Soaring above Awaawakino (Torere), Opotiki, Aonehe glances down and sees the little bay she calls home filled with the people she loves. Waves crashing on the familiar shores of her childhood, the love of her life standing at the altar ready to vow himself her home forever.
The dreamy little bay painting the perfect canvas for Aonehe & Elijahs beautiful entrance into love and life together. From hilltops blanketed in wild forest trees, to the golden shores hugged by the glistening Pacific Ocean, little was required to enhance the beauty that was already earthed in the bay.
The perspex marquee held an exquisite reception where lovers, friends and family danced the night away hand in hand under the gazing twinkle of the stars above.
“I knew within the first few weeks that you were going to be a part of my life but, I didn’t realise you were going to be the best part.”
A day drenched in a love that was almost tangible, Andrea Stephens Photography immaculately captured the essence of Aonehe & Elijahs fun, flirty nature and the adoring love for one another. Read all the details from this Real Wedding below.
How did you meet and how long have you been together?
I had been given Fat Freddys Drop-in tickets the day before so I quickly planned with a friend to leave from her house after work. Elijah was there with her brother who was going to drop us off but decided to play cupid and made Elijah take us instead (shot Izzy). He invited me to another concert shortly after. I thought if it didn’t go well at least I would get to see TOTO right? He moved to Australia the week but, we had found something special and knew we had to see where it would lead. He was home within a few months, we moved in together and were engaged just shy of our 1 year anniversary. We’ve been together for just over 2 years now.
How would you describe each other?
Elijah is full of life; he genuinely fills any room with his presence. He is smart, so incredibly driven and has a beautiful heart. He is someone who I am so blessed to have in my life and especially by my side.
Aonehe is a very strong willed and stubborn, she is by biggest critic and supporter. Her bubbly personality fills the atmosphere with light. She is a very open, loyal, and honest wife. The genuine intent and pure love best describe this beautiful woman.
Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?
We had been camping at my family home for New Years’. I had no idea at all, luckily someone had convinced me that I should have a proper shower and get out of my bush shirt and pajama shorts. Just before our annual lunch with both families present Elijah proposed with a ring his mum had picked up for him that morning! It was perfect.
Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day?
I wanted to have a small intimate wedding. I was worried that having a big wedding would make it feel like an event rather than a celebration of our love. When planning we tried to just invite those who were really important to us but the problem with that is, there are a lot. So, we made it work and I’m so glad we did. Having so many people there who we love and who love us made the day that much more special and fun!
I’m quite a chill person so when we knew the wedding was going to be big I wanted the theme to be as natural and relaxed as possible and the venue is so stunning and has so much essence on its own that I only wanted to compliment it. Elegant. Structured. Madness. If you see the florals you’ll know what I mean haha
Why did you choose your destination?
It’s where I grew up, it’s my place. If you’ve ever been there you’d know how truly special our beautiful little bay is.
What was your favourite moment from the day?
Aonehe: One of my favorite parts was coming into the bay in the chopper and the
instant feeling of relief knowing that I was home and my love was waiting for me.
Elijah: I have a few, this first was when I had a little moment riding to the wedding where I realised I was on my way to get married then when we rode into the ceremony and I saw all of our family and friends there and lastly when Aonehe flew in and came down the aisle.
What does marriage mean to you?
We already lived together, loved on a very special little girl together, and had been planning our futures together, so for us, it was about celebrating our love, how far we have come, and the promise to stick with each other.
Who were your stand out vendors?
We had 3 of the very best! Our photographer, Andrea from Andres Stephens Photography and our videographer Zac from Flatroc Films and LL Hire. The absolute best trio!
I had seen Andrea’s work before so I knew she was amazing. Having her as our photographer was the first decision we made when planning. With Zac I knew what style I wanted and there weren’t many people who did it. I had been through so many options before I saw one of Zac’s weddings and I was sold. They both made planning so easy and rolled with whatever. They fit right into the family and made it so fun and worked so well together. They both captured the feeling of our day perfectly.
The team from LL Hire were amazing. Lucy made our ideas into a reality so easily! It takes a lot of stress away from the day when you know you have a team you trust.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Have fun and make sure to stay true to who you are as a couple. We had tiny little things and big things happen at the wedding but none of it mattered at the end of the day.
Do you have a favourite quote or piece of your vows you would like to share?
Aonehe: I knew within the first few weeks that you were going to be a part of my life but, I didn’t realise you were going to be the best part. I vow to be the constant in your and Anaiyahs lives.
Elijah: Your presence fills the air with a warm welcoming sense of peace & understanding Your love & care for people stand at the forefront of who you are. And All though you can be Very challenging strong-willed and stubborn at times I know the honesty & pureness of your Heart it’s Something I noticed from the start and something I really cherish about you
|| VENDOR CREDITS ||
Photography: Andrea Stephens Photography | Videography: flatrocfilms | Florist: Brides mum & family friends | Furniture Hire: LL Hire | Bridal Gown: Grace Loves Lace | Veil: GraceLoves Lace | Bridesmaids Dresses: LeaveHer Wilder | Rings: Courtney MaramaJewellery | Hair Stylist: Lipstick &Co | Makeup Artist: Bride: Makeup ByWairua Bridesmaids: Prita Fermah | Groom’s Suit: Hallensteins Brothers | Groom’s Shoes: Hallensteins Brothers | Groomsmen Suits: Hallensteins Brothers | Cake: Sweet SpotCakery | Marquee: LL Hire
We are excited to have Andrea Stephens Photography as part of our exclusive Wild Hearts Vendor Collection. Check out more of Andrea’s stunning photography here and follow her on Instagram here, @andreastephens.photography
Loved this dreamy New Zealand Real Wedding? You can also find a beautiful Queenstown Elopement shoot by Andrea ‘Silhouettes in the Slipping Light’ here.
Words by Aimee Steel.