Soon after Georgia Otene first met Beulah Koale, while jogging Auckland's annual Round the Bays fun run in 2013, she told the former Shortland Street actor, "When we get married, I want my poppa to marry us."
Even back then, she knew they were perfectly in step. Sadly, Georgia's grandfather, Reverend Edwin Rogers, passed away in August last year, but his presence is keenly felt as the Hawaiian-based pair prepare to tie the knot at Kauri Bay Boomrock, a scenic farm overlooking Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.
Green and white flowers, like the ones on Edwin's casket, are everywhere and as Georgia, 24, gets ready to marry her soulmate, a fantail flies into the lodge, where it lingers for the next two hours.
The bride tells, "It was hopping around and looking at my nana, then when all my hair and make-up was done, it flew out again. I really felt Poppa there."
Meanwhile, Beulah – who stars as officer Junior Reigns in the US series Hawaii Five-0 – is waiting nervously at the altar alongside celebrant Reverend Geoffrey Hickman, who was one of Georgia's grand-father's best friends.
As Christina Perri's A Thousand Years plays, the couple's two-year-old twins Isaac and Xavier toddle down the aisle, although they're soon over-whelmed by the presence of the 80 guests and sit down.
Beulah, 27, laughs, "They clogged up the whole aisle and all the bridesmaids were walking into each other. I was like, 'Yes, sons, you run the show!' There were a few fumbles and they took turns at being naughty, but our kids are our world. We hadn't planned on holding them at the altar, but they were punching our legs and pinching our feet."
After the seven bridesmaids have each laid a rose on an empty seat next to Georgia's nana, the bride makes her entrance in a gorgeous Grace Loves Lace gown she'd picked out five years ago, causing the groom to break down in tears.
Beulah later recalls, "I was vulnerable up there, and it was just one of those special moments I've bookmarked and locked away in my memory. I kept telling her, 'You look beautiful, babe!'"
The actor was similarly emotional when reading his vows, which he wrote the morning of the wedding. But he insists, "I always knew what I was going to say. Even before I met George, I did this play called The Brave, where I was putting out into the universe the kind of girl I wanted to marry – a person with beautiful eyes, a beautiful soul and nice toes because I hate ugly toes!
"George is all that and I pretty much said that same speech in my vows line for line. She's the person I dreamed about. I promised to look after her, to protect my sons and to be the best dad I can be."
Meanwhile, Georgia vowed to love Beulah "even though you're always playing Fortnite, never clean up after yourself and never do your washing". Later, the groom jokes, "She seriously roasted me in front of all my loved ones. It was like a comedy show!"
After being pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds walk back up the aisle to Why Does Love Do This to Me by The Exponents. "It was pure joy," recalls Beulah.
"It was an indescribable feeling, like when my kids were born. It was like someone shot me in the heart with a gun, but every bullet was love."
At the reception, Georgia honours her new husband's Samoan roots with a traditional siva dance she'd been taught that morning by his sister. Beulah marvels, "That was a highlight. It shocked me because she's a half-Maori white girl from the North Shore and she killed it. She was better than most Samoan girls!"
The newlyweds take to the floor for their first dance to Georgia's poppa's favourite song, Rise Up by Andra Day, and they're still shaking their stuff late into the night as the DJ spins old-school hip-hop and R&B.
Later, Beulah tells us, "We've been together for six years now, so we didn't think we'd feel any different. But it feels brand-new – like we've fallen in love all over again."
As for the future, he and Georgia are happy living in Hawaii, where they've been based since 2017.
But he says, "The ultimate goal is to do the Hollywood thing and live in New Zealand. We love the weather, the beaches in Hawaii, but the most important thing is bringing our boys back home, so they know who they are and where they're from. Family is our number-one priority."
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