All you need is love and … love and fun and celebration.
This wedding season 2016/2017 is officially over for me. It’s been my biggest yet, with over 25 weddings performed, and I have absolutely loved every moment of it. Well, what’s not to love, I get to be right in the thick of a whole lotta love, and people pay me for it, crazy, I know.
My wedding season, here in Dunedin, pretty much runs from September to May, because not a lot of people down here choose winter weddings. This season has seen my marry 4 different Sarah’s, one Angela (in fact every year I’ve married an Angela, which is crazy, and I even have one lined up for next season) and one friend, and second brother from the same family.
I have married couples in their favourite restaurants (at least they knew the food was going to be outstanding) and in their living rooms. I have performed weddings in gardens, in beautiful chapels, in tiny little churches in tiny little places with magnificent views, and on beaches. I have wed couples on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and even Wednesdays. There have been morning weddings and late afternoon weddings, and even a surprise wedding, where the guests didn’t know there was going to be a wedding. There were weddings with 200 guests and weddings with only 10. I have had brides arrive by tractor, and a groom land in a helicopter. I have had brides be late, early and right on time. I have had some of the cutest ring bearers and flower girls you could imagine.
I have worked with some amazing suppliers who have toiled tirelessly to make sure that a couple’s dreams and ideas will come to life and exceed their expectations, and have been gracious enough to share their work with me.
I have offered advice on everything from dress choices to photographers, to time lines to invitations to florists, and of course wedding ceremonies.
Every single wedding is different, because every single couple and love story is different, I have married couples who met at Intermediate School, and other couples who met on Social Media. I have married couples who have been together for a short time, and others who have been together for 18 years. Every single wedding makes my heart sing, because every single bride and groom are being brave enough to put their hearts on the line, and share what it means to love and be loved, and you can’t really get better than that.
Yes there have been moments when things didn’t go according to plan, little people didn’t want to play ball, or some-one forgot to use the fancy thingy the bride bought especially, but you know what, no-one cared, because everyone was too swept up in the love filled moments which were happening all around them.
I can’t think of another job that exists where everyone’s happy. Maybe not a the rehearsal, generally brides are overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, and can be a little stressed, but that smile on a bride’s face when she walks down the aisle is absolutely priceless.
I can’t wait until September when I get to do this amazing job all over again.
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
All you need is love and ….an update on Sharmain and Jeremy
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!
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.
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.
So the wedding planning train is still chugging along and slowly gaining momentum. There have been many stops this month, but now it’s full steam ahead, to destination: married. Here’s May’s update from Sharmain and Jeremy and their journey from Engaged to Married.
This month they have finally received a written agreement for use with their reception venue (woot woot) and have negotiated the terms on what they can and can’t do for their wedding. They have booked a caterer, which obviously couldn’t be done until after the confirmation with the venue, and now just have to work out menu options and prices with them.
They have a booked a meeting with a baker to look at cake options and pricing
They have also started designing the wedding invitations and are currently working through the stressful task on finalizing the guest list.
The biggest struggle at this point in time is being able to arrange meetings with suppliers/vendors or to go look at things together as they both have only one full day off work a week, and it’s not the same day of the week.
Another thing they are going to have to work on is their time management, as they get so far and then just stop and forget for a while. (I’m sure you are not the only ones that have that issue, I think when something feels like it is so far away, it is easy to think, “Oh, we have all the time in the world” editors comments ) The countdown is on, they only have 233 days to get this sorted!
They are at the point in their planning process where all the major things have been pretty much sorted and now they’re getting into sorting out the nitty gritty stuff and making sure they get it all done with plenty of time to spare. The plan in the long run is to not have to do any major last minute jobs in the last three weeks leading up to the big day, so they have time to relax beforehand and not feel too stressed on the day. Hopefully!
Plus that way we have everything sorted before places start shutting down for the Christmas holidays.
Still currently looking for ceremony and vow ideas, there are soooo many!!
The next few things are, starting to look at suit and dress styles for the wedding party as well.
All you need is love and … some wisdom from a wedding professional.
Now, I know a lot about weddings, but not everything, so “Tradie Tuesday”is a series of interviews with wedding professionals, who will share their stories and wedding wisdom.
