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Winter wedding at Kumeu Valley Estate

Today we feature the handsome couple Nick and Shameel, whose wedding was celebrated only 5 days after New Zealand went into level 1 after lockdown.

“We were offered to move the date if we wanted to but we stayed positive. Thankfully my stubbornness paid off because we had the best wedding and all our guests did too as it was right after a long lockdown!”

Who Nick and Shameel Kennedy-Hall
Where  Kumeu Valley Estate
Guests 100

Budget $30k – stayed relatively within the budget.

How did you meet? We met the good old fashioned way, through Tinder.

How did your partner propose? I (Shameel) proposed to Nick on his 30th birthday. I took him out all around Auckland doing lots of fun activities – a private tour of the Smith and Caughey’s building (Nick loves old buildings), a horse trek, massages, then we went to the place we had our first date and I gave him a card that he though was a voucher to buy some clothes but inside it said “Will you marry me”. Finally we had a surprise dinner with our family and close friends to celebrate our engagement before we headed off to Europe the next day for 8 weeks! A whirlwind to say the least!

What was important to you when you started planning your wedding? We just wanted a really nice venue that fit the rustic vibe we were looking for.

In three words describe your wedding style Homely, Rustic and Earthy

Was there anything that you did that was a little different to the ‘norm’ for your wedding? Being a same sex but also a mixed race couple we had a traditional Indian Mehndi night the night before the wedding where we had our henna done, we both walked down the aisle at the ceremony together.

How did you personalise your wedding day? We had hand written place cards for all our guests and had custom dried flower lapels or hair clips for our Groom-al party (that’s what we called our bridal party).

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

  • Splurge – Our DJ – a bit more pricey but he was there the whole day and created the perfect
    vibe throughout the day and well into the evening!
  • Save – we had our suits custom made in Thailand on our way back from Europe which saved a
    few hundred dollars. We also didn’t have to buy any floral arrangements as our venue, the week
    before the wedding, did an open day and had a lot of leftovers which they were more than happy
    for us to use!

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun? The guest list was difficult, we wanted to make sure we had everyone we wanted there but also had to make tough calls on who didn’t need to be there. The best part was deciding what food we wanted to serve and the cake tasting which was contactless due to the lockdowns!

What did you use to plan your wedding? We did everything on a google doc – we did all of it ourselves but the lovely Annette at Kumeu Valley took over the organisation in the set up and running of the night. Best thing ever!

Did you DIY anything, or have family and friends help? We designed our own menus and cut branches from my parent’s bay leaf tree and our magnolia tree to do our centre pieces for our table.

Did lockdowns have any effect on your plans, did you have to postpone, change any of your plans
or reduce your guest list?
We were so lucky in that our wedding was the first weekend at Level 1 – it was very touch and go and we were offered to move the date if we wanted to but we stayed positive. Thankfully my stubbornness paid off because we had the best wedding and all our guests did too as it was right after a long lockdown!

What advice would you share with others planning their Big Day? Invest in a person or venue that will run your wedding day and set up for you – this was the best thing for us as we were able to relax the day before knowing it was all being done for us as well as getting to enjoy the day and evening too. Let someone else be stressed on your day – just enjoy it! If possible get your photos taken before the wedding so you can spend time in the ceremony, with your friends and family and just enjoy the moment.

Do you have any regrets, what would you change, if anything? We had no regrets with our wedding – we had the best time and enjoyed every minute of it!

Where did you go for your honeymoon? We had originally planned to go to Japan but Covid stopped that in it’s tracks. Instead we did a Minimoon to the Coromandel followed by a longer honeymoon in the central north island going around different places.

Photographer Katrina Cooke Photography
Venue, Catering & Event Planning Kumeu Valley Estate
Hair Morgan Bolger at Hava and Co High Street
Rings Michael Hill
Wedding Cake Holly Steiner
DJ MixitDJ

Indian Wedding Inspiration – Te Mata Peak | Craggy Range

Ummmm… I have no idea where to start with today’s wedding. It is simply AMAZING. You will find it below in two gorgeous parts. First the Indian Sangeet Night at Mana Lodge (with photos up Te Mata peak before hand) followed by the incredible wedding at Craggy Range. Both are so beautiful, the details are out of this world, the couple is gorgeous and the venues, well the venues are insanely breathtaking. The superstar photographer behind the images is none other than the talented Heather Liddell. #legend 

Thank you so much Neha & Zoheb for sharing your unique and stunning day with us and a huge thank you to Heather Liddell, I feel very lucky to feature this wedding!

