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Shakespeare once posed the question ‘what’s in a name?’ Well, if you ask Naomi of the Real Wedding Special… everything. “My sister Ruth and Mum flew down to Wellington for a weekend of dress shopping. We found the dress in Voon at the end of the first day. It was the name that got me… the Swan Lake dress in renaissance lace. I gasped. Sold.”

With the perfect gown and a dreamy vibe in place, Naomi and Josiah opted for lots of soft colours, bits of gold, unbelievable Sally Eagle bridesmaids dresses and heaps of gorgeous flowers. After searching high and low for a venue that would check all their boxes, this pair found ‘the one’ in Woodlands Estate, a unique and beautiful historic New Zealand villa homestead.

“Woodlands has these gorgeous gardens, huge trees and wild fields that you can just see guests strolling about in. In the end I fell in love with the floral wallpapers in two of the estate bedrooms and it was all over. I needed to swan about with my beautiful bridesmaids with pink and mint in the background,” explains Naomi, who spent the weeks leading up to the wedding hunting down every cute vintage glass in the North Island to make soy candles for each of the tables.

“Took a long time, but was totally worth it,” she assures us. A marketing student and a bank employee, it was clear acting wasn’t this couple’s forte after try to fake smile through a little tiff during their first set of photos. Thankfully, Danelle and Hook of A Couple of Night Owls were ready and willing to deal with the couple’s quarrel.

“They made us walk the path again – guess we didn’t do such a good job hiding it!” remembers Josiah, whose pocket square got swiped from him despite the half hour it took to get perfect. “[I took] Josiah’s pocket square from his pocket during the ceremony for some rogue tears. He didn’t get the hint to pass it to me from all the stealthy winks I was giving him,” says Naomi, reminding us that “another person seeing you at your best and worse (crying face included)” is just another part of married life.

“It’s all about sharing yourself with someone, being vulnerable. I think vulnerability, flexibility, honesty, and fun are key.” Wise words.

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CREDITS Photos A Couple of Night Owls // Bridal gown and veil Sophie Voon Bridal // Flower crown Miss Daisy // Lingerie Bendon Lingerie // Shoes Trousseau // Hair and barber Little Hair Co // Makeup Rochelle Andrews // Rings Michael Hill Jeweller // Bridesmaid dresses Sally Eagle // Bridesmaid gifts Lush //
Groom and groomsmen suits Hallensteins // Barber Matt Forsman // Grooming Who’s Ya Barber // Pocket Squares Barkers // Florist Swoon Flowers // Stationery Elli // Ceremony and reception Woodlands Estate, NZ // Catering Kerr & Ladbrook // Cake Jason Penny //Decorative elements and wedding favours Spotlight // Wedding favours Stitchbird // Celebrant Timothy Lester and Philip Tait.