Melt Wedding Photography
Business Name: Melt Wedding Photography
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business: We are based in sunny Dunedin, and we travel extensively in Central Otago to photograph weddings in Wanaka, Queenstown, Cromwell and beyond. Our style involves lots of candid shots and visual storytelling, paying close attention to detail, capturing your family and friends, your wedding preparations, the ceremony, reception, and of course your portrait shots too.
My assistant and I will work with you both to ensure we get the shots you want, and plenty of them. We meet and talk many times before the wedding, so that we all know what’s happening, so you can rest easy on the big day.
We love to hear all about your special day, and what you have planned, so we can help provide you with some beautiful photographic memories from your wedding day, in the form of images, prints, bespoke wedding albums and thank you cards. We can’t wait to hear from you.
What do you love about your job? I love the energy a wedding day provides. It’s great to share and feed off the excitement, nerves, happiness, and then turn this into amazing memories for our lovely couples.
What do you do in your spare time, hobbies/interests? Movies!!! I love losing yourself in a good movie, but the trouble is I’m always looking at camera angles, lighting etc !!
What one thing do you wish every wedding couple knew? How quickly the day goes, so to make sure they enjoy every second.
Any wedding trends you love, or would love to see disappear? I love the relaxed country/woodland type weddings, fabulous light and beautiful for photography!
Any great/interesting stories about working with a couple? I photographed a very lovely couple’s wedding on my birthday one year. At the reception about 5 minutes into the speeches, the bride and groom thanked me and then proceeded to get the whole room of about 100 people to sing happy birthday to me … it was the longest 30 seconds ever … but very lovely of them.
What two pieces of advice would you give a couple planning their wedding? Have a pre-wedding/engagement shoot.. it’s a great way to get comfortable with your photographer, and each other in front of the camera. And also, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your day! It’s so easy to spend time worrying about little things, but your family and friends won’t know if something hasn’t gone perfectly to plan, or much less care … they love you no matter what.
One insider tip/trick to pass on? I always advise the bride to bring some comfy flat shoes, hankies, and some spare lipgloss etc.. for touch ups. That way she will be far more relaxed on the portrait shoot, because chances are she’ll have sore or tired feet by the afternoon.
Mel and Melt Photography would love to hear from you to discuss your wedding day dreams and how they can help you achieve them.
Mel’s all over social media, so you can contact her here:
All you need is love and … The real life wedding of Conan and Lydia in Beijing, China.
In March 2016 Tristan (my husband) and I were invited to a wedding, nothing unusual about that really, except that the wedding was in Beijing, China. We received the informal invitation (from Conan and Lydia, good friends who now live in Australia) about a year out, which is generally the case for out of town (or out of country, in this case) weddings, so it gave us time to organise flights, accommodation, visas, extra spending money for shoes etc. We had no idea really what to expect, so just approached it with an open mind, and it was awesome, so completely different from a western wedding, and kinda nice to be at a wedding that I wasn’t officiating at.
Conan and Lydia have been gracious enough to share their story and of course the all important pictures of their day. Below is the information Conan supplied in his own words (kind of special to have a grooms perspective of the whole thing)
Names: Lydia and Conan
Venue: Hong Cai Fang (Chinese restaurant) Beijing
Wedding Dress: (see pictures as attached)
Photographer: Feng Zhiyuan (Lydia’s cousin)
Hair and Makeup: Meng Huan Jiu Jiu (wedding planner)
We were married in Beijing at Easter of 2016. Lydia’s parents live in Beijing and we live in Adelaide, South Australia, so they organised for the ceremony to be conducted through a local wedding planning company. With this in mind, I’ll share what little insight I might have from someone largely outside the actual organisation of the ceremony and also from a wedding where two different cultures met. Oh, just to be clear, I speak very little mandarin.
I come from a large kiwi family, but only one sibling (Kevin, my younger brother) could make it all the way to Beijing. We actually chose the date to coincide with his mid semester break. As it turns out this was Easter, which I imagined help the other four western guests, two of whom were Tristan and Angela Port. It took a bit of “to and fro” trying to get the right date, but it was important to us that Kevin, who was coming from New York, could attend both the wedding and the catch up in Hong Kong beforehand. Rather than just set the date and deal with who might be available, we were flexible and had everyone we’d wanted, come.