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Who Neha & Zoheb
Where Mana Lodge (Indian Night) & Craggy Range Vineyards (Wedding)
Guests 172

How did you meet?

Zoheb had moved to Fiji for work and I was living in Sydney when we met. We met when I came to visit my family in Fiji during Christmas break from Sydney. I’ve been brought up in Fiji and moved to Sydney for University, graduated and worked for 2 years there until Zoheb and I met- I moved back to Fiji for him. He came to Sydney to visit me every 2 months while we did long distance for around 1 ½ years. We’ve known each other for around 6 years now.

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In three words describe your wedding style… Simple, Elegant, Glamorous

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

Splurged on personalising many things such as the aisle, stationery, “throw me” petal bags, stirrers, napkins, chocolates, gift packs. & of course Flowers!!

It was too hard to save on anything. Things cost a fortune when it comes to planning your wedding!

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What did you do for your hens night?

My first trip to Waiheke. We went to Mudbrick Vineyard & Stoney Ridge. There were a bunch of us girls, everyone wore shades of pink & white flower crowns. The bridemaids wore light pink tutu with a white crop top. We did Lots of wine tasting, Made our own perfumes with natural oils, Amazing sharing Platters, and more drinking & dancing through out the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better Hens do!

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What music did you play for those special moments?

Miracle by Cold Play as our mothers entered the ceremony. | A Thousand Years by Christina Perri as the bridesmaids followed by my father and I walked down. | For our registry we had Hold Back The River by James Bay and I’m yours by Jason Mraz as we walked out. | Our first dance was Hero by Enrique Iglesias. | We had a acoustic guitarist & singer to play while all guests were having drinks & canapés. | As the bridal party entered into the reception marquee we had Klingande by Jubel played as this is Zos and I’s favourite song.

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What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun?

Planning everything from another country without a wedding planner. During the planning stage I had difficulties in finding a good wedding stylist/planner, as everyone who I had come across did more simple rustic weddings. Therefore I had my florist to style my wedding event and my cousin to style the Indian night, giving them concept images of exactly what I had wanted the events to look like. Hawkes Bay had limited wedding suppliers, therefore I had supplied things from overseas & also hired a few things from Auckland.

The most of fun part of the wedding was Styling the two events!

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Where will you go for your honeymoon?

We are looking at going to Africa or Europe in October!

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Photographer Heather Liddell
Flowers Magdalen Hill
Venue Mana Lodge & Craggy Range
 Orton (Mana Lodge)
Hire Company I Do GlamourMardi Gras Event HireMarques Over Hawkes Bay
Stationery From India
Hair & Makeup Missy Mu (Michelle) & Mary Estelle
Cake The Pretty Little Details
Celebrant Vivienne Pearse
Brides Dress Sabyasachi Couture
Accessories & Shoes Jimmy Choo & Christian Louboutin
Bridesmaids Dresses Custom made salmon pink saree with crystal head piece
Grooms Suit & Accessories RJB DesignsChristian LouboutinHublot Watch
Rings Cartier & Partridge Jewellers pink diamond wedding bands
Transport Go Buses
Music DJ Dave

Minimalist Cultural Fusion Wedding | Wintergardens, Auckland Domain

This bright, beautiful and unconventional wedding captured by Santana Maria Photography will inspire all couples wanting a minimalist and alternative wedding celebrating different cultures or styles! Enjoy!

“We had an evening ceremony, as we had to wait for the Wintergardens to close to the public. We had around 70 guests there for a standing ceremony. I walked the aisle by myself, and I chose to walk in toward the guests rather than from behind, which was quite emotional. It was a long walk from one end of the courtyard to the other, and seeing all the faces of our friends and family staring toward me made the moment feel very real. That image is one that will stick in my memory the most from the day. The gardens and courtyard are so stunning that no decorations were needed. We literally just put a sign outside so people knew they were in the right place, and a trestle table for drinks, and that was it. We wrote our own vows in to little notebooks, and heard them for the first time that day. Mine were so much longer than Rupaks! When we signed the registry we had Stevie Wonder ‘signed, sealed, delivered’ playing, it was fun having a little boogie while waiting for our mothers to sign the registry.” – Kathryn (the bride!)

