Nakita and Matt wanted a day that was less about them, and more about celebrating the people they loved. They didn’t want to ditch every formality, but they did want to honour the ones that were important to them and keep the focus on what was most important – being with each other, and their community throughout the day. They chose just one venue, for maximum celebration time, and cocktail party in style, and enlisted Heirlooms by Gulshah to join them to capture it all.

With beautiful rustic meets country details, and minimal styling, the focus was well and truly on the story. And that’s pretty appropriate, because the story for these two? Of where it all began, is one for the ages!

Nakita shared “Matthew and I matched on Tinder, he had “Super liked” one of my photos, on the 20th of May 2020. It was a strange time as everyone is aware of the pandemic, and meeting people the good old fashion way wasn’t ideal. I initially downloaded the app to get a little confidence boost (as did he). Neither of us had it for very long and weren’t intending to find anything serious. However, after a little bit of banter, we exchanged numbers and went from there. I’m not so much of a dater, so it took a couple of weeks of exchanging texts and knockbacks for Matty before I finally thought f*ck it, seems like a nice enough guy. We’ll go for a coffee.

We walked around St.Kilda beach and spoke for hours, just about life. He seemed grounded and sure of himself but not in a way that I was used to, it was refreshing. He drove us from where he was living in Essendon and when we got back, we hugged awkwardly goodbye, and I left. I had crossed the road to my car and started the ignition when I received a text to wait, I grinned and decided on it for a second. But could see him running across the busy road to get to me. I hopped out and we kissed, I drove back home with the biggest smile on my face.

Wasn’t long after we had our first ‘proper’ date that I knew he was the one. Matt and I decided to have our first date at his house, given everything with the pandemic, we decided to bring the restaurant experience home.  When I got to Matts, he opened the door in his shirt and slacks, looking a little flustered, which I soon found out may have been nerve-breaking wines before my arrival. Nonetheless, (it) was looking delicious. I walked into the dining area where he had set up a little touch of Italy. The checkered tablecloth, the lit candle in the middle of the table, he had prepared a 3-course meal (Arancini, Lasagna and brought Cannoli) and even brought my favourite gin. I was a little taken aback, no one had gone through this kind of effort for me, especially someone I had just met. A lot of food and drinks were consumed and we took our first picture with each other, which was the first of now many. We spent the following day together just lounging, commenting on how well we fit laying next to each other and how comfortable we felt. I went home that evening feeling so grateful for Matt’s attention to detail. Everything happened so organically and just felt right, like two old souls reconnecting. He was and is a true gentleman. We fell in love almost instantly and the rest I guess you could say is history.”

Matt popped the question on the beach, to an unsuspecting Nakita. “Matt took me to one of his favourite beaches down in Phillip Island, Kittys beach. His parents live in San Remo, so it wasn’t unusual for us to be there or go to the beach in Summer. He seemed a little uptight and unlike himself, but I didn’t give it too much thought, looking back now it all makes sense.

We settled ourselves on the beach and I was trying on his ring, playing around with it acting like it was a wedding ring, but of course, it was too big. I made a cheeky, no doubt humorous comment about the size and he pulled a ring out of his boardies and said try this one on… I can’t even fabricate the rest of the events. I just remember saying are you sure a couple of times and him looking at me like are you serious… I was just so happy and overwhelmed, also thinking shit he had the ring just kicking around in his pocket while we were on the beach. Long story short I said yes (giggles, obviously).”

“My husband always knew the colour and style he wanted for his suit and groomsmen” explains Nakita of Matt’s look which included a beige three piece suit. “The only thing he wasn’t sure of was 2 or 3 pieces. He ended up wearing a beige suit with a white Egyptian cotton shirt from MJ Bale. Their service was amazing and he loved every minute of the process with his groomsmen. He looked amazing and it fell perfectly within our scheme. So many people commented how he looked like an Egyptian Prince, which he loved being a little himself.”

Nakita wore a simple, fitted gown, a process she didn’t exactly love!  “I tried many dresses on: from mermaid to ball gown. Off the shoulder, V-neck and sweetheart. All the embroidery and detail, to none. But in the end, I chose to stay true to myself and the overall theme of our wedding and decided on a sheer slip dress with a v-neck, low back and small detailed flow from the back. Initially, I wasn’t going to wear a veil, but I went a floor length one slipped in under my boho curled up-do, with gold and pearled accessories.

