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Laura and David

15 February 2022
laura and dave central otago wedding, photo by Luisa Apiata

Words: Laura Harwood Photo: Luisa Apanui Photography

I moved from Australia to New Zealand in March 2018. I was chasing the snow and had moved into David’s spare room in Wānaka – a month later and I wasn’t in my room anymore!

Fast forward another eight months and we had shifted to picturesque Manapouri in Southland – having bought a family home (David has two boys from a previous marriage, Henry and Sam, who are with us full time). We both agree moving down south was the best decision we could have made. It’s the most wonderful place for families and also manages to promote the perfect life/work balance.

We were on a family holiday in Australia in 2019, where David had planned to collect my engagement ring which he’d had custom-made by a friend in Queensland. He had assured me he was going to hang onto it until we were back in New Zealand. In the lead up, I had specifically requested a ‘non public’ proposal, to which he did the absolute opposite – at the local swimming pool in my hometown, in front of both close friends and complete strangers! He actually had Henry (who was six at the time!) bring the ring over to me in the pool and ask if I would be his step-mum, it was very sweet!

Allegedly Dave did come over afterwards and ask me to marry him, but I was too busy squawking with my friends to hear it! We went and bought some champers afterwards and were able to celebrate with my mum, which was super special.

The plan was always a small and intimate wedding (there were 18 of us, including the kids), and Olivers in Clyde was the perfect ‘middle ground’ for my family and friends coming from Australia and for the majority of David’s side based in Dunedin. Clyde itself is the most perfect example of classically quaint New Zealand – cobblestone roads and historic buildings with a whimsical feel, huge trees, tiny streets and thatched cottages.

We chose to push our ceremony back to 5pm (we got married on March 6, 2020) so we could catch that magic golden light and balmy temps, and to us it meant that the flow after just worked so well – our giant grazing table and celebratory drinks were hosted immediately after in the same beautiful grounds in which we’d just had our short ceremony, and then our fabulous dinner was a stroll from the garden to the restaurant once David and I had returned from our photos.

When you ask Henry and Sam their favourite part of the day, they always say standing with Dave at the ceremony in front of everyone was their highlight. Oh, and the sparklers – sweetness! All three boys still giggle about how when it was time for the ring exchange, Henry had my ring in his pocket but presented Dave and me with an empty box and a blank expression – cue my stomach dropping in panic! Such good acting for a seven-year-old!

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