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

Kieran: We both share a love for coffee and vinyl records, dogs, land rovers, and brutalist architecture. Both of us are busy people who aim to work hard but we always, always prioritise phoneless dinners together and cups of tea to start the day.  

Sascha: I work in E-commerce managing the website and online sales for an interior concept/homewares store – which I absolutely love. I never thought I would end up where I am, given that I studied Art History and was determined to find a career working in Art Galleries – but I think the universe has always had this was of letting me think that I know what I want and watching me fall into something completely different – and usually better – like our wedding plans (or 2020 as a whole!).

Sascha + Kieran | Glendhu Station | Elopement | Wanaka | 27 June 2020 | from Charlotte Kiri Photography on Vimeo.

Sascha: I love contemporary art, interior design, good food (by good I mean probably very bad), new adventures, and the challenge of learning new skills. I love people! Especially the ones who go against the grain, stray from the crowd, and say what they think – and yes I am describing my husband here.

I am a very all-or-nothing, black and white thinker. When I love something, I love it with my whole heart and at times, am like an excitable child. This enthusiasm drives me – often leads me to new and unexpected things like moving to England at 18 years old, changing course at uni from Psychology to Art History, changing industries early on in my career, and marrying at 25. I think I just know when something is meant for me, and I know in my gut when it’s not.

Kieran: I work in local government, which is also something I didn’t think I would end up doing. I began my career in New Zealand working within the disability sport sector – first, regionally, then for 3 years I worked for Paralympics New Zealand. Within those roles I did a bit of universal design, trying to make sport more accessible to people of all abilities – now I do the same thing within local government to make public spaces more as accessible to people of all abilities.

I have a love for all things sport – as a player and a spectator. I’ll turn my hand to most things given the opportunity, will try most things at least once. This has always coupled well with Sascha’s thirst for adventure and the need to try new things every once in a while. We spend a lot of time making new friends and trying new skills.

We both possess this desire to think outside of the box, to do things a little bit differently in whatever we do, whether that’s in the finer details or the bigger picture. We encourage each other to push the boundaries we create for ourselves and strive for better.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Sascha: I still can’t really believe my luck with my dress. It was the opposite style to what I was looking for – I actually wanted flowy, bohemian with a little edge to it – probably mid-length sleeves, definitely no veil. I bought a classic, silky number with boning along the inside of the waist, shoulders and collarbones exposed, and low and behold, a veil. My November wedding seemed so far away in February, but I kept having this nightmare where I would show up on my big day in a terrible, ill-fitting dress which I’d found last-minute. So I decided to go dress hunting early. On day one of dress hunting, in the first and only studio I ever visited, the third dress I tried on was mine. I committed to the Le Chic’ gown at Hera Couture, paid the deposit, and locked it in to arrive in September. And good thing I did, because a month later, COVID started to tighten its grip on Aotearoa and our plans were floating further and further from reality. When I suddenly suggested bringing our wedding date forward to June, floated the idea of a secret elopement fresh out of lockdown to our team of beautiful vendors, I knew that my dress was the last on the list, and the only thing standing in the way. So I called Hera Couture and spoke to an assistant who said she would do the best she could to help. Ten minutes later, I received a call from the same woman, this time very excitably she said “You’re not going to believe this – we have your dress in your size!” A woman whose wedding was booked sooner than mine (and had to postpone), had ordered the same dress, so they swapped hers for mine when it arrived later. This was the sign I needed! It was fate.

I bought some red, velvet heels from Chaos and Harmony Shoes, as Kieran desperately wanted to find and wear a velvet burgundy suit jacket. Fortunately, we were put in contact with Murray Crane from Crane brothers, who generously turned around Kieran’s dream suit in a short time frame. We are so glad and grateful that Kieran didn’t have to compromise looking suave and sharp given the swift change of plans. Kieran wore his burgundy velvet suit jacket (with a narrow black lapel), a white dress shirt, a black bowtie, and black pants, all tailored to perfection. 

