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

Ihaia and Dannielle, aged 25 and 26 and both from New Zealand. Ihaia found my Instagram page in early 2014 and with a nod to social media, we started chatting.

We had mutual friends in Wellington and Ihaia was down from his home town, Hawkes Bay, a lot as he is involved in rugby and playing for the Hurricanes development team at the time. A couple of meetings in Wellington to a girls trip to Hawkes Bay for the weekend, we were enjoying each other’s company more and more. As we each met each other’s friends and family and good times were had, saying goodbye was getting harder.

Long distance was the first challenge as Ihaia signed with the Auckland Blues and I finished off the year in Wellington. Many weekends were spent visiting between Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Wellington but after the summer of 2014, 2015 had me moving to join Ihaia in Auckland.

Moving in for the first time together into a townhouse in Mount Wellington, routine flowed smoothly and it all felt right. Mount Wellington to Napier for Mitre 10 cup, this pattern repeated itself through Grey Lynn, Napier, Kingsland and now in Wellington. 4 years of moving twice a year, new jobs for me, new seasons starting for Ihaia, holidays overseas and within NZ and a couple of rugby teams on, we have been learning, growing, gaining some great friends and experiencing so much together. We’ve found a mutual love of food, eating our way around new places, watching sunsets in the different towns we live in and new fashion fads we’d love then come to regret! This is about to continue as we move to France in August with Ihaia signing a rugby contract over there. We understand it’ll just be us for awhile as we find our feet and settle into life on the other side of the world. We are ready for a new chapter and are so happy we get to experience this crazy life together.


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 are such summer lovers so getting married in windy Welly in winter was a shock to our system! However, life works that way and we were thrown a very exciting curveball of moving to France for Ihaia’s job as a professional rugby player this August and we decided we both wanted to tie the knot in front of friends and family before we left. We got engaged in March 2018 and we had three months to plan our wedding! The night before our wedding we stayed separately with our bridesmaids and groomsmen at Air BnB’s we’d rented out and this made seeing each other at the end of the aisle that bit more exciting.

We had a small wedding of around 65 people and really put together our guest list carefully. At such short notice we were spoiled by friends and family flying in from London, Japan, Australia and over New Zealand for our day. I had great grandparents attend and we had the kids closest to us at the ceremony with my 2 year old sister, Grace and Ihaia’s 7 year old niece, Ruby as flower girls.
Our theme was green, white, gold and a lot of simplicity and Mindy from Twig & Arrow helped me put together the amazing outcome of what we were visualising. The bridesmaids held a single king protea which I loved the raw, wild look instead of a traditional bridal bouquet, I also wanted my bouquet to be really wild looking which it was. Ihaia, the groomsmen, both fathers and my mum who walked me down the aisle also wore a white flower buttonhole. We got cookies made by @cookiecollectivenz which were our favours and put on each person’s place on the tables that said “GOING WEST 09.06.18”. Zane, one of Ihaias groomsmen, made us a sign that we put above the fireplace which we loved and my great grandad is a woodturner and we had wooden candle holders that he made above the fireplace too (both in the pictures), personal touches like that were special to have and important to us to have tied into our theme.
With the speeches, we choose our speakers specifically. We had Ihaia’s mum open our reception with a Maori mihi, Dannielle’s mum, Ihaia’s dad, a person from both sides of the wedding parties and finished with Ihaia speaking on behalf of us. Each speech was so different and really great, the guests were constantly laughing and entertained and because there were only a few speeches, it kept the night flowing. We had food served throughout the speeches which broke them up as well. We think having great speakers (and not too many!) is the key to a successful night. Looking back on the photos that @timkellynadineellen took, there’s so much happiness and laughter and it really does capture the day perfectly. When we think back on our way, we will always remember the glowing setting with smiles all round.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Dannielle​: I bought my dress from Paper Swan in Kelburn. I went for two fittings with some close family and one friend. This was the first place I went and THE dress was the second I tried on. I went in thinking that I didn’t want a bold lace print and what did I end up getting??!! The dress was in the window and I had to be persuaded to try it on, thank God I did! It was my favourite as soon as I put it on and it didn’t take long to seal the deal. However as I was on such tight timing, we had to pay extra to get it made in under 8 weeks and when it did arrive, it was too big! After about 3 trips to get it altered, I picked it up all finished the day before the wedding. The dress did end up being a bit stressful to deal with and not being able to tick it off until the day before was a bit of a pain as well. I guess it comes with the timing of planning in 3 months! None of my bridesmaids had seen the dress I had chosen before the wedding and I did the dress reveal once I was in it the morning of. The photos of their reactions are a few of my favourites from the whole day. For me, that was the moment where it all hit me.

Ihaia and groomsmen​: Whole suit from Barkers. Ihaia did a fitting with Dannielle and another with one of his groomsmen, Matty. Ihaia brought his groomsmens outfits for them and they all wore their own brown boots, belts and watches.

