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Laura + David \\ Woolshed Wonder Captured by Skye Carter Photography

Laura and David found their dream wedding venue at Nocton Woolshed in the Clevedon River Valley. Rustic, relaxed and with views across the valley and out to the Hauraki Gulf, it was the perfect place to marry and spend time with their loved ones. While Nocton Woolshed entered their wedding plans unexpectedly, Laura and David added their own touch of boho and personalised features, which made the day unique and memorable.

Laura’s Rue de Seine dress featured bold, dramatic lace which bloomed against the nude tulle and lining. Her full sleeves and skirt, paired with tassel earrings and a rattan and pearl headpiece made for the perfect kiss of boheme flavour. David and his groomsmen were refined in their deep green suits, reflecting the verdant surrounds.

An understated palette of rusts, peaches, and neutrals filled the woolshed, which was lit by wispy handmade toetoe lampshades and low hung hessian shades. To top celebrations off, the newlyweds served their guests dessert by candlelight – a beautiful layered The Caker cake, strawberries and ice cream. A beautifully cohesive day, which elevated their venue and emulated their personal style.

Joyfully captured by Skye Carter Photography.

“I promise to pick you up when you are down, always be your closest friend, talk more to you, and to occasionally add a Whittakers ice cream at the petrol station.”

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

We met at a mutual friend’s leaving dinner in 2013. We were sat side-by-side at the table.

Turns out we had very different impressions of each other from that night: Laura remembers David sitting with his arms crossed and thinking “gosh this guy is more sarcastic than I am, it’s annoying” and David, “how have I never met this girl before, we have a lot in common”.

We saw each other again, soon after, at another event for the same friend, and chatted a bit more over Kahlua and Cokes (which Laura just rolled with – not her beverage of choice). Next thing you know, we’re up North Head in the pitch dark for our first date. Despite Laura’s dad expressing concern that she was going to a dark secluded place with a guy she barely knew, she went anyway. Thankfully sense didn’t prevail as it was all so easy and natural, and we really hit it off, matching chucks (converse shoes) and all. You could say outdoor adventures play a big part in our relationship. Seven years later, and the adventure continues!

How would you describe each other?

David has a kind heart and is incredibly generous. He is fiercely loyal and dependable. He is my calm in the eye of any storm.

Laura’s ability, attitude and determination to not settle for less in all things she does genuinely amazes me.

Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?

David proposed lakeside mid-Tongariro crossing – “he certainly made me work for it”

If you know the trail, you climb up and up for what seems like forever and then have to descend (pretty much slide) down a scoria hill to get to the lakes. David denied me a much-needed lunch stop at the top of the hill – I couldn’t understand why it was such a definitive “no let’s keep going” at the time, as he’s usually quite easygoing. I then fell a couple of times on the descent down the hill.

On top of that, it was so busy, with so many people doing the hike that day, that when we finally got down to the lakes it was hard to find somewhere to sit down. David wisely squeezed us into a spot just off the trail and got some food into me before guiding us around the other side of the lake where it was a little less populated. David recalls feeling like there was still too many people so took us up the hill off the side. I remember thinking “why are we going up again” but followed anyway. When we got to the top, I had turned uphill to get my breath back, and when I turned around David was down on one knee with my dream ring held out and a beautiful speech at the ready. With both of us dusty, sweaty and tears in our eyes, I said “YES”!

It made the next half of the hike fly as we both smiled our way down, reminiscing and laughing about how it all unfolded etc.

We have always gone on different hikes; climbing hills, volcanoes, waterfalls etc so this was very apt and very us.

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

Our vision for our wedding was always for it to be uniquely us. We didn’t want to get bogged down by traditions or what ‘should be done’ but instead be able to opt into the things that resonated with us and best represented us a couple, traditional or not. We wanted our wedding day to stand out and have wow factor, but also remain very simple and blend in with our chosen venue/environment. We wanted everything to flow. Be refined but relaxed.

We did this by keeping our colour palette earthy, using texture and light, and introducing elements that paid homage to the character and quirk of the quintessential kiwi woolshed (even the wine we served was called ‘Pink Sheep’), while absconding from traditions like a head table in favour of sitting amongst ‘the party’ at the table with our guests.

