Jo & Dan's retro '50s Kiwi farm wedding

By on Jul 15th

We've had specific requests for an Australian/New Zealand theme week. So we've found some Down Under favorites. Today we have a very spunky, retro '50s farm wedding in Arohena, New Zealand. So rattle your dags and get readin'! -Catherine

_MG_6783

Photos by Jim Brownett

The offbeat bride: Jo, Paediatric Doctor (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Dan, Osteopath

Location & date of wedding: My family farm, Arohena, NZ — March 20, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Dan is British and has always liked the British rural style. And since I am a Kiwi farm girl, it made sense for us to hold the wedding on my family farm. Dan bought my fabulous red polka dot shoes several years ago for Christmas and these were a huge source of inspiration for the whole day.

_MG_6600

I really wanted a vintage 1940s-1950s feel, so I found my dress and the bridesmaids' and groomsmen's outfits from second hand shops or eBay. The kilt is Dan's family tartan. We tried to either make stuff ourselves, source local providers, or get our friends and families to make it for us. So I made my fascinator and veil, my sisters-in-law made the cake, and the neighbours all decorated the marquee. We even had friends do the photography.

_MG_6831

_MG_6735

We wanted a really relaxed and informal feel to the ceremony so we held it in the garden with everybody standing around. The farm is quite isolated so all our friends pitched tents and the party continued the next day. Our first night together was spent in a cute, wee tent in the paddock that our friends had filled with balloons.

_MG_6966

Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was really relaxed, secular, and informal. We had a family friend, who is a marriage celebrant, officiate. We decided to have music lyrics as our readings and chose one English song and one New Zealand song, just to keep things fair. Dan's niece did the first reading which was "When I'm 64" by the Beatles.

_MG_6825

My cousin did the second reading which was "Not Given Lightly" by Chris Knox. Both readings have really nice words and a real rhythm to them without being too soppy.

Dan's other niece played the flute and our friend, Warren, sang Arctic Monkeys' "Mardy Bum" with a guitar during the signing of the register. We have always liked that song and I think it's important to be able to laugh at ourselves. We had a Blessing of the Hands, which was really beautiful.

_MG_6602

Our biggest challenge: We really battled with the invite list. We tried to be fair and give the same number of invites to both sets of parents and ourselves, but the numbers seemed to snowball rapidly. Eventually I had to just relax and accept that it was important to our parents to invite ALL their friends because they were proud of us and wanted them to share the moment. In the end, we had a lot of international guests who couldn't make it, so the numbers weren't too bad anyway.

_MG_6988

My favorite moment: We had our first dance to "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys. We had intended to get dance lessons, but never quite got organised enough. So we just danced the way we always dance and it was wicked.

_MG_6684

My funniest moment: Dan getting up to sing with the band to "When I Come Around" by Green Day and doing an excellent job. The girls and I didn't do so well when we couldn't remember any of the words to Abba's "Mamma Mia," so we just mumbled and lip synced our way through.

_MG_6655

My advice for offbeat brides: My parents were paying for the big stuff in the wedding and are quite conservative in taste. It had taken them several years to come to terms with Dan's bright red Reebok pumps! So to get things the way we wanted, we sat down together at the beginning of our wedding and wrote a short list of what was important to us. From this, we were able to work out what wasn't important to us and therefore not worth an argument with the parents.

_MG_6667

I spent a lot time warming my mother up to the idea of a not-so-traditional wedding, which involved exposing her to Offbeat Bride and numerous trips around Auckland "op-shopping." In the end, everyone was totally on board with our ideas and wouldn't have changed a thing.

I would also advise involving as many friends and family in the preparation as possible. People love to help, and it made things mean a lot more to us as well as saved us time and money.

_MG_6827

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress: Op shop in Auckland, NZ and then altered to fit by a local dressmaker named Andrea Wood in Te Awamutu, NZ.
  • Makeup: Spoilt Beauty Therapy
  • Hair: Bridal Presentation
  • Groom's jacket and waistcoat: Crane Brothers in Auckland
  • The boy's outfits: eBay
  • Band: Squeeze from Hamilton, NZ

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!





About Offbeat Editors

Working tirelessly to bring you stimulating content day after day, our team of Offbeat Editors will not sleep until you've gotten your offbeat fix.