Three and a half months in the planning, my sister and her fiance are now husband and wife. Such a joyous weekend, not even the showers and cold weather on the day itself could detract from the occasion (much). I have been feeding glimpses of the build-up to you on Instagram, and now here are some more details for your viewing pleasure.
My sister looked radiant in her Belladonna Elodie dress (something new). It fitted her perfectly and if you Google the dress, I think it looks much better on my sister than it does on the model. Just sayin'. She used our mother's vintage clutch purse (something old), wore my cathedral length veil (something borrowed) and when her blue garter showed through her dress, she decided to tie some blue ribbon around her shoe instead to complete the old good luck tradition.
From a photographic point of view, I had a disastrous time on the day. I would love to share with you photos of my girls and glimpses of them with all their cousins in their wedding finery and of the happy couple, but because of the way the day panned out, I only managed to take a small handful and they are mostly out of focus or have dignified poses and expressions like these:
I am so thankful that I spent some time taking photos of the church and reception venue the day before the wedding when we were helping to set up. The vows were exchanged in the new annex at Pukekaraka/St Mary's in Otaki, an hour's drive north of Wellington. The historic wooden church is so picturesque but was not able to be used because it was too small.
My first mistake was allowing my daughters to get into their dresses two hours before the wedding as I spent much of that time trying to ensure they stayed clean and dry (I forgot to pack an umbrella and their raincoats). My second mistake was leaving my seat at the church to check on the girls as they waited for their turn to walk in the procession. When I returned to my pew, the entire row was taken so I had to sit away from my bag - with my camera in it. I ended up in the front row across from the pageboys and flower girls and spent much of the ceremony looking over at them thinking I had the perfect spot to take photos. It was agonizing not being able to capture those moments. It must be said that all 14 nieces and nephews who formed the bridal party were so well-behaved during the service and made their parents very proud reading their prayers of the faithful and carrying out their duties during the course of the day.
I consoled myself with the fact that I could take some photos of the children after the ceremony. Third mistake. Children do not stand still at the best of times, let alone when they are excited to be with all of their cousins and in a new setting that has so many places to explore. I will be amazed if even the official wedding photographer managed to get half of them looking in the same direction at the same time.
The setting for the reception, the Milk Station, must be one of Kapiti Coast's best-kept secrets. It is a disused dairy factory, and the owners have spent considerable amounts of money converting it into a function centre with a rustic, Tuscan feel.
It is still being developed but the potential is undeniable. The statement fitting though is unquestionably the milk bottle chandelier that hangs in the banquet area. It looked so amazing at night, and with all of the candles lit up around the room, the ambience was perfect.
The table decorations were simple; a tealight floating in a punch glass filled with water, gorgeous flowers picked from the gardens of local friends and family and from my mother's garden and transported all the way from Taranaki in her tiny little car, hessian table runners and paper doilies to mark each guest's place at the table. My sister is a huge fan of candles; they were dotted on every flat surface and gave even more ambience to the room.
The wedding cake was a fruit cake made and decorated by my sister's friend. It looked so stunning, she did an amazing job. The pomanders were brought to the venue from the church after the ceremony and placed in the gift room, which gave a nice touch to the area. The vintage suitcase to store cards from the guests belonged to our late father. This was a day filled with such love. It was a day to make us all pause and reflect on what is important and even though the setting for the reception was truly spectacular, I felt in my heart that the location and the peripheral details we had all worked on in the lead-up to the day really did not matter at all in the end. I heard it in their heartfelt speeches to each other, I saw it in their gestures and I felt it in the company of those I was with. Without sounding nauseating, this is a couple so in tune with each other, I really get the sense that one would not function as well without the other.
Diane and Chris, you both deserve every happiness, here is to a wonderful future together filled with love, laughter and precious memories.