Stuff's wedding of the week
Yohay and Karlene met and created their lives together - including their beautiful 3-year-old daughter Zoe - in Wellington.
After a uniquely romantic proposal up a mountain, the lovely couple enjoyed their special day on Ocean Beach in Raglan surrounded by all their loved ones.
A stunning hand-me-down veil, a passionate haka and full-on enthusiasm from wee Zoe combined to make the day perfect for everyone.
We'll let Karlene fill you in on the details...
How did you meet? I was 19, he was 20. I had just made the big move from Raglan down to Wellington and had started work behind the bar at a Lower Hutt bowling centre where he was working in the kitchen. Having worked in the Raglan hospo industry (full of eye candy) my first thought was "oh, he's exactly the kind of guy my mates and I would crush on". For me, there was an instant connection - I fell pretty hard and fast. I then genuinely loathed him for a little while when I thought he had a girlfriend. That blew over, I challenged him to a pea-knuckle war in the middle of a massively populated bar we'd all gone to for after work drinks, he later offered to sober drive me home and well, here we are today...
Tell us about the proposal: It was my 23rd birthday. He'd planned the perfect night - first we had drinks on the waterfront in Wellington. We then went for dinner at my absolute favourite Wellington restaurant - Nicollinis on Courtenay Place and the food, as always, was beautiful. We went for a round or two of pool, and then despite the terrible weather we decided to venture up Mt Vic. Nearing the top, he turned to me and said "Ok, I have a riddle for you... if the answer is 'yes', what is the question?" Thinking this was a genuine challenge I answered such things as "was my dinner nice?", "do I like potatoes?" before eventually working out he was proposing to me.
Location of wedding: Ocean Beach in Raglan followed by food and drinks at the Raglan Town Hall. Luckily, the weather held out for us! It had been forecast to rain, in which case we'd have been married in the Town Hall which would've been ok, but definitely not as good as the beach.
Describe your wedding day: Perfect. I can't find fault with anything. A lot of friends and family had said to me to relax and enjoy the day, because before you know it will be over and that was definitely true. I made a special effort to savour every moment, so I'm really glad I had been given that advice beforehand. My Dad and Yohay made an award winning bridezilla effort for most of the day - each ringing me constantly, Dad even decided to just come around at one point - but they both relaxed once they realised I wasn't lying while saying the whole time "it's going to work out, it will be fine!". I spent a very relaxed morning with my Mum and sisters, drinking French Champagne and being transformed in to goddesses by the wonderful Marnie Jade (our make-up artist). It was a beautiful day, celebrated with all the people we love and I wouldn't change a thing
The dress: I've never been a girly girl, and in all honesty I've always rolled my eyes at traditional weddings in general. The last thing I wanted to look like was a pouffy, sparkly wedding cake. I did look at wedding dresses for a while, but eventually discovered an Asos dress that is 200% me and I knew it was the one I had to have.
The flowers: Dahlias, my favourite. They were lovingly picked by my Grandpa from his garden which was special to me as my Grandma had only passed away just over a year prior to the wedding, so having flowers from a garden they'd built together made me feel she was still a special part of our day.
Highlight of the wedding: The whole day was a highlight but if I had to pick one moment it would be wearing the wedding veil worn by both my Grandma and Aunty. Also, when Yohay and I were both honoured with a spine-tingling haka by my Uncles, Aunties and cousins following a beautiful speech by my Koro Patihana. Words cannot express how grateful I am for that moment.
Was there any drama? Fortunately there was no drama at all. I was incredibly sick with a full blown head cold that had kept me up for most of the previous night, and had me break down in a mild coughing fit during the ceremony, but not even that could cast a shadow on our day.
The honeymoon: Our honeymoon is yet to come, but we did enjoy a blissful, relaxed, childless night at Novotel Tainui followed by a delicious breakfast the next day.
Your photographer and favourite photo? Our photographer was Linda Holmes and I fully recommend this lady to anyone! She was actually my English teacher at high school, but has recently been dabbling in a bit of photography. Her photos captured truly and perfectly who we are as a couple; a pair of goof balls.