From engaged to finally married ….. Mr and Mrs Bray!

All you need is love. That’s it, that’s all you need.

So we’ve followed the journey of Sharmain and Jeremy as they went through the process of planning their wedding day.  We saw what went well, and what was more challenging, and finally we get to share the last installment, The Wedding Day! Here Sharmain and Jeremy share how that final week was, and of course the day itself.

All photos supplied by the very talented Chris Garden.

What was the week before the wedding like? The week before the wedding was a very busy one.  Luckily, we had both taken that week off work, so that helped a lot!  It was very stressful for me as our reception venue was still far from finished and by Wednesday I was nearly in panic mode no matter how much Jeremy tried to assure me it would all work out.  Thankfully, the place was finished enough for use by Thursday night and on Friday we were able to set up for the reception.  There were a lot of last minute jobs that needed done in that last week, and I’d definitely recommend to anybody to take that week off, if possible.

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What surprised you the most about the wedding planning process? Overall i did find the wedding planning enjoyable.  There were a lot of hiccups along the way and many stresses that came with it, but I think knowing that in the end, after it all, I’d be marrying the man of my dreams, made all those little glitches worth it.  I honestly can’t describe the excited feeling I’d get every time I thought of a new idea or something for our wedding.


How did you feel the day before the wedding? The day before the wedding I’ll admit, I think I was a mess.  My Mum took me out to get my nails done for the wedding and all I could think about was how the venue was going to look and why wouldn’t it stop raining.  When we returned to the venue and I say how everything looked I broke down in tears.  Jeremy’s family and my litte brother had spend the last few hours placing everything exactly where I’d wanted them to and how I’d wanted it and I was so overwhelmed with how everything looked that I couldn’t hold back my emotions.  Everything was perfect.  Later at the rehearsal I saw how badly the rain had affected our ceremony venue and almost broke down again, for a different reason.  There were puddles everywhere and I went in to a panic about how it would be the next day.  Thankfully it, somehow all dried out overnight and was perfect.

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Did things go well on the wedding morning? On the wedding morning I swear there as just a blanket of calm over the both of us.  I was up early making breakfast for the bridesmaids and Jeremy fed the dog and checked into our hotel for that night.  There were no hitches and I just couldn’t wait to see my soon to be husband.  Our photographer commented that he’d never had a couple, or wedding party in general, be so calm on the morning of their wedding.  We were too excited and too happy to be nervous.

Do you remember what you were thinking as you walked down the aisle? As I walked down the aisle everything was a blur, all my focus was on Jeremy waiting for me at the end.  There were people at the ceremony that I didn’t even realise were there until looking at photos weeks later.  The world felt like it stood still and he was the only thing that mattered in that moment.  All Jeremy could think was simply ‘wow’

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What were some of the highlights of the wedding day? Jeremy’s biggest highlight of the day was seeing me walk down the aisle.  I think my biggest highlight was seeing his face once I reached the end.  I swear I’ve never seen that man so happy.  Overall though, I think the entire day was amazing, the best day of our lives so far.

Any thing you would have done differently? I think if I could’ve done anything differently it would be to practice our first dance before performing it, preferably in similar clothing to what would be worn on the day.  As we found out, on the night it wasn’t as easy as we thought it was going to be, as I couldn’t step backwards in my dress because of the train, which was not something I’d thought about until I stood on it.

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Advice to other brides/couples? Our advice to other couples would be to try not to stress.  As difficult as that sounds at the end of the day all that matters is that you’re marrying the love of your life.  Throughout our entire planning process and wedding day and everything Jeremy was very laid back and easy going, it was me who stressed over every little thing and at the end of it I look back and just wonder why I ever let some things get to me. Also remember, it’s your day, so have it the way you want it, not everyone else.

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Would you recommend your vendors on the day? We were very happy with all of our vendors for the day.

