Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
Gray is a builder and also a DJ who loves to surf and snowboard. Bronté is a Software Tester and enjoys doing triathlons/ half marathons… and is learning to snowboard.
Our friends who met on tinder (they are now also married) each bought us along as wingmen/women to a party. We hit it off straight away and after a couple of weeks we were inseparable. It really escalated because we moved in together after 4 months, bought a house and adopted a dog at 8 months and then got engaged after a year and 3 months. I remember when we were looking to buy our house, my Mum came to visit with her Cousins from Holland and they suggested we might want to slow down a little, but then they both quickly stopped as they realised that they had both married their partners after 6 months and have now been happily married for over 35 years. When you know you just know I guess.
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 bought a really run-down house a couple of years ago, that had a large backyard, with the goal to do it up and have a relaxed backyard wedding by the beach (in Port Waikato). We may have bitten off a bit too much as we had to redo both the inside, outside, build a retaining wall, refence the property, landscape and also grow flowers and grass. Luckily both of our parents are amazing and made multiple trips to the Port in the weekends to help us out, sometimes even working in torrential rain. Though Gray was still up water blasting and painting the roof till the weekend before the wedding, we finally had our wedding venue ready. Well, minus some grass….why is grass so hard to grow?
The ceremony took place at Cobourne Reserve, which is kind of like Port Waikato’s own small botanical gardens. The Reserve is beautiful and lush with lots of greenery and flowers and overlooks the Waikato River, creating a really stunning and relaxed feel.
For the styling, we were aiming for a “Romantic backyard/Garden Wedding”; which meant lots of flowers and greenery. One of our favourite details of the wedding was our “booze boat” where we took a rustic looking wooden dingey and filled it with enough beer, cider and wine to keep 120 people well hydrated. Bronte’s family from Wellington, Perth and Canada came a week early and helped make our dinner seating (Designed by Gray) which were these beautiful two-toned picnic tables that helped carry through the theme even more.
Because we wanted lots of flowers and greenery, but didnt want to bankrupt ourselves, we bought our flowers from a wholesaler and then recruited Bronte’s talented Uncle to arrange them. All we did was tell Uncle Hugo the sort of look we wanted and he made it a reality. Our favourite creation of his was the beautiful draping flower arch he made for our ceremony.
Tell us about your main outfits:
Bronté: Bronté started pinteresting her wedding dress well before we were even engaged. When Gray popped the question, she showed her Mum this beautiful Rue De Seine gown that had an elegant simple shape and a stunning lace skirt. Apparently this dress was one that her Mum had also stumbled across on her search and had fallen in love with too. Bronté flew down to Paperswan in Wellington which had a collection of amazing dresses she wanted to try on, including the Rue De Seine Gown. It was the one she tried on first and the one they ended up picking.
Gray: Gray Also used pinterest to look for ideas, in the end it became a mash up of ideas. A quick search of Sylvia Park’s stores to find what he was looking for which was a laid-back look that was not too formal, but not too casual. To finish off the look he added a suit jacket so that he had a small point of difference to his groomsmen.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
Because our wedding was an outdoor wedding, one of the major stresses was the weather. The week of our wedding, Cyclone Rita came which meant we were calling Gray’s sister, who is a weather forecaster, every single day to find out whether our wedding was going to be ripped apart/drowned. She informed us that we didn’t need to worry as it wouldn’t effect Port Waikato except for slight winds which is luckily what happened. A few months later she told us that there had actually been a 50-50 chance that we were going to be smashed by the cyclone but hadn’t told us because she didn’t want us to worry.
One of the more mortifying memories was during the ceremony. Our Celebrant/friend, Tali, had written some beautiful words for us to repeat after her as we exchanged rings. It was during this time that we realised that Gray has the memory of a steal trap and that Bronté does not. Gray’s turn went beautifully, with him repeating every line exactly as Tali had said them. Bronté’s turn didn’t go as well. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and devotion to you” turned into quite the opposite meaning when she said “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and demotion to you”.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Don’t feel silly if you start organising your wedding very far in advance, the last three months zip by so fast that you will thank yourself.
Photographer: Ralph Bella Photography | Ceremony location: Cobourne Reserve Gardens – Port Waikato | Reception location: Couple’s backyard | Entertainment: DJ Graysound & DJ Wreckage | Flora: Hugo van Stratum and Twig and Twine | Catering: Paella Pan | Bride’s dress: Rue de Seine | Bride’s shoes: Lipstik | Bridesmaid’s dresses: Lulus | Groom & Groomsmen’s attire: Tarocash; Barkers; Hallensteins | Groom’s shoes: yd | Rings: Engagement ring – Mt Eden Jewellers; Wedding rings: Etsy | Bracelet & earrings: Zoe & Morgan | Groom’s watch: Triwa | Makeup: Grayson Coutts | Hair: Danielle Jennett