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What’s Married Life Like?

Have you ever gotten this question? Or maybe ever thought about what it’s going to be like for you? If I had to count the number of times that someone asked me, “What’s married life like?” I would be counting on my hands and my toes! I’m not sure what people expect me to say when they ask this. Do they want me to say that it’s 100 times better than being engaged or that it’s way more difficult than I ever thought? Is something drastic supposed to change after you get married? Or maybe it’s just a conversation starter to check in after the wedding.

Some people think that tying the knot means they will feel more secure, more wanted, or even happier! I’m personally not a fan of thinking of marriage as “hard work” because I know that’s not my relationship. I’m not saying it’s all butterflies and rainbows but when you learn to communicate effectively, have similar wants and needs, and have respect for each other, marriage is actually easy. *gasp* You’re probably thinking, “Did she just say that?!” It doesn’t mean it doesn’t take “work” (because let’s face it even if something takes work it doesn’t mean that work has to be difficult)! In fact, I wouldn’t even call it work. I’d call it commitment, love, patience, and effort.

For us, not much changed when we got married – which is a surprise since we went from engaged and living in a two bedroom house alone to married and living at Robbie‘s grandparents house. Even when we were engaged there were no feelings of, “I can leave at any time – we aren’t married yet!” The moment I said yes to marrying Robbie was the moment he was going to be my forever. We spend just as much time together, go on just as many dates, and adventure like always.

They say you’re supposed to date your spouse and this couldn’t be more true. I recognize that things are easier for us because we don’t have children (or pets) yet but whether you have kids, animals, or no extras at all, dating your spouse is so important. Even couples that have been together for more than 50 years can still learn more about each other!

 

I’m not an expert when it comes to marriage but I do know why my marriage seems so easy. We’re constantly communicating how we feel, what we appreciate, and things that frustrate us. We have so much genuine love and respect for each other that yelling and name calling is not a thing in our house. If there’s a disagreement that is affecting us negatively, we talk about it right away! My advice for newly married couples is: don’t expect things to automatically change just because you’re married. They might change because you’ve never lived together before, never been intimate before, or never spent so much time together before but marriage isn’t the thing that changed. Marriage is what YOU make it. If you want things to change, you have to put in effort and communicate with your spouse now. Don’t wait to tie the knot to start having those conversations!

So, to answer everyone’s question: Married life is the same as engaged life (at least for us)! It’s just as fun, loving, and busy!

If this blog helped you to learn something new or get inspiration and you want to follow us for more wedding tips, tricks, and ideas, head to our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Our New Zealand Wedding Reception

Why have one wedding when you can have two? Having families in several different countries makes it difficult to celebrate with everyone. So once we decided that we were having our formal ceremony and reception in California, we decided it would be best to also have another reception in New Zealand (where we live) to celebrate with friends and family here. It was over eight months of planning but it all paid off!  I could not have done it without all of our incredible vendors, my sweet husband, and our helpful family members! Scroll to the bottom to see a list of all of our vendors!

Our New Zealand reception took place on December 14, 2019 (exactly three months from our US wedding)! We tried to incorporate as many aspects from our United States wedding (which you can read about here) into our New Zealand wedding so that guests would feel as included as possible. Although we included many of the same aspects and decor, this reception had a completely different look and feel (which we loved)! Instead of a formal sit down dinner, a ceremony, speeches, first dances, and a full bridal party, we had a buffet lunch (cooked and prepared by us), lawn games, a photo booth, grazing platters, and a projector with our wedding video! This time I changed my hair style, Robbie didn’t wear a suit jacket (it was way too hot) and changed his bow tie. I also got to wear the necklace that my aunt gifted to me (from my grandma) at my bridal shower. If you haven’t read about my bridal shower and want to, you can check it out here.

We had the whole day captured and documented by the incredible Rebecca Bradley Photography (based in Auckland – she traveled all the way to Tauranga to be a part of our wedding day)! Rebecca was so much fun to work with! She’s extremely friendly, professional, and understanding! Our day was running a bit behind schedule and she was happy to just go with the flow – even when that meant less time for couple photos! Thank goodness she is good at what she does and we still ended up with tons of images despite our timing! She captured so many incredible moments of us with our guests and moments we missed since we couldn’t be everywhere at once. We almost didn’t have a photographer but now I cannot imagine not having one! I am beyond thankful for these beautiful images! I will be cherishing these for the rest of my life! 

