I love love. This is obvious; I wouldn’t be a celebrant otherwise. Being surrounded by love and happy people gives me great joy and satisfaction. Because of this it is more than a bit daunting when the wedding spotlight is turned on those within the industry; we place high standards on ourselves and try and obtain lofty goals. I found this fantastic and equally terrifying!
This is our wedding story.
DZ and I got engaged on my 30th birthday at lunchtime on the Wellington waterfront after five years together. DZ designed my ring with Jubilee Jewellers and while I knew about it, few others did. We were stoked, our loved ones were happy, the fur babies (Giz and Zara) didn’t seem fazed that Mum and Dad were getting hitched … and then the realisation came that we needed to plan a wedding. We wanted something unique, something that reflected our personalities and celebrated our love, but also was a huge party with loved ones!
We eventually hatched a crazy-ass plan. Yes, it was crazy. We would get married in secret – elope in our hometown – and then reveal it to everyone at a later date. And that’s what we did. We planned two weddings, in total secret (no one knew!), at the same time. Amanda at Be My Guest designed us some amazing wedding celebration invitations and we sent them out. Alongside that we had midnight dashes to the garage to hide my poofy Avon wedding dress from Still White, secret appointments at lunch to buy rings from Jubilee Jewellers and Walker and Hall, pick up our marriage licence, and surreptitious vendor emails and hair trials.
The Wellington weather on the 1st February 2015 was terrible. Ferries were cancelled. Rain. Fog. Wet. Our plans were thrown into a state of flux. Luckily we had surrounded ourselves with the most amazing secret keepers and the show carried on with some adjustments. Best Western in Johnsonville gave us a great deal for using hallways and two rooms in the the rainy afternoon, and our photographers, make-up artist, celebrant and film crew moved in for the afternoon. Nadia Mitchell did my hair and makeup, Win at Happy Day Films started filming, Sabrina of Bohemian Simplicity (now Sabrina Karin Photography) started snapping away, and Rachel Dudfield was the greatest sunflower-carrying, nerve-calmer celebrant we could have asked for.
We got ready, had a drink, ate some ham and cheese croissants, had fake nail dramas, and trooped up to Meridan’s Project West Wind near Makara where we had permission for our wedding ceremony. Plans were stunted
a bit when the security guard needed to be called to let us into the park but we got there in the end! The fog started to
descend, the Wellington wind made an appearance, I put on my gumboots, jumped in some puddles and we got married. Boo-yah! It was amazing and the photos capture it more brilliantly than we could have imagined.
And then the three month wait happened. Longest wait ever!
We had this amazing secret that we couldn’t tell anyone – not even our families knew – and we kept on keeping on planning our wedding celebration. We had an amazing ‘engagement’ shoot with Sabrina of Bohemian Simplicity where we got to play with light, sunsets and sparklers after Beauty By Rennae made me look pretty, and DZ and I had our respective stag and hens parties (mine was Bachelor themed and it was awesome thanks to my super girls who also made me paper flower which we turned into my bouquet!). We set up an online register at the lovely registry. We kept our mouths tightly sealed. I found the most amazing dressmaker, Zowie Dee, who transformed a beautiful beaded Monsoon UK bridal dress into a short flirty number with hidden purple tulle.
After three months of keeping secrets, all was revealed on26th April 2015. FINALLY! DZ and I moved into the Copthorne Hotel on Oriental Bay for a couple of nights. The amazingly talented Beauty By Rennae made me look amazing, we got back into our wedding get-up, and we sat there stressing and eating away our nerves! Meanwhile our loved ones congregated at the train station; James of Edgeline Photography took an amazing array of photos from the very beginning; and guests were then put onto buses, and taken to the beautiful Penthouse Cinema in
Brooklyn. Guests were treated to
bubbles and cupcakes by my amazingly talented friend Grace of Sweet Bakery and watched Happy Day’s surprise film of our elopement (you can watch it here). Some of our loved ones even skyped in so they could be part of the reveal – such fun! Some guessed that we had eloped but not many (if any!) guessed that the reveal would happen by a film captured three months prior and then followed by married couple turning up in real life in the same outfits!
We then all jumped on buses and partied the night away at Beach Babylon on Oriental Bay. I had a dress change whoppee! We danced to the sweet tunes of Aaron Andis; drunk homebrew, delicious Garage Project ‘Beer’ and wine sourced from blackmarket; met up with people listed on our individual dance cards; and ate fondue ‘til we were bursting at the seems! My baby brother Liam Grange Photography took some couple shots and Edgeline Photography ran a hilarious photobooth!! Dianna at In-Company made us some amazing signs and guests left us messages on jenga blocks. My beautiful talented friends Danielle and James rejigged and sung us It’s a Beautiful Day by Michael Buble and my musical theatre cousin Tyler sung Boyce Avenue’s cover of One’s Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful. These guys will take the world by storm – I’m so blessed to have them in my life.
And all too soon it was over. Friends went back to Australia, we went back to our normal lives … This time everyone knew we were Mr and Mrs. And, quite frankly it feels blooming fantastic! I loved it all. Yes, parts were stressful, and parts weren’t perfect, but we ROCKED THE SHIZ OUT OF OUR WEDDING PARTIES! And it was so good being on the other side of the wedding planning. Hopefully my story will help others create their own special day. I surrounded myself with loved ones in the form of guests and vendors and it made all the difference.