Stephanie & Jack

When Jack and I started planning our love celebration, it was always clear to us that we wanted exactly that: a celebration of love. We never gravitated towards some of the standard wedding formalities – things like the walk down the aisle, the seating charts, the bridal party, the cutting of the cake. They just didn’t feel like us. Jack and I had a vision of coming together with our closest family & friends to celebrate the love we have for each other and for all our guests – and that’s what mattered most!

When we first visited OFS, we were so enchanted by everything. How could you not?! It’s the perfect spot for a relaxed yet magical vibe. We wanted to make use of all the little nooks on site, and we knew guests both from NZ and overseas (and of all ages!) would have so much fun discovering the space. 

We started our love celebration with a small legal ceremony in the walled garden with our core family members – our parents, sisters, and Jack’s sister’s partner and children. Our celebrant was just wonderful, and the vows Jack and I wrote for that moment felt warm and intimate. It was very special to share that moment with our closest family. We then had the bar pour us a glass of bubbles as they were setting up, and the caterer who was prepping grazing platters made us a gorgeous lunch tray to share. Our photographer then arrived, and Jack and I spent just over an hour taking photos with her through OFS. We had so much fun with her!

When our guests arrived, they were ushered into the schoolhouse. Jack & I gave some opening words – things we wanted to say about our love for each other and to express all the gratitude and love we had for those who had travelled from near and far to be with us. It felt important to us to be the only ones speaking then to welcome our loved ones and set the tone for the event. It felt a perfect way to kick things off! 

From there, we had grazing platters, music, and even a coffee cart (divine!) for us all to enjoy for a few hours. In late afternoon, we brought everyone together for a group photo on the grandstand and migrated over to the archway under the large tree for some speeches. It was a strategic choice! The lighting was still good, it allowed the caterers to clean up the grazing station, and our dinner wasn’t going to be a formal sit-down occasion where we would have everyone’s attention. The speeches were so, so wonderful. We laughed, we cried! Everyone we spoke to afterwards said how incredible they were.

From there – the evening only got better. Tacos were served for dinner, our friend sang and played piano, a few more toasts were made, we danced, we sang! It was a completely magical day and evening, full to the brim with love. Jack and I couldn’t have imagined how spectacular it would be.

We think part of what made the day so perfect was that we did everything in a way that felt like us. We didn’t follow a script or feel the need to do anything that didn’t align with what made us happy. We did get several questions about things you’d expect – “Are you sure you don’t want to get legally married in front of at least your aunties? Is your dad expecting a father-daughter dance? Won’t people mind if you only serve vegan food?” In the end, we always just came back to the fact that we were creating the day we wanted, a celebration that felt like us. It meant that we went into the day really excited – but also relaxed! Which was such a great feeling. It made us so open to things unfolding organically rather than carrying stress over whether they were executed according to a plan that wasn’t ours. We knew every choice we made was intentional. That sense of serenity and joy rippled into how we greeted, hugged, and chatted with everyone, bringing them all into that same happy energy. Jack and I have absolutely no regrets from the day – only that we can’t relive it again and again!

Our top advice for other couples is to do things that feel authentic to you. You won’t regret it. And well done choosing OFS! You won’t regret that either.