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You’ll see throughout the images lots of gorgeous decor! Zippy Laser Designs was a huge part of our day! I had seen them at a wedding show and a few other markets around the area and always loved their work! Seeing our own custom pieces was a whole other story though! I wanted to cry happy tears! They made these beautiful wood boards (one cheese board and one chopping board) for us to use for our grazing platters! If you know me, you know I love decor that can be reused. This was perfect for that! We also got beautiful mandalas and feathers to have around the venue. It really pulled everything together!! The detail on their engravings are incredible. I really can’t say enough about them! Leonie from Zippy Laser Designs was really easy to work with which made the process that much more fun!

Ramus, a home decor company who specializes in dream catchers, made us a beautiful dream Catcher which we hung in the trees! The quality was absolutely amazing and they were so quick to deliver! I can’t wait to use the dream catcher in our new house! I’m always recommending them for gifts and children’s rooms! Jo creates stunning custom pieces to fit any space!

Our floral candle/hanging incense was by Jatelier NZ! Wow, are their candles amazing! They were so easy to work with and their designs are so unique! I love how they imprinted our names and wedding date on our candle! I had no idea that was even possible. I wish I lived in Auckland to attend their classes! They even make candles that look edible!

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I started the day with makeup by Chrissy Mason. I have to admit, I know nothing about hair or makeup so I always leave it up to the professionals. I gave her the slightest idea of what I wanted (me trying to speak in makeup terms = “gold on my eyelids and natural looking face makeup that covers my dark circles under my eyes and my pimples”). Needless to say, without much instruction she still killed it!! I am in love with how my makeup turned out! She was also a blast to talk to during the whole process which makes it that much more fun! Nothing worse than not having a connection with someone who you have to sit still with for an hour! 

Next, Roxanne from Roxanne Jasmine Bridal came to do my hair! And much like makeup, I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to hair. I had showed her a picture when we were in the planning stages of the wedding and that’s what we went with. The picture was beautiful and all but what Roxanne did was 100 times better! She was so easy to work with, professional, and fun! I loved that she put her own spin on the hair design and made it suit me best.

After hair and makeup, I got into my wedding dress. What a special moment getting to put on my dress again! I honestly want to wear it on a weekly basis! Do any other brides feel that way?! An unexpected but beautiful moment that Rebecca happened to capture was Robbie helping me button up my dress. As Roxanne mentioned, “Not many people can say their husband has done up their wedding dress!” That is just one reasons I cherish these images! The calm before the “storm” (the beautiful and exciting storm of our reception)! 

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Yolande and her husband (from Summer House Weddings & Events and A Splendid Afternoon) had already been busy setting up for a few days and I had gone the day before our reception to help with last minute additions so there wasn’t much to do that morning (yay for an incredible team and prepping ahead of time)! It was so nice to just enjoy getting my hair and makeup done knowing that Yolande and her husband had everything else handled. I absolutely adore them both and can honestly say that through this process they have become friends. I love how real, generous, hardworking, and creative they are! I honestly can’t say enough about their venue, their decor, and themselves! The pictures of their venue speak for themselves. This place is absolutely stunning and guests commented on the venue the entire day! They made the process so easy for us!

While hair and makeup was finishing up, Jess from Let’s Take a Selfie came to set up the photo booth! Everyone loved that the photo booth was easy to use and didn’t waste paper (which we also loved as we were trying to have a waste free wedding)! Photos could be emailed directly to someone and were saved to a gallery for Robbie and I. They even made a custom “frame” for the images so each set of images had “Burke Wedding 2019 Adventure Awaits!” The incredible background was provided by our venue which worked out perfectly!

