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Malaghans Road
Arrowtown 9348
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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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Filtering by Tag: queenstown nz celebrant

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.  

With this ring ........

Catherine Fyfe

In almost every ceremony, following the Declaration of Intent and the Vows, the couple exchange rings.  Most often now we have the "double ring ceremony" with both the bride and groom exchanging rings.  Sometimes the groom elects not to have a ring.  

So, where did the tradition of the wedding ring come from?  Tradition suggests that the wearing of a ring comes from the Romans, others think the Egyptians.  It was worn on the left hand because it was thought that the vein in the wedding ring finger, referred to as the "Vena Amoris" (Vein of Love) connected directly to the heart.  Many cultures place rings on the right hand.  Whichever is right for you, just make sure you put in on the correct finger!  I've had occasion to guide the placement during the ceremony ...... nerves and looking at the hands of your partner from the opposite side can create some confusion!  

A special cushion for the rings ..... more on this in a later blog

A special cushion for the rings ..... more on this in a later blog

So why a circular ring to symbolise marriage?  The circle is, of course, unending and therefore a symbol of eternity.  A marriage ring is therefore a symbol of the never-ending love that the couple have for each other.  I also think of it as the outward and visible sign to everyone of the love that binds a couple together.  They are usually made of precious metal - strong and enduring.  What about the style?  More on that in a later blog but nowadays they often have stones in them or engraving on the inside.  These details make the ring even more special.

.... and my very favourite image from the hugely talented Rachel Callender capturing the special moment.

.... and my very favourite image from the hugely talented Rachel Callender capturing the special moment.

My big tip for the exchange of rings:

 Almost always,  one of the rings won't go on easily!  Again, nerves, the temperature, the style of the ring or a large knuckle might mean it won't slide on easily.  I always go over this at the rehearsal.  Don't try ramming it on - the knuckles will swell up!  A gentle twist usually does the trick or waiting a couple of seconds and it will slide on easily.  I've never had a ring that didn't go on yet!!

And my final thought on rings:  At a wedding last year, our groom exchanged a second ring:  to his new step-son.  This represented his commitment to and love for him.  An incredibly special moment.

Location, location, location ....

Catherine Fyfe

Millbrook Resort, Queenstown, May 2016

Millbrook Resort, Queenstown, May 2016

I was out walking today in the stunning sun down in Central Otago.  Not a cloud in the sky and surprisingly warm for this time of year.  I walked past "The Secret Garden" at Millbrook where I am marrying a lovely couple this Saturday.  I am hoping that the day is as stunning as it istoday.  This set me to thinking about the various locations I've married couples over the last couple of years.

Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Increasingly, many people choose to marry outside.  I usually marry couples in either Central Otago or Wellington - a slightly odd combination but an outcome of where we divide our time. In Central Otago, I've married couples up mountains, in private homes, by lakes, at vineyards, at the stunning Millbrook resort, the wonderful Thurlby Domain and in the Queenstown gardens.  In Wellington, I've married couples at Zealandia, the historic Christ Church in Taita and specialist wedding venues in the city, the Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast.  Over the next few months I'll marry couples in many of these same places but also some new ones.  It is always fascinating to see how couples select their venue and then enhance it for their day.

Natasha and Sarah, Queenstown Gardens, Holly Wallace Photography

Natasha and Sarah, Queenstown Gardens, Holly Wallace Photography

So what are the things you should think about in selecting your venue?  What does your venue look like in your mind?  Is it formal or informal?  Are you looking for a stunning natural backdrop?  Perhaps a really casual family oriented environment?  A place that is really special to you both?  Somewhere with strong family links?  A destination for all your guests to enjoy?  Couples have given me all of these answers when we've discussed their venue.  It often provides the starting point for determining what their perfect ceremony looks like.  A casual outdoor setting needs a ceremony that complements it.  A very formal venue may have quite a different type of ceremony.

Historic Christ Church, Taita

Historic Christ Church, Taita

A few pointers.  Think about what the venue will be like in all weathers.  As I've said in earlier blogs, you can't plan for the weather!  We were married on the 29th July in Wellington and, against all odds, it was 18 degrees and I was somewhat hot in a velvet dress and wrap!  Equally, it can be very cool or wet in mid summer.  So, if you really hope for an outdoor wedding, have a Plan B!  Tell guests about what the conditions could be like.  If it could be really cool, get them to wear coats/wraps that they can take off for the reception.  Even a rug might be a great idea.  Think of footwear too.  If you are on ground that isn't that flat, heels might also need to be saved for the reception.  Equally, if there isn't protection from the sun, getting them to bring a lovely hat to protect themselves with is also a good idea.  

Zealandia, Wellington

Zealandia, Wellington

Depending on where you want to marry, you might have an audience.  It is almost guaranteed that you will have one if you marry in a public space.  Make sure you contact the local authority for a public venue to ensure you have reserved your space.  Most charge only a very modest fee for this service.  Even up a mountain you might have people close by.  At a wedding last year, a family arrived for a special "lunch with a view" and set up not far away from the designated wedding venue.  They were very kind and refrained from talking whilst the ceremony went on some distance away and a toast was shared afterwards.  

Thurlby Domain

Thurlby Domain

Don't forget to discuss your venue plans with your photographer too.  If you want a particular "look", make sure that the venue will accommodate that.  Will the features you want in the background be visible in the photos?  It might only be a matter of a slight shift closer to or away from the trees.  It might also mean that the "look" is better obtained with post-ceremony shots up the mountain or in a wild landscape.  Think too about size and scale.  An outdoor location might mean that some adornments that you really like will be "lost" in the scale of the setting.  Flowers, for example, need to be substantive in an outdoor setting.  Small and dainty might not work.  More on that in a future blog.