Who are Ash & Jo?
Jo is from England. She came over to New Zealand seven years ago and works in administration and sales. She is an extrovert who is always the life of the party, she loves drag queens, horror movies, and true crime.
Ash had been living in England for two years before returning to New Zealand and meeting her future wife! Ash is creative, she loves second-hand clothes, is an introvert who loves performing, writing and making music. She also started a friendship-group for queer women in Auckland called Plaid, and this is why she went out for a drink with Jo in the first place.
For fun, we love to hang out with their friends, drink rum and lemonade, explore the city, eat dumplings and ramen together, play pranks on each other, cry at sad (or happy) movies, sing in the car and listen to murder podcasts before falling asleep and having bad dreams!
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
A: We have been together for four years and we met through Tinder.
I recently returned from the UK, signed up to Tinder with a bio reading that I wasn’t trying to find the love of my life, and was just trying to find some new queer friends. Jo, a Brit living in New Zealand, swiped right without reading the bio.
Jo agreed to meet me for a friendly drink, which went pretty well. I found her incredibly warm and funny, and she has a way of making people feel at ease and making them laugh- she also has the most beautiful blue eyes. Jo realized that this was a friend date, and the next day messaged me to ask if we could go on a real date. I had been cursing myself for having feeling smitten on a ‘friend date’ and said yes!
We became instantly inseparable, bonding over our love of 90’s pop music and Celine Dion.
Tell us about the proposal.
A: I knew I loved Jo the weekend that we went out of town to see some fireworks and kissed under the light of the display.
I decided to propose to Jo three years later on their trip to Japan. Hiding the ring in our shared suitcase in a pair of shorts was very stressful. Jo kept rifling through the suitcase and encouraging me to wear those shorts.
The last night of the Japan trip, we went to the Yokohama Sparkling Twilight festival, sitting on the grass eating Japanese street food and as the fireworks went off, I started my speech about how much I loved Jo and what it has meant to have her in my life. Jo assumed this was another of my pranks and said ‘Fuck off!’ – once I pulled the ring box from my bag, Jo knew that I was serious and burst into tears. She said, Yes!
Talk to us about the big day!
The day was magical- even more than we imagined! We were apprehensive that we were going to stress and not enjoy ourselves, but from the moment we walked in the door, there was so much love and joy. We felt so loved and accepted.
We wanted our wedding to be a joyful occasion but also didn’t want to take away from the fact that this was a personal commitment that was about us. We decided to have a private marriage ceremony to say the things we wanted to say to each other and be present in the moment. After the ceremony, we went to the reception venue, where all of our friends and family were waiting to welcome us in. We had speeches from friends and family, a live band, an open bar and personalized notes on every table.
Instead of a first dance, we did a ‘first song’- we all sang ‘My Girl’ together- it was an electrifying moment where everyone was connected and made us want to cry!
What are your favorite moments?
We were riding in the car to the reception venue just after being married and preparing to see friends and family as a married couple, holding hands with my wife!
Jo loves fireworks, hence why we got engaged under fireworks in Japan. It was an amazing moment at the wedding reception right on the water, and fireworks went off in the sky as people were letting them off at the beach. It was a beautiful moment as we caught eyes and came and stood outside together to watch them light up the sky.
We were lying in bed after the day (definitely not consummating the marriage!), feeling utterly full of love, and chatting about our favorite parts of the day.
A: Our first look- we spent the morning apart and so when I turned around to see Jo with her warm smile looking as beautiful as ever, about to be my wife. It was an amazing moment.
I also loved sharing our vows to tell Jo how much she means to me and what I see for our future. It’s such a powerful thing to say, ‘I will stay with you forever.’
J: Walking into the reception venue to the song ‘Electricity’ by Dua Lipa and seeing everyone smiling (and some crying!) and excited to see us.
When getting ready, I had my Mum and Dad on Skype, and when the photographer arrived, my mum said to my Dad ‘Ooh, he’s dishy!’ and he heard! Typical, Mum!
Do you have a stand out vendor?
We loved our celebrant. Being a private ceremony, we wanted it to be just us, and Laura Giddey made it special. She didn’t say anything stuffy or traditional; she made it personal and real but also quirky and funny, like us! When we signed the registry, she gave us two pens- one shaped like a pizza and one shaped like a burger.
What does marriage mean to you?
Marriage means sharing happiness and sorrow, deciding to conquer life with your best friend. It means running to the shop to get chocolate when your partner gets their period. It means sharing clothes and eventually giving away those clothes to her. It means sending text messages with cheesy jokes when your partner is having a bad day. It means not falling asleep until you have spooned your partner to sleep. It means being talked out of your diet because your partner wants takeaways. It means a lifelong commitment to stand beside each other, love each other through the bad and the good times, and find ways to make each other happy.
Photographer & Cinematographer Guy Hasler
Ceremony Venue The Auckland Domain
Celebrant Laura Giddey
Entertainment Manuela Music
Engagement & Wedding Rings Michael Hill Jeweller, Pandora
Florist Zimzee Flowers
Furniture Hire First Scene
Gown Boutique Kellylin Couture, White Runway
H&MU Eleanor Dorn Makeup, Stephen Marr Salon, Sam Hart
Reception Venue French Bay Yacht Club