We’re pretty used to two-part weddings these days, and for Amy and Josh, the dream was to have a stress-free wedding, before they dropped the marriage bombshell on all of their family and friends at their “engagement party”. Says Amy “We got to take in the whole day and did not have to worry about making sure everyone was okay and everything was going to plan. It was just us and our two closest friends and we got to have quality time together and celebrate.”
“We DIY’d the entire ‘engagement party’ ourselves and had whanau help as they thought it was just an engagement party. We set it up so that there was a projector that played the wedding video to everyone and Josh and I both snuck out and quickly got dressed into my wedding gown and his suit. We had our first dance at the surprise ‘engagement’ party a month following the wedding. We had a videographer video the entire wedding day and we played this video to all our friends and family a month later at our ‘engagement’ party that was the announcement we were already married. We danced to Tangaroa Whakamauti by Maisey Rika.”
With utterly golden Autumnal light, Kellie Francis made the most of the drop-dead gorgeous backdrops that new Zealand practically boasts about day in and day out. The weather putting the most perfect show for not just a stress-free wedding day, but an absolutely beautiful one.
It was as teenagers that Amy and Josh first met. In Amy’s own words “We met when we were 17 at a friend’s birthday party. I lived in Te Anau and Josh lived in Omakau and we were both in High School. We did long distance for the first year as we lived roughly 3.5 hours away from each other and when I went to University in Dunedin Josh came too. We got married exactly nine years later to the date 28/04.”
Turns out that this lakeside resort was not just special as a wedding venue, but it was also the place where Josh asked Amy to marry him! “On my 26th Birthday, Josh surprised me with a night away at the Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown. We started the day off with a round of golf and then a spa afterwards. We went to the whiskey bar at the resort before going for dinner at the Japanese restaurant. When we went back to our room we had a drink and Josh took me out to the balcony and proposed under the moonlight.”
The couple may not have had guests, but they made sure every moment was captured “We loved our videographer, Scott Latham, from Wild & White Videography. The video is just amazing and it is something we will have for the rest of our lives. He and Kellie worked so well together to capture the whole day.”
The couple got ready as well as married at the one venue Millbrook Resort. “We chose Millbrook as our wedding venue as we got engaged there and it just felt right” explained Amy. “When we got engaged I expressed that I would love to get married at the Millbrook as it holds a special place in my heart so that is why we chose it.
The wedding planner at the Millbrook planned it all and I just had to give the tick of approval. It made it so stress-free for us both. I chose the photographer and videographer myself and the planner did the rest.”
Amy wore the “Morrison” gown from Madi Lane. “I purchased the dress from Bride & Winter in Dunedin and the experience was magical. I knew it was the dress when I tried it on and Alana from Bride and Winter was so amazing at making me comfortable about the whole process.” The groom’s suit was from Barkers. “We went in to choose the suit and then got it altered to fit him. Josh decided to go for a navy blue suit with brown shoes.”
Amy walked down the aisle, to the pier by herself, to “Say you won’t let go” by James Arthur.
The couple were married by Charlotte Winkel – Your Big Day and made sure that they kept their Maori culture as the focus of the ceremony. Says Amy “The ceremony was on the pier and it was a beautiful day with no clouds. We had a te Reo Maori focus as Josh is Ngai Tahu and Ngati Kahungunu – iwi in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our celebrant opened with her mihimihi/ pepeha. Josh did his vows first and then I did mine. I surprised Josh by writing my vows in Te Reo Maori and then saying them in English. At the end of the ceremony after we had signed the marriage certificate we exchanged Korowai – Josh had one from the whanau and we had one made for our future whanau.”
The exchanging of the Korowai remains one of the couple’s favourite moments of the day. “We wanted to have my one made so that we could pass it down to our tamariki one day and it be our whanau korowai” explains Amy. “It was important that Josh wear his whanau korowai as tradition too.”
Amy and Josh asked just two guests to join their merry band. “My best friend Brenna was my maid of honour and Bruce was Josh’s best man. Brenna is my childhood friend and Bruce was Josh’s. Brenna wore a silky emerald dress and Bruce wore a navy suit like Josh.”
Amy, who may of course be biased, has this advice for you! “Elope! and then have the big party later! We found that when we eloped we got to spend quality time together and really savour the moments. At the party when all of our family and friends were there we did not get to spend that much time together as we were pulled off in different directions. I had always dreamed of a big wedding but the elopement was next level and I would not change our day at all.”
The helicopter ride up to the Remarkables was the perfect way to celebrate! “We all went up to the mountain in the helicopter for an hour and got picked up and dropped off at the Millbrook.”
“Kellie Francis was our photographer and she was amazing!” raves Amy. “She made us feel so comfortable and we had so much fun taking photos. She made us feel like we had known her for ages and it was so natural.”
A big beautiful congratulations to you both Amy and Josh! Thank you for sharing the beautiful stories of your day with us and thank you to Kellie Francis for sharing today’s celebration!