Introducing Brooke and Matt
Trainee pilot Brooke Tohiariki, 25, married police officer Matt Brooking, 33, in a "chilled out" beach wedding in Waihi. The groom even changed his surname to the bride's in an ultimate sign of romance!
How did you meet? "We met at my flat warming. I had just moved from Brisbane to Palmerston North to finish my degree and knew nobody," Brooke says. "My flatmate decided to throw a flat warming and invite her underwater hockey teammates along. I had no idea what underwater hockey was, or that I would be meeting my future husband! Nothing happened at the flat warming, I don't think I even spoke to Matt for more than a couple of minutes, but I decided to go along and play underwater hockey the next Sunday and got talking to him there. One thing led to another, we got some pizza after training and the rest is history!"
Tell us about the proposal: "I had been in hospital for four days after a fairly horrendous allergic reaction, and we both needed some time outdoors after being stuck in a hospital room, so we decided to go camping," says Brooke. "I didn't realise what he was up to, but we went for a swim/walk up the river by our campsite and when we got back he came and sat next to me in the sun. He started acting strange, between being jittery and then telling me how amazing I was and I still had no clue, I just thought he was trying to get off doing the dishes! Next thing you know he had the ring out asking me if I wanted to marry him! I was so surprised I forgot to say yes and he had to remind me! I said yes, and then immediately wondered where he had been keeping the ring as he was still in his togs!"
Location of wedding: The pair married at Bowentown, Waihi, in a cove on the beach.
Describe your wedding day: "A chilled out beach wedding and an awesome reception for everyone at the family beach house afterwards," says Brooke. "We both wrote our own vows, and we gathered different parts of different ceremonies for our ceremony. We are both atheists but we had an awesome Anglican celebrant, Ross, who took that in to account and made it special. We used Stretch Tents, who came and put up an awesome circus-style tent which we decorated with more than 4000 fairy lights and tea light candles in jars, and had a gourmet burger bar for the meal. The food was awesome: Thai kingfish with peanut sauce, bacon and beef burgers and three artisan breads along with a heap of different salads. Really simple food done really well. All self-catered!"
The dress: "It was actually a design I found on the internet and got made overseas," says Brook. "I was pretty adamant I didn't want a strapless dress, and I'm glad I didn't go overboard on the price. In the end I spent a total of $250 on my dress, and I loved it!"
The flowers: "We decided not to have flowers, as neither of us are 'flower people', so we got the bride, bridesmaids and the mother of the bride Vivienne white parasols and the boys were given a gorgeous recycled copper necklace each made by a family friend and artist, Arthur Brightwell."
Highlight of the wedding: "Seeing how much our friends and family loved us!" says Brooke. "They genuinely were delighted for us to be getting married, and the help they gave us was priceless. Our team of women in the kitchen, the guys doing the cooking, the other guys helping set up the tent, do the music, everything. It was a very touching reminder of our awesome community of people. That, and I got to marry my best friend!"
Was there any drama? "A little bit, but nothing we couldn't handle," says Brooke. "My darling husband-to-be hadn't realised the chicken we bought three days earlier needed to be frozen and defrosted on the morning of the wedding and so it was put in the fridge. We came to cooking time and realised it was very, very bad! Luckily the guys had been out on a charter fishing trip and one of them had got a massive 25kg kingfish which we cut in to steaks and marinated instead. It was beautiful!"
The honeymoon: "Our whole wedding lasted about a week; we did different things with our loved ones, exploring the old goldmines, going charter fishing, swimming, relaxing and playing soccer on the beach. So it was a sort of holiday with a wedding chucked in for fun, but we are planning on heading to the UK some time next year as my parents have moved to England."
Your photographer and favourite photo? "Our photographer was Matt Dobson from Eyland Images, who was amazing!" says Brooke. "My favourite photo has got to be one of us that was taken just before it got too dark to do more pictures. We went to the top of the lookout over Anzac Cove and took pictures at sunset."