When Shaan Antunovich got engaged to Jeremy Kloet she knew the perfect wedding venue.
Tutukaka, the backdrop of her childhood summer holidays, held many special family memories, which included her beloved late grandad Eddie.
"We spent many school holidays learning to swim, dive and play cards all under the supervision of my grandad," recalls Shaan, a successful musical theatre performer.
"My grandparents later brought a bach in Tutukaka so our whole family could spend the summer holidays together."
However, not long after, her grandad became sick and passed away at his favourite place, Tutukaka. The bach has since been sold but a memorial seat – 'Eddie's Seat' - remains on the property and was one of the couple's photo locations.
Shaan and Jeremy met at an Auckland gym where Jeremy was teaching gym classes and 'All of a sudden my interest in the gym increased!' says Shaan, 28.
The two got together after meeting again at the Wellington Sevens and, for the next five years, travelled, bought a house together and adopted their Pomapoo (Pomeranian and Poodle mix) Indy. They tied the knot in November last year in a weekend-long event focusing on spending time with their family and friends. The celebration began with a causal dinner on the Friday night with tacos and Mexican beer served from a 'gorgeous food truck'.
Instead of a group of bridesmaids and groomsmen, the couple decided to have an 'I Do Crew', which consisted of a group of close friends and family who they spent the weekend preparing with. Then, for the ceremony and photos, they had a best man and Shaan's maid of honour was her younger sister Hannah.
While Jeremy, 31, and his I Do Crew began the day at the Ngunguru Bowling club, which included lunch and drinks, Shaan and her team spent a relaxed morning in the bridal suite getting pampered and prepared.
"Our ceremony was another way of being able to include all of our loved ones," says Shaan. "My parents are not together and I am close with both my dad and my step dad so the 'walking down the aisle' role was something I was finding slightly stressful.
However, we were lucky enough to find a solution which added to the specialness of our day; My step dad, Kevin, applied to be a marriage celebrant, went through the process and was successful. This meant that my dad was able to walk me down the aisle and my step-dad was our celebrant. I felt extremely lucky and, for both Jeremy and I, it added something personal and special to our day."
Because one of the couple's goals for their wedding day was to mix and mingle with all their guests in a relaxed but classic atmosphere, for the reception, they opted out of the traditional head table and guest seating plan.
"It took a while for people to get the hang of it on the day but, once dinner was served and everyone found a seat, it was the best idea. Jeremy and I ended up sitting at a table with our close family friends, some older relatives and an aunt and uncle who travelled all the way from America and, looking back, it was one of my favourite moments from the day," recalls Shaan, who now goes by the name Shaan Kloet.
As for music, fellow musician and friend Kawiti Waetford serenaded guests and the couple's first dance was accompanied to the song 'I Can't Help Falling in Love with You', which Shaan, who has recently finished playing Mary Poppins in the Hamilton-based musical, had previously recorded.
"Over-all, we had the most amazing weekend, full of love, laughter, family and friends. The weather was meant to be stormy and wild. However, our day was perfect. The sun was shining and we could definitely feel my grandad's presence at the wedding. My husband and I believe that grandad would have been so proud to have all of his family in his favourite place on such a special day."