Real Weddings: Priya & Joe McGregor At Kauri Bay Boomrock, Clevedon
Sydney-based couple Priya (a doctor) and Joe McGregor (an architect) share highlights from their perfect day
Priya: Our perfect wedding was two years in the making. We didn’t want to rush into it, marriage wasn't going to change the way we were living, it was the opportunity to share our love for one another and with everyone who is important to us.
We knew there would be some elements bestowed upon us by tradition but we also knew we wanted to break some rules and do it in our own style too.
I'm a Kiwi girl and Joe is an Aussie boy. Having lived in both countries we have amassed lifelong friends from each. We wanted a destination-style wedding, not just for those travelling across the ditch, but to give our local friends and family a similar experience.
In traditional Indian style, the festivities spanned several days and nights. In the week leading up to the wedding, we started the celebrations with a Haldi. This is when close family and friends apply turmeric, a golden yellow spice that brings good luck and fortune to the bride to be.
On the eve of our wedding, we held a fun and relaxed evening called a Sangeet. Traditionally for those close to the bride, we wanted to share this experience with all of our guests. Encouraging everyone to dress up in brightly coloured Indian garments, our two worlds collided in a spectacle of Bollywood-style dancing.
The Lodge at Kauri Bay Boomrock with its striking contemporary architecture was exactly to our taste. It offers views out to a backdrop of rolling green hills and the Hauraki Gulf and islands. It was a perfect showcase of New Zealand's natural beauty.
Though we had a traditional Hindu ceremony, we wanted to introduce a contemporary aesthetic. Our ceremony took place under a minimalist timber Mandap that we designed ourselves, covered in floral arrangements.
As only can be expected in New Zealand summer, we experienced all seasons on our wedding day. This made our ceremony more memorable, with the entire family surrounding us with white umbrellas to fend off the rain.
Arriving at the Lodge to be greeted by all of our friends and family as a newlywed couple was a special moment and highlight of our day.
We exchanged our vows with celebrant Rochelle Fleming, our parents and closest friends shared some touching words and we cut the cake of our dreams. After dinner, we were whisked away to climb a hillside in the wind and rain on a mission for the ultimate sunset photo, another moment on our highlight reel that we couldn't imagine our wedding without.
In true Indian fashion, our first dance was a fusion of Arctic Monkeys I Wanna Be Yours before stepping into Bollywood synchronisation to London To Thumakda before the crowd joined and we danced until the late hours of the night.
My first dress was a traditional Indian bridal dress called a lehenga which I wore during the traditional ceremony.
I went to India the year before our wedding and spent a week finding the perfect tailor. We found one deep in Chandni Chowk, meaning Moonlight Square, one of the oldest bazaars in India with true old-world charm. I chose an intricately beaded and hand embroidered off-white raw silk lehenga with a matching dupatta, an unconventional option to the traditional red bridal lehenga.
My second dress was designed by my favourite Australian label, Bec and Bridge. I wore a contemporary timeless charmeuse silk dress with a sleek silhouette in a classic white shade.
With the help of our florist Blush, we envisaged a floral installation suspended from the exposed timber trusses to inject a pop of bright colour into the setting.
We chose Jim Pollard based on the incredible quality of his photos on his Instagram and website. We love all of his photos which tell our story just as it unfolded. They take me back to each precise moment which is exactly what I hoped they would do.
Our wedding planner Claire from One Lovely Day was incredible to work with. We caught up in my parents' home in Auckland and instantly knew she was going to be perfect for us. With both of us living overseas in Sydney, she had a tough job on her hands. She helped us with everything from choosing our venue to our wedding invites, furniture, table decor and signage, to working with our florist and venue throughout the whole process. She had the most beautiful and creative ideas.
I have so many fond memories: several during our private photo session; arriving to the reception where our friends and family welcomed us as the new couple and exchanging vows, a special moment where we had the opportunity to share our deepest feelings towards one another with our friends and family.
Right at the end of our first dance Joe picked me up and spun me around. My shoe accidentally knocked the video camera which was sitting on a tripod! It went spinning around its axis and ended up making a great ending to our first dance video.