Real Wedding: Mary & Michael – Photography by Nisha Ravji

We met almost 10 years ago during our first year at Waikato University, through living in the same student hostel. Michael would sit outside playing guitar and I’d go and sit with him and sing.


Our wedding location was the easy part! After an overseas stint, we moved to Featherston in the South Wairarapa two years ago and have loved it ever since. We wanted to show off our new region to friends and family, so all the venues were local. I got ready at our house, Michael up the road at a family friend’s, and both the church and reception hall were in Martinborough. Our bridal party photos were taken beside Lake Wairarapa as we spend a lot of summer nights out there, so that was another special place that formed part of our day.


Ah, the dress… on a Facebook visit one evening, the dress found me. On that fateful night, the first image to pop up on my newsfeed was an exquisite vintage dress, with delicate lace and a high neckline – features I’d always dreamed of but were hard to find. Measurements check? Bingo! A final consult with mum and it was a no-brainer. Of course an online purchase without trying on can be a risky way to go – we’ve all heard the horror stories. While you never know quite what you might receive, particularly with vintage items, I was sure to thoroughly check the shop reviews, which all looked legitimate. The risk paid off!

The vintage/nostalgic atmosphere played throughout the wedding – not just with the dress, but the boys in tweed, the historic buildings, our 1930s bungalow where I got ready. The colour scheme was warm and romantic, and strangely enough the cream and oxblood-red colours ended up being a feature not just of the clothing and flowers but also the church and the interior of the reception. Styling involved a lot of DIY – collecting jars, spray-painting cans, hand-lettering signage and foraging for pine cones.



A unique moment was us girls arriving to the church in my dad’s caravan – I couldn’t justify the car hire expense. It actually proved very useful in many ways, not only for moving people around but for transporting things before and after the day!


Surprising guests with our ‘first song’ instead of a first dance was another memorable highlight. We both decided early on a first dance would only make us feel awkward, and we’ve always jammed together since we first met. We performed two songs, a softer duet to start, and then a punchy Florence and the Machine number to finish.



Photography, Nisha Ravji  | Location, Burnside Church, Pirinoa | Flora, Yvette Edwards  | Catering, Blue Carrot Catering  | Brides Dress, Gossamer  | Grooms Attire, ASOS