  • Michelle and her team from Just Essence Catering did an amazing job, and were more than happy to work with every requirement we threw at them. Including setting up a children’s buffet table to keep their meals separate for the adults food.
  • Kate and the team at The Dessert Room were amazing too and worked with us very well. Plus they were far more reasonably priced than we expected.
  • Hirepool was one we didn’t expect to use but ended up needing to hire the tables and chairs for the reception from, they were very easy to work with, and allow 3 day hire which was definitely easier than trying to set up and clean up all in the same day.
  • Our photographer Chris Garden, was great! We had a lot of communication with him leading up to the day and he was happy to do whatever we asked of him, and his photos are amazing.
  • And of course our amazing celebrant Angela Port.  She worked with us so well, and helped out with everywhere we needed it.  She was happy to give us any advice we needed and help with vow writing, and we both love her ceremony and working with her.

What was your biggest surprise on the wedding day? Our biggest surprise on our wedding day has to have been the weather.  For the days leading up, it was absolutely pouring with rain, right up until 2am that morning (yes I was still awake) and then on the Sunday it again was pouring down.  But you couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on the Saturday, it was absolutely stunning.


What is your favourite memory of your wedding day? I don’t think we’ll ever forget our wedding day, but I think my most favourite memory would be learning Jeremy’s reaction as I walked down the aisle, more happy tears were shed then. Jeremy’s favourite memory is seeing me, at the end of the night walking around cradling my baby cousin in my arms.  I absolutely adore babies and Jeremy says I looked so peaceful and happy in that moment.

Anyone you would like to especially mention for their help? So many people helped us out in so many ways.  Friends giving advice and support, family giving advice and helping us out financially.  I don’t think we could really thank one person in particular without listing many, many names.


How did you feel the next day, once it was all over? The day after the wedding, we had to go clean up the reception venue and start returning hired things back to the companies.  It was a very busy day and felt like we’d just had a great big party, but we didn’t feel any different.  However it was a very stress free day, like a great weight had been lifted from our shoulders.  And I know I saw Jeremy playing with his ring, just as much as I played with mine.


At the end of the day I believe just do what makes you happy.  We were both so happy with how everything turned out for us, we couldn’t have asked for it to be better.  The day definitely does fly by though and I think the best piece of advice I could give to any couple is to try take a moment for themselves out of their wedding day, away from the guests, and just enjoy each other.  It’s something we didn’t do and in the end we didn’t really see a lot of each other once we got to the reception.

I wish you a life time of happiness together, and thank you for allowing me to share a part of your special day with me – Angela Port 


How to choose your wedding date and time.

All you need is love and … a date and time.

How do you choose your wedding date and time? The majority of weddings I attend  take place in Summer, on a Saturday at 3pm. And there’s a good reason for that, it’s warmer in Summer (well sometimes, although not always in Dunedin) a Saturday means no-one has to go to work early the next day, so they can party late into the night, and 3pm works well, for the ceremony, photos, dinner time line.


Is it really the best time?

Ask any photographer, and 3pm in Summer is not always the best time for those magical wedding photos. There are times of the day (morning and late afternoon/dusk) that they call the ‘golden hour’ because it provides stunning light, and thus equally stunning photos. It can be harder for a photographer to work with the light in the middle of the day in summer to make sure the bride and groom aren’t squinting during the ceremony, or that half the bridal party is in direct sunlight and the other half are in shadow, a bit of a nightmare to make everyone look great.

Summer, while it should be warmer, and less chance of rain, is peak wedding season, so all the good venues, celebrants, photographers will be booked up really fast. You snooze unfortunately you lose in some cases. And I know not everyone’s that organised to plan 18 months ahead. Where as Autumn, you get great colours, leaves falling, it’s still not that chilly yet, and the light is better for photos. Google search ‘weddings in Queenstown’ and you will see the most stunning winter wonderland images. There are also some absolutely stunning venues around that lend themselves to the perfect winter wedding, and if you plan a winter wedding inside, you don’t have to stress about whether it’s going to rain or not. I know many a bride to be who has been constantly checking the weather app on their phone the week leading up to their wedding.  One less stress in my opinion.

