Annika & Mike

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Can you tell us a little about how you met?

After finishing school in Germany, I, Annika, decided to travel to New Zealand to do half a year of work & travel. Russell was one of the first places I visited, as I had an Au Pair job lined up there for the next 3 months. On a warm spring day, a mutual friend of ours and myself got invited to use Mike’s family’s kayaks and explore the Bay of Islands a little bit. He, a friend and his dog Nancy greeted us straight away and helped us load the kayaks into the water. Even though he seemed very shy and didn’t say much that day (I later found out he had just gotten his wisdom teeth out that morning) I immediately knew I liked him .

We spent the next few weeks taking walks at Long Beach, talking on the phone and unwillingly falling for each other.

How was your experience in planning your wedding?

We initially wanted to get married in Germany first but then Covid hit. Not knowing when the boarders would next open again we decided to get married in New Zealand first, with our friends and family from here before hopefully planning another wedding overseas.

As we started talking about our wedding in early spring here thinking we would have until the German summer which then obviously didn’t work out, we soon decided on a late summer date only giving us about 5 months to plan the whole lot!

At this point I would like to say a huge thank you to the Duke of Marlborough team as I don’t think I could have done it without them. Planning a wedding is stressful enough if you’re doing it without your family here but planning a wedding in 5 months is almost insane.

Why did you choose The Duke of Marlborough as your wedding destination?

Having met in Russell we wanted to celebrate our wedding where it all started so many years ago. My very first memory of the Duke is Mike’s parents inviting me out for dinner for my very first birthday in New Zealand and the evening is so memorable. Since then we have spent many fun nights dining on the balcony watching the sunset. It was the place we immediately thought of when the “where to celebrate” question came up.

Are there any standout moments of your wedding that you’re willing to share?

I think one of the best moments is driving down the Russell waterfront during golden hour, sitting in the back of the horse carriage and taking in the view of Russell town and the ocean. The team from the Duke of Marlborough were so kind and stopped all the cars while the big Clydesdale, also called “Duke”, trotted along and stopped in front of the Hotel entrance. Everyone was waving and taking pictures, the sun was shining through the trees and you could hear the waves crashing.

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