Stephanie and Mike tied the knot at their family farm in Te Mata, Raglan on February 11th, 2017. Stephanie shares the details of their rustic celebration.
Tell us about the proposal …
We had a full weekend planned – our friends 30th birthday in Warkworth on the Saturday and Mike’s birthday on the Sunday – so I wasn’t expecting a proposal at all! I had Friday off work and Mike was busy working on his family farm. He came and asked me to give him a hand with something outside, so we made our way up to the back of the farm. We arrived at a paddock that’s a special spot for us, because we’ve talked about building our dream home there one day. There was a towel lying on the grass with a handmade wooden sign that read, “Will you marry me?” The ring was sitting in the circle of the question mark. Mike got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – I started crying and of course I said yes! He had a bottle of champagne and we celebrated on the edge of Mount Karioi overlooking Raglan. It was the most perfect proposal and a great start to a weekend of celebrations!
How did you meet?
Mike and I met at a New Year’s Eve party in Mount Maunganui. We were together for seven years before we got engaged, so both our families were so excited that we had finally made it official! Mike asked my Dad for permission to marry me and Dad’s response was “I’d like that very much,” followed by, “I would have let you know by now if you weren’t part of the family”! We had a short six-month engagement.
Why did you decide to get married in Raglan?
Raglan has always been close to our hearts, and we knew immediately that we wanted to get married there. Mike grew up in Raglan – he was born and raised in Te Mata on the family farm. I grew up not far away, in Hamilton. After Mike and I had been together for a few years, we moved to Australia together and when we returned home in 2014, Raglan became home for both of us. The family farm backs onto the beach and was perfect for the relaxed, rustic beach wedding we had in mind.
How many guests attended?
We knew it was going to be a big wedding and having the wedding on the family farm meant we weren’t limited in the number of people we could invite. We ended up having 142 guests at our wedding.
Where did you have the ceremony and reception?
Our ceremony was held at the back of the farm overlooking the ocean in the afternoon. The weather was just right – nice and hot but with plenty of big trees and a refreshing west coast breeze. The farm is just stunning and we felt truly grateful to be able to exchange our vows there. To the left of the ceremony spot we had a large marquee set up for our reception. We had bar leaners, tables and umbrellas set up outside so our guests could mix and mingle while we snuck away for our bridal party photos
What were some memorable moments from your wedding day?
One of the memories that sticks out most to us is our ceremony. Seeing each other for the first time on the day was an amazing feeling. Planning a wedding and seeing it all come together at that one point is pretty overwhelming, so getting to the end of the aisle and holding Mike’s hands made everything feel so right. We also loved going down to the beach and having our bridal party photos taken. This was a chance for us to relax and have a good laugh with our closest friends.
Were there any hiccups on the day?
On the day everything went according to plan. We stayed at separate places the night before the wedding and when I woke up with my friends, the sun was shining and I remember feeling like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew everything was going to be perfect. Our ceremony was at 3pm so we had plenty of time to get ready. I felt so excited and couldn’t wait to see Mike.
If you could do it all over, is there anything you would do differently?
There wouldn’t be much that we would change to be honest. We had six months to plan our wedding and for us, that was easy. Being together for so long before the engagement meant we already knew what each other liked and wanted on the day.
Tell us about the wedding rehearsal – did you and your guests find it useful?
We had a small wedding rehearsal the day before the wedding for the bridal party. It was mostly to see where everyone was going to be standing and make sure everyone knew where they were supposed to be on the day. We found it helpful because it was good to have everyone on the same page. Most of us were already at the venue setting up for the wedding, so it didn’t take long at all.
How did you find your photographer?
Our relationship with our photographer Geb (Geraldine Burns) was really important to us. The photographer shares your special day with you from start to finish, so you need to get to know them and feel comfortable with them. I found Geb on the Hitched in Raglan website. We met at the pub for a catch up and from the first meeting we knew she was going to be perfect! Mike and I wanted a relaxed photographer who could have a good laugh. Mike’s not big on photos so it was really important to us that we got along with our photographer to help ensure our photos looked natural. We met Geb a second time and took her and Andre (her assistant) out to the farm and showed them where everything was going to be. I think they were just as excited as we were!
What help did you get from family and friends?
We knew we wanted our wedding on the family farm – and to be honest, Mike’s parents wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was always going to be a big job getting everything organised and wedding-ready but it had to be done. We had a few working bee weekends leading up to the big day and we had huge love and support from our extended families. Everyone pitched in and put in long hours to help out, and in the end it come together beautifully. Without the love and support from all our amazing friends and family our wedding wouldn’t have been as perfect as it was. We are forever grateful to those who helped make it happen – you know who you are!
Tell us about your wedding style and colour scheme.
With such beautiful scenery on the farm, we kept our decorations pretty basic and natural. The style was rustic with lots of flowers and wood in shades of cream and white. The bridesmaids wore navy and the groomsmen wore light grey suits. Everyone looked stunning! We kept everything pretty low-key so everyone could fall in love with the stunning view!
How does it feel to be married?
It feels so good to be married! Marrying my best friend means we get to spend the rest of our lives together laughing, making each other happy, and eventually starting a family together. We’re so excited for the next stages of our lives.
Did you have a honeymoon?
The lead-up to our celebration was pretty full-on, so it was nice to get away and have a break after the wedding. We left for our honeymoon on the Monday after our big day and it was so good to spend some quality time together as husband and wife. Both Mike and I hadn’t spent much time in the South Island so we planned a road trip there. We booked our flights, hired a ute and hit the road to wherever it took us. We personally loved that our honeymoon was immediately after the wedding. Some couples get married in summer and honeymoon in winter, which has its own benefits – but there would be nothing worse than going straight back to work after the best day of your life!
What advice would you give to future brides and grooms?
Take time off before your wedding. You’ll be able to finish off your planning, fit in last-minute appointments and have time to just relax before your big day. You only get married once so if you can, take the whole week off! I did, and it was a huge help.
Photography - Geraldine Burns – g. DESIGN
Venue - Family farm
Bride’s dress - Felicitys Bridal
Bridesmaid dresses - Evolution Clothing
Groomsmen suits - Tailor Made Suits
Make-up - Paige Churchill- Makeup Artist
Hair - Hannah @ DEDE & DAPH
Flowers - Carly @ Love Vintage
Celebrant - Tania Lattaney
Marquee - Mackquee Marquee and Party hire Te Awamutu
Rings – Stephanie’s was brought from Pascoes and Mikes was hand made by Michael Platja at Dinsdale Jewellers (its made out of deer antler)
Cake – we put our cake together ourselves (a “Cheese” cake)