Photo via:


3pm, or as I call it “wedding o’clock” is the most popular time for a wedding. Why?  Well most people figure it gives the girls long enough to get hair, make-up, maybe a glass of champers under their belt, and then it leads nicely into canapes after the wedding, while the couple go off to have their photos taken, leaving the guests to their own devices, and the open bar, then back after photos straight into speeches or dinner and dancing the night away. But what about exchanging your vows at sunrise, then having a wedding breakfast with your guests?  Or having an 11am wedding, then heading into a beautiful lunch somewhere fancy, or having your ceremony at 5pm (having your first look and photos before hand) and then not having to leave your guests, who you invited because they are your favourite people, and starting the party straight away?

Why Saturday? Fridays are awesome for a wedding, you get to spend a long weekend with your loved ones, especially those who have travelled a long way to hang out with you. And if you give everyone enough notice, then most people will be able to get the time off work, and still not have to go to work the next day. And you’ll have a better pick of venues, celebrants, photographers etc. Having a wedding out of season could also let you take advantage of specials that many photographers, venues etc may have to build business in the less busy season.

If you’re looking for a way to stretch the budget, then consider thinking outside of the 3pm on a Saturday in Summer square. There’s plenty of other options around if you just be open minded.

Just remember it’s your day, and of course you should do it your way, whether it’s 3pm on a Saturday in Summer or not.

Wedding stress busting

All you need is love and … to look after yourself.

Wedding planning is hard, and stressful, so very stressful. And we all know that stress has a huge impact on your body and your mental health. And we all want to go into our wedding day, and our married life, looking and feeling our absolute best. So I’ve put together some tips on how to look after yourself while wedding planning.

Leading up to the wedding day

Get yourself organised – Now is the time to organise yourself, especially if you are organisationally-challenged. Get yourself a wedding planner, any kind will do, whatever suits your personality and lifestyle, and use it.  She said yes have a beautiful one, you’ll feel better knowing that there’s not a chance of you forgetting anything.

Start a exercise plan – If you are wanting to lose a few kilos for the big day, or just want to be in the best possible shape for your wedding day, then formulate an exercise plan. Enlist the help of a nutritionist and/or personal trainer if you like, or just rope in the bridesmaids for added incentive.  Exercise as well as making you look great, will also make you feel great,and it’s also a great stress buster.

Skin care/Hair care- Now is the time to think about how you’re going to get your skin and hair into tip top condition. Talk to your make up artist and your hair dresser about the best way to do this. They may suggest regular treatments and/or products to use leading up to the wedding day, to ensure you have the perfect canvas for the day.

Multi-vitamins/supplements – Now is a good time to talk to a professional about what type of vitamins or supplements it may be a good idea to start using to make sure you both look and feel your best. You may need to think about a supplement to help with stress, or energy to help you get through the wedding planning intact. Make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables too.

Water – Up your water intake, nearly everyone doesn’t drink enough water, so increasing your water is a great way of helping with hydrating your body.  It will give you glowing skin, and help you flush out toxins. If you’re not a water fan, try using sliced fruit in your bottle to add a tasty flavour.

Delegate – Don’t try to wear too many hats. Make sure  you do your research with vendors, so you know they are professionals, and can do the job, and trust that they will on the day. Sometimes you need to choose what you can let go of and delegate. There are always lots of people who are just waiting for you to ask for help.

Wedding week –

Exercise – Keep up with the exercise. It will help relieve stress, and zone out in this busy week.

Wedding day contact – Choose someone to be the wedding day contact. Someone who you can trust to make decisions on the day so you can relax. This is where a wedding co-ordinator or day of wedding co-ordinator would step in.

Pamper yourself – It’s time to book in for a massage, or some other type of treat for yourself. It’s your wedding week, it’s time to indulge yourself.

Good People – Surround yourself with good people. The type of people who will bring you good vibes, not stress.  If you have to deal with a family member who you know will stress you out, then be very selective with how much time you spend with them.

Set aside more time – Give yourself way more time than you think you’re going to need to complete errands, everything will seem to take much longer than you think, which will leave you running late, and thus stressed, something we are trying to eliminate remember.

Wedding Eve – Don’t go too hard the night before the wedding. It’s ok to have a celebratory drink with the girls, but you want to be waking up fresh faced and bushy tailed, not like a zombie, with dark circles and a monster headache.