My (now) wife wore a red lace dress that we had made in Hong Kong a week and a half prior to the wedding. Red is the traditional colour for wedding dresses in Chinese culture. We had a few concept drawings with us when we arrived, courtesy of Kevin, who was studying fashion at the time. Rather than actually commissioning someone to make a dress to our design (which would have been amazing) we quickly adjusted to looking at dresses on offer in a similar style. We found a beautiful dress a size or two larger than was needed that would fit the bill.
The dress maker wanted to discount the floor model and adjust it to Lydia’s size, but we declined and asked that she construct a new dress from scratch, with a few changes that we requested. For those brides considering having a dress made, particularly overseas, I would advise you start from scratch, or you will forever be dealing with a flawed/compromised article. Pay a deposit and insist on multiple fittings. Don’t be pushed around by the dress maker, who will generally not be invested in how the final product is delivered. They are more concerned about throughput. Pay only when you are happy with your dress.
We also bought a metre or two of extra lace in the same pattern as the dress, just in case we have a daughter who wants to wear it someday and it needs to be adjusted, or sleeves added. I got a bit of flack for this idea, but felt vindicated when Kevin reckoned it was a cool and thoughtful move.
I wore a blue wool suit that I had made overseas and tailored back in Adelaide. I am built like a bulldog so also wore a bespoke shirt. I had planned to wear a linen suit and brown brogues, but the bride’s parents thought the shoes would have been too informal and requested black footwear. Lydia wore shoes we found in a mall in Sydney for the wedding ceremony and red flats that we spotted for $50 HKD (about $10 NZD) in a shoe store in Kowloon just after we’d picked up the dress. Between us, our wedding attire cost us maybe $1300 AUD. I wore black R M Williams boots that I’d had for years, but were essentially new.
The wedding ceremony didn’t involve a wedding party, so we had no need to concern ourselves with their attire, nor with choosing those that would fill the important roles. What it did include was a drink pouring tradition, immediately after the wedding ceremony, in which the new couple had to refill the cup of each guest in attendance. For this, my bride changed into a red and gold qipao (bought in Beijing) and the aforementioned flat shoes from Kowloon.
Ours was never going to be a typical western wedding. For starters, even though we were ready to depart for the venue at 9.50am, we had to wait until9.56am as six is an auspicious number. Likewise, we started our procession “down the aisle” at 10.58am, because eight is similarly lucky.
There was no separation of the bride and groom prior to the ceremony. I’d thought about spending the night at the guests’ hotel and getting ready apart from my bride, but it such move would only have complicated things in a country where it’s hard enough to get the simplest of things accomplished.
Shortly after we arrived at the venue on the wedding day we were whisked away to wait in a makeup room while the guests were seated and our celebrant belted out a few songs. I say belted, because though I wasn’t there, I heard that it was like a pop concert in both intensity and volume. My best friend, who would have otherwise been the Best Man, said it felt closer to a game show than a western wedding.
We’d met the celebrant for our wedding the evening before the event at the venue which was a large Chinese restaurant. He seemed charismatic but wore a polyester suit that was a size too small and had a noticeable food stain. I almost said to my (now) wife, “I hope he’s not going to be wearing that to our wedding”, but didn’t. He did.
I wish we’d done a sound check the night we met the celebrant and they were setting up the venue. The equipment guys were late getting there and it was a particularly cold night so we didn’t hang around. As we walked into the venue on the day, it was pretty clear that the microphone volume was way too loud (though probably normal for a Chinese wedding, I’m told). I asked that the volume be lowered as we started toward the stage, but of course, no one within earshot spoke English. That one’s on me. I definitely should have learnt more mandarin.
The two sentences of mandarin I did master, were used to thank the guests in attendance at the beginning of my wedding speech. I was both nervous and so relieved that I’d remembered the mandarin portion, that I hardly enjoyed the actual delivery of the English part. Having said that, sharing the content of my speech quietly, the night before with my bride-to-be was probably my favourite part of our whole wedding.
In some ways, I’m grateful for having so little input into our ceremony. What we got was an authentic modern Chinese (well, Beijing) experience, unlike anything our western guests had experienced. We didn’t spend a particularly large amount and recouped a lot of the cost in cash gifts, as is the Chinese custom. We saved our money for our honeymoon, in which we toured through Japan and South Korea, as well as a few days in Shanghai on our way “home” to Beijing.
