Real Weddings

Shaleya and Andrei

Photography by Wanderlusting Lovers

“Andrei and I met at Paradice Ice Skating in Botany. I was there with a friend who was checking Andrei out from the sideline. She thought he was very cute; I, however, wasn’t too fussed and offered to get his number for her - which I did. We hit it off almost instantly, which I was not expecting! My friend (who I’m still very good friends with to this day) lost interest, and Andrei and I kept in touch after our time at ice skating. We met up again at the same ice skating rink the following weekend. Now 15 years, two beautiful girls and two cats later, I can update my billing details with his last name. The proposal itself was very unorthodox - just like our relationship! We’d taken the day off on our 8th anniversary to go jet boating and have lunch. He’d been a bit off all day, so I knew something was up and had a feeling he may be proposing. When we got to the restaurant, we ordered some food and drinks, and he went outside for a smoke while we were waiting. Our food and drinks arrived; he took a swig of his beer, came over to me, got down on both knees, and then, trembling, asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! When he got up and started drinking his beer, he completely forgot to put the ring on my finger because he was so nervous! We decided to have our wedding locally, in Onehunga. We wanted something low-key and relaxed but formal. Our style was a bit timeless, with eclectic and neutral aspects that would photograph well and create a lovely atmosphere. We’re not very traditional, overly romantic or too extravagant, and we wanted a wedding to reflect that. We didn’t have a first dance; the only speeches were mine and Andrei’s. Our wedding was as Kiwi as you could get, with everyone vibing really well together and having a good laugh - we even threw Mr Whippy into the mix! Our wedding day was sweltering hot, so having that ice cream truck was a godsend. I have loved Onehunga all my life as I had a positive connection with my sister being the manager at the Hard to Find Bookshop nearby. So we wanted our whole wedding to be in the same area, and it served as a stunning backdrop for our day and made it central for all our friends and family to travel to. We had a lot of help from my friend and bridesmaid, Reyam, who helped with the balloon arch in the hall and acrylic cake topper the night before. Plus, my Maid of Honour, Daena, made our scrummy passionfruit and white chocolate mud cake. My fantastic dressmaker, Nazneen at Alter Me Bridal, ensured my dress was a labour of love. The design started in July 2020, and I didn’t get to wear it until our wedding in February 2022 (covid issues, lockdown, etc.). I wanted something that complemented my figure, had a modern vintage flair and something I could pass down to my girls, should they wish to wear it on their big day. I’d changed my mind twice before finally settling on the final design, and Naz was just so thoughtful and accommodating the whole time. Absolutely adore her! Chelsea from Graze by Chaze did our delicious grazing table. All of the food was locally sourced, and it had our guests raving and obsessed with the massive cheese wheel. The staff at the Onehunga Community House was a delight. Wonderful people - and the groundskeeper even joined the festivities and had a few drinks with us!”

Thanks to all the contributing vendors:

Photography (ceremony): Wanderlusting Lovers
Photography (reception): Jordana Maslin
Dress: Alter Me
Hair: Kandi Dickey
Venue: Onehunga Community House
Celebrant: Nicola Deerness
Catering: Graze by Chaze