Angelina Gridelli and Harley Muru tied the knot in true Kiwi style at Whale Bay, complete with a haka and waiata. Angelina shares the details of the relaxed celebration with their friends and whānau.
After a 9-year relationship with three children together, Angelina knew Harley would pop the question at some point – it was simply a matter of when. Then during a family holiday in Taranaki, she noticed he bought champagne.
“I thought, ‘Oh, it might happen’,” says Angelina. “But the weekend went past and we drank the champagne and nothing happened.”
It turned out Harley just hadn’t found the right moment – until they stopped to watch the sunset at Mokau beach on the way home. As they stood barefoot in the sand and marvelled at the pink sky with Mt Taranaki in the background, Harley dropped to one knee.
A year later the Raglan locals exchanged vows on the shore of their favourite surfbreak, Whale Bay, guided by local celebrant Sean Ellison.
Harley and his groomsmen made a dramatic entrance by riding to the ceremony on Harley Davidson motorbikes, wearing black short-sleeved shirts suited to the sunny Raglan weather.
The bride wore a blush-coloured dress that she purchesed online from Bridalup. Her hair was styled by Annick Faubert of Tonic Hairdressing, while her natural-looking makeup was applied by Monica Grimshaw from Raglan Beauty Studio.
The celebration was a meeting of cultures, including Angelina’s German and Italian background and Harley’s Māori heritage. Harley’s family spontaneously performed a haka and sang a waiata to officially welcome Angelina into their whānau, creating memorable moments for the newlyweds and their guests.
“For me it was so emotional and powerful,” says Angelina, “and a lot of our guests said they’d never seen a haka or heard a waiata before.”
The couple had their reception at the Raglan Golf Club with around 120 guests. The rustic styling was complemented by flower arrangements from Raglan Buds Flower Farm, as well as plates and cutlery borrowed from the local marae in exchang for a koha. They were entertained by local DJ Barry Rogerson (B.rex) while enjoying a pork and lamb spit roast, along with salads and desserts that were lovingly contributed by guests.
The day was captured beautifully by photographer Jwan Milek, with a mixture of posed photos and more spontaneous shots. “I especially love those candid photos where you’re really in the moment,” says Angelina.
Her advice for brides who are doing most of the wedding planning is to make it easy for your partner to help where they can.
“If you’re the main organiser of the event, help your partner by giving them a list of things they need to do beforehand and on the day. That way they can be involved without having to make the big decisions.”