The experience was overwhelming, to be honest. I had left it pretty late given all the lockdowns and working around my 4 bridesmaids’ schedules factoring in when we could make a day of it. Working with very minimal time, I didn’t take into consideration alterations or boutiques and bridal shops having to send them off. Given my small frame, I was pretty limited in what I could buy off the rack. Everyone had different opinions which also made it difficult, but in the end, as I said I stayed true to myself and ended up choosing a dress that suited my style, personality and overall theme of the wedding. I couldn’t have been happier with the result and I received a lot of comments on my dress and how it suited me perfectly.”

The floral details for the day were understated, with a touch of rustic elegance. Says Nakita “the venue had a lot of natural beauty and greenery, both inside and outside of the venue so we kept it basic. We went with dried florals, I’ve always loved the idea of keepsakes and it seemed more appropriate given our theme was supposed to be natural. A very talented friend of mine Andrea created The Petal Edit, which offers dried flower services.

I’m pretty confident I was the first wedding enquiry she had received, but the communication, pricing and final product were exceptional. We ordered our 5 bouquets and 11 pinholes from her. The pinholes were for the groomsmen and immediate family. She did an amazing job and I’m so happy we went dried because everyone got to keep their florals and they’ve stayed perfectly in shape.”

Matt’s favourite memory of the day? The first look! “The best and clearest memory about the day for me was the first look.” He remembers “When I saw my beautiful bride for the first time in her lovely wedding dress my heart melted, I was speechless. Holding back tears, the wave of emotion, and the joy it brought me to see her looking absolutely stunning will be embedded in my mind for the rest of my life.”

The couple even opted to have a favourite song playing, “Matt had chosen to play a song that didn’t quite make the cut for a song in the ceremony, but meant a lot to me, “It only happens”, by Renee Geyer. ” remembers Nakita. “I couldn’t have picked a better song for this moment. It was a little nerve-racking walking down to my soon-to-be husband, but once he turned around so much emotion flooded through us both. It allowed us to stay grounded, bring us back to each other and understand that this day was all about us. It was a truly beautiful moment and from that moment we knew nothing else mattered, we were about to marry the person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with and we could then go through the rest of the day, supporting and being there for each other. I highly recommend a first look.”

The couple chose one venue – Farm Vigano – for their ceremony and reception. “We decided to have both our ceremony and reception at the same venue, Farm Vigano. It was an evening wedding and we both hated the idea of people having to travel in between formalities. Neither of us is very religious so that also took a lot of pressure off when deciding.  They followed each other with a canapé and cocktail hour while we had some quick family photos and portraits with each other. We wouldn’t have done it any other way. It took a lot of stress off everyone, including ourselves.

The venue was perfect for what we wanted to achieve. The natural beauty and landscape of the grounds meant we had to do very minimal (decor) to create the theme we wanted. We wanted the vineyard to feel without the vineyard distance. Farm Vigano has a lot of greenery and their authentic Italian-style venue fell in perfectly with the rustic/minimalist look we set out to achieve.

We had begun looking at venues in between lockdowns, but any that we liked, we didn’t love or had one thing but not the other. They had everything we wanted and at very reasonable prices; shortly after Matt confessed that he had a dream we got married there and after our initial consult with Suzie the Weddings Creator at Farm Vigano, we were convinced and committed. We’ve always trusted our gut in this relationship, so I never doubted Matt’s intuition when deciding. We made the right choice. From the process of booking to the day of our wedding. Suzie and also Evie, did an amazing job collaborating with both Matt and me from the floor plan to food selection to achieve our dream day. All the staff from the waiters, bartenders and chefs were so kind and accommodating. The natural beauty of the venue in itself saved us so much time and effort. And the food and drinks, OMG, wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Nakita walked down the aisle with both her father and her uncle. “I walked down the aisle to “Stand by me”, by The Florence and Machine. I’ve always loved the meaning and lyrics of the song, but the remake by TFM just made it more suited to our taste in music. My father started the walk with me, down the steps of the venue and handed me to my uncle who walked me down the aisle. Both men have played significant roles in my life and growth. I was happy that both could play an important role in that formality. Once my uncle had walked me to Matt, they exchanged a hongi (which is a Maori greeting, showing respect and love).”

