We got married on 17 March 2018 in a small farming community called Rangiwahia in northern Manawatu, on Alex’s family farm which was established more than 100 years ago. We had our ceremony in the Ian McKean Pinetum, a beautiful, unique and sentimental place that is a collection of more than 300 different types of conifer trees that were planted by his grandfather. We knew from the moment we were engaged that we would get married on the farm and it was so special to have our friends and family experience the pinetum. We held our reception in the cosy, vintage Rangiwahia Hall.
I ended up sourcing different kinds of flowers from four different locations, including friends and families’ gardens. My mother-in-law had the most amazing collection of vases, antique candle holders and decorations that I just chose what I liked and with the help of very talented friends, and locally foraged greenery, we transformed the hall into a wildly colourful, natural space that felt very in tune with who Alex and I are. The tables were rustic slabs of timber from under the hall’s stage and the seats were old pews from a nearby town hall. I had a friend make hand-poured soy wax candles in mix-matched glass jars that I’d spent months searching for in different second hand shops. Festoon lights adorned the ceiling, casting a warm glow over the hall and when the candles were lit it felt like a magical, cosy and vintage dinner party. It all came together perfectly and looked even better than I could have ever imagined!
I was never keen on having a set theme as there were so many different decorations, colours and flowers I wanted to use. I made a decision to just include what ever I liked and wanted, hoping it would all tie in together as a rustic, eclectic mix.
I knew it was going to be one of the best days of our lives, having all of our family and friends come to Rangiwahia, a significant and important place for us both. It’s hard to put the day into words, it was so filled with love, laughter and positive vibes as the most important people in our lives came together and met one another as we celebrated our marriage. It felt so wholesome.
It’s easy to say in hindsight, but try to not to stress! We organised almost every element of the wedding, which had its ups and downs, but if you’re taking on a DIY wedding, try to enjoy every moment! Involve friends and family, but don’t let their opinions put you off if they don’t see what you’re envisioning - it’s your day after all and almost anything is possible (within reason, and budget, in most cases).
That’s a tough one - I think I would pause time during the ceremony so I could soak in seeing everyone there before us, sitting on picnic blankets and hay bales in the pinetum. I remember walking down the aisle with dad saying hello to everyone as I hadn’t seen some of our guests in months if not years. There are so many moments like that during the day and evening that I would love to relive them all.