What I Wore: A Wedding At The Old Forest School, Pongakawa

Old Forest School Wedding Venue
At the Old Forest School in Pongakawa, Bay Of Plenty, aka my new favourite wedding venue!

Along with my inability to whistle, ride a bicycle (I know. Tragic, huh?!), and NOT drench myself in water every time I wash a spoon (when will I learn?! TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN!), I thought I’d missed out on receiving the bride gene. It’s odd, because I’ve always enjoyed attending other people’s weddings, but the thought of organising my own – or even imagining my own – was just about enough to send me into a corner hyperventilating with a brown paper bag.

Not even my own engagement could inspire me, and every time some lovely, well-meaning person asked me some lovely, well-meaning question about “the big day”, I would do a superb job at making the conversation remarkably awkward. Random Nice Person #1: “Corrine! Have you set the date?” Me: *hysterical laughter*Random Nice Person #2: “So, have you had any ideas for your reception yet?!” Me: “GOD no, I’ve asked Casey if I even have to turn up to the reception at all!” Random Nice Person #2: *chuckles politely because they think I’m joking* *realises I’m being totally serious and stares at me blankly* *backs away*

It was uncomfortable for me (I felt like a mutant, a bride gene-less mutant), and frustrating for Casey, because he’s always dreamed of saying “I do” in front of his closest friends and family. But then last Saturday, everything changed: we witnessed our friends Sarah and Scott tie the knot at the Old Forest School, in Pongakawa, and I found myself thinking about – grab your bucket, because things are about to get mushy! – how special it could be to do the same.

Old Forest School
Casey: “You just needed to meet the right person…!” Maybe… but up until a week ago, the only marriage idea I could get behind was eloping!

It helped that the venue Sarah and Scott had chosen was one of the most spectacular spaces that I’ve EVER seen. Situated in the middle of a forest (!), the Old Forest School is literally a 1930’s former school that’s been converted into a vintage wedding venue, and you could tell, as each guest arrived on the day and audibly gasped, that it blew everyone away.

With two places to say your vows – perched underneath 80 year-old Sycamore and Redwood trees outside, or beneath the school house’s enormous deer head inside – a rustic-looking barn which has been transformed into a dining area, two dance floors (one indoors, one outdoors), and tables dotted all around the premises, there’s PLENTY of places for your nearest and dearest to enjoy themselves, and there’s also a variety of activities – pétanque, croquet, badminton, and Jenga – which can be completed on the grounds, too.

Old Forest School Old School House
You could have your ceremony indoors in the original schoolhouse (perfect if it decides to rain unexpectedly!)…
Old School House Wedding Venue
… or amongst the 80 year-old Sycamore and Redwood trees outdoors.
Old Forest School
So many gorgeous details…
Old Forest School Wedding Dance Floor
At night, this area was used as an outdoor dance floor, which looked AMAZING with all of the lights!
Old Forest School Bar
The bar…
There were so
There were so many spots to sit and chat!
Old Forest School Barn
The dining area…
Who’s that cutie?! 
Old Forest School
There’s luscious greenery at every corner…
Old School House Accommodation
… and even quaint cabins to spend the evening in!

Corrine Old Forest School
I wore – pardon the squinting! – my City Chic ‘Naive Floral’ dress, chiffon shrug, COACH handbag (bought in New York, approximately this time last year!), and a pair of tan New Look wedges. It was a comfortable choice for the occasion: light enough that I wasn’t sweltering in the heat (and it was h-o-t), but covered enough that I wasn’t chilly once the sun went down.

Corrine and Casey
The smile of someone who’s realised “I can do this… I can ACTUALLY do this myself some day!”

Old Forest School, Old Forest School Wedding Venue, Old Forest School Bay Of Plenty

And just like that, after years of wrinkling my nose up at the idea, I’ve fallen head-first down the wedding rabbit hole. (I will never stop being ridiculous – or surprising myself – haha.) Catering options! A guest list! Deciding on which DRESS to wear!

Who am I, and what on earth has happened to the old Corrine?!

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