Pampas Grass became quite a big focal point for us. We loved their whimsy and textural impact and ended up collecting hundreds over the summer months together – these foraging expeditions are special memories in themselves. We used them to create hanging lampshade centrepieces for our tables which we handmade with the help of our friends and family.

My dress also was a source of inspiration for the styling of our wedding. David didn’t know this at the time (the dress was a surprise), but I had fallen in love with Rue De Seine, so a bohemian aesthetic with a soft and romantic feel that was earthy and inspired by nature and the beautiful outdoors seemed fitting.

A big part of the planning of our wedding day was also about how we wanted our guests to feel and experience the day. With a relatively small guest list, we wanted the day to feel appropriately intimate and create opportunities to personally connect with our loved ones throughout the day – from the individual handwritten notes at their place settings, to serving everyone dessert, and creating cosy lounge spaces with rugs and warm lighting/layers where they could make themselves at home, throw their shoes off and just hang out. Having the entire day at one location meant we could maximise the time celebrating with our loved ones however, we wanted to keep things fresh and exciting throughout the day. A lot of time also went into figuring out how we could create transformative spaces and different atmospheres within the greater venue – from rigging up a fabric wall to veil the dining space from the ceremony setting, to using lighting artistically as the sun went down, and surprising our guests with a coffee cart and woodfired pizzas from a food truck.

Why did you choose your destination?

We always wanted to have our wedding in a rural setting – something that was a bit raw and relaxed, in nature, and felt like a bit of an escape. But we actually had a bit of a rocky start in this department after securing a venue and it falling through only a few months out from the wedding.

We pretty much just surfed the internet for rural venues that allowed us to customise things to make it truly uniquely us. Nocton seemed to just fall in our laps, and we fell in love instantly. We were specifically drawn to the rawness and character of the quintessential kiwi woolshed, not to mention the views were breathtaking!

Unfortunately it was booked on the date we had originally planned for but we wriggled things around a bit and managed to make it work and we’re so glad we did. We can honestly say, we could not have pictured our wedding anywhere else. It’s almost like things happen for a reason.

What was your favourite moment from the day?

Our favourite moment was serving dessert to all of our guests – David on the cake and me on scooping icecream. It was so special to be able to touch base personally with everyone and laugh over our terrible serving skills! The matching “Mr” and “Mrs” aprons were a bit of fun too.

What does marriage mean to you?

For us, marriage is really, really loving someone and is the foundation of family. We both come from families that were built from long and strong marriages so has always been something we both aspired to. It means being a team. It’s having someone who is always on your side, no matter what. It’s loving someone so much that you are always on their side too. It’s a promise to respect and cherish each other as an individual, a partner, and an equal, knowing that you do not complete, but complement each other.

Who were your stand out vendors?

Flock Events – so easy and enjoyable to work with; no request too hard or crazy; we felt listened to; and stunning products!

Skye Carter Photography – her energy and enthusiasm was awesome on the day; she understood our vision and appreciated all of the detailed decisions we made; and captured it all perfectly.

Nocton Woolshed – Nikki was so down-to-earth and supportive in helping us achieve our vision for the day.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

There’s no right or wrong way. Forget the “must haves” and opinions on what “to do” and “not to do”. Hold onto to the things that are most important to you (no matter how ‘odd’ you think they may be), have fun with it, and make it personal with elements that define you both individually and together.


Photography: Skye Carter Photography | Flora: The Flower Vault NZ | Venue: Nocton Woolshed | Prop & Furniture Hire: Flock Events, Two Foxes, Insphire | Linen: Drape Linen | Bridal gown: Rue De Seine | Headpiece: Verbena Madrid | Earrings: The Vamoose | Bride’s shoes: Matisse | Bridesmaids dresses: Zara | Rings: Naveya & Sloane | Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Natalie Dent | Bridesmaids makeup: Ruth Baron | Suits: Devonche | Groom’s shoes: Country Road | Flower Girl’s dresses: Zara | Flower Girl’s headpiece: Klatso | Flower Girl’s shoes: Mary Robyn NZ | Stationery & signage: handmade by bride & groom | Celebrant: Olivia Scott | Catering: Jess’ Underground Kitchen | Cake: The Caker | Entertainment: Mr & Mrs Haines

Words by Isabelle McKay.

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