The advice I’d have for couples planning their wedding, or even having a wedding planned for them, is to recognise where to spend your effort and where not to sweat the details. Lydia’s parents wanted a video shot of the entire day. I thought we’d never watch it and that we’d be better off with paying for still shots (I think they were the two mutually exclusive options offered by the wedding company in the package we chose). Ultimately I didn’t press the case for my preference as the video was more important to them, which I think belies different cultural values. We got great pictures from a relative with a decent DSLR camera as it turns out. In years to come, I’ll probably find I was wrong on the value of the video anyway.
Further, it was liberating to realise the details I would have been fretting over in Australia or New Zealand were (at best) trivial in China. For example, we had juice in tetra-paks on each guest table. When I first saw them, I assumed they’d be decanted into a carafe, but in their tetra-paks they stayed. And nobody cared. The focus, of course, was on the couple and then on the traditional drink pouring that followed the ceremony. Each guest temporarily became the centre of attention as we moved through the tables, making sure that each had a drink and that their cup was refilled. You soon realise that the day isn’t about getting the details right, it’s about not caring and enjoying your time with the friends and family sharing the day.
After the wedding ceremony itself, it is local (Beijing) tradition to have a dinner with close friends and family. In our case, the dinner was attended mainly by our western guests and friends of the brides’ father. The meal was a great fun and probably came closest to the western norm, with the customary Beijing alcohol alleviating any language barriers.
Though I would have preferred to have stayed somewhere separate, it’s local custom that the bride and groom spend their first night in the family house. Similarly, a local tradition is carried out after the wedding in the hope that the first offspring is a boy-child.
The bride’s family make a batch of dumplings the day of the ceremony, including one particular dumpling, filled only with dough in the shape of a, um… bean. When the newly wed couple sit down to the meal, the groom asks his bride if the dumplings are cooked or uncooked as she bites into the “bean shaped” dumpling: “Sheung bu sheung?.” The bride replies: “Sheung!” complaining that the dumpling is uncooked and the tradition is complete.
This was our wedding. Far from the western norm, not without a few hiccups, but entirely enjoyed and attended by our closest friends after a great time in Hong Kong together.
As a guest at the wedding, it was a little hard to understand exactly what was going on, purely bacause of the language barrier, (there were only 6 of us who didn’t understand/speak mandarin, including the groom), but in saying that Tim (Conan’s best friend commented to me that he noticed that I teared up a little during the ceremony, so even though I didn’t really know what was being said, it still absolutely touched me)
The food at the wedding was insane, we had sampled quite a bit of Chinese food already while we were in Hong Kong and Beijing (dumplings and my favourite Peking Duck) but the food at the reception after the ceremony was completely out of control. The food just kept coming, there was everything you could imagine, so much so that it didn’t all fit on the table, and was stacked three plates high in the middle, it’s fair to say that we as well as the rest of the guest were very well fed. Mirroring a western wedding I’m not sure whether the bride and groom actually ate anything, they were so busy greeting and pouring drinks for all their guests.
I would like to say a huge congratulations to Conan and Lydia on their marriage. It was an absolute honour to be a part of your special day. I would like to say a big thank you to both Lydia and Lydia’s parents who went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time in Beijing (even though they didn’t speak a word of English, they were completely welcoming) and a big thank you to Tim (for providing pure entertainment just by being a 6ft6 tall blonde in China) and Erin (for being my partner in crime for helping scope out non-squatting toilets, and being the tour guide) and Kevin (who provided humour and an insight into life in New York City), who we got to spend time with in both Hong Kong and Beijing, it was a real treat to explore different countries and knock some stuff off the bucket list with (the Great Wall).
So wondering how Sharmain and Jeremy are going on their journey from engaged to married?
Well, we’ve been a bit behind the eight ball, but there’s been tons going on.
These past months Sharmain and Jeremy hit their first major speed bump in the wedding planning, as the venue they had booked for their ceremony unfortunately fell through, and then they were under pressure to find a new venue for the same date. They couldn’t change the date as they had already booked their celebrant and photographer for that particular date and had relatives from overseas who had already booked leave, for that date, so they really knew they couldn’t change it.
