Tayla + Nathaniel by Zara Staples

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

Tayla is a veterinary nurse and Nathaniel is studying for a degree in Māori Art at Toihoukura and live rurally in Otoko, Te Tai Rāwhiti. We met in Perth, Western Australia at a games night over a bad match of table tennis through a mutual friend from church (thank you, our beautiful Isabella!) and much later in the piece we became really good friends.

We ended up in a long distance relationship when it came time for me to move back to New Zealand. Nathaniel followed me over a few months later and the rest is history. We both have an intense appreciation for amazing kai which is something we are constantly bonding over and a great love of animals. I grew up in the country and was excited to introduce Nathaniel to the rural lifestyle I’d been itching to get back to. He is a hardworker and will put his hands to anything and give it a go so there’s always plenty around here for him to do. Animals are a big part of our life here in the sticks (that’s my excuse anyway) and he doesn’t complain when I bring them home, the last of which was a kunekune pig he spoils rotten. We always have a ridiculous amount of fun together – how blessed are we to spend our days laughing and enjoying each other’s company?

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 knew before we were even engaged that we’d elope. For us personally, we felt that a really small and intimate wedding was best suited to our views on marriage and what our love meant to each other. My sister Morgan came on behalf of my family and Nathaniel’s brother John was to be there on behalf of his family but unfortunately COVID19 put a stop to our plans for him to join us from Melbourne. We were also joined by our amazing bishop Melvyn and his lovely wife Yvette from church. Bishop was meant to marry us but there were delays in his paperwork so he found us an amazing celebrant seriously last minute! We married under a poplar tree at home and thankfully the small rain showers from earlier on in the day had disappeared without a trace. We did everything ourselves with help from my sister, with the exception of the bouquet and boutonniere. We used a lot of beautiful, antique hydrangeas from a couple of the girls at work and pampas grass and toe toe harvested roadside on our many little adventures. Nathaniel is very creative and made our welcome sign, the easel it sits on and the arbour from things we had lying around. He also did the table arrangements and grazing platters while I was getting ready, a man of many talents! Theodore, our little dog, was the flower boy. Our piglet Frankie was to join us as flower girl but she was too naughty and not to be trusted.

Tell us about your main outfits:

My beautiful sister Morgan made my dress for me. I’m sure she had many late nights getting it finished, she did the most amazing job. I initially had done a lot of Pinterest scrolling looking for white dresses and I couldn’t find anything I really loved. I realised I’d never be happy in the standard white dress and that’s where my sister and a whole heap of gold, glittery fabric came in. Morgan also did my hair and makeup and put a ridiculous amount of time into helping make the day perfect. We love her! Nathaniel’s outfit was easy, he’s most comfortable in shorts so we cut up some chinos and he already owned everything else!

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

Besides marrying each other … driving 40 minutes into town in our pyjamas to get pizza just before midnight! Every little thing was memorable. Having my sister there was special and we wish Nathaniel’s brother could have joined us too.

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

Marry your best friend! Do your absolute best to make the preparation leading up to the day a positive experience revolving around the both of you. At the end of the day, your love and friendship is the most important thing and that is the part you need to nurture and care for. Do things your way and have fun.

Photography: @zarastaplesweddings | Ceremony location: Home under a poplar tree | Celebrant: Margaret Takoko | Bride’s gown: Handmade by bride’s sister | Rings: Pounamu rings | Engagement toki: @puawaijade | Makeup and Hair: @morganabel_mua | Flora: @field0froses |