Rachel + Rob by Lucy Li Photography

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

Rachel – I work as a property risk and valuation analyst for a major bank, and Rob works for an online software company. 

I’m also in my last year of my property degree and Rob is in the process of becoming an accredited strength coach. We have a passion for powerlifting and love going to the gym together. We also recently adopted a huntaway puppy, Billie, who keeps us very busy! We love taking her to the dog park and the beach on weekends. We also have a cat, Freddie, who we adopted a couple of years ago. We bought a house in Petone last year so we’ve been enjoying trying the local restaurants and craft beer. 

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

Rachel – We met near the end of 2012. I was still at school, he studied commercial music, and it all started because I sent him a Facebook friend request. I was vaguely aware of who he was through mutual friends, and I thought he was way too cool for me. Surprisingly, he accepted my friend request, and sent me a message within an hour. For our first date Rob took me out for a coffee, and I remember feeling an instant connection. After we first met we saw each other almost daily, and after a few weeks he overheard me confessing I liked him to a friend of ours. About a month after we met we started dating, and almost 10 years later here we are!

Rob – I actually remember the afternoon I got her friend request as I was in the middle of painting my face for my halloween costume. I recognised her as the cute girl I had seen around a few times so of course I accepted. From there I was pretty quick to message her and before long we were planning to meet for coffee. The date went well and honestly, I just couldn’t wait to spend more time with her.

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

Rachel – I think I knew from the first date, although he did make a passing comment that he never wanted to get married! I knew I had to change that. He’s also very hard to read, so until he asked me out I was never really certain if he felt the same way, but when we did start dating it was very clear to me that we had something special. 

Rob – For me, I think I knew it pretty early on in our relationship. Everything always feels very natural between us, so there’s never been a point where I thought we weren’t right for each other. However, it wasn’t until we had been living together for a few years that I built up the courage to propose. 

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

Rachel – I booked a trip to Queenstown for my birthday in May 2019, and leading up to the trip people did keep suggesting he might propose, especially since we had been talking about rings for a while, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I convinced myself he wasn’t going to do it! On my birthday, we went out for brunch, and he was very quiet and acting strangely, which freaked me out a bit… I thought something was wrong! Then we went for a walk around the lake, and I now know that he planned to pop the question during the walk, but the moment he went to take the ring out of his pocket, a cyclist pulled up in front of him and I turned around, so the moment was ruined! He then decided it would be a good idea to do it in a gondola going up to the luge, but we’re both terrified of heights! When he did ask, I was genuinely shocked, and also very nervous about how high up we were. When we got to the top, we rang our families to share the news, went on the luge a few times, and then went and got a donut. We celebrated with dinner and a few drinks that night. It was a pretty unique proposal!

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

Rachel – When we first got engaged we had no idea what we wanted to do, and there was a lot of back and forth between ideas. Then the pandemic happened, along with lots of other things that delayed our wedding planning. We decided we wanted to get married in the city because we had fallen in love with it and chosen to move there together when we were young. We decided to do a first look at our hotel, The Intrepid, which is a really funky hotel with a wine bar in an old chocolate factory. It was the perfect spot. Then we went for a walk down to a laneway where we rented an apartment a few years ago, which had so many amazing urban backgrounds. It felt really special to have photos where we had lived and spent so much time during our relationship. We chose Prefab Hall as the venue for our ceremony and reception because it has such a modern, relaxed vibe. I didn’t want a lot of décor so having the right venue was important. We had no seating arrangements, and we had a food truck so people could move around and talk to each other! We had a small guest list and we felt we had the perfect number of people, although unfortunately some could not be there on the day. There was a big open space for dancing and chatting, even my 2 year old niece showed off some dance moves! Everyone couldn’t stop telling us how much fun it was to just let loose and party, something we hadn’t been able to do for a long time thanks to the pandemic.

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

Rachel – I was so convinced something would go wrong, but thankfully it all ran pretty smoothly. We had the photos before the ceremony, and I had organised to meet my family at their hotel near the venue so we could walk together. I arrived at their hotel with Lucy and they had already gone to the venue – somewhere the message was lost! I didn’t have my phone, so we had to ask an employee at the hotel to ring my Aunty. Long story short, I eventually met up with them, but it was incredibly stressful standing in a random hotel lobby in a wedding dress! I was also very anxious about being late, so anxious that I stood outside the venue asking whether they were ready for me yet before the ceremony was due to start. Everything worked out in the end – and I find it funny to think how stressed I was. We were also very stressed in the days leading up to the day because there was rain forecast – but thankfully it didn’t rain at all! At the last minute we made the call to move the ceremony inside because of the wind, which took a lot of convincing because I was dead set on having it outdoors, but now looking back I’m really happy we did. I think everything happened for a reason.

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

Rachel – I had a vision for my dress to be modern and simple, and I wanted to have a unique aspect to my outfit. I decided to go with a dress from Kaia Elle Bridal. The process was really easy for me, I fell in love with my dress online, and as soon as I tried it on I knew it was the one. I tried on a few others but I had already made up my mind. I also wanted a unique hair accessory that wasn’t a veil, so when I came across Claire Hahn’s work online I knew I had to have a statement headband. Claire made me a custom pearl and flower headband and it was the perfect addition to my modern look. I brought it all together with my Mums pearl earrings and some chunky Mi Piaci heels. Rob just wanted to feel comfortable, but with a unique element to his outfit as well. We visited Rembrandt one weekend and found everything in one visit, with lots of help from the awesome staff. He decided not to wear a tie as we wanted to feel relaxed and comfortable. A pocket square was the perfect pop of colour to his charcoal suit. 

Ceremony and reception location: Prefab Hall / Photographer: Lucy Li Photography / Celebrant: Beth Brash / Entertainment: Booth Life / Flora: Melissa Jane Flowers / Catering + Beverages: Wilson Barbeque and Parrotdog Beer / Cake: Grace Patisserie / Stationery: Hey Lola Design / Bride’s gown: Kaia Elle Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Rembrandt / Engagement ring: Meadowlark / Wedding rings: Good Gold / Shoes: Mi Piaci / Headband: Claire Hahn Millinery / Makeup: Spencer Jade / Hair: Willis York