Sleep – Make sure you are not burning the candle at both ends leading up to the wedding. There’s a reason it’s called ‘beauty sleep’

Wedding Day

Eat – Make sure you have something in your belly during the day, to stop you feeling faint, and the wine going straight to your head.

Exercise/Fresh Air – Go for a quick walk with the girls in the morning before breakfast.  Getting some fresh air will make you feel amazing.

Water – Make sure you are hydrated, especially if you’ve planned a outside summer wedding.

Mediation – If you’re a mediation fan, then this is the perfect time to practice a little quiet time to re-focus your mind and energy as you head into a full-on day.

Focus on what’s important – Make sure you take a little time on the morning, especially if you’re feeling stressed out, to focus on what’s important about the day.  That you are getting married to your soul mate, nothing else matters!


Engaged to Married – August/September

All you need is love and … and update on Sharmain and Jeremy.

We’re now on the home stretch, we have less than 100 days to go, so everything is ramping up. The last two months have been very busy with lots of organising, and finalising, but there’s still the little details to go.

Bridesmaid dresses have been purchased and they have arrived, and the girls will all be together to try them on in the next couple of weeks, with possible alterations being scheduled closer to the wedding date.

Wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses.

The cute flower girl and ring bearer outfits have also been purchased.

There will be gorgeous wedding favours (which have now been paid for) for the guests and other little bit and pieces to personalise the day.

The table centerpieces are being finalised and finished, just need a bit more tweaking to make them perfect.

Wedding rings have been chosen and paid for, and are now tucked away in a safe place away from the dog.

Ring boxes minus the rings, that have been tucked away for safe keeping.

I spent some time transferring everything into clear plastic tubs, so it’s all together in one place and easily transported, and more importantly away from the dog.

Plastic clear boxes are a life saver for keeping everything together.

We had our second meeting with our awesome celebrant, we now have a better idea on the structure of our ceremony. She asked us a lot of questions, which she will use to personalise our ceremony, that’s what we love about her style of ceremony. We also have some ideas for writing our own vows, which we will keep secret from each other until the ceremony, something to look forward to on the day. She also gave us information on obtaining our marriage licence (an essential part of the day!!) and we are nearly  within the 3 month time period to obtain this. (Awesome celebrant has just about finished your ceremony, you should have it in a couple of days, whoop, whoop!!)


We have our final meeting with our photographer in a couple of weeks.

Invites have been sent, and we are now just waiting for the RSVP’s to come back in.

It feels good to have all the big things ticked off, but now it’s time for all the finalising (caterers, RSVPs) and all the fiddly little jobs (centerpieces, finishing DIY projects)

It’s getting really exciting now it’s less than 100 days to go.


The most over-looked part of wedding planning.

All you need is love and … a great wedding ceremony.

“It doesn’t really matter” “Don’t make it too long, I don’t want the guests to get bored” “It’s not the most important part of the day” “Just make it short, so we can start drinking”

All statements I’ve heard or seen when talking about planning the actual wedding ceremony. Which kind of breaks my heart a little bit every time.  Now I’ve said this before, and, I may be slightly biased based on the fact that I’m a celebrant and am lucky enough to help couples on their wedding planning journey. But time and time again I hear about people who have the entire wedding planned out, either in real life or on Pinterest, but have not had a single thought about the actual ceremony.  And to a degree I get that. Often when I meet couples we establish that they are in the camp of “we’ve never done this before and we don’t know what we’re doing” and that’s cool, because that is where a awesome celebrant will hold your hand (figuratively, not actually, well maybe if you’re really nervous) and explain the options and the process and the importance of your wedding ceremony.

