It’s not everyday your double blood cousin gets married (Our Mum’s are sisters and our Dad’s are brothers, so we’re extra related, in a non-incestuous way). And it isn’t every day that she marries in another country, so this blog post is extra special.

It’s a family edition from all the way over in the land of the long white cloud. I styled and also played the role of (drunk) Bridesmaid.


Renee and Hotu were married at Woodlands Estate in Hamilton, New Zealand. The grounds were insanely pretty, as was the house itself where we got ready.

In lieu of dressing gowns, we wore button ups, with a special, bedazzled ‘Mrs Hawira’ design for the Bride.

Renee wore a custom gown from Couture by Francesca and Bridesmaids wore dresses from White Runway.

Hotu grew up on a farm just outside of Auckland. The couple met at a Wheechair Basketball tournament in Australia when they were only 13. They started off as penpals (like paper and pen letters that got posted….so romantic!) before they lost contact shortly after.

Thanks to Facebook they reunited years later and never looked back, with Hotu moving to Australia to be closer to Renee.

Their Ceremony was so beautiful. Their Arbour was weaved by Hotu’s Mother and Grandmother. Hotu’s younger brother played guitar as guests arrived and Renee’s Brother sang as they signed the registry. It was so full of love and there wasn’t a dry eye in sight.


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Decorating was also a family affair, with Hotu’s older brother carving special pieces just for the wedding day.

The tablescapes told a story, with each table being named after important memorable places to them as well as Hotu’s brothers carvings and traditional ferns and native plants. This wedding was completely made with love and you could see it everywhere you looked.


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We feasted on a banquet, laughed and cried at the speeches, watched on in awe at the Haka and literally danced the night away. It was by far, the most fun wedding I have attended.

There is something about a destination wedding that gets everyone in the mood. Combined with their beautiful love story and you have yourself the ultimate wedding!

I just wish we could do it all over again, including the post wedding Hangi at the family’s Marae (delish!).


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Photographer: Trent Daft