Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us. We would love to hear from you.

Name *
Name

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.

inspiration.JPG

Blog

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.

Veil or no veil ....... that is the question?

Catherine Fyfe

I was discussing the question of veils with a friend last week.  She is deciding whether to have one or not and we agreed that, given that she wasn't sure, it would be best to wait until the dress was nearing completion.  This lead me to thinking about the tradition of the veil and follows on nicely from my discussion last week of the history of giving the bride away since the "throwing back of the veil" traditionally followed the "giving away".

The history of the wedding veil certainly pre-dates the modern custom of the white dress and veil.  The imagery of a veil is associated with women and sacred objects dating back to 13th century BC. So, the veil is an ancient form of dress that remains with us today.  In Roman times women were expected to wear veils as a symbol of the husband's authority over his wife (yes, back to the "authority" custom again!).   Later customs referenced more imagery relating to modesty.  Only in Tudor times did the use of a hood replace a veil.  By Elizabethan times the use of a veil largely disappeared from everyday life.  Over the following centuries, customs changed depending on the country.  

Elizabethan brides often selected Juliet caps trimmed with lace and embroidery.  In the following centuries bonnets, caps, wreaths and then tiaras were popular options.  Queen Victoria created the look that is still common in our culture with her choice of a white dress and veil.  The ability of many brides to begin to wear a veil was also an outcome of affordability with new machinery enabling the production of tulle in volume and therefore at an accessible price to many more.  

   Queen Victoria in her "trend-setting" all-white

 

Queen Victoria in her "trend-setting" all-white

Today, the decision to wear a veil or not is now a personal decision for brides in most western cultures.    Some brides are lucky enough to have a family heirloom veil, often with stunning lace or embroidery.  They may even create their bridal look around the veil.  Others select a veil style to complement their dress and the features that the bride wishes to display most predominantly on the dress.  A hat, flowers or hair jewellery are other options that may be worn by themselves or in conjunction with a veil.  Some chose to have a veil over their face whilst others don't.  There is no right or wrong answer to this, just a matter of personal preference.  If you do choose to have your veil cover your face, you will need to consider where in the ceremony you wish to have it thrown back.  It may follow the "giving away" or after the vows.

There are a range of veil lengths and, for the uninitiated, the descriptions may be confusing!  I've therefore described each below, starting with the shortest and moving to the longest:

Shoulder - literally sits at the shoulder or just below and usually around 50 cm's.  Very easy to wear and can look gorgeous with a 1960's look

Elbow - around 64 cm's.  Given that an elbow length veil finishes approximately around the waist, it is particularly flattering if your dress has a very full skirt.

Fingertip - usually around 110cm and very flattering for many looks.  The Fingertip veil (as with all shorter veils) also has the benefit of being very easy to wear with no danger of tripping!

Note the veil between between fingertip and elbow but with a long train on dress

Note the veil between between fingertip and elbow but with a long train on dress

Waltz or ballet - so called because they can both be danced in without getting in the way at approx 1.5m!  These are not as common as the fingertip or chapel length veils but are very flattering and practical if you wish to leave your veil on for the reception.

Chapel - at slightly over 2 metres long they drape slightly onto the floor.  Very elegant with a dress with a train and can, of course, be combined with shorter layers to be drawn over the face or for a fuller look.  Can be slightly longer but definitely shorter than a Cathedral length.

Cathedral - at well over 3 metres, usually seen in very formal church weddings and almost always with a long train on the dress.  Stunning to look at but can be tricky to move in so many brides remove these after the ceremony. 

I hope this is helpful for those of you deciding on whether to wear a veil and, if so, what length.  Do send me photos of your favourite look!

Andrea's shoulder length veil complemented perfectly her short dress - a stunning look!  Andrea and Ben, Taita Church, 2016.  Photo Patina Photography

Andrea's shoulder length veil complemented perfectly her short dress - a stunning look!  Andrea and Ben, Taita Church, 2016.  Photo Patina Photography

No really, I'm not being given away!!

Catherine Fyfe

Traditionally, the Bride was quite literally "given" to the groom in marriage.  At the beginning of the ceremony the Celebrant would ask "who gives this woman to be married to this man?" and the father of the bride would answer "I do".  This reflected the status of women as being the property or under the authority of the father and then passed on to be the property/authority of her new husband.  Fortunately, the days of being "given" in marriage are long, long gone!

The tradition of the bride coming down the aisle with one or both parents, a child, sibling or a close friend or relative is still, however, alive and well.  Alternatively, both partners might arrive with a parent or someone close to them.  So, the tradition remains but the meaning has changed from one of "gifting" to one of "support and love".

In my Guide for Couples, I provide a range of options that they might select from or that might give them some thoughts of other ways in which they might like to arrive and/or celebrate the support of family.  This might include family pledging their love and support, giving their blessing or committing to celebrating with the couple in times of joy and support in times of hardship.  In recent times couples have selected a range or different formats from the traditional, both parents, a sibling, coming together and, not forgetting the very special moment when Orlando escorted his Mum Kristie down the aisle on a wintery day.  His pride and excitement were so memorable.

But, if this isn't for you and you want to arrive together or by yourself, that's absolutely fine too.  This first moment will set the scene for your wedding.  It is a special moment so make the most of it in whatever way feels right for you both.

Kristie and her gorgeous son Orlando, July 6th, 2015. Photo by Sunshine Weddings

Kristie and her gorgeous son Orlando, July 6th, 2015. Photo by Sunshine Weddings

I now pronounce you ......

Catherine Fyfe

Kerianne and Alex, Zealandia

Kerianne and Alex, Zealandia

The highlight in every marriage ceremony is where the Celebrant formally pronounces that the couple are now married.  It is usually followed by the invitation to kiss.  This is the point where all the nerves have gone and the pure enjoyment and celebration of the day kicks in for the bride and groom!  It is always a magical moment.

A question that often comes up with couple when we are creating their own ceremony is when should this pronouncement happen?  Sometimes it occurs directly after the vows and before the signing of the register.  Others prefer it to occur after the signing of the register and as the "finale" for the ceremony.

There is no right or wrong answer to this.  When discussing this with couples I like consider how they want their ceremony to flow and what fells right for them.  Some couples will have a very clear view, others won't.  That's absolutely fine.  Just look at it within the context of the ceremony - is there another reading after the signing, how will the music flow/music style between the signing of the register and the music to leave to and do you want the pronouncement and kiss to be the piece in the ceremony that everything has built up to or do you wish this to be an important but not only key moment in the ceremony?

Your ceremony needs to be what feels right for you.  There are lots of options and I like to create the ceremony that is especially yours.