Your wedding ceremony should set the tone for your entire wedding day. It is in fact the party starter.  Way back in the day, wedding ceremonies had to follow a certain script, and they were all pretty much the same.  You said exactly what the officiant wrote for you. I can imagine that not a lot of brides and grooms can even remember what they said to each other. But times have changed, big time. Couples have so much more say in what they want to include as part of their ceremony, and I for one am excited about this.  There are so many different ways you can structure your ceremony, and so many different elements you can include. It definitely gives a couple more control and choice to help their celebrant create their perfect ceremony. If you are serious and believe that a wedding should be a restrained and solemn occasion and want a ceremony that reflects that, then great, you can absolutely have that, and you need to choose a celebrant who can deliver that. If the two of you have any interesting, quirky or fun elements to your relationship then I believe it is your responsibility and right to roll in that direction.  A ceremony should reflect your different personalities and your relationship together. I believe if you do not have a ceremony that reflects you two together then you are doing a dis-service to your guests, and to yourselves.  You do not want your guests to walk away from your ceremony thinking “what on earth was that. I don’t even know who the celebrant was talking about!” So in saying that no two wedding ceremonies should be the same, (except for the legal parts that have to be done) and if your celebrant is just going to ‘cut and paste’ your ceremony then find another celebrant.  You, your guests and your love deserve a personalised and original wedding ceremony.

Yes I understand the wedding ceremony, can be uncomfortable, and for most people it is the most nerve-wracking part of the day. Of course it’s not everyday that you share a piece of your heart with your loved one and your friends and family. And I know that public speaking is not every-ones cup of tea.  But in saying that how many times in your life will you be able to make such a grand gesture and acknowledge all the reasons you love  your partner and share your promises for the future, to them, and your friends and family?  I believe it’s an extremely memorable and emotional act of love, and should be treated as such.

Yes wedding planning can be fun. It can be so exciting to choose the dress and the colours, and the table decorations and share the experience with your girlfriends or your mum.  I also know for some people (mainly brides) it can become all consuming.  It can literally take over your life.  It is also really easy for a couple to lose sight of what the day is really about.  It is about celebrating your love story.

When you are getting married you are committing to your loved one  for the rest of your lives.  You are making declarations to each other in front of your family and friends that you will love each other, despite the fact that she wears leopard print a little too much, and he always leaves his shoes in the middle of the doorway. You are becoming a team, where you know the other person will always have your back.  And if that is not worth focusing on and totally celebrating then I don’t know what is!


Some Lovely Things

All you need is love and … some lovely things.

A curated list of things, people and places I’ve discovered this week that I love.

Show your girl some love

Do you have a bridesmaid with a sense of humour, and want a gift that she’ll appreciate and have a giggle at? Then this is the shirt for her! Definitely for the bride and her girls who don’t take themselves or the wedding planning process too seriously.

Available from Peacemaker Apparel, Etsy

Flower Infused Ice Cubes


These flower infused ice cubes add an element of sophisication to your event. Whether you use them in the ice buckets on your tables for your champagne or use edible flowers and herbs/fruit to add interest and flavour to your water jugs/glasses, they are definitely going to add the ‘wow’ factor for your guests. You will need to start making them in the months leading up to your wedding/event, to make sure you have enough, but once the ‘big day’ rolls around, it will be one less expense to stump up on the day itself.



Famous movie weddings


Are you a bit of a “Sex in the City” fan? Did you swoon over the venue, dress and limo Carrie had for her wedding? Want to know how much a “Sex in the City” wedding will set you back?

Venue: The New York City Library is the largest public library in the United States, servicing over 17 million visitors a year. A wedding here will cost you a whopping $500,000.

Dress: Carrie wore a Vivienne Westwood creation for her planned wedding day. The dress is valued at $24,000

Food: The average catering costs for a wedding in New York City are between $10,000 to $14,000

Rehearsal Dinner: Carrie and Big hosted their rehearsal dinner at famed New York City Restaurant ‘Buddakan’ based on their large party this would have cost about $8,500

Limo: The average cost of limo rental in New York is around $120.00 an hour.

But we all know how that wedding day turned out (spoiler alert, it doesn’t) so it’s probably better to just go with your own more affordable options.



What’s in my celebrant “bag of tricks”?

All you need is love and … a bag full of essentials.

So those of you who have met with me, in my capacity as a wedding celebrant, and have had me officiant your wedding day know that I lug around a huge black shoulder bag. It’s my bag of tricks. It has everything that I or possibly the bride or groom could need for the before and/or during the ceremony.  This is a carefully curated list/bag of items that has been collected and added to over previous weddings.

