listen to each other and always talk things through. If you love each other fully and put in the effort, you can achieve anything together!

Ceremony and Reception Location: Bruntwood Homestead | Photographer: Ash Muir Photography | Celebrant: Roxanna Holdsworth | Hire: Love Club Hire | Flora: Garland from Ruby Garland Flowers – Bouquets and Buttonholes made by bridal party | Catering: Chur Bowl Food Caravan | Beer: Brewaucracy | Cake: Made by the bride’s sisters | Festoon Lighting: LED Stuff | Bride’s Dress: Grace Loves Lace | Groom’s Attire: Barkers | Bride’s Ring: Diamonds | Groom’s Ring: Enso Rings | Bride’s Shoes: Number One Shoes | Groom’s Shoes: Merchant | Earrings: Luna Jewelry | Makeup: Gabrielle Houghton | Hair: Hannah Stechman Hair | Fragrance: Little Petal by Neat | Groomsmen Attire: Barkers | Bridesmaids Dresses: Evolution Bridesmaids