Elle and Iese
In an industry where tradition has become something so easy to cast aside, Elle and Iese filled their day with traditions that were so perfectly them. Honouring the groom’s Cook Island and Samoan heritage – from the mat they stood on to the traditional reception welcome – tradition and culture were very much a part of what made this day so very special.
With their wedding captured beautifully by White Wedding Photographers, Elle and Iese started their relationship many moons ago. “We met playing on an indoor volleyball team in Menai, me being the only girl on a team of five boys,” remembers Elle. “We hit it off as friends first, mucking around and making each other laugh, and then it went from there. We were friends before we were lovers so we just like to muck around, pay each other out, have fun and not take ourselves too seriously.”
The bride’s aunt made her gown, Elle remembering, “I had seen a picture of a dress that I really liked but it was a little risqué with a very low front. I sent the picture to my Aunty to see if she would be able to make it or not and she replied straight away to state that she would love to. I didn’t even try on a single wedding dress to decide on the style, I knew what I wanted. I am very lucky to have a super-talented Aunty and she made the most beautiful dress that was exactly what I wanted. The experience was brilliant and the result even better.”
Scribbly Gum Lane created the bouquets for the day, the bride noting, “I wanted bright flowers to match the different coloured bridesmaid’s dresses. I saw a photo of another wedding and used those flowers as my example. My florist then put together a beautiful bouquet and floral crown based on these. For the bridesmaids, as they were already colourful, their bouquets were just greenery which worked perfectly.”
The couple chose Hazelhurst Arts Centre for their ceremony liking that it was close to home and close to their reception venue.
The bride’s cousin sang Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” as Elle walked down the aisle with her father.
The Wedding and Event Creators teamed up with the couple to style the day, with Amanda Cucca leading the ceremony. Elle tells, “The ceremony was set in the garden of an Art Gallery. We had a wooden arbour set up, decorated with white material, and flowers with a traditional Samoan mat, called a Tapa, for us to stand on. It was simple, traditional and the backdrop worked wonderfully, green and lush like the Pacific islands my husband is from. For the readings, we wanted to keep it personal and not too mushy. I wrote a little story about our relationship which was read out and then we each wrote our own vows. We just wanted it personal and fun.”
“At the end of the day it isn’t what the venue looked like that people remember, it was the fun times they had and our band really helped to make it a super fun evening. I don’t think we regret anything, our day was exactly how we wanted plus more.”
The newlyweds, took time out after the ceremony in a rowboat for two, dressed in beautiful bright flowers styled by Floral Fix.
Of their photographer, the bride remembers, “Our photographer was Sue White from White Wedding Photographers. She was amazing. I researched a lot of photographers but Sue’s photos really stood out to me, especially her ones in bushland which is what we wanted. From the moment we met her we hit it off. We had some ideas of what we would like for our pictures and she took them on board and was so excited. She researched the area we wanted pictures to be taken and found places to take amazing shots we hadn’t even thought of. I really couldn’t have asked for a better photographer and the end product was better than I could have imagined. I am so so happy with them.”
“As cliché as it is to say, all of our vendors were absolutely amazing. They were all so excited which made us even more excited in the lead-up and on our wedding day. They made the planning so easy as they were all very flexible and were happy to make changes to accommodate us, even up to the last minute. The planning and organizing were made fun thanks to their wonderful attitudes and we would highly recommend anyone to use the vendors we used for our big day.”
Club Kirawee played host to the reception, Elle remarking, “The venue was a perfect fit for us, not too fancy, relaxed, a great big room to work with and a wonderful menu that we knew all our guests would eat and be very welcome to go back for seconds.”
Special touches were dotted throughout the day, Elle explaining, “Iese is half Samoan and half Cook Islander and we wanted to incorporate Islander traditions as a major part of our wedding day. Travel plays a huge part in our relationship so we wanted to have some of that in the mix, so we kind of made it a vintage travel theme. We used a World Map as our seating plan, a vintage suitcase as our wishing well and a World Globe as our signing book. We also wanted to add some island flavour to balance things out so we included palm leaves on the reception tables and bright flowers in old glass jars that matched the bride’s bouquet. It was our vintage island travel fusion.”
“After our traditional Cook Island welcome into the reception as husband and wife, called a Turou, we were taken into the middle of the reception and together we danced to Cook Island music. I just love how happy we both look. It encapsulates our day, just us two having a good time together, surrounded by our nearest and dearest, respecting and enjoying my husband’s culture and doing what we both love doing together, dancing.”
“I also loved all of the traditional performances at the reception. It made it so different from any other wedding my family had been too and they all loved it. I did a solo traditional Cook Island dance which was so fun to do but also terrifying. We also had Samoan dances, Samoan Haka, the Maori Haka and other Cook Island dances so it was a mixed bag of culture which was really special.”
Dancing was a huge part of the celebration. “We didn’t learn a choreographed dance for our first dance we just did our own thing, a few spins, dips and formal dancing followed by some boogie-ing. Our song was “Don’t Let Go” by Spawnbreezie,” tells the bride. She adds “He is a Samoan artist so we liked that it tied in with the island vibe and it is a reggae song which connected with the song I walked down the aisle to and the band we hired for the evening. Not many people know the song unless you are into reggae, are Samoan or are from New Zealand, but we both love it and it was fun to dance too and not too slow.”