Dasha & Taylor

After months spent searching for the perfect wedding venue, Taylor and Dasha decided to build one! The couple spent two years earthmoving, landscaping and building an barn, at a family property in Waipu, before putting on an epic celebration for their loved ones. Dasha tells us more…

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We didn’t want to waste materials, energy or money where we didn’t need to, and with my parents living a permaculture lifestyle we didn’t want to cause any unnecessary harm to the environment. Together we figured out every detail of the venue, from what ecofriendly materials we could source and what we could obtain from people we knew, right through to how the barn would carry on to serve a function even after the wedding. Dad now has a pretty cool workshop!

On the day of our wedding my maid of honour and I raced over to the venue to get a few finishing touches done, putting together floral arrangements as well as final details like our guest book, and childhood photos of Taylor and I.

As our guests arrived they were taken on an adventure as they made their way through mowed pathways around the property, passing beautiful ponds, native trees, hundreds of wildflowers, handmade signs, and timber wheelbarrows filled with ice-cold refreshments. In the background we had violin music playing.

Soon guests found themselves at a clearing we had created for the ceremony, overlooking valleys of native forest and set between giant trees. We hired beautiful rustic school benches, which surrounded a DIY archway complete with stunning florals. During our short but sweet ceremony we planted a willow tree on the spot we said ‘I do’ to signify two halves becoming one and giving back to nature.

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After the ceremony guests found their way across our handmade footbridge to the next clearing. We’d created an entertainment area with a Topkata tipi tent that towered over a handmade dance floor, a giant timber slab with cheeses, dips and delicacies, handcrafted tables, bar leaners, games and a selfie mirror.

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While the guests were busy enjoying the drinks, food, music and games, Taylor and I went to Waipu caves for our photoshoot. Caving in a wedding dress made for an interesting experience, but it was worth the shot! We soon returned and got the chance to mingle with our guests – this was probably the best part of the day.

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Before dinner we gathered everyone around our handmade steps to announce the big reveal of the day. Standing in front of the barn that we had built we told the story of our three-year journey to the wedding day. We took hold of the white ribbon holding the doors shut and unveiled the grand surprise.

Inside the walls of the barn were made of up-cycled timber pallets and corrugated iron, decorated with thousands of fairy lights and a clear-wrapped ceiling. The barn looked truly magical. Guests sat on beautiful tables that we had handcrafted. A delicious buffet dinner was followed with heartfelt speeches, laughs and socialising.

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During dessert Taylor and I snuck away for an outfit change and made our way to the dance floor. Guests were called down to the tipi and our nerves were getting real! We spent three months doing weekly dance lessons and performed a captivating and beautiful rumba routine, which involved plenty of dips, spins, splits, and even Taylor lifting me into an overhead spin. Our guests were left speechless.

We partied the night away with all our guests and the entire day seemed like a real fairytale.

Photography: Perspectives Photo + Cinema

Tipi Tent: Topkata

Videography: ShaunPaul Creative

Bride’s gown: Grace Loves Lace

Makeup: Kate Manihera

Hair: Samuel Paul

Groom & groomsmen’s attire: Hallensteins

Bridesmaid dresses: Show Me Your Mumu

Stationery: Inkberry Calligraphy

Celebrant & MC: Josh Sandford

Flowers: The Flower Shed

Cake: Cake Occasions

Hire: Carlton Party Hire, Boutique Barn