Jay & Pepe's rural crafty New Zealand wedding

April 22 2014 | offbeatbride  
Photos by: Paul Petch
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Photos by Paul Petch

The Offbeat Bride: Jay, Student/Academic

Her offbeat partner: Pepe, Artist

Date and location of wedding: Woodbridge Gardens and Coatesville Settlers Hall, Coatesville, Auckland, New Zealand — March 1, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We wanted everyone to have fun and not have anything be too formal or stuffy. We told people to wear whatever they felt comfortable in, and that children were welcome for the whole shebang (which made the whole day 100 times more amusing!).

We had a bunch of lawn games to keep guests entertained. We put so much work into the whole day, relying very little on traditional wedding vendors, and a whole lot more on our friends and family to really make the day special.

We had a major goal of keeping costs down, so I hand-made the bridal party's bouquets using paper kusudama flowers, and made the boutonnieres as well. I also made a bunch of extra flowers for our centrepieces.

I sourced second-hand jars, and Pepe and I spent many an hour wrapping them with lace and twine. I drank far too much soda, allowing us to avoid buying pre-made twine wrapped bottles for the centrepieces (although, that may have worked out cheaper, considering how much soda I drank!).

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Our centrepieces were finished with small two-dollar shop pieces: tiny easels and canvases which I painted and adorned with David Bowie song names as our table name guides, small LED candles, and tiny rattan balls. I bought a roll of hessian, planning to make my own table runners, but that was a little too much in the end. I purchased them off TradeMe (the New Zealand version of eBay) for a good price, figuring I could sell them after the wedding anyway.

Our wedding was also completely vegan, from canapes to dessert.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was completely secular with very little reference to anything that didn't relate directly to science or secular themes. Our vows included being there for each other in times of sadness like when the internet was running slowly, in the long months between Game of Thrones seasons, or when walking up Queen Street (notoriously steep street in Central Auckland) in the rain.

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Our biggest challenge:
Our biggest challenge was that I was running EXTREMELY late for the ceremony. Like, well beyond "the bride is always late" late. More like "Oh my, has the bride done a runner?" late. I was texting people telling them I was running late, but definitely coming, but some how the messages weren't getting through to the right people (poor Pepe thought for about five minutes that I had changed my mind). The biggest consequence of this was that our celebrant had to leave to go to another wedding!

When I arrived at the ceremony venue, the celebrant rushed out to meet me and gave me two options: go ahead with the ceremony right now, but cut it right down to just the legal bits because there wasn't time for her to do anything else, or have someone else read through the ceremony, but nothing would be legal and she could meet with us later on in the evening to go through the legal bits. I decided on the spot to do it legally and quickly right then since all our family and friends were gathered. This turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise, as Pepe and I never wanted a long, drawn out ceremony anyway. It also meant there was much less time for me to ugly cry!

The celebrant married us legally, and rushed off, at which stage my Aunty (who was the MC for the day), stepped in and went through the rest of the ceremony with us, got us through the exchanging of the rings, and introduced us to our family and friends. The downside of this was that I felt like I had really upset people, first by being late, and secondly by rushing through the ceremony. What was really important in that moment was remembering that our family and friends supported and loved us no matter what.

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My favorite moment:
My cousin who plays the cello offered to put together a string quartet for the ceremony, and we really wanted them to play "America" by Simon and Garfunkel as I walked down the aisle with my mum and dad. I'll tell you, getting the score for that song was nearly impossible! In the end, I had to hire a lady from Los Angeles to score it for us, and the moment I heard it playing as I started my walk down the aisle, I was a crying mess!

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After spending over a year reading Offbeat Bride, I went into the wedding day with the mantra "I WILL spend at least five minutes alone with my new husband at some stage during the day!" That turned out to be a little more challenging than I first expected. Come the end of the night, Pepe and I were sitting in the foyer while my family and friends helped to pack down the hall after the reception. We were bundling up the fairy lights tidily, and tying them because if we didn't, the hire company charged an extra $30! So we were sitting there quietly, and Elton John was playing on the stereo and we both realised it was the first moment we had had alone together all day. I think I said something like "So … we're married," and we had a little kiss and a cuddle and it was, looking back, probably my favourite part of the day.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I had my dress and all of my bridesmaids dresses made by Pixie Pocket! She even shipped them all the way to New York for me. She is fantastic! I would wholeheartedly recommend her work to anyone having an offbeat or retro wedding. 🙂

  2. That is the EXACT same dress I was considering for my dress. Glad to hear the seller was so great and it turned out well! I was wary about turning to Etsy for a dress…

  3. I had my wedding dress made by Pixie Pocket and she shipped to me in MD. Custom made to my measurements, and I am a fluffy gal. Fit like a glove and so much cheaper, even with shipping, than anything I could have gotten here in the states. So well made and will last for years!!! Check her etsy out and buy a dress, even if it isn't for your wedding.

  4. These are some of the most wonderful photos I've seen yet on OBB. They are so natural and full of joy! A real knack for capturing the perfect moment! xxx P.s. Your ink is just gorgeous

  5. Photographing Jay & Pepe's day was amazing. Such a great day. I loved every minute of it! Thanks for your kind words and featuring my work too. I really appreciate it.

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