DIY rustic wedding venue location Auckland – Oratia wedding venue

DIY wedding Auckland | Rustic wedding venue locations Auckland | Samantha & Matt

Sam & Matt first met each other at school – but despite both having feelings for each other then – it wasn’t until they met again 8 years after leaving school that they had their first date!

They share a love of creating things – when I arrived in the morning to photograph the girls prep, Sam proudly showed me the huge dining table they had made together… I’m so in awe of people that are good with their hands like that!

They also have a deep love for the bush of West Auckland, where they have grown up and spend much of their time.
So it was only perfectly fitting that Matt’s ring has a piece of rimu inlaid, which was carved from a rimu tree on their own property.

It was actually Sam who proposed to Matt – while they were on holiday in Kenya, staying at the incredible Giraffe Manor. Over breakfast, with giraffes sticking their heads in through the windows – Sam proposed to her man, and surprised him with the beautiful ring she had custom designed.

Upon their return to New Zealand, Matt then proposed to Sam – with beautiful sand artistry, viewed from the top of Lion Rock in Piha. I love that they each had a turn to do a proposal!!

For their wedding, they really wanted to find a place in West Auckland, surrounded by the land they love so much. Somewhere they could DIY their own style of day (complete with food trucks for the reception) … and that’s where Bella Rakha retreat in Oratia comes in.

This was our first visit to this cute little spot – and it was a stunning setting indeed. Up the top, there was a hall which was decorated with tables and lawn games, their own handmade bar, and so many other beautiful DIY touches.
Down the bottom, there was a grove of trees – and nestled inside there was the result of more DIY effort – they handmade all the ceremony bench seats, the archway, and the feature doorframe.

It was a perfect blue, cloudless autumn day … but the wind was COLD!! So we made a beeline for the patches of sunshine while we took some photos after the ceremony with their bridal party.

Up at the reception, dinner was comprised of some delish food truck treats – including the very last hurrah for the Mediterranean Mama Tahina truck, who (very sadly, because it was delicious) won’t be food trucking any longer. Throw in handmade dumplings from The Rolling Pin foodtruck and you have a recipe for epic.

After some amazing speeches under the marquee (featuring Matt playing guitar & singing for Sam!!) – the band Foxy Moronz kicked off  the party for the night, and everyone danced along to keep the cool night air at bay. The coolest bit ?? Late in the evening, another food truck fired up – this time serving hot, freshly cooked mini donuts, slathered in cinnamon sugar with caramel dipping sauce. I was (and still am) on a diet at the time… but this definitely called for an unscheduled cheat meal, because – donuts.

We finished up the night with a cool backlit night shot under one of the trees on the driveway – a really ‘wow’ finish to an amazing wedding, one of our favs of all time! Sam & Matt – you guys were just a pleasure to be around & hang out with – we really enjoyed being there to share a part in your wedding day.

Here’s a little preview taster of how the images are looking. Want to see more? You can check out their slideshow by clicking here.


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If you’ve enjoyed Samantha & Matt’s DIY rustic wedding photos from Bella Rakha – be sure to leave them a comment in the box below. We know they’ll be stoked to hear from you!

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If you’re looking for an Auckland wedding photographer, a Sunshine Coast wedding photographer – or anywhere else in New Zealand / Australia for that matter – let’s chat more! Send us a message through the contact form above & we’ll give you all the info 🙂

Are you looking for more DIY rustic wedding venue photography inspo?? Here’s a few more weddings you might enjoy checking out : Amy & Andrew, Dasha & Taylor, Glenn & Keryn, Dan & Victoria.

Until next time,
Isaac + Amy.