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Malaghans Road
Arrowtown 9348
New Zealand

(0064) 21 542 983

Tailored, personal and memorable marriage ceremonies in Central Otago and Wellington. My commitment is to work with you to ensure that you have the wedding ceremony that reflects who you are and what is important to you on your special day.

I love to work with couples to create a personal experience.  I love spending whatever time is needed to get the details right for you:  whether it be helping you write the perfect ceremony, putting an antique cloth and a posy of flowers on the table to sign the register or giving you advice on locations and other people to assist you.

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Blog

Sometimes it's just the little things ....

Catherine Fyfe

Yes, weddings are about the big things in life: a public commitment, legal recognition of marriage and the start of a new life together.  Then there are the big things to do with the day that need organising:  the ceremony, where to have it, what to serve to eat and drink, live music or recorded music, who can we invite given the numbers we're looking to achieve, the flowers, who is in the bridal party and what will they wear and, yes, what will the dress be?

Sometimes it is cold for the guests waiting outside!

Sometimes it is cold for the guests waiting outside!

Sometimes really hot

Sometimes really hot

But, amid all these big decisions, sometimes it is just the little things that will make a day really special in the memory of everyone there.  They don't need to be expensive:  a pile of cheap sunhats or rugs for the guests if the ceremony is outside; maybe a couple of tubes of sun-block because you can be sure most of the guests won't have remembered to put it on; some drawing things and games for the children to entertain them whilst the adults are having drinks and during the reception; a handwritten note to the guests to welcome them in their rooms if you are having a destination wedding or they have travelled to join you; maybe even a note from you on the seats to welcome them at the start of the ceremony; table names themed to places special to you both; a quiz on you both for a little light entertainment - and competition; perhaps a special piece of family jewellery that you wear to remember someone by; the handkerchief your mother or grandmother carried on their wedding day; a candle lit at the ceremony to remember loved ones no longer present; a grandparent reading something that was read at their own wedding; wearing the family veil; having your favourite childhood flowers in your bouquet, having a collection of family wedding photos around the cake ...... the list is endless.

Remembering those no longer here 

Remembering those no longer here 

Family wedding photos around a stunning cake made with much love by a mother ...

Family wedding photos around a stunning cake made with much love by a mother ...

 

For me, if was about wearing my Grandmother's pearls and my wonderful florist, who knew me well, had tucked, as a surprise for me, a little bunch of violets into the top of my bouquet.  My favourite perfume and flowers ..... just where only I could see and smell them.  It was a wonderful surprise and I was stunned she'd remembered a casual conversation from so many years ago.

Violets .... a favourite to pop into the top of a bouquet.  

Violets .... a favourite to pop into the top of a bouquet.  

For a special girl in my life, for whom I'm "fairy god-mother", I had the amazing experience of being invited to go dress shopping with her and her mother, my "big sister".  Even better, it was in New York and we went to some amazing stores and designers.  At the last appointment on the  second day, having not yet found "the one", we were wondering if the dress would be here: and it was. Two in a row that were so different from the original concept but stunning.  Which to chose?  Either was stunning.  So I said to Vanessa that, whichever she selected finally, I'd make sure she had the other one there too - not as a dress, but as a bag!  So, I set to and interpreted the gorgeous "runner-up" design into a little bag for the bride to have to carry a special family handkerchief, a little makeup and lipstick.  I sewed into it a piece of heirloom lace (something old) and, on the inside, for something blue, I embroidered a fan design.  It proved to be fun, useful and a special "little thing".  

Vanessa's bag exterior.jpg

Made for our girl with love ... a mini replica in bag form of another loved design.

Something old .... the lace.  Something new .... the bag itself.  Something borrow ... the gorgeous handkerchief that went into it.  Something borrowed ... the blue fan design.  

Something old .... the lace.  Something new .... the bag itself.  Something borrow ... the gorgeous handkerchief that went into it.  Something borrowed ... the blue fan design.  

An antique lace veil ..... something very special

Catherine Fyfe

Elisabeth's veil

Elisabeth's veil

For those who know me, you will agree I'm a bit obsessed with fabric .... of any kind!  And so it is that I've recently become fascinated with lace.  So much so, that I'm actually learning to make it!  A very intricate and fascinating journey and more on that on another day.

