Laid-back Summer holiday vibes were the intention for Natalie and Ryan’s Tauranga wedding, with loved ones traveling from near and far for the occasion. An entire weekend was spent celebrating love, friends and family traditions in a beautifully relaxed forest and beach setting at the gorgeous Old Forest School, the perfect location for a beautifully rustic and laid-back celebration full of meaningful details. Ryan and his brother wore kilts of their own family tartan (lovingly made by their mother) and Natalie’s gorgeous 1970’s vintage dress was altered by Ryan’s mother to become her own. Natalie (a talented florist) created the beautiful wild bouquets of foliage and blush-toned blooms, carried by her Widdess wearing bridesmaids, and a food-truck catered for guests who picnicked in the sun then danced till the early hours to the couples favourite vinyls, DJ’d by a close friend. The day was captured by photographer Rambo Estrada and videographer Mark Lahood who created an amazing wedding film, able to be viewed here.
“You are my thoughts as the sun rises, and my dreams after it has set.” – m.k
How did you meet and how long have you been together?
My husband is from Scotland and grew up living all over Europe with his father in the air force. When he was 12 years old they moved to New Zealand. They settled on the west coast of New Plymouth, strangely we never crossed paths until I had finished University studying Fashion and decided I wanted to move to London. On returning to my hometown of New Plymouth on a chance we met and not long after we became inseparable. After only a short while of knowing each other, he joined me moving to the other side of the world. Once traveling around Europe had come to an end we returned home to New Zealand. Six years later of endless adventures we came to this day.
How would you describe each other?
Natalie about Ryan – Ryan is incredibly loyal and generous he is one of those people you meet and is always true to himself. He doesn’t waste any time on anything he doesn’t believe in. He’s also hilarious in a completely nonchalant way.
Ryan about Natalie – Nat’s is incredibly caring and loving. She has a very fun side and is constantly dreaming up things to do and keeping me on my toes- it is a perfect balance between my practical side and her inner dreamer.
Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?
We were on holiday in Melbourne with a group of friends for a festival, we had arrived before everyone else. Ryan had surprised me with a trip to Wilsons Promontory National Park where we stayed in the sweetest little AirBnb in Venus Bay.
We had just arrived and decided to walk down to the beach where Ryan and I wandered down to the water’s edge and asked me to be his forever.
Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day?
When planning our wedding day we wanted it to be as carefree as possible and tried not to get carried away with the small stuff. We did want to incorporate some Scottish heritage in aspects of the wedding as Ryan is from there.
We sourced a whiskey from where Ryan grew up and shared it amongst the guests with a Quaich – which is a Scottish cup of friendship. Ryan’s mother is an incredible seamstress and makes traditional Scottish kilts. She made Ryan and his brother Liam’s (the best man) kilts in their own family tartan.
My dress was a 1970’s vintage find, which was altered by Ryan’s mother to be better suited to me. The bridesmaids were in Widdess and they made them all their own custom dresses in beautiful silks. We took the most laid-back option with a food truck and picnicked in the sunshine with family and friends. Our friend was the DJ and we had him play our favourite vinyl’s from our collection throughout the night to our wild, free-spirited friends who danced the night away.
Why did you choose your destination?
We loved the idea of spending a weekend with all of our favourite people and making the wedding an amazing summer holiday with your friends and family. Pukehina was so perfect for this as it consists of one long road – on the left-hand side are baches that back on to the estuary and on the right-hand side baches that are tucked up on the sandbank to the beach.
Old Forest School was a sweet little converted rural forestry school that is found tucked away in the valley surrounded by amazing forestry. We booked this venue two years before we actually got married as we had a lot of Family and friends traveling from the UK.
What was your favourite detail from the day?
There was no favourite detail as there were so many things about the style, feel and the day itself that represented us and the people that we surround ourselves with. It could be anything from the boys in their family tartan or the fact that Natalie made her own bouquets or cruising around the forest roads in our friends Land Cruiser. The list could be endless.
What was your favourite moment from the day?
Natalie – It is hard to pinpoint a favourite moment as there are so many special memories we hold from that day but a standout moment would probably be following Ryan’s speech having Liam pour Ryan and I the Whiskey from where they grew up in Scotland. Ryan and I took turns sharing the Quaich sipping to Friendship and then sharing the Quaich around the guests. I loved this moment as I could experience a special part of their family traditions as well as our family and friends.
Ryan – My cousin and a friend from London surprised us with a performance during the speeches and sang us Cat Power – The Greatest. It was a great surprise and brought a few people to tears.
What does marriage mean to you?
For us it means having your best friend by your side it means having someone to laugh with, to cry with to have the good times and the bad times to have a boogie partner and someone to enjoy all of the adventures with.
I think we both hold value to the people in our lives and the way we like to live our lives we support each other in everything we are as a person. I think marriage means to us having that one person that is there for you no matter what.
Who were your stand out vendors?
Our photographer and videographer for sure, we were so impressed with how good the photographer was at directing everyone and fitting in so well he had a way of making everyone feel relaxed and comfortable.
The videographer is a dear friend and he caught every moment from the weekend and made this incredible short film. We can’t tell anyone enough the value in a good photographer and videographer they put life to all the amazing memories that you take away from your wedding day.
Any advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Don’t get so caught up on tradition make your wedding day what you want it to be. Don’t worry too much about what you think you have to have on your wedding day. We think a wedding should be what it feels to you and should represent you as a couple. Go big, go small- but don’t lose sight of each other. Because at the end of the day that’s what it is about, your love for each other and the people you share it with.
Florist: Bouquets, crowns, cake flowers and table arrangements –
Reception Venue: Same as above
Stationery: Front Room
Celebrant: Heidi Seal
Rings: Natalie’s – Alexandra Dodds
& Vintage engagement ring
Ryans – Windfall Jewellery
Transport: The Dutchman’s Land Cruiser
Bridal Gown: Vintage 70’s wedding dress
Hair: Hannah Hay
Makeup: Victoria Rump
Suit: Family Tartan Kilt
Shoes: Grenson Shoes
Groomsmen: Mitchell Kilt Hire