Real Weddings

Tahlia and Heath
LaValla Estate

Photography by Kiri Marsters Photography

"The beginning of our relationship is a story in its own right! With incorrectly spelt names, lost phone numbers, and friends sending Facebook screenshots so we could find each other. Heath thought Auckland was too far away from Rotorua, where I live - and then decided that 3 hours' drive is OK after all. We both agree that it was nothing short of divine intervention that got us to that all-important first date. We soon discovered a like-minded mate in each other - both in core values and interests. Off-roading became one of our favourite pastimes together. We love taking any opportunity we can get to go exploring the country and camping out where humans have barely touched the landscape before us. It was on one of these trips up north that Heath proposed - almost exactly a year after our first date. Little did I know that he'd asked for my parents' blessing weeks before and had been carrying the ring in his pocket the whole trip! It was just one of his friends and us, and by some miracle, we found ourselves at the Pouto Lighthouse with no one else around. Heath's mate knew what was coming, so as soon as Heath started reaching into his pocket for the ring, the camera was out. I was astonished and stuck somewhere between tears and laughter with all of the emotion. The first time I was able to visit LaValla, Heath was onsite at an event in Auckland. That same afternoon, I went to catch Heath on one of his breaks. As soon as he saw my face, he knew I'd found our venue. Heath and I wanted a place with different areas within the same complex that allowed us to hold our whole day at the one venue. We wanted an outdoor ceremony (with a Plan B option) and a lovely reception area with its own beauty and spaces that would give us precious photo opportunities. LaValla provided all of this and so much more! Nothing was too much trouble, and the bridal party even thought our coordinator, Lee, was a relative - he seemed to know us so well! Family is essential to both of us, and knowing that the majority of them would have travelled for miles to join the celebration, we planned our day so that once the ceremony started, we were with our guests for the rest of the evening. The LaValla team were amazing at helping us realise this dream, and the day went off without a hitch. It was the perfect setting to start the rest of our lives together!"

Thanks to all the contributing vendors:

Photography: Kiri Marsters Photography
Venue: LaValla Estate
Dress & veil: Bridal Brilliance
Silk flowers: Florabunda
Hair & makeup: Jess Lee
Cake: Jen Hansen