Here’s a list of what’s hiding in the big black bag.


1 Rescue Remedy – If you haven’t heard/used this before, it’s awesome. It’s a homeopathic spray that you spray on your tongue to help calm you down. Works perfectly for anxious grooms.

2 Wipes – Perfect for hands and for men’s suit/shirt shoulders, which always get make-up on them from all the hugs and kisses they get before the ceremony starts. Helps smarten them up for photos.

3 Lipstick – For me not, the groom.

4 Water bottle – I get a dry mouth when I know I have to do a lot of speaking, so water is essential. Have also had nervous grooms take a swig as well. Side note: it is definitely water and not vodka in there. Yes, it is a sponge-bob square pants bottle!

shannon and sean
Shannon and Sean

5 Heart shaped rocks – For holding down the paperwork before and during the signing if there’s a breeze.

6 Vehicle Log Book – for recording the km’s for yucky tax.

7 Business cards – you never know when an opportunity exists.

8 Hand cream – dry hands make rings harder to slip on.

9 Tissues – I always have at least 2 tissues in my pockets, for either the bride or groom during the ceremony.

10 Compact mirror – to make sure I look presentable before everything kicks off.

11 Matches – just in case someone forgets the matches for lighting a candle of remembrance.

12 Spare battery – for the microphone.

13 Comb – kinda goes with the compact mirror and lipstick.

14 Microphone – so everyone can hear all the lovely words, the couple say to each other. I always have a spare in the car, just in case.

15 Pen – for signing the paperwork, in case the couple don’t have a special one they want to use.

16 Cellphone – the cellphone is loaded with the couple’s playlist for their ceremony, and is definitely switched onto meeting mode during the afternoon.

17 Red folder – the meeting folder, this contains the couples file, with all their contact details.

18 White folder – the folder I use during the ceremony. It holds the ceremony and the couples vows and any readings they are having.

19 Lollipop – used to give to flower girls and/or ring bearers when they have made their walk down the aisle and are about to take their seats.

There is a lot in there (believe me, I have to lug it around) but it is everything I could possibly need for a wedding ceremony, to make sure the groom looks and feels his absolute best (I spend more time hanging with the groom and his boys on the actual wedding day than the bride)  and to make sure I perform the best ceremony I can.

People We Love: Ria -Aurum Hairstylists

All you need is love and … some wisdom from a wedding professional.

Now, I know a lot about weddings, but not everything, so “People We Love”is a series of interviews with wedding professionals, who will share their stories and wedding wisdom.

Meet Ria from Aurum Hairstylists


Business Name: Aurum Hairstylists

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business: My husband and I created Aurum in 2014 – we have young children, so the commitment meant my husband built and designed the salon – then stayed home with the kids while I ran the salon as a solo operation.  I quickly realised I was busier than I could keep up with so slowly started building my team from there.  We now have 4 stylists in total.  At Aurum we pride ourselves on being open and caring about our clients and helping them manage their hair at home.  We specialise in bespoke contour colouring techniques, wedding hair, luxury hair treatments and home care advice.


What do you love about your job? I love helping people feel better about themselves – when they leave my chair with a smile on their face and a skip in their step – that’s the moment that makes all the long hours and hard work worth it.

What do you do in your spare time, hobbies/interests? I have young children, so most of my spare time is dedicated to them and my family.  I come from a large family so the best relaxation for me is catching up with family and friends as much as possible.  I love travel, home design and decor, beach walks and yoga when I get time.


What one thing do you wish every wedding couple knew? Just enjoy the day, as it goes so fast. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Focus on your love and connection with your partner, not just the day and the party – everything else is a bonus.

Any wedding trends you love, or would love to see disappear? For brides hair wise –  I love classic looks whether it’s soft or structured.  It should always be timeless, so you can look at it in 20 years and still love it. I love how weddings in general progress with time and reflect the couple’s personality rather than just doing it to be on trend. Pinterest is so fantastic for ideas and themes and just creating mood boards of images that speak to you and reflect the kind of day you want.  Being able to show these to your hairdresser or anyone else involved in your wedding is so important, so everyone knows the overall look you want.