Who Kathryn + Rupak
Where Wintergardens, Auckland Domain
Guests 70

Our love story began…

I’m a secondary school fashion design and technology teacher, and Rupak is a data analyst. We met at an ANZAC day party of a mutual friend. I had seen a photo of Rupak online so I knew he existed, but didn’t realise he would be there at this party. Toward the end of the night Rupak was ‘tearing up the dance floor’ – (his words not mine) and I was standing around not knowing anyone after my one and only friend at this party had left. So I joined Rupak on the dance floor. We went our separate ways that night without each other’s numbers or anything, but Rupak found me on Facebook a few days later and arranged our first date – me measuring him for a custom made suit… That is a whole other story…

I said yes…

Rupak proposed to me on my birthday. It was not romantic at all but it was the perfect proposal for us. Rupak gave me my birthday present early in the morning, it was a Meadowlark box. I got excited thinking it was a proposal as the ring I wanted for an engagement ring was a Meadowlark one. Sadly it was not. But then we took the dog for a walk on the beach, and Rupak sat me down and said he had a second gift. “It comes with a condition though – you have to marry me”, to which I said “okay … “, because the usual “yes” didn’t quite work seeing has he hadn’t actually asked. I took the box off him and put the ring on my finger myself, we had a quick kiss, a car honked at us, and the dog started getting restless from sitting for so long. So we walked home and that was that.

Our wedding style inspiration was…

We aren’t really into the whole theme thing, but I think all the elements came together pretty nicely regardless. We wanted to create a really subtle fusion of Indian and Kiwi culture through our food, music, colour scheme, stationery etc. I also have a preference to lean toward a more minimal aesthetic so that was of course going to drive some of the decisions too.

We saved by…

Having a fashion degree finally paid off here, as I made my own dress. I knew early on that I wouldn’t like anything in the stores as I wanted something super minimalist. I made it at work so that Rupak didn’t see it until the big reveal. I loved the gold exposed zip at the back and the little lower back cut-out as that gave it just enough of a point of difference without being over the top. I also changed in to a beautiful blue and gold Saree later in the evening after our first dance. The accessories I wore were very special to me. My grandparents are all passed away and it was important to me to feel that my Grandmother and Grandad from my Mother’s side both had a presence in the day somehow. I wore my grandmother’s pearl ring, and my grandfather’s gold watch. I loved being able to look down at my hands and see a symbol of my grandparents and new husband all in one place. I also received a special necklace during the ceremony – a Mangalsutra. It’s a Hindu custom similar to the ring; the wife wears it to symbolise she is married. This was bought over from England for me by my in-laws.

Rupak also put my fashion degree (and our first date) to good use by wearing one of his custom made suits I had measured him for. It was all in the details with his outfit, with his pocket square, shoe laces, socks, tie, and even the stitching on his white shirt, all being the same shade of burgundy as my nails and lips. His tie clip was also rose gold to match my engagement ring and hair clips. He had joked a few months before the wedding about how he’d be wearing his sports watch. Thankfully I was able to talk him in to upgrading to a really nice Daniel Wellington watch, so he wore that on the day instead.

For our wedding rings, we both got a simple band from Pascoes when they had 40% off. Neither of us were even sure if we wanted a wedding band, so we went for something cheaper so that we could splurge in other areas.

There were other smaller elements of the day we did ourselves too, such as all the paper goods, my makeup, our vow books. The list goes on. But the one thing that stands out the most, was our place settings / favours. For each of our guests we picked out a photo of one or both of us with them, and stuck this in to a polaroid style cardboard frame which I had made using the laser cutter at work. On the back of this frame was a personalised message to them about why they are so special to us, or a fond memory we have with them. We actually made these twice. The first time I hand wrote every message, and we used coloured card to match our colour scheme. After making all 60 I decided I hated them, so we started again with white card, and laser etched the messages. It was cool watching our guest’s reactions when they sat down and read their message, or reminisced on when the photo was taken.

We splurged on…

We did pretty well at sticking to our budget. Originally we wanted to challenge ourselves to do a wedding for $10,000, but then once we had explored all our options of venues etc we had to increase that. But we are really happy with what we were able to put together for our budget of $17,000.

Photography by Santana with Lauren from the Lauren and Delwyn project as the second shooter. We knew Santana was the photographer for us after our initial meeting – she was relaxed and she got our humour. We felt really at ease with both these lovely ladies and they made the hours pass by quickly with lots of laughs.

