It’s hard to know where to start when sharing this experience with you all. If I rewind to 2 months ago, it might paint a picture.

It had just been lockdown level 4 in NZ, and we were finally free. The days had been long and tiresome (I had just given birth to our second wee girl and also had a 2 year old toddler running the show). My sister messaged me with the ‘forwarded’ Arkade Instagram post. “WIN A $50k WEDDING”. My first reaction was typical. What’s the point? As if we’d win, we don’t win anything. And WHO wins something like that! Anyway, with a twist of my arm she encouraged our story and my application. To stand out from the rest she recommended I turn our love story into a poem. This I hear, may be what won us this glorious ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity. We pretty much won lotto. WILD. I can still remember Brendon from Arkade and Jayne from Glasshouse ‘FaceTiming’ me with the fluttering butterflies swarming around my tummy. We were in shock for at least a week, it was all so surreal!

So we pretty much got stuck right into it immediately. The beautiful Aimee from One and Only wedding planning sent the emails out one by one to each vendor so we could be in contact with everyone ASAP. The weeks diary filled up VERY quickly, then the next week, and the weeks following that. Busy chatting and meeting each vendor, who were all so kind, genuine, helpful, excited and generous. Generous not only with their time, but none of them held back with their creativity or passion for what they do! We chatted gown, suit, venue set up, furniture, ceremony, florals, stationery, the most perfect jewellery from Zöe & Morgan, cake, catering, booze, lighting, photography, videography, music, hair, makeup and shoes. All sorted in just FIVE WEEKS, can you believe it? These legends were powerhouses. All coming together with such grace and ease and professionalism. We can honestly say (hand on heart) that there was not one moment where we felt stressed or uneasy. Each of these vendors made planning a wedding in 5 weeks the most enjoyable experience you would ever dream of. Granted it was busy, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Before we knew it, it was 08.08.2020. A VERY auspicious day in my culture, this was an added bonus. We weren’t nervous at all, just excited. Excited to celebrate the love we’ve already shared for ten whole years, celebrate our little family with our two tiny girls whom we adore. And then so excited to throw a massive party with all of our closest friends and family and dance the night away! Which we did. And it was perfect.

Glasshouse Morningside looked INSANE. As you can see, each vendor executed absolute magic. It felt right. It felt “us”. Our ceremony was super personal, Swami Yogamani encouraged this which we loved. We had our sisters walk down the aisle with our little babies, we wrote our own vows to each other, and we stood up there alone. Just us. It was our time.

It’s difficult for me to put this experience into words. The above is the best I can do without going on and on and using a copious amount of adjectives. Let me just finish by sharing my undeniable gratitude for Arkade and Glasshouse for coming together and creating this competition initiative, my gratitude and acknowledgment to each and every vendor that was involved, especially the people that we met along the way and totally ‘vibed’ with. WE ADORE YOU.

Before entering this competition, our marriage was most likely going to be one held at the court house. Unfortunately having a wedding wasn’t going to be a financial possibility as our children are our number one priority. This initiative changed our lives. It celebrated a decade long love story. And we’ll never forget the people that made that happen.

- Nikki