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Sil­ver Fern Ka­t­rina’s fan­tasy day, plus ac­tress Anna’s mag­i­cal nup­tials on page 26

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Woman’s Day This Week -

Ka­t­rina Grant is in a hurry. Clutch­ing the arm of her brother Lance, the Sil­ver Fern vice-cap­tain is a vi­sion in white as she makes her way down a rose pe­tal-strewn aisle, the Welling­ton wind un­usu­ally calm and the Tas­man Sea glis­ten­ing be­hind her.

Though she’s sup­posed to be tim­ing her walk to John Leg­end’s “Stay with You”, the net­baller is im­pa­tient to get to the end of the aisle where groom Joel Rore, 27, is wait­ing, his eyes welling up as he watches his beau­ti­ful bride stride to­wards him.

“Slow down!” Lance whis­pers, laugh­ing, while Ka­t­rina, 31, grins at the 80 friends and fam­ily who have gath­ered to watch the nup­tials. “Hi guys!” she bel­lows, but then she fi­nally locks eyes with Joel, who wipes away a tear.

“I was look­ing ev­ery­where else but at him,” she ad­mits. “I knew the tears would hap­pen if I did – and they did! Ever since we got en­gaged, we couldn’t wait to get mar­ried.

We’d be ly­ing on the bed and go, ‘I wish we could just go and do it today!’ When you find the per­son you’re meant to marry, you just can’t wait for it to hap­pen.”

It’s a mag­i­cal mo­ment, three years in the mak­ing, for the cou­ple and one that’s come full cir­cle. It was at a friend’s wed­ding where they first met and ever since, the pair have bat­tled through long sep­a­ra­tions and the chal­leng­ing de­mands of Ka­t­rina’s net­ball ca­reer.

But on this still and peace­ful day, high on Welling­ton’s cliffs at Boom­rock, the only people that mat­ter right now are Ka­t­rina and Joel. Their day has been metic­u­lously planned for max­i­mum cel­e­brat­ing and min­i­mum fuss.

And that theme starts in the morn­ing, with Ka­t­rina get­ting ready with her brides­maids – maid of hon­our and sis­ter Natalie, her “Sil­ver Fern soul­mate” Casey Kopua, for­mer Cen­tral Pulse team­mate Daya Wif­fen and univer­sity pal Kate Thomp­son.

Casey’s mak­ing sure every­one’s glass is topped up with cham­pagne, and af­ter the girls have their hair and makeup done, they help Ka­t­rina into her gor­geous, be­spoke gown by He­len Forster, which fea­tures a low back, French Chan­tilly lace, and a gath­ered sheer silk chif­fon skirt and train.

“I wasn’t re­ally sure what I wanted, apart from the low back,” Ka­t­rina con­fesses. “But ob­vi­ously with net­ballers, we’re a bit ath­letic, so I wanted the dress to be re­ally soft and fem­i­nine, and He­len cus­tom­made it for me. I didn’t find one on the shelf – my size and shape aren’t nor­mal!”

Ka­t­rina has es­chewed a veil and in­stead of heels, she opts for a pair of white Gucci sneak­ers.

“Well, it’s not like I need

the height,” she grins. “I couldn’t find any that fit, so I was like, bug­ger it!”

Soon, it’s time for the girls to leave Welling­ton’s CBD and make their way to Boom­rock, where Joel and his grooms­men, Slade King, Anata Rore, Joe Scheres – whose wed­ding Ka­t­rina and Joel met at – and best man Tyme Nikau are al­ready wait­ing.

All of the bridal party has ar­rived in style – thanks to Joel’s love of he­li­copters, there’s a quick flight over the cap­i­tal for the ex­cited group.

Touch­ing down on the hills above Boom­rock, it’s a lippy touch-up for the girls and a swig of bub­bles for good luck, be­fore Ka­t­rina fol­lows her brides­maids down the aisle. A guest yells out, “Beau­ti­ful Ka­t­rina!” as she walks past and meets Joel at the al­tar.

That’s my wife!

“I was try­ing my hard­est to hold the tears back,” smiles Joel. “It was the best feel­ing in the world. She was amaz­ing. So beau­ti­ful, so gor­geous. As soon as I saw her, my heart just burst – that was my wife walk­ing down there.”

Ka­t­rina, who’s used to all eyes on her when she’s play­ing net­ball, ad­mits the walk down the aisle with her brother – her dad John was too sick to make the wed­ding – was nerve-rack­ing.