Our reception venue was TriBeCa restaurant, just a 10 minute stroll from the Wintergardens. We couldn’t have asked for better service and food. We had canapes outside in the courtyard as the sun was setting, and the biggest glasses of wine we’ve ever seen! There were anti pasti platters, as well as platters of a favourite Indian snack, Dahi Puri. Guests moved inside for a plated service dinner. The tables were set with glass jars I had spent months collecting and peeling labels off, and these jars were filled with fern foliage and carnations in deep red, orange, and purple shades. Tea light candles set the mood (and a couple of small fires during dinner!), as did fairy light curtains along one of the walls. Every table also had its own polaroid camera for guests to use, and these were such a hit! Guests had pre-ordered their mains, one of which was a kiwi-indian fusion meal; NZ lamb, with a yoghurt and cumin sauce, it was a popular choice for our overseas guests who have obviously heard great things about NZ lamb. We also served a duck dish, and a curry as the vegetarian option. Dessert was our highlight, we had alternate drop, and we both fought over the chocolate pave with espresso foam and brandy snap bits! The meals were plated so beautifully and the food was cooked perfectly. We were definitely happy we chose a well-established restaurant as our reception venue.

Our advice to engaged couples…

Decide early what your priorities and non-negotiables are, as well as the things you don’t mind skimping on. It will help with keeping to the budget later on. For example we didn’t care so much about rings and flowers and table settings, for us we wanted to spend our money on the things that would give our guests the best time possible – good food, good wine, good music.


Photographer Santana Maria Photography
FlowersLibby Brickell Flowers
Venues The Wintergardens + Tribeca, Auckland
Catering Triebca Restaurant, Auckland
Stationery + Signage
Hair Ashlee Bierens from McInnes & Co
 Kerry Sorensen – Tyrer
Brides Dress
 DIY Kathryn Patel
Grooms Suit + Accessories DIY Kathryn Patel, watch Daniel Wellington

Rings Pascoes

Music DJ : Mark Glide from Audioclub

Nelly & Paresh. A Divine Indian Wedding by Nisha Ravji Photography

I am in always in awe of a beautiful Indian wedding. Gorgeous intense colours, stunning intricate details and the jewellery (and amount of!) are to die for! Today’s wedding is breathtakingly beautiful and I am in love with the brides advice to future brides to be – Stay true to what you want, after all it is your day. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Perfectly captured by one of my favourite photographers Nisha Ravji, below you will find some very colourful inspiration for the perfect day, and the perfect photos (I love the sea-side session!) Enjoy x

How did your love story begin?

Paresh and I got introduced to each other two years ago. I was so busy at the time, so we squeezed in dates where we could. I remember being excited for our first date, he picked me up, opened the car door for me, and our story began. The more we spent time together, the more I fell in love with him. I had never met anyone that made me feel like this before.

Why did you say ‘YES’? 

Who says chivalry is dead?! Paresh was the most sweet, caring, humorous guy I had ever met. There was no question about it, he was most definitely the ONE! I remember not long after we had started going out, that he went overseas, and oh my god I missed him so badly!

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What was your inspiration or theme for the day?

Simple, clean cut, it was our day.

What music did you play for those special moments?

Civil ceremony: John Legend: All of Me

First dance: Van Morrison Crazy Love

Cake cutting: Beyoncé xo

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What advice would you give to future brides to be?

Stay true to what you want after all it is your day.

What do you love most about being a MRS? 

Sharing EVERYTHING with my Mr.

Photographer // Nisha Ravji

Second shooter // Becky Casto

Hair & Makeup // Joelle Taylor

Cake // Rocket Kitchen, decoration by Mrs. Gleeson

Invitations // My amazing creative husband designed our invitations!

I’m a Wedding photographer from an adorable little place called Pukekohe in an amazing country known as New Zealand. I’m pretty certain I have the best job in the world because I literally leap out of bed every morning to do what I love – and that’s capture your Wedding. I’m 26 and I have my dream job, it all seems a little ridiculous and maybe it is!

I’m a kiwi-born Indian, lover of nature, baking, dogs, travel, photography and my wonderful partner Todd. At the moment I’m also lucky enough to be photographing summer in the southern and northern hemisphere with splitting my year between New Zealand and the UK for all kinds of gorgeous Weddings.

My working style is super friendly, just like me – I’m relaxed and know that my number one job is to capture your relationship in the most unique and authentic manner possible. Nervous about posing? Don’t want to pose? Not an issue at all – I know how to get you two laughing, giggling and doing all kinds of cute things for my camera.

I love to work with couples who know that their Wedding photography is an investment, and want to get creative with me to create some incredible memories. If you think we’re going to get along like a house on fire and are interested in working with someone who is more excited about your Wedding photo’s than possible, then you should definitely get in touch

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