Gold For A Golden Day: Miriama Kamo & Mike Dreaver

"Our warmest congratulations to Miri and Mike, from the team at The Village Goldsmith. We've just been oohing and aahing over pics of the happy couple's day in paradise. Wonderful to see Miriama's stunning engagement ring and the couple's special wedding bands, which were designed by Ian here at The Village Goldsmith".

Described in New Idea magazine as "gold for a golden day", Miriama and Mike's wedding bands were both etched with tiny gold crosses to mirror the yellow gold in Miriama's engagement ring.

Read the full story of "the most tender of wedding ceremonies", in the article below, by Bridget Jones, originally featured in New Idea.

Miriama and Mike: Paradise Found

March 5, 2015, 12:18 pm Bridget Jones New Idea NZ

Love, land and family join hearts in the most tender of wedding ceremonies.

When Miriama Kamo and Mike Dreaver bought their own overgrown piece of paradise on Waiheke Island eight years ago, the Sunday host was adamant they would never get married there. But somehow her persistent fiancé managed to change her mind, and after months of digging, planting and building, the couple of almost a decade was ready to take the next step of their lives together on the land they love.

Which is how Mike came to be waiting outdoors for Miri while standing under a simple flower-adorned arch, flanked by his groomsmen, Ben Dalton, Henry Weston and his son Sam Murphy- Dreaver, 14. Soon NZ Music Award winner Tama Waipara starts to sing one of Miri’s all-time favourite songs, Cruise, and the couple’s big day arrives in earnest.

The pair met in 2005, when Miri found herself seated next to Mike after taking up a last-minute invitation to attend a boxing match. And then on Mike’s 45th birthday – October 12, 2013 – he asked her to marry him.

Now, after months of preparation (including building their wedding venue from the ground up), Mike struggles to hold back the emotion as his beautiful bride approaches him after leaving the bridal car – the family’s classic Valiant.

Miri, 41, is supported by her bridesmaids wearing gold and white dresses, sisters Michaela and Sian Kamo and cousin Marie Gorton as well as Mike and Miri’s adorable three-year-old daughter, Te Rerehua, and her fellow flowergirls Molly Stimpson and Elan Kamo-Watson. Miri takes only a few steps before her soon-to-be-husband runs to meet her. He tenderly picks up Te Rerehua, who is clinging to her gorgeous mum, and takes her back to the arch, where they snuggle closely and wait for Miri together – a moment that draws sweet sighs from the guests.

Miri walks toward them on the arm of her proud dad, Raynol Kamo, who has battled through health problems to be a part of the special day. She smiles shyly as she passes 220 family and friends gathered on the lawn under the warm Waiheke sun, her breathtaking lace dress creating a perfect silhouette as the light summer breeze plays with her simple veil.

‘Once we found the gold lace on the bridesmaid dresses, everything fell into place. My dress is an extension of theirs, rather than the other way around,’ Miri says of her gown created by ‘magician’ designer Kiri Nathan. ‘At the beginning I wasn’t sure what the dress would be. I told my friend Stacey (Morrison) that I might wear red, but she reminded me that this was the one moment in my life when I was going to be someone other than a person just wearing a lovely gown.

‘And when I asked Mike, he said he imagined me with a bit of cleavage in a fitted white gown – and so the dress was built around that bodice and his idea. I thought, “If he wants boob, he’ll get boob”,’ she says with a laugh.

Mike later comments that Miri’s appearance definitely hit the mark. ‘All morning, I was on tenterhooks. I imagined so many times what it would be like to see her, but I’d never imagined it would be quite like that. I thought, “She’s incredibly beautiful, she’s mine and she’s coming to marry me”.’

Meanwhile, Mike is looking dapper in a charcoal three-piece Crane Brothers’ suit. When Miri joins his side they both excitedly whisper ‘hello’ and then quickly hold hands, not letting each other go until they walk back down the aisle as husband and wife.

Turning to their friend and Auckland celebrant Barbara Harvey, the ceremony that will start the adventurous couple’s next big journey begins.

Barbara explains to the guests what marriage means to Mike and Miri, adding: ‘It’s a new point in a relationship that is well established. A stake in the ground, declaring to the world, “We are more than just partners”.’

Mike’s brother Gerald steps forward to read an excerpt from the Bible (1: Ruth16-17), before the bride and groom share their vows, hearing for the first time the emotional promises they are making to each other.

‘I love your wisdom and your vision. Your ambition for us and for our children,’ Mike shares, eyes fixed on the love of his life.

‘I promise you today that my faith in you will never falter, that I will search for quiet times and secret spaces together, that my love for you will last forever.’