The couple were married by Meredith Crookes, who stepped in last minute. “Matt and I both wanted our ceremony to be both light and in style with our personalities” explains Nakita. “Our initial celebrant was quite charismatic and humorous, but also unorganised and ended up having to cancel only a couple days before our wedding day. Luckily, he did have a backup celebrant, Meredith Crookes who did an amazing job and was probably a blessing in disguise.

She delivered our story with humour but kept it personal and down to earth. She was an absolute godsend and I applaud her organisation (as this is something I pride myself in personally). We wanted it short and sweet, touching base on our love story, giving thanks to our mentors and those that played significant roles in our lives but most importantly just coming together as one and as a married couple in front of our family and friends. We stood tall and strong, supporting each other hand in hand looking front on at our loved ones, exchanging cheeky looks under the wooden arbour. We chose not to do personal vows or any religious readings, we just had one quote incorporated that the celebrant read out, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it to love”.”

Advice from Nakita? “In planning: Remember why you’re doing this, to be married to the one you love. Focus on what’s important and don’t stress about the little things. What will be, will be.
In marriage: Stay honest and communicate. Never stop showing the person you love how much you appreciate them and your relationship. There’s a fine line between complacent and comfortable, never stop trying”.

There are not enough good things Nakita can say about their wedding photographer. “Gulshah from Heirlooms by Gulshah was amazing. From the process of booking, to meeting to organising our timeline and schedule. Her communication was always flowing. I think I took her back a little, through the process and even the day how “chilled”, but her overall personality and professionalism were always apparent.

From the moment she came to the accommodation, she was on, scoping shots, angles and landscapes. She made everyone involved feel comfortable and at ease. Her attention to detail and the quality of images did not disappoint, we loved how she captured our whole day. From getting ready to our portraits, family and friends and throughout the reception. We had so many comments from our guests about how cool and fun she was. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to capture our day.”

“It’s amazing how much planning and emotions go into a day and while you are in it all you want to do is pause it for a moment and be able to savour every second. I can say that Matt and I made sure to check up on each other and sneak off for little moments to share with each other. Just so that we could savour the moment. Weddings can be intense, with a lot of love and pictures, formalities and photos. It was good for us just to take those moments and remind each other of what we had just achieved and take it all in positively and endlessly. Our moments kept us grounded.”

As untraditional as they were, Nakita and Matt still made sure to honour traditions important to them. “We included the guardian angels frame and candle on our entrance table. My now mother-in-law had given us a personalised horseshoe to hang on our door the night of the wedding. My nan had given me something new and blue, she brought me a beautiful heart locket with a blue stone, which I wore on my ankle. My whanau (family, in Maori), performed the Haka which humbled me and meant a lot to both Matt and me.
Matt and myself speeches, to our loved ones and each other. “We won’t always see eye to eye in the future, but I guarantee we will always see heart to heart. I will love you today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life. Wholeheartedly, effortlessly and endlessly. A toast to you, us and you all that have shared this day with us”, my closing (bride).”

You might have guessed special songs play a big role in Nakita and Matt’s life together, and that continued, right down to the first dance. “Our first dance was to “Beyond”, by Leon Bridges. This song plays a very big part in the coming together of our relationship. Matt fell in love with the lyrics when we were dating, it made references to marriage, future and family, everything he said he could see in me.

It brings so many memories and joy through just listening to the song, so we knew it had to be a part of our day. Initially, it was going to be the song I walked down to, but we decided it probably had too much beat for it to be a “good” aisle song. So it became our first dance, we swayed and enjoyed each other for that moment in front of our loved ones. We hadn’t practised anything, but we pulled it off. About a minute or 2 we had asked the wedding party to jump in and then invite the other guests to join, as much as we wanted to make this a significant moment, we didn’t want it to get awkward.”

For Nakita and Matt, the wedding was as much about the experience they could give their guests as it was about the formalities. “Our main priority was that everyone enjoyed themselves. We hired a Photobooth from Gina Balic. Went through a detailed playlist with our DJ from Melbourne DJ Hire. Had SO much tasty food provided by Farm Vigano, that never stopped coming out. Made sure to include all the beverages, even non-alcoholic alcohol so that everyone could enjoy themselves. Had enough seating for anyone that sought the more relaxed approach.
Lastly, we included a framed mention of our guardian angels, those that could not be there in body but were there in spirit and heart.”

Congratulations to you both Nakita and Matt. Thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you to Heirlooms by Gulshah for sharing today’s beautiful images.