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

The day in itself was unique! We had a small wedding/elopement hybrid. My family – parents, brother, and grandparents were all present, but that was it. We chose to do it this way because our November wedding (of 120 guests), was looking less and less likely to happen as 45% of our guest list was coming from overseas – including Kieran’s parents and siblings (both of which were a part of our wedding party). So we thought, if we can’t have everyone, let’s just do it alone! But I couldn’t envision a wedding day without my dad there to walk me, his eldest and only daughter, down the aisle. So we decided just to have my closest family there and that was it. Only our immediate families knew we were doing this. Kieran and I couldn’t bear the thought of being yo-yo’d between our wedding being a possibility and not, which is what this virus has put us all through. We wanted to grab any opportunity to regain control of our plans and eloping seemed the obvious way forward. It wasn’t easy – particularly for Kieran.

When we were in the planning stages of the wedding, I spoke to our stylist about setting up a large picnic table at the ceremony site, so that straight after we had signed our wedding certificate, we could have a moment with my family before we went off with our photographer and videographer to do some shooting. It was SUCH a good decision. It was made easier by having so few guests. Straight after you’ve made your commitment, it’s nice to just pause for a second and be grateful to each other and those you have around you. There’s a magic in the air after you’ve made this commitment to your partner – it’s so beautiful to allow yourselves the time and space to savor this moment.

The week leading up to the wedding, I’d realised that I hadn’t allocated a task to my younger brother, so, as he is 6 foot something ridiculous and of very strong build, Kieran suggested asking him to be our signing table. We told our celebrant and kept it a surprise until the very moment we needed to sign our marriage certificate at the ceremony. He loved it. I think he said something along the lines of “why use mahogany when your parents had a second child,” bless his heart!

After the photography and videography shooting was all done, atop a big hill – at 2 degrees in Wanaka, may I add – Kieran and I walked into the Homestead onsite accommodation, where we were all staying. My family was in the lounge, shoes, ties, and coats off, sitting around the fire. Our caterers served us beautiful canapés while my family lounged around, which I just loved. There was something about seeing my family completely comfortable and totally at ease that made my heart warm. We eventually moved into the dining room, which our stylist had kindly dressed for us, so dinner was beautiful, and everyone was totally present, as their authentic selves. That was so, so special to me. 

I feel like I owe every one of our vendors a huge, heartfelt, and sincere thank you. One of those ones where your eyes water up and you feel all warm in your chest. Every single person who was there with us on our special day absolutely went out of their way to make this day what it was. They all know who they are and what they did, and they will always have a special place in my heart. We were everyone’s first wedding after COVID and the lockdown had devastated the wedding industry in Central Otago, so I know that our vendors poured their hearts into our wedding along with us and it really showed. 

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

Talk about the hard stuff; let your love know that you won’t judge them. Show up, however messy and disorganised you feel, always, always show up for each other. And last but not least, establish what your values are as a couple and put these at the forefront of every decision you make – don’t worry about others, do what’s most important to the two of you, everyone else will catch up eventually. 

Ceremony + Reception Location: Glendhu Station | Videographer: Bruno at Charlotte Kiri Photography | Photographer: Charlotte Kiri Photography | Celebrant: Married By Soph | Styling: Gypsy West from The Vase Queenstown | Glass + Tableware Hire: Major and Minor Hire | Marquee + Ghost Chairs: Truly Your Events Clear Marquee Hire | Flora: Gypsy West from The Vase Queenstown | Catering + Beverages: Fully Pitted | Cake: White Rabbit Cakes | Land Rover Hire: Glendhu Station | Sacha’s Gown: Le Chic by Hera Couture | Kieran’s Suit + Cufflinks: Crane Brothers | Rings: Walker & Hall | Shoes: Chaos & Harmony | Sascha’s bracelet: Meadowlark | Earrings: Hera Couture | Makeup: Loren Russell Makeup Artist | Hair: Sharp Hair | Fragrance: Gypsy Water by Byredo

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