In return, an emotional Miri says: ‘Mike, you amaze me every day. I am never bored around you. Nothing is impossible in your world. You hold my hand and you lead me through storms.

‘I vow to keep building a life with you that will sustain us into the next life, because I believe that we were meant to be together always.’

They then exchange rings designed by Ian Douglas, of The Village Goldsmith, which are etched with tiny gold crosses to mirror the gold in Miri’s engagement ring. The happy couple giggle as they are declared husband and wife, and then sign the register as their dear friend Belinda Simpson serenades them. Finally friends and family let out a celebratory cheer as Mike and Miri kiss – three times, just for luck!

‘I hadn’t been consciously waiting for that moment, but when it happened, it just felt so right,’ Mike says.

Guests wind their way down a secret pathway bordered by long grass and wildflowers, leaving behind rustic hay bales, wine barrels and the music of the renowned Nairobi Trio. Soon, speeches and waiata fill the air in a wedding marquee glowing with fairylights and dressed with luscious green garlands. A table of family photos and treasures is a special feature.

Mike, a consultant and Treaty of Waitangi negotiator, again makes a moving declaration of love to his wife as he touches hearts with a lengthy tribute to her family in te reo Maori.

He then shares the pride he feels in Miri. ‘You are breathtaking – and more so every day. You are 18,000 square centimetres of perfection. Google it, it’s the amount of skin we have. Darling, you are my beginning and my end,’ he tells the wedding guests, before his son, Sam, joins him in a surprise rendition of American folk singer Sam Baker’s song, Pretty World. ‘Our culture infused the day – and we wouldn’t have had it any other way,’ Mike says.

After enjoying a dessert platter and a stunning four-tier cake, the besotted pair take to the floor for their first dance as husband and wife.

Weeks of lessons with Dancing with the Stars professional, Nerida Cortese, show as they glide their way through legendary Etta James’ ballad At Last. Ever the jokesters, Mike and Miri turn up the fun factor, switching to a routine set to Kiwi hip-hop star Savage’s Swing.

If Mike thinks the gag is ending there, he’s mistaken – Miri has sneakily planned a surprise; her sister-in-law Catherine Kamo ambushes the routine with a tap-dance before a flash mob of 100 friends and family invade the dance floor to Let’s Hear it for the Boy.

‘It was fantastic! There was wave upon wave of people surrounding me. It took me about a quarter of the song to realise I was being flash mobbed.’ Mike says, laughing. ‘At first I thought the DJ had made a mistake and I was wondering how I was going to waltz with my mother to this! But then I felt like Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon – the centre of everyone’s attention.’

It is the perfect way for the couple to seal their day, an event they wish to always remember being about family and friends. And, as kids run through a corn maze and older guests take turns on a ping-pong table and giant chessboard, they realise that hope.

‘The day hasn’t just been about us wanting to get married, but about wanting to honour the people we love, and really entertain them and show them a good time,’ Miri says.

To further cement the family theme, local iwi Ngaati Paoa join the wedding to name their land Taumanu. ‘It means a resting place for birds – there is a wetlands next to the land – as well as the place on a waka where paddlers take a break. Those images perfectly reflect our feelings about the land: a place where people can go to rejuvenate,’ says Mike.

Meanwhile, Miri says their wedding day is more than a formality. ‘It is like we had been on the most amazing, fun adventure for the last 10 years - and today just makes us tighter as a team.’

Special touches

The bridal party’s gold and white coloured dresses by Kiri Nathan were each designed to suit the specific tastes of the three bridesmaids.

Miri and her bridesmaids carried bouquets of coral and burgundy flowers from Wildflower. The wedding arch, set up on the property for the ceremony, was adorned with the same flowers.

Gold for a golden day: the wedding rings, created by The Village Goldsmith’s Ian Douglas, feature tiny gold crosses that mirror the yellow gold in Miri’s engagement ring.

Family fun and memories were a special part of the wedding day for the loved-up couple, which is why they set up a table of family photos in the wedding marquee.

Dinner is served

Wedding planner Sophia Hoadley of MyWaiheke worked tirelessly to make the event a success. The couple say they wanted their reception, inside a Platinum Hire marquee, to be ‘a giant dinner party’ using local produce. Waiheke-made bread, oils and oysters were served before a main meal of eye fillet beef, Manuka-hot smoked salmon and fresh island vegetables were dished up on family-style platters from Gill Stotter Catering. Guests sipped on Passage Rock wines (from a vineyard bordering their land) and Wild on Waiheke beer.

The stunning four-tier cake was made by the Rebecca Lloyd at The Cake Parlour. It featured layers of raspberry and chocolate, lemon and lemon curd, raspberry and white chocolate and a traditional fruit cake, which the couple plan on keeping in line with tradition.