But luckily they have a new ceremony venue sorted,
BUT they are now playing a waiting game to find out whether they can have the venue they want for the reception. Sharmain prefers not to think of the next level stress that they will have to deal with if that doesn’t work out.
Good news: Sharmain has bought the bridesmaid bracelets for the girls to wear on the big day, these are also going to act as a gift for them, for being a part of the day with her.
Other good news: Save the Date cards have been made, they made this by hand, but now have an issue finding envelopes big enough to fit in, so they can be sent out. The dog had a ball during the photo shoot, but has almost made them second guess whether or not to do wedding day pictures with him.
As expected there have been hiccups along the way, but they feel the whole process of planning the wedding and all the stresses that come with it, will all pay off on the day when they get to exchange vows and become husband and wife.
Currently there’s not much more planning that can be done until we have both venues sorted.
Sharmain has been looking on-line for ideas for readings for the ceremony and also vow ideas, but she sometimes feels overwhelmed with how much there is and trying to find something that they both like and are happy with.
At this point, google and pinterest are her best friends.
All you need is love and … a sneak peek at Amber and Jeff’s real life wedding.
On April 18 2015 I had the pleasure of joining Amber and Jeff and their friends and family at the beautiful Larnach Castle as Amber and Jeff committed to each other and became husband and wife.
Amber and Jeff
Venue: Larnach Castle, Dunedin
Wedding Dress: Brides by Mancini – Belle
Bridesmaid Dresses: JJs House – Online
Photographer: Lisa Reid
Hair: Aurum Hairstylists
Make up: Kristine at Body Shop
Grooms Attire : Online
Celebrant: Angela Port (woot, woot!)
Flowers: Hand-made by the bride
Catering: Larnach Castle
Cake: Family friend made the cake – a restounding success
Anything else you want to include: we had our photo’s taken before the ceremony, which meant we could spend more time with the guests. (Larnach Castle only allows weddings to take place after the castle is closed to the public after 5pm, so having the photos taken before the 5pm ceremony actually works out well)
When was the best part of the day: after the ceremony and the photos, when I could kick back and relax.
Is there anything you would have done differently? Worried less beforehand – it all works out in the end.
How did you pick your wedding party? Easy – family.
Best piece of advice you were given: Enjoy it, it really goes so quickly, so it’s important you enjoy your time.
Any tips you want to pass on to future brides? Relax as much as possible – it should be fun.
Anything that didn’t go according to plan? Nothing major, some theatrics from our daughter during the ceremony, but that was to be expected (and was cute, so ok). I do remember wee Violet wandering off during the ceremony behind me – Angela
Thank you Amber and Jeff for sharing your beautiful wedding day. I hope you and your family and friends enjoy rel-living your special day.
All you need is love … and a sneak peek at Leah and Keirin’s real life wedding.
Leah and Keirin Tutty
I was lucky enough to be the wedding celebrant as Leah and Keirin finally (after 19 years together) tied the knot. They were lucky enough to have their 3 children and closest friends by their sides as they exchanged their vows. You have to agree this venue is stunning, and needs absolutely no decoration. Here’s the run down on their dream day.
Bride: Leah Tutty
Groom: Keirin Tutty
Bridesmaids: Aimee and Samantha (Leah and Keirin’s daughter)
Best Man: Ian
Groomsman: Dylan and Daniel (Leah and Keirin’s son’s)
Best part of the day: Just hearing the music start, and the moments after the ceremony when we felt relaxed and happy.
Things I would have done differently: We had a small wedding, only 50 people, it was so hard choosing the guest list, if I could I would have added to the guest list.
Where did you get ideas/inspiration: OffBeat Bride site, Pinterest and just surfing the net.
How did you pick your bridal party: We picked out children and closest friends to be by our sides on the day.
Best piece of advice you were given: From Grandma “Just do what makes you happy, bugger everyone else”
Advice to other brides: Make sure you have lots of reliable helpers to do the running around and any last minute things, so you don’t stress out on the day. Also make sure you eat, it’s a really long day!
Anything didn’t go to plan: We were late all day, hair and make-up, photos everything.
Thanks for sharing your special day Leah and Keirin, it was an absolute honour to play a small part in your big day.