Real Weddings

Julie and Richard
Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant

Photography by Marion H Photography

“Julie and I met in a crowded karaoke booth in Shibuya, Tokyo, in late 2015. Julie was very much in her element, surrounded by old friends singing some of their favourite songs together. She had not long returned to Tokyo after having lived abroad, while I, on the other hand, had just arrived in Tokyo and was invited by a mutual friend to join in. It wasn’t for another six months before we would run into each other again, where we made casual plans to meet up the following weekend at nearby Yoyogi Park. Time flew by as our conversation flowed for hours at the park, and before we knew it, the sun was dimming, and our stomachs began to growl. Our casual park rendezvous inevitably became a dinner date at a small Italian restaurant between our apartments. We’ve been inseparable since. We got to know each other quickly by travelling together frequently and through our shared passion for being active outdoors; we scaled a challenging active volcano called “Meakandake” in Hokkaido during our first trip together. Since then, we’ve climbed quite a few mountains and travelled to Switzerland, Italy, Vietnam, New York, and all over Japan. Each and every trip drew us closer together to the point that I knew Julie was the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. During Christmas, we took a trip to New Zealand where Julie expressed how keen she was to do some hiking, so we planned to hike up to the summit of the Ben Lomond on New Year’s Eve. What Julie didn’t know was that the bubbly in the fridge was not just for the New Year’s countdown. After a gruelling hour of climbing, we finally got to the summit and caught our breaths while we enjoyed the spectacular view. While Julie was distracted taking photos, I quietly snuck out my grandmother’s engagement ring from my backpack and got down on one knee. I told Julie that we could climb any mountain before us if we’re together. Pretty cheesy, but it got the desired outcome: a stunned and tearfully-ecstatic “Yes!” from Julie. Initially, we had thought about a wedding in Japan, but there were too many uncertain factors. We were also conscious of how many of our friends in Japan expressed a desire to someday go to New Zealand but just needed an excuse to go. We immediately thought about a wedding on Waiheke, a place that would be special not only for our international guests but for our Kiwi guests, too. We ultimately decided on Mudbrick due to their reputation and our familiarity with its food and wine. It had a terrific indoor/outdoor flow which enabled us to incorporate our natural rustic garden setting that we had initially envisaged. From that basic concept, our planner, Danielle Esterman of Oh! Such Style prepared a beautiful decorative design proposal that brought our vague idea to life. We loved the colour palettes and accents Danielle prepared for us which worked around all the practical aspects of the venue and the time of the year. The clean and unassuming design was exactly what we wanted and was the perfect expression of Julie and me as a couple. The entire day was perfect and will be remembered forever, but if we had to choose, one of the most memorable things… I would say it was how many of our friends from all over the world came to not only celebrate with us but get involved in our wedding in every way, from the celebrant to the band and even the M.C.”

Thanks to all the contributing vendors:

Photography: Marion H Photography
Styling & Planning: Oh! Such Style
Celebrant: Samantha Johnson
Venue: Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant
Videography: Maiography
Florals: Sandy Lau Floral Art
Cake: Paula Janes Cakes
Hair & makeup: Lipstick and Co.