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Malaghans Road
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(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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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!

Imagine getting married under this ...

Catherine Fyfe

On Christmas Eve we were setting up all the decorations for our family Christmas.  Julia made a stunning wreath to hang over the outdoor table using material from the garden at Millbrook.  We were discussing how fabulous a wreath like this would look hanging over a pergola to get married under or as a decoration over a bridal table.

The materials we used are easy to purchased and not expensive.  We started with a simple hola hoop purchased in the toy department for $6!   You will need some fine wire to attach the flowers and greenery to the hoop.  Julia used 30 gauge that she had purchased from Spotlight.

 You can see the hoop and the wire here

You can see the hoop and the wire here

Think about what kind of look you want.  Do you want lots of lush greenery with long trails, something brimming with peonies roses nestled in soft greenery or something extravagant and colourful?  Think rustic wildflowers that you've gathered maybe or, reflecting the current trend for gorgeous big blooms from the garden, maybe ask Nana or Mum if you can cut roses, dahlias, hollyhocks, pansies or hydrangeas from their gardens.  Think too about the scale of the location that it will be in.  Don't make the mistake of making it too small:  if it is to hang outdoors or be suspended above a large table, you'll be surprised at home much smaller it looks.  If you are going to all the effort to have a hanging wreath, make sure it really looks fabulous!

For our wreath we wanted something that blended in with the garden that would be the background to it.  Julia went for a wander in the garden and came up with a simple but stunning look to mirror the garden.  For the base she used Viburnum (gorgeous dark green large leaves) with long stems of Ladies Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) and purple sage.

Here's how it was constructed.  Start with a generous bunch of material and wire it firmly to the hoop.  Continue to add bunches of your material, wiring as you go.  It you are adding in big blooms, they may be heavier than the greenery so may need to be wired on after the greenery. Don't forget that you will be looking at it from underneath upwards ..... make sure that you wire the material on taking that into account.

When your hoop is nearly fully covered, just simply overlay the last prices of your material so that there is no "join".

 Overlay the final pieces

Overlay the final pieces

Finally, mist it with water and, if you keep doing that, you'll be surprised at how long it lasts.  I've only just taken ours days after Christmas!

Have a go - it's surprisingly simple to make and easy to correct if you don't like something you've added ..... simply unwind your wire, take of what you added and do it again!

Looking for something for a Flower Girl or the chairs on the aisle? Lily of the Valley and Lambs Ears

Catherine Fyfe

Whilst shopping for my fresh supplies today I spied two of my favourite things in the flower department - Lily of the Valley and Lambs Ears.  So a bunch of each went into my basket and I've just made a little circlet for a Flower Girl to carry or to hang on the end of a chair marking the aisle.  Very sweet and fast to make.  You can use any greenery that bends well.  I love ivy, fir around Christmas or for a winter wedding or something soft.  You don't have to use flowers - think of just adding a bow or a trailing ribbon.  

I started with some wire which I shaped into the size I wanted.  Make it as big or small as you like. Remember that the bigger the circle and the heavier the greenery and flowers you wish to wire to it, the stronger the wire you will need.

Once I had my circle I used finer wire to append the greenery and finally my bunch of Lily of the Valley.

I then tied a ribbon loop to the top so that it could be either held or looped over a chair end.

I experimented with adding a bow to the bottom.  

An easy to achieve effect to accentuate an aisle or as a very cute accessory for a Flower Girl.  Have fun giving it a go!