Any great /interesting stories about working with a couple? Because I trained and worked in Arrowtown we did weddings all year round so I developed these skills early in my career, and I still have an image in my head of every single bride I have had the pleasure of working with.  Most had amazing love stories, some were dealing with devastation and family loss, and how different brides choose to honour that special loved one that couldn’t be with them was so emotional to see.

I have done weddings at the top of a ski field, near the beach in Brighton, Queenstown hotels, my own bridesmaids on a beach in Thailand, Larnach Castle.  Doing a bride’s hair on Christmas Eve, standing in the shower as there was no where else to stand while she was getting her make up done.  I tell brides during the practice that their hair should feel secure enough to run around the block – one bride actually went to the gym and ran on the treadmill for an hour with hair practice hair up in and I’m proud to say that it lasted!


What two pieces of advice would you give a couple planning their wedding?  Have fun. Make sure it’s about you as a couple, not all about pleasing everyone else.  Book as much as you can well in advance to secure your date, as weddings tend to book a year in advance, even for hair and make-up.

One insider tip/trick to pass on? Hair wise – most brides grow their hair for the big day – but that’s not what your hairdresser needs to work with. Healthy long hair is best – get regular trims every 8 weeks and deep conditioning treatments every time you get it trimmed.  Also think about having some shaping and layers in your hair – this helps curls to sit better and last longer.  The right salon quality shampoo, conditioner and styling products you are using are the most important next to regular trims to maintain healthy hair.


Talk to your hairdresser about what you can be using specific to your hair needs from now on to create good hair habits and have the healthiest, shiniest hair for your big day.  Also if you have a dream colour in mind start planning that well before the wedding so that your stylist has time to plan it out, as sometimes colour can take a few visits to achieve the right shade.


If you love advice and vibe of Ria at Aurum then you can contact them here:

Website: aurum hairstylists

Facebook: Facebook/aurumhairstylists

Instagram: @aurumhairstylists

Pinterest: aurumhairstylists

Engaged to Married – June/July Update

All you need is love and ….an update on Sharmain and Jeremy

What’s that wedding planning site on the tablet, why that’s

I must confess we’ve been a bit naughty and accidentally skipped  June’s update, so here’s a double helping of wedding planning (who doesn’t love a double helping?, except brussell sprouts, no-one loves a double helping of those bad boys!)

The cake has been organised. One of the more important aspects of the wedding I think (refer above the comment on double helpings)  They now know exactly what they want and have worked with the wonderful Kate at The Dessert Room. Kate was really helpful, even coming in on her day off to meet with us and has promised to make them  the perfect cake for their day. And the price was way better than what they were expecting too so that’s a massive bonus!
Cake organised – check!
No naked men at the wedding, now they have their suits!!
There will no longer be naked men at the wedding!! The groom’s and groomsmen’s suits have been purchased! As you can see from the photos they were purchased from Hallensteins. One big expense out of the way and one less thing to worry about.
Suits organised and paid for – check!
They are still currently working with their preferred caterer to sort out the right menu for them, it’s a matter of keeping the meat eaters and the vegos and the budget happy, but things are looking good so far.
Food organised – kind of a half check, maybe a check in pencil!
They have made it their mission that by the end of August they need their guest list finalised and then the wedding invitations can be made and be ready to be sent out, so we’ll see in the next blog update if we can stick to that goal!
Guest list finalised and wedding invitations made – mission possible! (only 27 more days left in August!!)
From here they are also going to start working on their wedding vows and thinking about what elements they want to add into their ceremony.  Of course their very attractive celebrant, will be able to provide a lot of information to help them craft heartfelt/personal vows, and give them lots of options for interesting and personal elements they could  add to their ceremony.
Tyrion’s not a lot of help with wedding planning, but very cute!
There’s a lot of planning and organising and DIYing ahead of them and only 6 short months to get it all done, hopefully with less help from the four legged kind.

People We Love: Charlotte Winkel – Queenstown Wedding Celebrant

All you need is love and … some wisdom from a wedding professional.

Now, I know a lot about weddings, but not everything, so “People We Love”is a series of interviews with wedding professionals, who will share their stories and wedding wisdom.

