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

We are a family of four –  Manu is from Motueka and Alecia is from the north Waikato. We met in Wellington in 2011 on a touch rugby field and got to know each other through sport. Manu picked me up in his black van to go to training so finding the black VW combi van to hire at our wedding was very fitting. 

Cohen is our first born and is turning five this October. He is full of energy and loves helping his Dad with building projects. Sienna is our smiley independent 3 year old daughter who copies her big brother and loves wearing mama’s high heels.

Manu is a builder and loves DIY – we are currently renovating our home in Papamoa not far from the beach. We love to spend a lot of time at the beach and spending time together as a family. We also spend a lot of time in Whangamata as we have a family bach there.  Hence why we chose it for our wedding location. Alecia is currently a stay at home mum while the children are still at a young age.

Having our children at our wedding was so special and we are so glad they could be part of our wedding day. Our photographer and videographer captured such special moments for us to look back on in years to come – amazing!

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 theme was vintage/boho – we incorporated a lot of olive leaf which also symbolised a love for Italy and linked to special family connections, and eucalyptus leaf which was all from Alecia’s family farm in the Waikato. Family members gathered all the greenery in the days leading up to the wedding.

We chose Whangamata as a wedding location to create a laid back feel for our guests to enjoy  and see where we spend a lot of our time as a family. The reserve overlooking the estuary is such a special spot. We stumbled across it on a walk one day and fell in love with it immediately!

The morning started with us girls getting ready together at a tuscan style home. We chose to have our first look there before the ceremony and it enabled us to have family photos and special family moments with our children.

The groom and groomsmen then headed off to the ceremony to await our arrival shortly after.

It was then time to head to the ceremony for the rest of us – the black VW we hired from arrived and the party started on the way to the ceremony with the music blaring. It was kept as a surprise from the groom, groomsmen and all guests that we were arriving in the combi van so when the music was blasting ‘Happy by Pharall Williams’ everyone thought ‘Who is this turning up to the ceremony?’ We all got out and made our way to begin the start of the ceremony with such excitement.

Aisle Music was Renee Dominque – Wonderful world/ Can’t help falling in love with you

We had a circular archway which had greenery from the family farm and the circle represented eternity and everlasting love.

At the time of  the ceremony the sun streamed through the big trees and shone down on us all, beautiful!


Some funny parts of the vows were when Alecia said ‘I promise to give you time to do building DIY in the weekends and Manu said ‘I promise to wait patiently for you to get ready when we are about to go somewhere’

We signed our marriage licence to an acoustic version of All of Me by John Legend and walked out to Feel the love by Rudimental.

We mingled with our guests after the ceremony drinking champagne in the sunshine then headed off to do some sunset shots with our photographer and videographer – such a magical time of day!

All the bridal party headed back to the surf club reception in the combi van and got welcomed in by our guests. We had a large grazing table which our guests demolished waiting for our return! The photo booth was a hit too and guests had lots of fun with the props etc.

We sat on a couch together while speeches were on, guests were seated at bar leaners and bar stools. The surf club balconies overlooked the main beach at Whangamata – stunning!. We were so fortunate to have sunny weather as it rained on the days on either side of our wedding day.

Food was passed around on platters throughout the evening and close friends and family helped with the catering and bar so the evening had an extra special feeling of family togetherness. And then we all partied til the wee hours.


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

– The first look which gave us time as a family before the ceremony

– Arriving at the ceremony in the combi van

– Sunset shots on our own before joining our guests back at the reception

– Cocktail style reception and we (bride & groom) sat on a couch together while speeches were   on – made for an extra relaxed feel.

– The Photo Booth was used by guests all throughout out the evening – they loved it!.

– Our band Left Hand Break from Tauranga had the guests partying all night long.

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

Create a day that symbolises you as a couple and make the day how you want it. We really didn’t want too much formality in the reception and having us sitting together on a couch while speeches were on really made us feel more relaxed.

Photographer- Anne Paar, Videographer- Bad Panda Productions, Bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits- Shona Joy/ Hallensteins, Dress- Corina Snow, Grooms outfit- Hallensteins, Flora and Styling- A little bit vintage (Waikato), Rings- Stewart Dawson/ Michael Hill, ASOS, Designer Wardrobe, Shoes- Tony Bianco, Hallensteins, Venue- Whangamata Estuary Reserve, Brides Hair and MUA- Jenna Thomsen Makeup Artist, Victoria Spain Hair Boutique.



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