Bridesmaids​: I got all my girls to choose their own Miss Crabb dress in the same Navy colour. Everyone is different shapes and sizes and I wanted them to feel comfortable and beautiful on the day. They just rented the dresses for the wedding off NZ rental sites (great $$ saver) and bought the same shoes off the Iconic. Bridesmaid earrings –​ Zoe & Morgan. My gift to the girls were stunning Zoe&Morgan earrings. They all wore them on the day and now they have a special something from the wedding in their day to day life too!

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

We got married on the WEST coast of Wellington at Boomrock (such a great coincidence).We wrote our own vows which were super special to each other. We actually told each other our vows as we wrote them so we wouldn’t totally break on the day and so we were on the same page of how long each others was!
My great grandad who has been married 65 years spoke in our ceremony about love and marriage, we are so lucky to have had that and are grateful for his words.
I also wore my great nans diamond stud earrings as the “something borrowed” for the day. My bridesmaid, Brooke and Ihaias groomsman, Kaleb, cooked a huge breakfast at each house the morning of our wedding that included eggs, hashbrowns, tomatoes, halloumi – you name it! It is something that sticks in my mind as it was so selfless, helpful and needed! A big breakfast the morning of is a must!
Brooke also drove us girls up in my Jeep Wrangler where we had Drake playing on the way (my fave!), people I’ve talked to about that think it’s so boss that we drove ourselves to the ceremony!
I am really close to mum and she walked me down the aisle, that will always be a favourite memory of mine, so special to have her by my side. Girl power!
I walked down the aisle to Cruisin’ by Gallant and Andra Day which we downloaded when we heard it while eating at Chinoiserie, one of our go-to cheap eats, in Auckland last year. When we were searching for an aisle song and that came on, it was decided instantly!
We played Six60 “Closer” while walking back up the aisle together because what is a New Zealand wedding without some Six60!
Our celebrant, Pania Gray, I have known forever as she is a family friend. She also married my mum and Josh a few years ago so to have that link is special. Pan gave us an outline of a ceremony and we followed that to write our own ceremony. We choose everything that was included ourselves and along with writing our own vows. We also asked Ihaias sister, Aorangi, to read out some lyrics for us, my great Poppa to say a speech on love and marriage as he has been married for 65 years and Pan to create a piece about love for us. We also choose my nanny Lynn and Aorangi to sign the register as our witnesses. I thought whoever signed the register needed to be in the wedding party but that’s not the case so it was a nice time to incorporate other people to be involved too.

My step dad MC’d the wedding, we ​knew from the get-go that he was going to be our MC! Josh is a great speaker and had no problem getting the attention of the room which is key to keep a wedding running to time. Finding someone to MC isn’t an easy job so we were lucky and thankful to have had him.
The night of the wedding, Ihaia and I got on the 12am bus with everyone departing Boomrock back to the city. We got in an Uber from where the bus dropped everyone and went through the cheeky McDonalds drive through and headed to the house the bridesmaids were staying in with cheeseburgers for them all. So funny as that is such a classic end to a night out! We stayed there the night and have no regrets! You spend every other night together, it was so cool falling asleep under the same roof as them.
Our last people to include, our photographers!!​ ​Tim Kelly & Nadine Ellen. We rave about these two any chance we get! Tim and Nadine were our first choice of photographers out of 3. They usually go and catch the Europe summer weddings when it is winter in NZ but just our luck, they decided to stay in NZ this year and we were so so so happy to have them part of our day! We came across them on Instagram and fell in love with the way they captured moments from different angles then your standard. Ihaia and I Skyped Tim and Nadine and shortly after we booked them in. They are some of the coolest people we’ve come across. We both had heaps of fun with them on the wedding day and felt nothing but relaxed. Having amazing photographers I’d say is up there in the top 3 things as photos and videos are something you’ll always be able to look back on. When our photo collection arrived only 6 weeks after our wedding and it brought up memories/details that we’d already forgotten so it’s nice to have a whole collection that we can forever look back on! We could not have had better people to capture our day in the most perfect way. We are hugely obsessed.

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

When you find the one, they are an extension of you.
Keep your day totally what you both want it like, there is no-one to impress. The secret to having it all, is knowing that you already do.

Photography: Tim Kelly & Nadine Ellen | Ceremony & Reception location & Catering: Boomrock | Styling: Dannielle with the help of Mindy from Twig & Arrow | Cake: Family friend Sarah at Finom | Bride’s dress: North Gown by Lovers Society from Paper Swan | Bride’s shoes: Billini | Bridesmaid dresses: Miss Crabb | Groom & Groomsmen’s attire: Barkers | Rings: Naveya & Sloane | Makeup: Kate Keogh, owner of Beauty Book | Hair: Asha McAllister Dollhouse ‘Do



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