For lunch, we had a pasta and salad bar with different toppings so everyone could have exactly what they liked (even those that were vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free). Rebecca and I joked that I should do another blog of the behind-the-scenes of what a DIY wedding really looks like. People kept saying, “I have never seen a bride setting up the food before!” and “Let us help you! You shouldn’t be doing that!” We ended up having way more help than we would have liked (aka our guests were too amazing and helpful and we wish they didn’t have to help in any way)! Some things don’t always go perfectly (like the pasta not being transferred to the nice bowls we bought or half the pesto being put out with grazing platters instead of at the pasta bar – which ended up all being fine and working out) but all we cared about was that there was PLENTY of food for everyone! We got so many compliments on it! People couldn’t believe that I made the sauce from scratch! 

After lunch, we cut the cake which was by Decadence in Papamoa! Wow! I’ve never seen a cake eaten that quickly! It was a two tiered, 7” and 5” chocolate cake filled with a cookies and cream centre and covered in a gorgeous fluffy vanilla buttercream. It was decorated with 24 karat edible gold leaf, some buttercream stencilling of New Zealand ferns and topped with beautiful pink peonies and cream roses. The ENTIRE cake was eaten! We also had Decadence custom cookies! These were a huge hit – especially among the kids who could easily reach up to grab one – or a few! Everyone was blown away by the cake and the cookies!

After we enjoyed lunch and dessert, we headed up to the Summer House, a beautiful covered outdoor space that looked out over the venue! This is where we watched our wedding video (which we released at the same time live on YouTube so our friends and family around the world could watch it at the same time). You can watch it here! It was so incredible to see everyone’s reactions – there were tears, laughter, and lots of smiles!

The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing, dancing, eating, and playing games! All of the amazing lawn games were provided by the lovely Yolande at A Splendid Afternoon! A Splendid Afternoon has so many options in terms of decor, signage, and games. We really didn’t have to worry about providing much ourselves which was really handy! We got to incorporate what we wanted of our own decor (like the things we brought back from the States) but didn’t need to worry about having enough decor for the entire venue!

We’re so thankful for how our day turned out – from the weather (which was supposed to be a storm but as you can see was a beautiful, warm day) and our guests who were able to attend to the food, location, and vendors! Thank you again to everyone who was a part of our day! It wouldn’t have been the same without ALL of you there!

Here’s a list of all of our vendors:

Venue: Summer House Weddings & Events

Decor Hire: A Splendid Afternoon

Hair: Roxanne Jasmine Bridal

Makeup: Chrissy Mason – Makeup Artist

Dream Catcher: Ramus

Custom Engraved Wood Designs: Zippy Laser Designs

Photographer(s): Rebecca Bradley Photography

Cake & Desserts: Decadence

Photo Booth: Let’s Take A Selfie

Candles: Jateliernz

Bride/Wedding Blogger: Mary Taylor Weddings 

If this blog helped to find inspiration, a new vendor you want to use, or anything else, let us know in the comments section of this posted blog on our Facebook page and don’t forget to join our wedding shopping group on Facebook! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3 

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Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Now that I’ve shared about our wedding in California (which you can read about here), I finally get to share about our honeymoon! We originally wanted to have a honeymoon in Thailand but decided to put it off because we had a stop over in Honolulu, Hawaii on our way back home to New Zealand from California. 

As part of our wedding gift we asked my dad for two excursions in Hawaii. We used Get Your Guide to help us find activities that we wanted to do. I had never used Get Your Guide before but it ended up being an amazing experience. They have all different options for around the world! We looked at reviews and prices and picked two of our favorites which I’ll share more about below. We also asked for money towards brewery hopping and gift cards to local restaurants in the area we were staying! If you’re wanting to ask for money towards your honeymoon asking for things like gift cards or actual activities you can do is a great way for a guest to give you something to contribute that isn’t just necessarily money. 

Throughout the blog, feel free to click on the images to see them larger.

Some of the links included in this blog are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use them. I cannot see who purchases what and it doesn’t cost you anything to click on them.

We decided to stay in an Airbnb close to the city (well, in the city) which had a pool, sauna, and jacuzzi. It was way less expensive and actually look nicer than the hotels that we would have stayed at. It was nice to be able to have a fridge and ability to cook if we wanted. The view was insanely beautiful! It ended up working out perfectly for us and helped us save money while still getting that luxury feel and being close to everything. Here’s some pictures from our Airbnb:

We got to stay in Honolulu for about five days! If you’re thinking about going to Honolulu for your honeymoon here are some of our suggestions and things we did while we were there!

