Real Weddings

Casey and Rick
Old Forest School

Photography by Kearnan Murphy Photo

"Rick and I met in 2013 while working at a summer camp in New York State. It was Rick's third summer working at the camp as a lifeguard, and it was my first summer working as an adventure specialist. As we were based on opposite sides of the lake, we spent most of the summer without getting to know one another. We happened to have a day off together and went to one of the local malls with mutual friends. From there, we went on all the classic camp "dates," evening activities with the other staff and sitting "on duty" together. After camp finished, Rick returned to the UK to finish his studies, and I travelled around the States before heading back to New Zealand and moving to Auckland to study. We did long distance for a year, and Rick moved to New Zealand in 2014. During summers, I take Rick on an evening "garden tour" - which is pretty much me walking around the garden showing him all the things I have been growing. During one of these tours, he proposed in our back garden next to my garden bed filled with strawberries. He knew I wasn't into anything showy, so at home in a place I love was perfect! I can't remember exactly what he said, but he hugged me, and I could feel him reaching into his pocket. I started to get incredibly excited but had to remind myself not to get ahead of myself, haha! He then got down on one knee, and I said yes before he could even say anything - whoops! We ended up having a real fruit ice cream truck at our wedding, and for Rick and my ice creams, we actually used strawberries from my garden where he proposed. We both always wanted a pretty relaxed/casual outdoor wedding. While planning, we tried to incorporate everything we love: good food, good music, a stunning location and great people. Family-style catering for our main meal made it nice and relaxed. We followed this with a real fruit ice cream truck (a personal childhood favourite) and wood fire pizzas later in the evening once everyone had had a few. We decided to get a live band because we know they create a great vibe. Our musician played his guitar and sang throughout the afternoon and was joined later that evening by a drummer for dancing, which was perfect. Old Forest School (our venue) was absolutely stunning and honestly my dream garden. Unfortunately, Covid meant that Rick's parents and extended family couldn't travel, which made it pretty hard (especially on him). Still, we were lucky to have his sister Anna and his best friend Neal (who he also met at camp) there, which made it very memorable. Camp (Surprise Lake Camp) is naturally a really special place to us both as it is where we met and where we have made so many lifelong friendships. We have friends from all over the world who we met at camp (many couples who also met at camp and are now married with kids). We would love to one day be able to send our kids there as I think it is a great experience both Rick and I would have loved to do growing up. It helps that it is in a stunning location surrounded by nature. We both also absolutely love Hahei in the Coromandel. I grew up going there as a kid, and Rick and I have spent many holidays (including our honeymoon) there. We probably go there at least 2-3 times a year and can't wait to take our kids camping there in the years to come."

Thanks to all the contributing vendors:

Photography: Kearnan Murphy Photo
Venue: Old Forest School
Dress: Trish Peng