Alison & Dave

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Can you tell us a little bit about how you two met?

My maid of honour Amara introduced us around 7 years ago with a casual dinner at The Fat Camel in Whangarei. I was living in Auckland and Dave was in Whangarei. After a month of messaging and talking on the phone, we finally decided to meet up and Dave came down for dinner. We hit it off over some Karaage Chicken and started off long distance seeing each other over weekends until David managed to get me to move to Whangarei.

How was your wedding planning experience?

Planning our wedding at The Duke was really easy. We both have busy careers and were looking for a plan that we could work into our weekends, without too much organising. We had been contemplating offshore weddings as we had just been to one in Bali but thought that a destination wedding would be a nightmare to organize. 

We met one of the wedding planners at The Duke on our visit up to Russell, she made our lives so much easier being our celebrant and event planner. She provided us with everything we needed, even sending us vow examples. All we had to do was make decisions and organize the tables which was the fun part!

Why did you choose the Duke for your wedding?

The Duke was always in our minds when choosing options. We have always loved the hotel and as soon as we met with the team and ran through the wedding packages, we knew it was an easy decision. It ticked the box of being like a destination wedding, but in our own backyard. 

The Bay of Islands has always been a special place for David being from Northland. He took me on one of our first summer drives up there and we spent the day driving around Russell and visiting Paihia, eating oysters and sampling. The location also was perfect as we wanted to ensure that all our family could come to the wedding, being able to offer multiple accommodation options and ease of transport to get to the venue was a dream!

So... How was your big day?

So incredibly amazing! Everything was planned right down to the finest detail and the day flowed without a hitch. Our family stayed in the hotel at discounted rates as part of the wedding package and the ballroom was setup perfectly for us. The staff was fantastic with overall professional service making everyone feel looked after. 

We had planned to have the ceremony outdoors, but the weather threw a spanner in the works. The Duke were really flexible and gave us the option to move inside under cover, however the weather turned in our favour and we had the ceremony outside after all. We just loved the ballroom, we didn’t have to do anything except the tables, the staff were ready to clear tables later in the night and create the dance floor after dinner. Every single one of our guests loved the evening, the atmosphere and the service. 

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