Real Weddings: Amanda & Joseph Jajjo At Kauri Springs Lodge, Waiheke

Amanda (national sales co-ordinator for Hancocks) and Joseph Jajjo (bank manager at Westpac) share highlights from their elegant Waiheke wedding

Amanda & Joseph Jajjo with Booboo the dog. Photo / Andrew Hewson

The Vision
Amanda: Simple, classic and natural.

Traditions
We are both Middle Eastern and wanted to incorporate some of our favourite cultural elements into our wedding day. Our mums prepared homemade baklava that we served for dessert. This was such a special way for them to play a part on our day.

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We also got our good friend Mak Cabia-Tongia (who had no knowledge of Middle Eastern music prior to our wedding) to mix some of our parents’ favourite Arabic music together for the dance floor. He did an unbelievable job of this. Everyone jumped onto the dance floor, linked arms and joined in on the Middle Eastern dance called a Debka. It was carnage but so much fun.

The ceremony took place at Kauri Springs Lodge on Waiheke Island. Photo / Andrew Hewson

The Ceremony
We had our ceremony at Kauri Springs Lodge on Waiheke Island. We fell in love with this venue as we first walked up the pebbly gravel driveway and onto the beautiful, vibrant lawn surrounded by huge, bold nikau and kauri. It had such a calming sub-tropical feel to it, we felt right at home.

We had originally written our own vows to say at the ceremony but decided to break with tradition and say them to each other in the morning. This was one of the best things we did. On a day that is meant to be shared with friends and family, keeping our vows personal was a special element and we could be as cheesy as we wanted with no judgements passed. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

The Reception
Luckily, Kauri Springs also had several spaces we could utilise for our post-ceremony drinks and reception. Their indoor space was a beautiful blank canvas that flowed seamlessly into the outdoor terrace, making it a super easy experience.

A vintage Mercedes whisked the couple away after the ceremony. Photo / Andrew Hewson

The Rings
Joseph popped the question while we were on holiday in Cuba but the surprise was almost spoiled as he got stopped at Cuban customs when the ring went through bag screening. The screening officers, seeing that it was an engagement ring, looked at Joseph, realised what it was and didn’t pull the ring out of his bag. Huge sigh of relief!

His luck with rings wasn’t the greatest though. Two days before the wedding we took our family from overseas to Pakiri. Joseph was already wearing his wedding ring. He went for his first swim and in the blink of an eye, a wave swept the original ring right off his finger. Although this may have been a sign from Mother Nature, we didn’t take the hint and went and purchased him a $30 ring from Lovisa that would do the trick for the wedding day. Six months on and he’s still wearing it!

Amanda's dress was from Raffaele Ciuca Bridal and Joseph's suit was from Working Style. Photo / Andrew Hewson

The Dress
There were so many beautiful silhouettes, styles and fabrics that I would’ve loved to wear but when it came down to it, the simple and sleek look was what I felt the most special in. I brought this beautiful Pronovias dress from Raffaele Ciuca Bridal in Melbourne and then took it to the ladies at Megs Tailoring. I made what felt like never-ending alterations but personally, I have always valued the perfect fit of a garment just as much as the garment itself.

Suit and Tie
Joseph: My suit was from Working Style in Ponsonby. We had already tried a few suits and none of them felt right. I wanted a classic suit, black and white that fit well. The first suit I tried on I really liked – the simplicity, feel and style was exactly what I was after. The staff tailored the suit and were super easy to work with.

The bridesmaids wore dresses created by Youhan Khosho. Photo / Andrew Hewson

Bridal Party
Amanda: My friends and I were so pleased with how the bridesmaids' dresses turned out. A friend of ours, Wellingtonian fashion designer Youhan Khosho, agreed to work with us to create something that all the girls would feel good in. It was so lovely being involved with the whole process, from picking the silhouettes to finding the perfect fabrics and then trusting that Youhan would bring our vision to life. Not only did the girls feel beautiful in their dresses, they were so comfortable and had no issues dancing the night away. He did an excellent job.

The Flowers
Vicki Roycroft from Wildflower Waiheke was our florist. She was the sweetest soul who knew her stuff back to front. We wanted to bring the theme from the outdoor ceremony into the reception, so went for a natural fresh white and leafy greenery look, keeping the decorations simple. Large wooden pillars were covered in greenery, allowing the theme to continue throughout. We had palm leaves on tables accompanied by white candles which were lit throughout the night. Vicki brought the lush tropical look from the ceremony into the reception so perfectly.

Florals were created by Vicki Roycroft from Wildflower Waiheke. Photo / Andrew Hewson

The Photos
Our photographer was Andrew Hewson from Grey Area Productions. He stood out to us as he seemed to capture natural moments so effortlessly and that was exactly what we wanted. His style was simple and modern but more importantly, he let us be ourselves and enjoy the day while capturing the most beautiful moments. We were also lucky enough to find wonderful videographers Kelly Kim videography. We told them we didn’t want anything cheesy, just to capture real moments. They did just that and produced the most beautiful clip. It was the best outcome we could’ve hoped for.

The Day
It was incredible. It was funny how we’d stressed out so much about a single day, and it had finally arrived. It felt like it was over in 30 seconds. All the planning and thought that had gone into the day left the second the day arrived – we loved it!

'It felt like Tuscany hidden away in a corner of the island' says the couple of their Airbnb. Photo / Andrew Hewson

Favourite Memory
Towards the end of the night, we both grabbed a beer and went outside to enjoy each other’s company. It was the first time that day that both of us had been alone together. We sat on a bench on the balcony and both let off a sigh of relief. We could finally relax and enjoy our time together.

Best Moments
Our dog Booboo walked down the aisle as one of the flower girls. In our heads, we thought it would go perfectly and that Booboo would relish the moment, but halfway down the aisle, she let out a tinkle. She must have been so excited for us that she couldn’t hold it. It was an honest and delightful moment that lightened the mood and calmed both of our souls.

We were blown away by our Airbnb. It felt like Tuscany hidden away in a corner of the island. After the ceremony we drove the Mercedes back up the driveway and up to the house with the bridal party, opened all the French doors, played some music and took a few photos. It was such a valuable 40 minutes spending some time away from all the attention and taking it easy with our nearest, before going back to celebrate with everyone else.

The couple were drawn to photographer Andrew Hewson for his 'simple and modern' style. Photo / Andrew Hewson

Time For Drinks
Apart from our delicious champagne, Pol Roger, the rest of our wines were by Italian winemakers, Pasqua. We had the Romeo and Juliet Prosecco and the 11 Minutes Rose which were the perfect choice for drinking throughout the day. The wine list also included Pasqua’s Montepulciano. The wines were romantic and they fit the mood perfectly.

Some Advice
If you are on the fence about bringing pets along to your wedding — do it. They are family after all. They deserve to celebrate with you and they genuinely help create a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Just make sure you’ve organised a minder or pet-sitter.

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Make sure to take a few minutes on your wedding day to have with each other. The day can get away from you and it can seem like it’s all over really quickly, but taking a few minutes just with each other to check in with each other and catch a breath is definitely necessary.

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