ETER­NAL Love 02.12.2017

With per­sonal touches and fun, vi­brant colour, LAVINIA MAFI and GENEZY ILOLAHIA cel­e­brated their love in style.

New Zealand Weddings - - GALLERY - Photography MISI CHAN

We met through mu­tual friends when we were teens, and de­spite liv­ing in dif­fer­ent ci­ties, friend­ship turned to dat­ing, and so be­gan our long- dis­tance re­la­tion­ship. Al­most 10 years later Genezy’s pro­posal caught me com­pletely by sur­prise. We’d just been to a Blues rugby game and din­ner – I loved that it wasn’t an out of the or­di­nary night for us.

Af­ter an eight-month en­gage­ment, we held our cer­e­mony at Genezy’s par­ents’ prop­erty, Hoi­hoi­fua Gar­dens in Pukekawa, which made our day all the more spe­cial. We needed a re­cep­tion space that could ac­com­mo­date our 350 guests with­out com­pro­mis­ing aes­thet­ics, and St Matthews-in-the- City fit the bill. The venue in­formed our colour pal­ette and dé­cor: greys, gold, dark greens and pops of or­ange and pinks to con­trast with the con­crete ar­chi­tec­ture. It was al­ready so beau­ti­ful so we kept dé­cor min­i­mal, while twist­ing in el­e­ments of our in­di­vid­ual styles and favourite plants, as well as our Ton­gan cul­ture.

As I’m a fash­ion de­signer, I cre­ated and made my gown. It had three parts; the dress it­self, a strap­less bodice, lace-up back and lay­ered sleeves; a pe­plum layer of tulle as a belt and white trousers. Red RMK mules and white state­ment Lo­visa ear­rings com­pleted

the look. My six brides­maids wore deep teal coloured dresses in vary­ing styles paired with red state­ment ear­rings, all cus­tom made by Lay­plan. Genezy sported a check­ered jacket and black trousers by Rem­brandt with a white shirt and black tie. We dressed his boys in for­est green trousers by Next; they wore white shirts and black ties.

My mum ar­ranged the florals. She kept things sim­ple with fo­liage for the cen­tre­pieces and pulled to­gether a mix of or­ange and peach roses for the bou­quets to con­trast the teal brides­maids’ dresses.

We had friends singing acous­tic songs through­out the night to set the mood. Our good friends Jes­sanah and Jan Betham made our three de­li­cious wed­ding cakes (it’s a Ton­gan tra­di­tion to gift each tier to a per­son we wish to hon­our) and our band Rhap­sody re­ally brought the party to life. We in­cluded a few tra­di­tional Ton­gan num­bers as they’re usu­ally a hit with the crowd; it com­pletely lifted the at­mos­phere – we were danc­ing and groov­ing all night long!

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