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Ash + Darcy \\ Captured By David Le

An Old Forest School wedding filled with rustic charm, wild gardens and dusky pastel hues. Celebrating with their nearest and dearest ASH + DARCY said their vows with a garden ceremony amongst these enchanted surrounds.  

With their shared love of the outdoors, the woodlands setting of Old Forest School stole their hearts.  This historic old school set on 5 aches of private forest and farmland in Pongakawa, just outside of Tauranga.

A nostalgic setting and a day to remember for these wild romantics. Captured beautifully by photographer David Le. 

 How did you meet and how long have you been together? 

Darcy and I first met at my flat in Wellington five years ago. Darcy and his mate were visiting his mate’s girlfriend for a night on the town. I was in my PJ’s about to go to bed. I noticed Darcy’s contagious laugh and gorgeous smile and was instantly interested. He asked me to come out to town… and even offered to do my makeup, but I was a bit shy and decided to stay in. We found each other on Tinder and matched. We had our first date at a bar on Courtenay Place in Wellington and hit it off.

How would you describe each other? 

Darcy first attracted me with his good looks, infectious laugh and air of self-confidence. I love being around him because he makes me laugh and is always up for an adventure. He’s always challenging me to try something new and to challenge myself – he’s taught me to spearfish, so we take the boat out and go free-diving together during the summer. I would describe him as intelligent, inspiring, and motivated. 

Ashleigh is gorgeous. She’s always keen to try something – hunting or fishing included. She is motivated, hardworking, and a bit of a clean freak which is also a good thing.

Tell us a little bit about the proposal? 

The Proposal happened in Porto, Portugal, a romantic city of cobblestone streets surrounded by vibrant old buildings, split down the middle by the Douro River. The birthplace of Port and a proposal. It was a dazzling sunny day. Ash and Darcy sat in a bar on the waterfront sipping their gin and tonics. Darcy: “Ash, would you like to ride the gondola?” Ash: “No, I’m too hot.” Darcy: “But we will get a great view of the city.” Ash: “Haven’t we seen the city from every other angle?” After some discussion the pair headed off and jumped in their very own gondola, but not before telling a young family to get their own. The gondola lurched off at a snail’s pace, opening up a spectacular view over the river and city. Halfway across Darcy began rustling around in his pocket for an item that had been burning a hole therein. He produced a small black box, dropped to one knee, revealed the contents of the box, and asked, “will you ma…”, at which point he was cut off by an enthusiastic “YES!”

Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day? 

We weren’t focused on a theme as such, we wanted our wedding to be a fun, eclectic mix of what represented us as a couple. I love pretty, feminine things and Darcy, hunting and fishing. Old Forest School boasted a stunning backdrop of flowers and greenery in spring, so this was an excellent venue to have. The addition of a beautiful floral arrangement to our archway and surrounding structures thanks to a good family friend really made it ours. Our seating arrangement was Instagram-inspired; we chose fish that Darcy would commonly catch or do stock assessments for as part of his job. Our invitation was a painting of Darcy and I with our springer-spaniel pup with a hunting backdrop, hand-painted by Darcy’s mum Jo. Darcy and I love colour, so we were quick to agree on colourful bouquets and mismatching ties! 

Why did you choose your destination?  

We’re both from the South Island but now live in Tauranga. Darcy loves to fish, I love the beach scene, and we both love the warm climate. We wanted our friends and family to have the opportunity to visit our epic new home and what better way than to throw our wedding here! 

What does marriage mean to you? 

I feel that marriage these days seems more like a formality than something meaningful, a convention from a bygone era. Two people can have the same amazing life without it. However, it is a great opportunity to throw a massive party with all of your favorite people in attendance. And it keeps the old farts happy.

Who were your standout vendors?

David Le our photographer was the BOMB. We were stoked with how he captured our day with his unique style and artistic flare. We had so many laughs, it was like having a good friend there on the day. We met up with Terri, our caterer from Posh Nosh and she and Darcy instantly spoke the same food language. Bloody Mary oyster shooters – wowee! Her canapes were off the chain and we were thrilled with her delicious food. Kat from Flowerette was just gorgeous, she did such a fantastic job with the girls and my bouquet. I was after pops of colour with dark burgundy undertones and she absolutely nailed the brief. Adam McLean played acoustic guitar for us during the day and in a band with his brother Kyle during the evening. They were an absolute hit and our entire wedding party were up on the dance floor all night.

What was your favourite moment from the day? 

Mine was walking down the aisle and the ceremony itself. A little daunting but there’s something epic about being surrounded by all the people you love in one place. Both sets of my grandparents were also able to travel to Tauranga to be there for our day so that was really special for me.

Ash surprised me by running away from me during out first dance, grabbing the mic from the band, and singing the second half of our first dance song. Afterward I found out that Ash had organised this idea with Adam a month prior to the wedding.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding? 

Start the planning early and slowly chip away at the tasks each week. Get the big stuff sorted first (e.g. photographer, venue, caterer, band etc.) – this way you have the best shot at getting your first choice for your day. Spreadsheets are the bomb for tracking expenses and staying organised if you’re into that sort of thing! Enjoy spending time with family and friends on and during the lead up to the big day. 


Photographer: David Le Photography | Venue: Old Forest School | Florist: Flowerette | Bridal Gown: Robyn Pascoe Designer | Bridal Shoes: Kathryn Wilson | Hair Stylist: Shine Hair Co, Tauranga | Makeup Artist: Estelles Makeup and Hair | Veil/Headpiece:Robyn Pascoe Designer | Bridesmaids Dresses: Blak Bridesmaids | Rings: Megan Webber Jewellery (groom’s sister) | Groom’s Suit: Barkers (shirt, tie and pants) and Massimo Dutti (blazer) | Groom’s Shoes: RM Williams | Groomsmen Suits: BarkersStationery: Invitations were based on a painting of Ash and Darcy by Joanne Webber Artist (mother of groom) | Signage: Bride and groom | Celebrant: Tom McSherry | Catering: Posh Nosh | Cake: Joanne Webber Artist | Entertainment: Adam McLean Music

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