They tied the knot on their first date, so it's no surprise that Married at First Sight New Zealand lovebirds Brett and Angel Renall have also rushed into parenting – a pint-sized pooch, that is!
Just six months after their wedding on Three's hit matchmaking show, the reality TV stars have expanded the Renall clan with the addition of adorable French bulldog Cashew.
"Isn't she just perfect?" beams Angel, 26, adjusting their pup's pretty pink bow at our exclusive Woman's Day photo shoot, where the trio are posing for their first family pics.
"Getting a dog is something Brett and I have always wanted, and now that Cashew is here, it feels like we've put another brick down in the foundations of our relationship. We are raising something together and that feels so special."
Indeed, the happy couple – who are now living in Brett's Lincoln home in Canterbury – liken caring for their fur-baby to raising a newborn.
"Getting Cashew has given us a glimpse into our future," laughs Brett, 34.
"Starting a family is definitely something Angel and I want to do, but all of a sudden, it really feels like we have a baby in the house.
"When you're a kid, you don't realise the hard yards that go into looking after a dog, but everything revolves around Cashew now. We take turns at getting up during the night to take her to the toilet, we've puppy-proofed the home and we've figured out which date-night spots are dog-friendly, but it never feels like a chore.
"It's such a nice feeling walking in from work and opening the door to Angel and Cashew. Their bond is awesome – I've always known she would make a good mum, but I didn't know if she'd be a dog person. Now I call her the dog whisperer."
However, as for many first-time parents, agreeing on a name for their wee pup proved problematic.
While Brett and Angel – affectionately known as A and B – were sold on a moniker starting with C, making the final choice was the only time they remember experiencing tension in their relationship.
"We are pretty good at knowing each other's triggers and when you're always laughing with your partner, there's never any need to fight," smiles Angel. "But when Brett was insistent on wanting to call the puppy Compost, I knew I had to put my foot down – imagine what he'd call the children otherwise! We are both a bit nutty, so Cashew is perfect."
While 2017 was an unforgettable year for Brett and Angel – the only surviving couple from our local Married at First Sight – the lovebirds are relishing the slower pace of life with their pooch in Lincoln.
Together, they've embarked on a health kick, have joined a social touch team and prioritise cosy evenings in with Angel's homecooked meals, followed by a good series on Netflix.
"Now that we are under the same roof, I truly feel like I can fulfil my wife duties," smiles Angel, who left her family and job in Wellington to be with her hubby last December.
"The longer we are married and the more we invest in our relationship, the better life gets.
"What you saw of Brett and me on TV is exactly how our relationship is – it's full of laughter, love, unicorns and rainbows. The other day, the three of us were just snuggling on the couch and in that moment, I had to pinch myself. I felt so damn lucky."
But while Angel admits Cashew – who loves playtime with Dad and cuddles with Mum – has been a pretty cute distraction since carpenter Brett returned to work at his sign-making business Woodpecker Signs earlier this year, the bubbly blonde is itching to get back into the workforce.
"Brett's been so supportive and keeps reminding me to just enjoy my time off," she says.
"He wants me to go out, and treat myself to nice cafés and restaurants, but that's just not me – we're a team in this.
"Instead, I've been going to work with him and getting my hands dirty, wrapping signs like the perfect little woodpecker's wife! I know Brett will always look after me, but I've never needed to be financially dependent on someone and can't wait to be earning again."
And with plans to host another wedding for their loved ones on their first anniversary on August 17, the pair are more motivated than ever to save pennies.
"It's impossible to describe how we felt on our wedding day, but as soon as it was over, we knew we needed to share that magic with more than just 22 of our friends and family," says Brett.
"It's not a second wedding as such – to us, it's more of a celebration of our love.
"We find it quite insulting when people ask us when we are going to get legally married – just because our wedding was aired on TV doesn't make it any less special. That was the most real, raw emotion I've ever experienced. It was the happiest day of our lives."
Beaming from ear to ear, Angel nods, "Plus, now that we have Cashew, she's just too cute not to have as our ring bearer!"
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Now To LoveJun 25, 2019