The Offbeat Bride: Katie, bank officer
Her offbeat partner: David, electronics engineer
Date and location of wedding: Southern Alps near Methven, New Zealand — August 31, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We met through a shared love of the mountains, so it was a given that we'd get married there! Access was by helicopter, so the only people present at our ceremony were our parents, the photographer, and the celebrant. The helicopters were our biggest wedding cost (and they were a serious cost), but it was so totally memorable flying up into the Southern Alps.
For our reception, we just wanted to throw the best party we could. Vendors were an issue because Methven is a very small country town, and we had to pretty much bring everything in ourselves. It was the middle of our winter here in New Zealand, and there are no florists in Methven, so we didn't bother with flowers at all.
One of my girlfriends made me a beautiful fur muff to hold instead of flowers. The caterers were of the mobile variety, and rolled up in their van all prepped and ready to go.
Tell us about the ceremony: We designed our ceremony to be very short because we didn't expect to have such good weather. At the very least we assumed we would be cold, and we didn't want to end up with hypothermic parents.
The ceremony consisted of us saying our vows, exchanging rings, and ending with a kiss and a group hug. Then we cracked a magnum of champagne and frolicked around in the snow.
I am of Scottish ancestry on my grandmother's side, so at the reception we did a quaich ceremony. A quaich is a two-handled bowl that is filled with whisky. A blessing is made to the newlyweds, and then the quaich is passed around the guests.
Our biggest challenge: The first was trying to find a compromise within the wedding industry for my feminist and financial beliefs. What I did: insisted on a ring in my birth stone because diamonds leave me cold. Wore blue instead of white, which apparently has a longer history anyway. I didn't want table decorations and favours, and instead loaded tables up with wines and tasting notes. Finally, I avoided bridal magazines like the plague and read Offbeat Bride to offset the madness!
It was also challenging to get the venue for the reception set up. It was a ferry ride and a six-hour drive from home, and we were bringing everything with us. However, the emcee coordinated all our friends while we were away getting married and we didn't end up by having to do a thing. Delegate and it will get done! More importantly, delegate to someone who is not afraid to organise others — loudly if necessary.
My favorite moment: Flying up into the mountains and taking in the incredible scenery was one of my favorite moments. Saying my vows and realising that my tough father-in-law was crying like a baby was also up there. Seeing all our guests waiting for us at the reception, dressed in their furs and finery, was amazing.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I couldn't get enough of the colour fabric I wanted for my dress (blue shot with green), so I had to change to a blue shot with purple. I really, really loved the blue/green but it was not to be. However, we never expected to have such a clear blue day, and I really ended up liking how the blue-purple looked with the blue sky and white snow.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: It's not just your day, it's your partner's day, too. Plan it together and incorporate both your obsessions and interests. Both of you should do the hard yards organising it, since for most, it's probably your first test of working together on a major project.
If it will really hurt someone for you to do things a different way, ask yourself if it's worth it to you in the long run. Sometimes it feels good to be the bigger person — trust me.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? That we have great friends and family who really went out of their way to do tasks for us that we couldn't do ourselves, and rolled up in the morning all hungover to help clean up. We felt pretty special and blessed.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Bryan Morgan
- Helicopters: Mt. Hutt Helicopters
- Venue: Methven Heritage Centre
- Wine: Winesale
- Caterers: Lovely Grub
- Katie's 1950s coat: Soup
- Dave's suit: Workshop
- Shoes: Irregular Choice
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!