Beautiful Bay of Islands Wedding


We are happy to share another “real couple” feature, this time it’s all about Emily and Mark’s special wedding in Russell, Bay of Islands. They celebrated their happily ever after in an intimate wedding of 58 guests in March 2018.

Emily and Mark met through a mutual friend and within a few fabulous months, and starting their relationship, they knew they were going to be spending forever together. Mark proposed at sunset over a beer on a small island called Manukan, in Malaysia. Of course, they had to celebrate their engagement with those who they cherished the most and did so by having dinner with their two families and relaxed over bubbles with the bridal party.

The big day comprised of a small intimate beach wedding at Long beach in Russell. It holds a special place in their heart as Emily grew up in Russell and Emily and Mark head up there often. Special touches on the day included the driftwood archway Mark had build himself and the vows they exchanged which they had written themselves. Emily walked down the aisle with her dad to ‘All I need’ by Jack Johnson.

The reception was held at Russell Boating Club – a place Emily visited a lot as a kid. They wanted to give back to the community and this place suited their beach vibe without breaking the bank. The venue was right on the water so this offered a beautiful setting to celebrate the evening. Apart from the canapes which were made with the help of bridesmaids the day before, guests dined on fish or chicken with a range of seasoned produce and salads for dinner. Emily’s Dad’ band, Mixed Bag, performed the night away with some old school hits and everyone was rocking the dance floor and reminiscing about fond memories from the good old days.

Emily and Mark settled on a backyard wedding to keep it low key and their location was a special place for both of them. As with all weddings, Emily and Mark’s backyard (the beach) did have a two small issues. First, they needed to take tide times into consideration when planning with their photographer and secondly, the beach is not private property so they had the risk of other weddings also utilizing the beach at the same time. While you can book through the council, you don’t have exclusive rights and the public is entitled to walk along the beach as they wish.

Emily’s favourite moment of the wedding day was when they read out their secret vows and realised they were almost identical to one another but from each others perspective. The best thing about Emily and Mark’s backyard wedding was that it was on the beach so it helped to keep costs down and made it a special place to remember forever. Together with saving on the venue, Emily hired her stunning wedding dress and the homemade canapes also cut down costs in their wedding budget. This meant that Emily and Mark could splurge on their beautiful wedding cake.

Emily says the day came together without a hitch which was a huge relief for her and her advice for other brides thinking of having a backyard wedding is, “Think about your future and what else you want to do with the money. While you want the day to be perfect you don’t need to drop a house deposit on it to have what you want. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the beautiful things you could buy but find opportunities to recycle existing things rather than buy new. If you’re happy your guests will be! Things will go wrong but there’s always an alternative so have fun and don’t stress!”.

Here are some of the finer details of the special day;
Wedding dress from Bridal and Ball, suit from Hallensteins.
Makeup by Katy at Bella Rouge and Hair by Mel
Photographer was Kathy Elliston Photography
Bouquets and Boutonnieres created by a friend
Table Florals/Centerpieces Handmade – message in a bottle created with photos and old whiskey bottles
Wedding Cake by That’s Sweet Cake Boutique

If you would like to be featured as a real bride please email us – hello@backyardweddings.co.nz

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