With just 40 guests and all the handmade details, when Crystal and Madie tied the knot, they booked out an Airbnb by the sea, and they made it totally theirs. In Crystal’s own words “We went for a coastal Boho theme with a very intimate atmosphere.” The decor? All hand-picked, foraged and grown by Madie herself, says Crystal, “The whole wedding was thought out and created by ourselves. From the venue, furniture, flowers, food, lighting, music, we wanted to be involved in everything.”

The duo invited Ellen Mary Taylor along for the day by the sea, in which new Zealand (as apt as it is for The New Zealand Issue) really took centre stage, blue skies, blue seas and a relaxed tale of love. What could be better?

It was instant connection for these two, who after meeting on Tinder, had a seven-hour-long date at a local pub. Crystal deciding to pop the question on a romantic picnic by the sea. “We got engaged during an intimate and private picnic down in Gisborne on the beach. I organised a photographer (Ellen who also shot our wedding) and local event planners to organise everything for me before we arrived from Auckland for the weekend.  A small driftwood Teepee, rug, champagne and our favourite snacks.

To throw Madie off, I had a two-hour nap before the proposal which worked a treat, she had no idea what was coming, though tried to test me on occasion with no success e.g. outfit, painting her nails black for that weekend, after asking for my opinion.

After a long day of nerves I popped the question on the beach in front of a blackboard asking ‘will you marry me’ in Te Reo. The answer was ‘yes’ in between all the tears and quickly throwing her belongings out of the way… realising a photographer was hiding in the shrubs. After that it was tears, smiles and more tears… and don’t forget the champagne. The perfect afternoon.”

On how they chose their dresses, the reaction? Instant emotion, remembers Crystal. There were two brides on this occasion. The first donned a long white dress and the other a skirt and top. Madie chose hers because it was stunning and when she showed her bridesmaids and mother, and they began crying, she knew it was the one.

I chose mine, not on the day out with the bridesmaids but a smaller shopping trip with my daughter and mother. A skirt and top for comfort and something a bit different.”

The couple hired out  Black Rock Holiday Home for their wedding, set right on the clifftop of Tutukaka. “The venue and location were very special as it was where Madie spent most of her life growing up.”

Crystal walked down the aisle with her mum and brother, Madie with her mum and dad, to “Can’t help falling in love” by Hayley Reinhart.

Crystal’s favourite memory of the day? “Seeing Madie walk down the aisle and seeing our plan come together perfectly on the day. Madie’s was the archway, what turned out to be the wrong one, and was replaced with one better suited on the day, then Madie made a toetoe alter piece 30 minutes before having to get ready which brought the whole scene together.”

The newlyweds made the most of golden hour with photographer Ellen. “Ellen was fantastic!!! She got all the shots we had talked about and some. She was there without being ‘there’ and managed to capture all those important moments. We couldn’t have asked for anyone more suited to us.”

The couple’s favourite photograph of the day?  This one “We love the shot at the end of a long day and photoshoot walking back from the beach holding our sandy dresses up around our waists in bare feet.”

Crystal and Madie were surrounded by their favourite people. “Madie had her bridesmaids and I had my bride’s mates” explains Crystal. “The bridesmaids were all in dresses and heels with handmade bouquets created by Madie and the bride’s mates were in pants and shirts.”


There were very special moments, that honoured the family throughout the day, says Crystal, “We wanted everyone to come and have a great time. We also wanted to make my daughter Riley feel special and included in the day with us. Madie did vows for her and gave her a bracelet, which didn’t leave a dry eye in the place!!”

They enjoyed a hearty, delicious buffet dinner catered by Alfie’s Spit Roast. Says Crystal  “The food was AMAZING thanks to Alfie’s Spit Roast! The standard of food and service was outstanding, they were on time, easy to deal with, and tidied everything up before they left.”

Even the speeches were authentic to who Crystal and Madie are. “One person said ‘I didn’t even cry at my wedding, but I did at yours’. The speeches were carefully thought out by Crystal’s side and ad-libbed from Madie’s side – which shows how we balance each other out – I believe Madie’s straight sister said ‘But I’ve seen lesbian porn, so I get it at the end of her speech when talking about when Madie came out to her.”

The night continued as relaxed as it began with dancing and all the fun, Madie and Crystal sharing the first dance to Matt Corby’s ‘Miracle Love’. “A song Madie and I LOVE! Madie wants Matt Corby to be our sperm donor!”

A big congratulations to you both Madie and Crystal! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us and thank you to Ellen Mary Taylor for sharing the beautiful moments!