“Man, it’s all se­ri­ous, isn’t it?!” she ex­claims. “And every­one’s star­ing at you. But then I looked at Joel and I re­alised it was just us.”

Af­ter some quick words of en­cour­age­ment from Ka­t­rina to Joel – “You’re not half bad, are ya!” she says to him, grin­ning – cel­e­brant Alice Pritchard kicks off the for­mal­i­ties, which have been short­ened as much as pos­si­ble.

“It’s easy to see why Ka­t­rina and Joel have fallen in love with one an­other, and they know that while they’re won­der­ful as in­di­vid­u­als, they’re even better to­gether.”

Much laugh­ter is elicited from the crowd as Alice reads out what Ka­t­rina and Joel love about each other. Along with his per­son­al­ity, sense of ad­ven­ture and kindness, Ka­t­rina also “loves Joel’s hand­some face – and body”, while Joel can’t help but men­tion Ka­t­rina’s bum!

The bride’s sis­ter Jo per­forms a read­ing from Dr Seuss’

Oh, the Places You’ ll Go– com­plete with the Cat in the Hat’s top hat – then it’s time

for the vows, which the pair have penned them­selves.

Joel An­thony Te Hemi Rore and Ka­t­rina Louise Natasha Grant prom­ise to make each other laugh, to al­ways be there for each other, not to be grumpy when they’re “hangry”, and to be each other’s best friend and side­kick.

“Fi­nally,” they both de­clare, “I prom­ise you my­self. Without you, I am noth­ing. With you, I am ev­ery­thing.”

Fol­low­ing an­other touch­ing read­ing by Joel’s sis­ter Alex, the pair ex­change their rings – Ka­t­rina’s a sim­ple band, while Joel has a thick gold ring, in­laid with a tiny di­a­mond.

“That’s for when he’s feel­ing fancy,” laughs Ka­t­rina. “He was re­ally cute – when we were get­ting them, he asked, ‘Can I have a lit­tle di­a­mond?’ I said, ‘Of course!’”

Fi­nally, Ka­t­rina and Joel – soul­mates, best friends and partners – are pro­nounced hus­band and wife, with the pair seal­ing the deal with a pas­sion­ate kiss, which is met by whoops and cheers from their guests.

“Oh, man, I just couldn’t be hap­pier,” says an ec­static Joel af­ter the for­mal­i­ties are over. “Be­ing mar­ried is such a great feel­ing. We al­ready feel a lit­tle closer.”

Look­ing down at her sparkly new ring, Ka­t­rina adds, “It’s been the best day of my life. And he looks pretty good with a ring on too, eh? Today has been so much more than I ex­pected – and now it’s party time!”

Walk­ing in to join their guests in Boom­rock’s in­ti­mate din­ing room, the cou­ple pause on the lawn and look out to the ocean, with the sun set­ting in front of them as they pose for a fi­nal photo.

Then it’s time to tuck in to a din­ner of pork belly, beef fil­let, de­con­structed banof­fee pie and to fol­low, a de­li­cious choco­late, white choco­late and rasp­berry wed­ding cake.

“Mar­riage was al­ways on the cards for us,” the new Mrs Rore nods. “And I know the fu­ture is full of awe­some­ness for us – but as for tonight, I don’t want it to stop! It truly has been the most per­fect day.”

‘ Be­ing mar­ried is such a great feel­ing. We al­ready feel a lit­tle closer’

Above: We made it! Ka­t­rina with (from left) sis­ter Natalie, Kate, Daya and Casey. You can’t take net­ball out of this girl – Ka­t­rina sneaks her sports­wear un­der her beau­ti­ful gown.

Love wins on the day! Ka­t­rina’s sport of­ten kept them apart, but she al­ways knew Joel was the man she’d marry.

An emo­tional Joel ad­mits, “As soon as I saw her, my heart just burst.” Tak­ing T the girls for a clifftop stroll are Joel’s grooms­men (from left) Joe, best b man Tyme, Slade and Anata.

Above: Ka­t­rina’s net­ball pals (from left) Laura Lang­man, Daya, Claire Ker­sten, Bai­ley Mes, Casey, Jodi Brown and Elias Scheres. Left: Seats for the lucky guests at Boom­rock.

Left: Lef The cou­ple e helped he de­sign their rings. Right: The cake has de­li­cious lay­ers of choco­late and an rasp­berry.

Not tak­ing their eyes off the bou­quet, Ka­t­rina’s at­ten­dants get ready to catch. And the win­ner is ... Kate! They only have eyes for each other! “I know the fu­ture is full of awe­some­ness for us,” says Ka­t­rina.

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