We split up our excursions over the course of a couple days so that we had time to relax, sleep in, enjoy the pool, enjoy the beach, and have time to walk around the city. Our first excursion was our full day activity! We did the Oahu 120 mile full day tour including Dole Plantation. It was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it! I did a lot of research before choosing out our activities in Honolulu. This one was incredible value for money! The tour lasted about 10 hours and took us all across the island. The driver, who hosted us for the day, talked the entire time (in a good way)! He was funny, informative, and helpful! We made several stops along the way including a beautiful look out at Hanauma Bay, a rural Hawaiian tourist shop with beautiful outfits, drove through Kahala District (which is where a bunch of mansions are), the Byodo-In temple, Kualoa Ranch (where several movies are filmed), a macadamia nut place (where we got to try all sorts of delicious stuff) and, of course, the Dole Plantation!

For our other excursion, we did the 3-Hour Waikiki Snorkel & Sailing Adventure with Lunch! Again, good value for money especially considering what we saw!! We got tons of drinks on the boat (after snorkeling), a buffet lunch, snorkeling gear to borrow, a beautiful boat ride, and the staff was super fun! We even got to see a pod of mother dolphins with their brand new babies!! I had no idea that dolphins could be so small! They were easily smaller than my forearm! They were flying up in the air and doing all sorts of turns and dances for us! It was adorable!! Then, we got to get in the water and see the turtles! There were so many!! It was such an amazing and beautiful experience.

Other than our excursions, we went shopping, went to a comedy show, went to the pool, and went to the beach! I pretty much lived in one of my three swimsuits from Kayo Collective – if you are New Zealand-based or can get a Kayo suit shipped to you, do it!! So comfortable and flattering! I also re-used the hat that I got from Wedding Apparel New Zealand (also pictured in my bachelorette party blog here). It was perfect for all of our activities!

Some other suggestions and things to do in Honolulu:

  1. Like I said we wanted to do some brewery hopping which we ended up doing after our sea turtle snorkeling adventure! There are tons of breweries in the area and all were really good (we went to every one)! Some of our favorites included: Waikiki Brewing Company, Maui Brewing, Beer Lab HI, Aloha Beer Company, and Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room! 
  2. If you love shopping but still want to feel like you’re in Hawaii, go shopping at the outdoor mall International Market Place right in Waikiki – they even have a live show every night! There are tons of great restaurants and most of them have happy hour.
  3. If you’re not from the States and want to go shopping for items that you might not have in the country you’re from (thinking about you New Zealand and Australia) PLUS you want to experience an extremely large mall, definitely check out Ala Moana! We got coupons for a few free products from Hawaiin Airlines when we landed. 
  4. You don’t need to rent a car! We walked, planned excursions that offered free pick up, took a couple of ubers, and even took a bus. Apparently, renting a car is extremely cheap but parking can be a hassle and theft can be an issue in Honolulu specifically.
  5. Bring an umbrella! It’s a tropical island so even when the sun was out or it was boiling hot, it was still raining!

I hope this helped you get some Hawaii honeymoon inspiration! We’d love to hear about your honeymoon and wedding too. If you’re a bride and would like to be featured on our blog, please fill out this form here

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3 

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Our Wedding Day

Wow! Where do I even begin? I have been anticipating writing this blog for so long. September 14th, 2019 was one of the best days of my life. I had dreamt of it since I was a little girl but had no idea how perfect it could truly be. Being from California but living in New Zealand made it that much more exciting. For those that don’t know, Robbie (my husband) is from New Zealand and I am from the States. We have been living in New Zealand and I planned our wedding from overseas. With family all over the world, it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We had friends and family traveling from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Spain, Minnesota, Arizona, Idaho, and more.

I’m going to save all my advice and all the things I learned for a different blog post but I’ll walk you through a little bit about our day. If you want to see where we got all of the beautiful items to help pull together our wedding day, click here. All the images in this blog were taken by Susannah Lynn Photography and edited by me (Mary Taylor Photography). Click on the images to view them larger. Scroll to the bottom to see our wedding video!

Some of the links below are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use these links. It doesn’t cost you anything and I cannot see who purchases what.