Sarah & James

James and I live in Tauranga, New Zealand. COVID19 was a potential roadblock for our wedding in October 2020. In the end we were lucky enough to have a full sized wedding – with our Auckland friends only out of a lockdown one week before (and potential risk of the whole country heading back into lockdown).

James, my husband, had been to Old Forest School once and loved it. I had never been, but could tell from the images online it was the type of place we would both love to get married! I saw the venue in person only one week before the wedding – it was beautiful! Because it was early October we were surrounded by blossoms (to my surprise and love)!

Amongst the lock-downs we managed to catch up with Su-an in Tauranga. As soon as we met her we knew OFS was the place for us and that she would do a great job of making sure everything ran smoothly on the day!

Do it your way. There are so many traditions out there that might not mean anything to you. Think about the things that are significant to you both and make those count – don’t stress about the small stuff!

If you are getting married on the edge of the seasons consider having blankets for your guests or notify them it may get chilly in the evening.

 We booked the venue and were married three months later (a cancellation allowed available space for us). This was a great time frame! It prevented us from getting too caught up in details and helped us make the most of what was available (in all aspects of the wedding planning).


We asked a friend to marry us who was awesome! So great having someone who knows you – highly recommend it!


Swift and Click were our photographers, we knew them and turns out so did Su-an at OFS. Great to have photographers who know the place / have been there before.

Our ceremony was outside which was amazing! LOVED IT! The perfect day (it was, however, really handy to know if the weather turned there was an indoor space we could use)! 

We wanted the day to feel like a gift / thank-you to our friends for being in our lives, supporting us – I think having it at OFS was the perfect relaxed environment for this.

We were not going to have a seating plan but our celebrant advised us people will feel more comfortable knowing where their seat was at the reception. It’s hard work planning this part, but I tend to agree, if there is one thing I recommend for the reception it’s a seating plan – that way no one feels lost or on their own.

We had a family style meal – great for getting people to interact with each other.

The best person I communicated with was Sita from Beauty Tribe (which was called Sita Engling Hair and Make-Up then). She was really professional and did such a beautiful job. I also highly recommend getting a hair and make-up trial before your day – makes everything easier on the day.

James and I didn’t see each other for two days before the wedding, this subsided some of the nerves, I just wanted to run down the aisle to him instead of thinking about everyone else and nerves. 🙂 We also didn’t have a rehearsal which I loved! It meant we weren’t overly concerned if anything wasn’t quite right on the day.

Best on the day tip…

Relax and enjoy! Soak up what you can!

Best memory from the day…


Best part of married life…

Hanging out with your best friend and riding the highs and lows together! Seriously, marry someone who is kind and will walk with you through all aspects of life – it’s the best!