An Elegant Castaways Wedding by Levien & Lens Photography

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Today’s elegant wedding is filled with personal touches and family tradition (Juliette is wearing her mothers veil, also worn by her two older sisters on their wedding day!), and is set on the Auckland coast at the always amazing Castaways Resort. Congratulations to the fab couple and a big thank you to Olga from LEVIEN & LENS PHOTOGRAPHY for letting us share in this day. xox

5 Ideas To Steal 1. If you have your heart set on a venue that is out of your budget, consider marrying during the week or during non summer seasons for a cheaper rate. 2. Cant afford your dream dress? Hire a dressmaker to create a dress inspired by the original or adapt an existing dress to add that wow factor for a more affordable price. 3. Include the children in the ceremony by giving them personalised signs to carry down the aisle. 4. Adding cultural or family traditions to your day is a nice way to acknowledge your heritage and make your day unique to you. 5. Enlist a couple of the guys (preferably the most sober ones) to put on your own fire works display for the guests, just be sure to check with the venue and current council fire restrictions.

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Who John Barrett & Juliette Sivertsen
Where Ceremony at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Waiuku, Reception at Castaways
Guests 90

How did you meet?

In Niue! Juliette was on holiday with her sister while John was working in construction in Niue, helping renovate Matavai Resort, which is where the sisters were staying. John struck up a conversation with them on their first night and were later invited out for drinks the following evening. John taught the girls how to snorkel and the best places to visit on the island and Juliette & John would sneak quick visits to see each other!’

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In three words describe your wedding style… Meaningful, Happy, Elegant.

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

We really wanted live music for the reception. We had some good friends in the band Twistin The Swing and they helped create atmosphere. We were fortunate that some of our family members & friends are very talented so we enlisted their help for things like flowers, makeup, decorations photos and also music during the ceremony which helped keep our costs down. I also spent hours searching for affordable dressmakers as the original dress I fell in love with was well outside my budget!

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun?

Not enough time! No matter how much planning you do, things don’t always go to plan and you always wish you had more time and had been more organised! Finding time where both of us were free to work on wedding tasks was hard. The most fun – enjoying every moment on the day itself with our loved ones and being present in the moment & happily in love!

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Did you DIY? If so, what did you do?

Our original invitations didn’t look quite right so we had to purchase some ribbons & materials to make them look a bit nicer.

One of my sisters did all the flowers herself the night before and on the morning of the wedding – before returning to her bridesmaid duties & getting hair & makeup done!

We also did our own orders of service as well as wedding signage, and created tulle bows with starfish on them for church pews.

My mother-in-law has a talent for beading and jewellery-making so I helped her make some earrings and bracelets for the girls in my family & wedding party.

We also attached “J” charms to polished paua shells as favours for our guests. Some of John’s friends created a fireworks display down on the beach for guests to enjoy when it got dark.

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What music did you play for those special moments?

We were so lucky to have such talented friends and family to be part of our music team for both the ceremony and the reception. I walked down the aisle to Ed Sheeran’s Kiss Me. Being a Catholic Mass we had a lot of music throughout the ceremony, but people had tears in their eyes as my friend Louisa sang Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro during the Signing of the Register and Schubert’s Ave Maria after Communion. We exited the church to Scotland the Brave on the bagpipes. Our first dance was to Etta James’ At Last. We made up the entire dance two days before the wedding with no other rehearsals!

Do you have any money saving tips for engaged couples?

Try and get married during the week if possible, or out of summer. We got married on a Thursday in January and it saved us thousands of dollars. It was during the holiday period so most people were still off work. There was no minimum spend or minimum numbers at our venue for Thursday weddings. Also things like our car hire was significantly lower priced than if it was during a weekend.

Try and utilize the talents of friends and family members – such as makeup, flowers, crafts, artistic/decorating skills, photos etc.

And plan! The longer you leave things the more expensive it gets when you’re rushed for time. And if you haven’t started a Pinterest inspiration page for all things bridal…do it now!

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Where did you go for your honeymoon?

We covered the bottom half of the South Island for our honeymoon, so we went to Stewart Island, Dunedin, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown & Central Otago. We drove through the Catlins, went shark cage diving off Stewart Island, saw the glow worm caves in Te Anau, a day cruise through Milford Sound where we witnessed hundreds of spectacular waterfalls & stayed on a cherry farm in Roxburgh!

Did you include any family traditions?

I wore my mother’s wedding veil, which is now 44 years old. Two of my older sisters have worn the veil for their weddings. It is long and was hand-embroidered at the bottom by the Carmelite Nuns for my mother. When my oldest sister got married, she added some beading and pearls to the hairpiece. I also wore my late nana and great grandmother’s wedding rings on a gold chain around my neck, and had a little photo of my nana pinned on my bridal bouquet. She passed away five years ago but was the only grandparent I ever knew.

We also had a mix of Scottish and Norwegian traditions – John’s mother is from Scotland (hence the bagpipes) so he and his groomsmen wore tartan ties, with the tartan of his clan. My grandfather was from Norway and we were fortunate to have one of my relatives come all the way to NZ from Norway. She wore the traditional Norwegian dress and sang a special bridal toast in Norwegian, which is tradition at weddings in Norway.

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Photographer Olga from Levien & Lens Photography
Flowers Rosemary McNoe
Venue/Catering Castaways
Hair & Makeup Catherine Campbell Makeup and Sam Graham from Framed Hair & Beauty
Cake Isabelle Edmonds
Celebrant Fr John Craddock
Brides Dress Parkland Bridal & I Sew 4 U
Accessories My necklace was a gold chain with my late grandmother & great grandmothers wedding rings on it. My veil – my mother’s veil (44 years old!)
Shoes Trousseau Bridal Shoes
Transport Jaguars from Prestige Rental Cars
Ceremony Music Louisa Neike (Vocals) Brendan Agnew (Pianist) Martin Sivertsen (Guitar) Logan Whyte (Piper)
Reception Music Twistin The Swing