Recently, I called into visit a friend and she showed me a wedding photo of her mother-in-law, recently shifted to New Zealand from London, knowing that I would love to see it.  Yes, I loved the photo but I was particularly fixated on the veil.  This veil!  We're used to seeing this stunning type of veil on a royal bride.  But, for many of us, we'll actually find that some of our family had treasures like this, passed down through the generations.

Elisabeth and Michael

Elisabeth and Michael

It turned out that my friend now has the veil as well as the photo and she has kindly lent it to me to take to my lacemaking group to check, with the experts, on the type of lace.  There is agreement that it is Irish in the Carrickmacross style, first introduced to Ireland in about 1820.  In this lace, fine muslin is laid over "net", the design outlined and filling stitches also used to create the gorgeous style.  

We have family photos of my own grandmother, the youngest of a large family.  Unfortunately we don't have her stunning veil:  it may have been on loan or belonged to one of her many elder sisters.  I'd have loved to have had it and worn it.

Rita and Ernest, Christchurch

Rita and Ernest, Christchurch

 

So, now my friend is going to talk to Elisabeth about the history of her family veil.  We think such a stunning piece of family heritage deserves a recorded history.  My experts have also told me how to clean it (very carefully and using very specific techniques!) and store it.  It deserves to be kept as a treasure.  Thank you Ellie and Elisabeth for entrusting it to me for a wee while.  Can't wait to hear the rest of the story of this treasure.

Would young sir care for a champagne and canapé? No? Perhaps a cupcake and milkshake instead?

Catherine Fyfe

Young Sir and Madam might be a little young to enjoy a champagne and a canapé!

Young Sir and Madam might be a little young to enjoy a champagne and a canapé!

A couple of days ago I was writing about those scripted and unscripted moments at wedding ceremonies when you have children in the bridal party.  Once you've got past the ceremony itself, and the challenges of getting children to look where you want them to for the formal photos, how do you entertain them at reception?  Well, entertain them!!  Drinks and canapés won't cut the mustard with the youngest guests so you'll need something "age appropriate" and not just one thing, many options.  

Much more suitable!  Milkshakes - With thanks to Grace and her team at Sweet Bakery, Wellington Yummm!   www.sweetbakery.co.nz 

Much more suitable!  Milkshakes - With thanks to Grace and her team at Sweet Bakery, Wellington Yummm!   www.sweetbakery.co.nz 

So, how do you earn the eternal gratitude of the parents of the said young guests, to say nothing of those other guests who'd prefer not to be trying to entertain the children of others?

This took me back to our own wedding 16 years ago.  We had many children at our wedding: step-children, nieces and nephews and god-children.  So many, in fact, that we decided specialist skills were required!  Enter the wonderful Nigel Kennedy, Magician, with his friend the giant Mr Funny Bunny, a bird, a massive repertoire of magical tricks and an array of balloon creations.  The plan was that Nigel would entertain the children during drinks and canapes whilst the adults enjoyed themselves with a stunning harpist playing in the background.  What we didn't bargain on was the sound of the children having such a fantastic time meant that many of the adults wanted to go and join in too!

With apologies to Lauren, James, Sam, Robbie, Duncan, Emily and Kate (and my cousin Judy!) for unearthing this photo from so many years ago!

With apologies to Lauren, James, Sam, Robbie, Duncan, Emily and Kate (and my cousin Judy!) for unearthing this photo from so many years ago!

Now not every occasion can have a magician present but there are many easy ways to provide fun for young guests.  I was walking through the Queenstown Saturday Market recently and watched the children having a great time chasing giant bubbles made simply with the traditional technique of string between two long sticks and a big bowl of bubbly liquid.  Any toy store will have bubble making gear.  Millbrook always have a table with crayons/pencils and a variety of pictures plus traditional board games inside and games outside.  Ideally not noisy games if they are in the same area as the adults!  Someone to read to them and play games is great - a perfect job for a student at very little cost.  Even better if they supervise them eating dinner too! You will earn the gratitude of the parents and other guests too!

Speaking of dinner, don't make them wait whilst the speeches go on.  Little people won't appreciate the need to sit quietly through Great Uncle Arthur's reminiscence of the Bride as a child!  Feed them early and then let them go and play.  Have age-appropriate food too.  Exotic cuisine won't be nearly as popular as special, but age appropriate, party food.  Just make it something that won't ruin their special clothes if spilt - or provide large fun serviettes that they can draw on.  Just get some calico and rip them into shape for that rustic look.  Stamp their names on them too.

