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My sister Kelly and brother-in-law Rangi are a rare and very special couple.  They have been together 22 years, high school sweethearts who have managed to navigate the speed bumps and potholes of life’s relationship road quite nicely – they just took the scenic route, that’s all!

They got married in a beautifully low-key affair at Kamay Botany Bay National Park (NSW) in front of their loving families, loyal friends and gorgeous 14-year-old son Keanan who is just the apple of his mum and dad’s eye.  As you can imagine everyone was absolutely stoked this day had finally come around.

Ceremony images by friend & photographer Kelly Senior ([email protected]) who has done an amazing job capturing the soul of Kelly & Rangi’s wedding.  Reception photos are bride’s own.

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Kelly and Rangi wanted a warm & intimate get together where family and friends could just relax and have fun, so a beach ceremony and garden reception at home suited their laid back style perfectly. They also wanted to incorporate their Maori (NZ) heritage which is one of the reasons they chose their ceremony site, it looks directly out over the ocean to New Zealand.

Kelly & Rangi were a very budget conscious couple so they decided to do everything themselves.  This real “home made” affair was quite an undertaking but with those closest to them each contributing in their own small but very important way, made it a uniquely amazing day.  Kelly sourced Ebay, garage sales or made things herself, she is very creative and sure knows what she wants which was reflected in her wedding, it was truly her.

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Kelly’s beach inspired dress was by Lisa Brown from LaLuna Boutique Cronulla.  I remember the day she came home with it, so excited then proceeded to unveil a completely different dress from the one she’d originally chosen!  I couldn’t believe it but that’s my sis and she looked perfect in it, again truly her.  Jen Worger did a gorgeous job of Kelly’s hair and makeup and her shoes were her “something borrowed” from our niece, they both have tiny feet!  Kelly’s wishing well was hired from Devine Eventions (0449551754).

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The bridesmaid’s dresses were an absolute steal from Tree of Life and our boys were casually attired in Country Road.

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For the reception Kelly wanted to create a casual but stylish atmosphere so she sprinkled the garden with fairy lights, hung festoon lights from the big willow and draped beautiful heart shaped ornaments from the branches of trees.  It all came together with the help of family and friends who worked tirelessly the eve of the wedding, adding the finishing touches on the day.  Kelly hand made the hanging driftwood & beach shell ornaments and the amazing table centre pieces herself.  We spent hours leading up to the wedding scouring the beach for shells, driftwood and collecting sand.  Kelly ended up giving most of these away to her guests, they loved them so much!  Their Maori heritage was an important feature here with the mihi mihi (speeches) waiata (songs) & karakia (blessings & prayers), honestly there wasn’t a dry eye in the place at times.

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Not sticklers for tradition, Kelly and Rangi filled their day with their own special touches.  Their son Keanan and our mum Lynne walked Kelly down the aisle to “So In Love With You” by UNV sung by a cousin & accompanied on the guitar by a family friend.  Keanan’s role was particularly significant as he stood in for his poppy (our dad) whom we sadly lost to cancer last year.

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The flowers Kelly chose were also poignant as they represented our Dad Wiki, wild daisies grow on the mountainside where he is buried.  We missed him so much that day but felt surrounded by him in the simplest of ways – the glorious weather, the simple bouquets made by the groom’s sister and the reception flowers arranged by our mum and aunty in rustic tin buckets and jam jars decorated with raffia.  Big UPS also to my mum, youngest sister and her fiancé who were up at the crack of dawn buying flowers at the Sydney Flower Markets!

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Friend & marriage celebrant Keryn McWhinney (0411157494) who was just amazing , married them under a beautiful bamboo canopy made by the groom.  The bamboo, raffia and aisle runner were supplied by Beautiful Beach Weddings.

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Rangi’s mum then blessed the marriage with a karakia (prayer) and the bridesmaids serenaded the signing of the registrar with “Angel of Mine” by Monica.

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Kelly & Rangi had photos taken with each and every guest immediately after the ceremony, it was important to them to have a memento of everyone who shared in their day.

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The groom’s family cooked our delicious buffet, the fresh NZ seafood and home made fried bread were scrumptious!  Kelly says the two wait staff she hired from All Complete Cater & Hire Services were worth the splurge as they did a fantastic job keeping family & friends out of the kitchen.  The wedding cake was made up of their favourite chocolate brownies from Muffin Break Miranda and went down an absolute treat with guests taking them home to enjoy later. A close friend made the yummy wedding cake topper.

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I think the only curve ball Kelly & Rangi were thrown was the weather. The week leading up to the wedding it absolutely bucketed down and was described as the “wettest December in 50 years!” Take note ladies, ALWAYS have a plan B. Again, family and friends and my unwavering brother-in-law came to the rescue erecting a tarpaulin so Kelly’s vision for her garden party could become a reality. Something my sister says she will never forget is Rangi taking her aside amongst all the chaos and his kind words of reassurance “Don’t worry babe, all the rain is just your dad watering the garden so everything will be nice and green. He’ll look after us, have faith”. And to our delight the next morning, the sun was shining and the day couldn’t have been better, in fact it was PERFECT!

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I hope Kelly and Rangi’s photos capture the feelings of pure joy that exuded from the whole day because as corny as it sounds, I truly can’t put it into words.  Everyone was “feelin the love” as they say and many of Kelly and Rangi’s guests have commented on how it was just an “amazing” day. I too hope to aspire to the real and enduring love that my sister has found.  Even as my “little” sister I think she’s taught me a lesson or two on how two people, through hard work and real love can create a happy and loving life together.  Kudos to you my little sis!

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Ms Polka Dot says: Their love for each other, and family and friends shines out from the photos of Kelly and Rangi’s wedding. Thank you Tracy for sharing so beautifully, your sister’s wedding with us. Congratulations Kelly and Rangi on your wedding!

Tracy says: I am a busy mum of two small boys who have certainly kept me out of trouble these past few years! And as my two main men tottle off to school I look forward to this new year as a journey of self rediscovery both personally and professionally – bring it on 2011!

Photography by Kelly Senior ([email protected])