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Pace + Gray \\ Captured by Charlotte Kiri Photography

The peaceful serenity of Lake Hawea was the perfect backdrop for this relaxed and intimate wedding.

Pace + Gray rented their dream venue for five days of celebrations, surrounded constantly by their loved ones. The wedding day was natural simplicity; a relaxed morning ceremony was followed by a long brunch catered by Double Black Cafe and ran late into the afternoon. 

Gypsy from The Vase Floral & Foliage created not only a timeless bouquet of soft dusty pinks but her textural foliage installation on the ceremony archway was the perfect addition to the incredible view. Wanaka local Charlotte Kiri Photography captured the day with excellence, effortlessly highlighting Pace + Gray’s genuine love and pure happiness surrounded by their nearest and dearest.

This stunning wedding is also featured in our 2019 Wild Hearts Magazine – an annual journal for the wild & creative soul – full of inspiration and beauty. You can get your copy here.

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

We met in 2009 when I naively put my number up on a bulletin board at the rock climbing gym, with a note saying that I was a 16 year old girl looking for a climbing partner. A friend of Gray’s got in touch and organised a time to go climbing together, bringing Gray along with him. Then things just snowballed from there and we have been together ever since, coming up to a full decade this July.

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

We were on our way back from a ski holiday in Wanaka and stopped at Lake Pukaki, a special spot for us. Gray had been given a new hat by a start-up company and asked to take some photos wearing it, so he asked me to stand on the rocks by the water so he could frame up the shot. He set the camera to record, pretended to pose for some photos, then dropped down on one knee asking me to make him the happiest man in the world and spend the rest of my life with him.

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

Our wedding style was as relaxed as possible. We didn’t have a theme, we didn’t have a set colour way, we just wanted things to be natural and simple.

We had so many family and friends who made such a huge effort to be there, many having travelled from the other side of the world, that we really just wanted to spend as much time with everyone as possible. We decided on a morning wedding followed by a Bruch that would run late into the afternoon, with the option for people to stay through or come back for wood-fired pizza’s in the evening around the outdoor fireplace.

We planned a majority of the wedding ourselves having some input from our amazing photographer Charlotte Kiri, as well as friends and family. Our main influence being that as we were holding the wedding in such a beautiful setting and we didn’t want to detract from that. 

Why did you choose your destination?

We always wanted to get married in the greater Wanaka area. When we saw Lake Hawea View it felt like someone had taken a house from Gray’s hometown, Bend, Oregon, and dropped it on the hillside overlooking Lake Hawea. We knew straight away that this had to be the place.

What was your favourite detail from the day?

In the evenings leading up to the wedding we sat down and wrote our own vows together. We didn’t share them with one another until the ceremony. The night before the wedding we realised we need to print them out, but there wasn’t a printer where we were staying, so we ended up handwriting them on a page out of a notebook. At the time this seemed like an oversight, but now looking back we wouldn’t change a thing, it’s so special to have our vows handwritten, and is something we will keep forever.

Did you have a stand out vendor from your Wedding?

All of our vendors were incredible and made everything run so smoothly, both leading up to and on the day of the wedding. But if we had to choose a standout, it would have to be Charlotte and Bruno (Charlotte Kiri Photography). Usually, neither of us are very comfortable in front of the camera, but Charlotte and Bruno made us forget that the camera was even there. We honestly had so much fun with these guys, from spinning in circles in the driveway, to shoulder rides in the forest and sprinting up hills in a wedding dress.

 What started out as a consult for a wedding photographer has turned into an awesome friendship and is something we are both very grateful for, and of course the photos and video are breath taking.

What was your favourite moment from the day?

Gray – Usually I’m not a crier, but when I was standing at the top of the aisle watching the bridal party walk down and take their seats knowing that Pace was about to come around the corner I started to feel my eyes well up. I thought to myself ‘I can keep this together, everyone is watching me’. But as I saw Jai, Pace’s brother round the corner I started to waver knowing that Pace was right beside him. When Pace came into view everything faltered and I completely lost it. Seeing the love of my life in her wedding dress walking towards me down the aisle looking absolutely stunning is a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Pace – I have known Gray for almost ten years, and in that time I have only seen him cry a handful of times. So when I finished reading my vows and he looked down at me with tears in his eyes it made me realise just how much I mean to him. He drew his hand up over his face and Charlotte managed to perfectly capture the moment. That photo is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

What does marriage mean to you?

For us marriage is a promise. A promise to be there for each other through thick and thin, and love each other unconditionally. It’s the ultimate commitment, becoming a family. But more than that it is always having someone to love, laugh, and adventure with.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Where to begin… plan, plan, plan, and when you think you have planned enough, plan some more! Seriously though, it is all worth it in the end when you get to the big day, and everything runs smoothly.

Spreadsheets are invaluable, everything from budgets to timelines, and delegating tasks they truly saved us.

Have a designated go-to person on the day. Someone who can answer questions for vendors, get people to where they need to be, and keep the day running smoothly. Ours was a family friend and our MC and he was honestly amazing, we had secret signals and everything.

Our last piece of advice would be to think outside of the box. Our venue was an AirBnB that allowed events, which meant we could rent it for five days. For us this was perfect as it gave us somewhere to spend time with family, and we never felt rushed with the set up or take down.


Photographer & Videographer: Charlotte Kiri Photography | Florist: The Vase | Venue: Lake Hawea View | Cake: Mother of the Groom – Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream | Furniture Hire: The Rustic Rabbit | Stationery: Joseph Scorgie | Signage: Homemade | Celebrant: Tika Ormond | Bride’s Ring: Mason & Carter | Groom’s Ring: Worth & Douglas | Catering: Double Black Café | Bridal Gown: Grace Loves Lace – Rosa Gown | Hair: Alina Filatova – Friend of Bride | Makeup: Simone Coyle – Friend of Bride | Floral Hairpiece: The Vase | Groom’s Suit: Hallenstein Brothers | Shoes: Merchant

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