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Winter wedding wonderland: Emily and Jamie Clarke
– Weddings

When COVID-19 interrupted their wedding plans, Emily and Jamie opted for an intimate Poronui winter wedding. They share their story and beautiful images with us.

How did you meet?

Work romance! We met through our workplace. Jamie was living in Wellington and Emily in Auckland, so we got to know each other in a work context and both felt a ‘spark’, which resulted in a few encounters. After ‘courting’ we met for an exclusive weekend in Taupo … the rest is history!

Why did you choose the location you did?

We originally had plans to have our wedding in Queenstown on 6 June 2020. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to cancel our plans and hold a more intimate wedding closer to home on our intended date. Taupo has always been a very special place to us as a couple. We have spent a lot of time there together. It is halfway between our home cities and is such a beautiful place. We both have a love for the outdoors and being in nature so Poronui felt like the perfect place to tie the knot.

Did you have any ‘concerns’ about the day beforehand and, if so, how were they overcome?

We had originally looked at having our original wedding at Poronui and fell in love with the wine cellar. Unfortunately, we couldn’t accommodate all our guests in the wine cellar for dinner, but when our plans changed due to COVID-19 we knew Poronui would be the best option.

As we opted for a winter wedding, there was a risk with the weather, so we planned for all weather options. But on the day we were very lucky to have a beautiful winter blue-sky day, which was perfect.

Who helped you organise your big day? Who was involved in the planning?

We did a lot of the work ourselves but worked very closely with Claire — she was absolutely amazing to work with. So accommodating, organised, such a positive attitude, and nothing was too hard.

We feel very grateful to have worked with Claire who helped make our day run smoothly. Steve the chef was also great — the food was delicious and the menu was bespoke to our guests.

The day-after breakfast was a real treat. Waking up as Mr and Mrs Clarke and being spoilt to a breakfast spread of our choice, from granola, croissants, condiments through to cooked eggs on toast, with endless options. The perfect way to top off an already perfect wedding day!

What was your favourite part of the planning process?

Given we planned it through COVID-19 there was a lot of uncertainty and government restrictions we needed to comply with. We had a very short timeframe to turn around the wedding, but Claire and the team at Poronui were very helpful and reassured us the day would run smoothly. They went above and beyond to accommodate our requests.

What’s your most precious memory of the day?

So many happy memories, and, so far, the best day of both of our lives! We loved spending time with our families and creating such special memories together. We had so much fun and are thrilled with how it ended up despite it being plan B!

What did Poronui contribute to the memories of your wedding day?

Poronui is such a beautiful spot with natural beauty, which created the perfect place to officially become Mr and Mrs Clarke.

The Poronui staff were committed to making sure our day was everything we had planned for. We are filled with happy memories, we were sad to leave the next day but will always have a special place in our hearts for Poronui.

Do you have a favourite wedding photograph, and where was it taken?

Poronui provided such breathtaking scenery. It was hard to choose one favourite but the confetti image of us walking down the aisle under the cabana with the fire burning, at the end of the ceremony would be one. I don’t think Jamie’s smile could get any bigger!

Was there anything you would change? 

Given the uncertainty of COVID-19 it was hard to plan for a large wedding so we kept it very intimate. We did miss some special family and friends who we were unable to include due to border and government gathering restrictions. We decided to have a videographer capture our day so we could share it with our friends and family. Here is the short version of our wedding video:

What sort of feedback did you get from friends and family?

Given it was an intimate wedding with our immediate family, they all loved it and all enjoyed themselves. The feedback was all very positive. The food was sensational — everyone commented on it and were blown away, as well as the wonderful wine cellar, the attention to detail, and feelings of enjoyment and love that surrounded everyone.

Would you recommend Poronui to other couples? 

Yes, absolutely. Poronui is a beautiful place with different venue options which can be customised to your preferences. The incredible staff, fabulous food, and sensational setting will ensure you get value for money.

Image credits: Danny Rood

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