Naomi + Aidan

Family Home, Waiheke Island

Naomi and Aidan

After a romantic proposal in an Italian orchard, Aidan and Naomi decided to surprise their family and friends with a same day engagement party and wedding! Held on the stunning Waiheke Island at Aidan's parent's beachside property, the wedding was an exciting and fun-filled day of surprises.

How We Met

Aidan and I met while we were at university. I was studying engineering when one of his high school friends just so happened to invite him along to an engineering dinner. I soon realised that Aidan is really just the most laid back person (in all the right ways). He is effortlessly funny and gets along with everyone, yet also conscientious and the type of guy who will always be there to help out a mate. In August of 2014, we were travelling in Italy together as Aidan was competing in the WUUC, that is, Ultimate Frisbee! We ended up staying at a gorgeous mid-century villa instead of the team accommodation which was made out of shipping containers (lucky us!). One morning Aidan asked if I’d like to go for a walk in the orchard. By this time we only had about 10 minutes before we needed to leave for the game and join the team, we were even in our team uniforms. But he managed to drag me outside, while I complained we were going to be late! He tried to distract me with picking pears for us to eat during the day. However, I saw him fiddling with the small pocket in his shorts (the type designed to hold your keys while you’re out running). "What are you doing with your pants?!" I asked. He managed to extract whatever it was he was looking for and then promptly dropped onto one knee in the grass. From here all the details are a little fuzzy because I was in shock! Aidan insists that it took me about 30 seconds before I said yes (although it was probably more like five!), and I threw all the fruit I was holding onto the ground (and at Aidan!), so that I could cover my face and burst into happy tears!

How We Met How We Met How We Met How We Met

Our Wedding Style

We were at Aidan's parents’ house on Waiheke Island one weekend, talking over wedding plans with them, when someone suggested we have a surprise wedding. Kathy (Aidan's mum) laughed it off...but then adopted a thoughtful expression:"Aaactually, that could work!" We made the decision pretty quickly because we needed to have the ruse of it being an 'Engagement Party' in order to get everyone to show up on the day! We chose to have it at Aidan’s parents’ house since we are both pretty laid-back people and didn't want a super fancy wedding anyway, plus it made it much easier to fool everyone that is was an engagement party. We decided to keep things simple and go for DIY decorations. In the garden, where we were going to have the ceremony, we covered the trees in fairy lights and hung lanterns from nylon. Out the front of the house we had strings of larger lights and lanterns zig-zagging from the gutter to the fence line above everyone's heads. Everything was white and gold, making it simple yet elegant. The tables were white, with succulents and greenery in milk bottles as the centrepieces. As we were having a ‘grab a plate’ dinner, we didn't have table settings, and instead people chose their seats, with some perching on the retaining wall or the edge of the deck. Some people even pulled chairs up to the other side of the bridal party table!

Our Wedding Style Our Wedding Style Our Wedding Style Our Wedding Style

The Dress, Hair & Makeup

I found my dress online and ordered it from Australia without trying it on first (eek!). However, it fit perfectly! The only alteration I made was to take the sleeves from 3/4 length to t-shirt length to make it suit my more casual style. I loved the dress because it was light and breezy, while still being elegant and romantic. The spots and detailing on the front gave it a modern edge as well. It was made from delicate French Chantilly lace which gathered softly into a silk chiffon skirt, the trim binding details were also in silk. For my hair, I decided on having it out in the way I usually wear it. To add a touch of something different though, I had a green and white floral wreath. My makeup was very natural as I wanted to look like myself. My bridesmaids were wearing floral dresses, so I had a loose bunch of flowers that matched their dresses, tied with a dark green ribbon. The bridesmaids then had the same bouquet as mine, but with white flowers to match my dress!

The Dress, Hair & Makeup The Dress, Hair & Makeup The Dress, Hair & Makeup The Dress, Hair & Makeup

The Ceremony

When our guests arrived for the “engagement party” we enjoyed drinks for about an hour before Aidan stood up to go over some “housekeeping rules.” Once he’d finished with that, he walked back into the crowd of guests…but then he ran back and said: “Oh yeah, one more thing. This engagement party is now over, and a wedding will take place in this garden in one hour!” It was so funny to see everyone’s faces when they heard this surprise! We then proceeded to hand out our wedding invitations which included a map of the local area. We encouraged people to walk to the beach, get a drink and buy some gelato from the local shop (we had labelled one flavour "Aidan and Naomi's Wedding Flavour") while we got ready for the wedding. After everyone had left, we all got changed into our wedding attire. The boys also set up more decorations, so when everyone returned fairy lights and lanterns had magically appeared! The bridal party walked down an aisle rowed with little tree stumps to Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am." The ceremony was traditional apart from our vows. We wrote these ourselves and did 'Paper, Scissors, Rock' to decide who got to go first! I managed not to cry too much (miraculously!), although apparently all the girls in the audience had a cry. The ceremony ended with a reading and a blessing to send us off.

The Ceremony The Ceremony The Ceremony The Ceremony The Ceremony The Ceremony

The Reception

After our professional photos, we headed back to the house for the reception. A buffet style dinner was set-up so everyone just grabbed plates and gathered around the garden for speeches! Both our dads spoke, as well as Aidan's best man and Aidan himself. Oh and a lovely impromptu speech from Aidan's mum! Cake cutting followed the speeches. We had chosen a very rustic design, covered in toasted coconut and topped with a little bunch of flowers that matched my bouquet. I was very reluctant to do a first dance, but I was told that it is tradition! So we swayed and kissed to "This Old Love" by Lior, a song we have both loved for a long time. Cue the first (and thankfully only) problem of the night – the sound system stopped working halfway through the dance! Luckily we have some very talented friends who filled the awkward silence with a song. Unfortunately the only thing that came to their minds was "What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor!" But everyone got into it and we were all singing along and doing a jig with linked elbows!

The Reception The Reception The Reception The Reception

Advice for Brides to be

Brides-to-be, don't take your wedding day to seriously! It is meant to be a celebration with your family and friends, where everyone should have fun, including you! I was so worried about making sure the wedding was going to be "fancy" enough, especially since ours was so casual. But to be honest, nobody cared that we just had a spit roast for dinner, or that we couldn't fit enough chairs for everyone into the garden. It was perfect anyway!

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