Cupcakes from Sweet Bakery, Wellington  www.sweetbakery.co.nz

Cupcakes from Sweet Bakery, Wellington  www.sweetbakery.co.nz

And for later in the day/evening ....... a movie in another room is perfect!  Even better, also have a whiteboard and some books for those not enjoying the movie selection!

Children at a wedding ...... the scripted and unscripted moments!

Catherine Fyfe

Little Austin (photo used with kind permission) loved the Chapel at Stoneridge so much that he toddled back inside to enjoy the large window!

Little Austin (photo used with kind permission) loved the Chapel at Stoneridge so much that he toddled back inside to enjoy the large window!

Often one of the most debated subjects regarding guests at a wedding is whether or not to have children on the guest list.  For some, the location, time of day or personal preference will mean a decision not to have children as guests.  For others, children will be included and the question then is how to ensure that they don't disrupt the enjoyment of the celebration by the adults!  Today I've written about some great ways to include children in the wedding ceremony.  Tune in for my next blog about great and highly successful ways to entertain children at the reception.

So, you've made the decision to include children at your wedding.  Lets turn first to how to include your own children in the ceremony.   Not surprisingly, one of the first questions I often have from couples is "how can we include the children".  Here are a few options that I used to great success:

In the lead-up to a ceremony on Boxing Day, I'd suggested that the children write a sentence or two about what the wedding meant to them.  What they wrote was scanned through to me without the Bride and Groom reading them.  Master 9 had written an incredibly touching short sentencing telling his Mum and Step-dad how much he hoped they loved each other "In the deepest part of their hearts" and "stayed together forever".  Miss 6 was a bit more of a challenge because her note was written phonetically and I had to deploy my primary school teacher sister-in-law to help me translate!  It was a gorgeous sentence though and well worth the effort translating!  I held the book for them and they each read their sentence out.  It was a wonderful moment in the ceremony.  The children and I also spent 15 minutes before the ceremony deciding how and then practicing how they would sign a copy of the ceremony.  Much thought went into whether printing or "joined-together writing" and styles of signature and it was an absolute delight.  I'll keep that practice piece of paper to remind me how much it is worth putting time into getting the children comfortable.  

Tasty rose petals!

Tasty rose petals!

Other ceremonies I've had son's walking Mum down the aisle.  Orlando will always stay with me.  He took his duties very seriously and was so happy.  Baby George had the rings tied to a favourite toy - we'd spent a little time getting to know each other so that he didn't object when I took the shiny additions to his rattle away!  I've had gorgeous flower-girls tucked right in beside me so that they could see what I was reading and kept an eye on some who had an eye on the ducks in the pond at Millbrook behind me!  Ideally we don't want a dripping wet flower-girl fresh from the lake!  

Gorgeous flower-girls ....... so happy to be part of the wedding!

Gorgeous flower-girls ....... so happy to be part of the wedding!

Wellington weather can be a little windy, as we know!  Last summer at a wedding at Zealandia, I engaged the young niece and nephew of the Bride and Groom to literally stand by the small tables marking the top of the aisle and hold onto both the table and the pretty flower arrangement on top.  They too were delighted to have a part to pay and saved the flowers whipping past the guests as they had done 20 minutes before the start of the ceremony.

Orlando bringing his Mum down the aisle

Orlando bringing his Mum down the aisle

What I can tell you is that you never know what children will do on the day.  Relax and enjoy it as it unfolds!  Gorgeous flower-girls may decide to wander off or keep the pretty rose-petals rather than sprinkling them over the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony; smiling babies may not want to give up the rings and the ring-bearer might sit down part way down the aisle and refuse to move further!!  In a couple of weeks I'm marrying the daughter of a great friend and the she (mother of the bride) is arriving at the ceremony with her gorgeous grandson who will be 18 months old.  Will he walk down the aisle?  Who knows but it will be special however it transpires!  Be assured, it will all work out and I've never had children in tears yet!  The unscripted moments can be so delightful.  Relax, we'll make it work!

A quick game of tag whilst no-one is looking ....

A quick game of tag whilst no-one is looking ....

and then a gorgeous photo with their uncles!

and then a gorgeous photo with their uncles!