Our love story will always be my favourite to tell. Let me take you back six years, to a little place called Freshwater beach where this wild ride first began.
I packed my bags, jumped on a plane with my best friend Elysia and to meet our other best friend Rose down under. She had moved to New Zealand and we wanted in on that action. For six weeks we travelled the country and had THE best time. Liss had an early departure and left New Zealand. Rose and I planned a trip to Fiji that never happened, instead we found our way on a plane to Sydney for a two-week holiday. Some of the girls that I went to uni with lived in a hostel there, so we booked two weeks in their room and got ready to have a chill few weeks in Australia.
Our first weekend in the city is when I met Robbie. We made the trip over to Manly & Freshwater beach to meet some gals, Robbie, his brother Adam & a friend also happened to be there. I remember sitting on the beach and watching him walk out of the ocean towards us. I also remember tapping Rose and saying “who the hell is that” to which she didn’t know and continued tucking into her family share bag of crisps.
Fast forward 5 hours and we boarded a boat in Sydney harbour for some birthday celebrations. Low and behold, Robbie got on the boat too. We spent the evening sailing around Sydney harbour, then at a club, stuck together like glue. We didn’t stop talking, ever.
The next day we surfed, walked on the beach and ate fish and chips all the while getting to know each other. I honestly felt like I was in a movie.
One last group dinner in Sydney and Adam (My now brother in law) sat right in between us at the table. We spent the night talking around him and soaking up what we thought might be our last night together.
For the next three weeks we messaged every single day. I would set my alarm to wake up and catch Robbie before he went to work or before he went to bed, making sure I could sneak in those last few messages for the day. It took me a total of two weeks in the UK to decide that I didn’t belong here, and my heart was firmly sat with a man I barely knew in Australia.
I booked it. I sat on Elysia’s kitchen side and I booked a one-way flight to Australia. I distinctly remember her saying, “Well you will never know, unless you go” Working holiday visa accepted and bags packed, I jumped on a plane to meet a guy I hadn’t even spoke to on the phone. Was I mad? Yep, did it work out? Evidently so.
During our time apart we talked about travelling, how I longed to drive the Great Ocean Road and how I wanted to explore the world, together. I landed at Sydney airport on the 9th July 2014 and Robbie met me in the arrivals lounge. I felt like I had just returned home. Introducing Winston. Remember how I said I wanted to travel? Well, Robbie had spent the past month renovating a VW Transporter van into a camper so we could do exactly that and surprised me with the final product in the airport car park.
We spent a blissful year in Australia, driving, camping, drinking tea, exploring and getting to know each other. The years that followed are right here in New Zealand. Wanting to secure a more permanent life we decided to hop across the pond and apply for our residency here in New Zealand. We have now lived in New Zealand for five years as residents which is why we chose to marry here, in our hometown of Queenstown & our soul place, Mount Cook.
The past six years of my life have been an absolute dream. Filled with love, adventure, laughter and nothing but fun. We have travelled to far away countries, hiked to Everest Base Camp, taken many a flight and explored to our hearts content. One year ago, Robbie embarked on the path to our greatest adventure yet when he decided to make me a beautiful ring from my favourite jeweller, whisk me off to Mount Cook for a weekend of hiking and drop to one knee, high in the hills of the national park. I honestly have no words for the emotions I felt during this moment.
It took us a few months to decide where to have our wedding and it wasn’t until after the New Zealand lockdown in June 2020 that we settled on the 16.09.2020 for our wedding date. The planning process was an absolute dream and our incredible vendors and loved ones involved made the day unbelievably special.
Robbie Collins, six years ago you made my wildest dreams come true. You stepped into my life and completed me. Thank you for being my once in a lifetime. I can’t wait to do this thing called life together.
All my love always, your wife X
Couples shoots by the talented Kate Craig-Brown