ETERNAL Love 02.12.2017
With personal touches and fun, vibrant colour, LAVINIA MAFI and GENEZY ILOLAHIA celebrated their love in style.
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!