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Meet Charlotte Winkel – Your Big Day – Queenstown Wedding Celebrant

Business Name: Your Big Day – Queesntown Wedding Celebrant

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business: I’m Charlotte Winkel and I’m a wedding celebrant and wedding blogger based in Queenstown.  Originally from the UK, I moved to Queenstown in 2010 and have since become a NZ resident, bought my first home here and married a kiwi! I became a celebrant whilst Brad and I were planning our own wedding.  We wanted a celebrant who we could relate to, and someone who could help make our ceremony special and personalised.  We found that most celebrants were much older than us and not exactly what we were looking for.  So I decided to register myself, and help other couples get married in Queenstown.  As a celebrant I’m passionate about creating a wedding ceremony that is unique, special and personal for every couple.  Everyone has their own story to tell, and I love to do this in a fun and creative way with lots of personality, local knowledge and professionalism.

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What do you love about your job: I love meeting couples from all over the world and learning about them and their relationship.  This is what helps me to write a ceremony that’s a true reflection of each unique couple.  I like to get creative with a ceremony and challenge some of the wedding traditions.  I also love helping couples write their own wedding vows so they can say what they really want to say to their partner on their wedding day.

What do you do in your spare time, hobbies/interests: I practice yoga daily, ski all winter and ride my mountain bike all the rest of the year.  I love to stay healthy and active but I also enjoy binge watching Netflix with my husband Brad on a rainy day.  We’re big animal lovers and have a friendly border collie, Marley, and a cheeky tabby cat, Floyd.  I also love great food, great wine, and getting together for dinner parties.

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What one thing do you wish every wedding couple knew: The legal requirements for you to be married are so minimal – say “I do” and sign on the dotted line.  That’s it.  Everything else is fair game!  There’s so much opportunity to put your own personal stamp on your wedding day.

Any wedding trends you love, or would love to see disappear: I try to steer away from “trends” and stick to themes and ideas that best represent each couple on their wedding day.  That being said, one wedding reception trend I do love is using bare wooden tables in long rows rather than round tables covered in white table cloths.  This improved seating arrangement is more social, relaxed and organic.  Plus, a few bright beautiful flowers against the dark wood grain of the table is a super effective look.  I’m totally bias though … we did this for our own wedding!

Queenstown marriage celebrant festival elopement

Any great/interesting stories about working with a couple: Heaps! I got an email last December from a couple in Australia who wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve in Queenstown.  I emailed back to let the couple know that I would be at the Rhythm & Alps music festival close to Wanaka for New Years; so, unless they wanted to get married at the festival, I wouldn’t be able to marry them.  Immediately this couple replied, “Oh, can we get married at the festival?” Within three weeks I worked with this couple to arrange their festival tickets, marriage licence, wedding ceremony, vows, photographer, witnesses, the whole works!  For this spontaneous and free spirited couple, a festival elopement was just perfect, and just in time for the new year.

What two pieces of advice would you give a couple planning their wedding:

  • Consider a wedding planner – always money well spent and there’s options for every budget! Let them do all the hard work, so that you can fully enjoy your big day with friends and family, stress free.
  • Consider an engagement shoot – Being photographed all day on your wedding day is a pretty surreal experience for most couples, we’re just not used to it! An engagement shoot helps build trust and develop a relationship with your photographer.  You’ll become more comfortable and confident in front of the camera which will translate into more amazing photos for your wedding day.  Try it, you’ll thank me after!

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One insider tip/trick to pass on: Lots of couples ask for a short and simple ceremony and then afterwards say that it all went too fast! To make your ceremony more memorable consider personalising your wedding ceremony by writing your own vows, choosing meaningful music, or using props to demonstrate your love and marriage.  These are just a few ideas, there’s heaps more!

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The lady herself: Charlotte Winkel!

If you’re a fan of Charlotte and her vibe and want to get in touch, then here are her links.

Facebook: Your Big Day

Instagram: @yourbigdayqt

Pinterest: Your big day qtown

Twitter: yourbigday_qt

Linkedin: Charlotte- Winkel

Google+: Charlotte Winkel