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! 


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!


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)! 


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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