Monday, February 26, 2024

FWs from near and far at farm wedding 

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Farming theme demanded nothing less than Farmers Weekly fashioned into confetti cones – both the NZ and UK papers.
Rob and Jess wed on Rob’s brother’s farm at Ōrere Point on a rainy November day. Photos: Erica Kurth Photography
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Incorporating old newspapers into decor might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a wedding, but for a British-born gal and her Kiwi beau it was a fitting ode to their home countries and farming backgrounds. 

Jess and Rob Lourie, who wed late last year, used Farmers Weekly New Zealand and Farmers Weekly United Kingdom newspapers as confetti cones at their wedding as representation of two worlds coming together as one.

“As I am from the UK and Rob is a Kiwi, we wanted lots of little nods towards the two countries and this seemed like a great idea. As we are both from farming families, we have grown up with the respective Farmers Weekly on our kitchen tables so it seemed fitting to use them both for our confetti cones,” Jess said. 

Jess and Rob used Farmers Weekly newspapers from the UK and NZ as confetti cones as a nod to their farming roots.

Jess, who works as business development manager for PGG Wrightson’s Go-Stock division, enlisted her parents’ help to get copies of the Farmers Weekly UK newspaper to be used alongside the NZ version.

“My mum and dad are still farming over there so they collected them for us and brought them out when they arrived for the wedding.”

They managed to collect enough newspapers for about 50 cones, with the rest of the guests “just grabbing a handful” of petals. Jess said the cones were a hit with guests, many of whom had not known there was a UK version of the farming newspaper.

Rob’s mother also played an important part in the couple’s union, having invited Jess for dinner when she first moved to NZ from the UK.

“I came out to NZ from the UK to work on a 8000-acre [3237ha] sheep, beef and dairy farm and it just so happened to be next door to where Rob and his family were farming. His mum actually invited me over for dinner one evening and that’s how we first met.”

Newlyweds Rob and Jess sporting their AgriHQ caps on farm, which they received as part of a belated wedding gift/Christmas pack from AgriHQ.

Fast-forward to 2022, and after four years of courtship Rob, who works alongside his parents on the beef and sheep farm in West Waikato, was ready to pop the question.  Jess recalls the moment as “romantic” and “amazing”.

“I was flying back to the UK in April 2022 for the first time after covid [lockdowns] to see my family, and the week before I was leaving, Rob tried to propose but the weather wasn’t playing ball. But finally on my last night before my trip, he managed to get me out to our favourite spot on the farm where we often sit enjoying a beer, looking for deer. We usually have a competition of who can spot the first deer and so Rob handed me the binoculars to scan the clearing – it took a few minutes for me to finally spot ‘Will you marry me?’ which had been placed out using battens in the clearing. When I turned around Rob was down on one knee – it was amazing! And he had also hidden away a bottle of champagne so we drank that instead of the usual beer!”

The couple used bits and bobs found on their farm, including an old pallet, as part of their decor.

Sticking with the farming theme, the pair were married on November 18 at Ōrere Point, east of Auckland, on the farm that Rob’s brother and wife lease.

Jess said they turned to Pinterest boards to help plan their wedding, and thinking outside the box was key to bringing it all together.

“I used Pinterest for lots of inspiration but most of it wasn’t rurally related so I just had to think a little bit differently about how we could tie it into what we are both passionate about.”

While no one donned gumboots for the big day despite the “typically British weather”, small nods to farming were evident in every aspect of the decor.

Jess says the speeches were a highlight of her wedding day.

“Our seating plan was made up out of old totara posts that we found on the farm and we named all the tables after agri-related things that are called different things in each of our respective countries,” she said.

“For example, truck/lorry, gumboots/wellies etcetera. We used things we had on the farm – like an old pallet we stained and wrote the timeline of the day on it and we found an old piece of driftwood on the beach which we made a swing out of. 

“We were also supposed to leave the wedding ceremony in an old Hilux flat deck ute, which we had decorated with ribbon and cans tied to the back, and we were going to sit up on the back on two chairs, but unfortunately the weather was so bad we couldn’t use it.”

Unable to pinpoint the highlight of the day because everything was pretty much “a blur”, Jess says the speeches were heartfelt.

“I really couldn’t pick one moment … It goes so fast but it was just amazing for me to have all our special people from both sides of the world there. We had 27 people travel from England to be here, which was just incredible.” 

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