I have often joked and said one day I will be your Celebrant.
Like many other couples who have been together for a number of years the response has always been "we are not getting married".
Then out of the blue I get an email saying "Well it finally happened, Graham proposed, seems a long time since SMI days and you look to be having a lot of fun! We are talking a very simple affair - surprise a few of the family at our house. Pretty flexible on timings just needs to be here when my Mum is out from the UK.
Be great to hear from you".
Then after a few more emails I sent this to Kate:
This is your action list to make it happen.
1. Find a dress - will do some research and come back to you.
2. Marriage licence - www.bdm.govt.nz - download form and complete (BDM60).
2a. BOOK with Council Sign of Bellbird
3. Take the form anytime now and $122.60 to 100 Orchard Road - make a statutory declaration to say you are free to marry.
4. Ask them to courier the papers to you or me!!
5. Are you exchanging rings - if yes get them.
6. Are you opening a bottle of bubbly and having a drink after the ceremony.
(If yes glasses and bubbly x 5 of us - or is there more attending???)
7. Do you want me to bring my basket of flowers for you to select a bunch to hold or will you grab some
8. Button-hole for Graham?
9. Ceremony - pick and mix and email me a draft of what you like.
I will work on it if necessary to make it come together.
And that was the plan. I was to deliver the glasses, the champagne and the rings and the papers - oh the responsibility of getting it all together and remembering to take it with me.
Kate tells me: It worked - a wedding with the element of surprise! As we all arrived at the Sign of the Bellbird in our rental van Graham did the proper thing and took the mother of the bride to one side and asked if she minded him being her son in law - thankfully she said that would be fine! Then the question when do you plan on getting married ............... in about 10 mins. Nothing like giving ample notice.
The guests were bowled over they thought they were just having a picnic brunch, not to witness a wedding!
In hindsight they wish they had worn "that other shirt" but that was the whole thing, Graham and Kate did not want family stressing over what to wear! Kate never did find a dress!
The excitement of preparing for an event and keeping a secret had all come together and it was so relaxed. Family are great at improvising, flowers from the surrounding area and and a "high table"of picnic chairs quickly assembled!
Congratulations Graham and Kate for marrying your way at the beautiful Sign of the Bellbird, The Port Hills
Guest No. -5
Champagne - 2 bottles (PS we did not drink it all says Kate).
Catering - Brunch - Egg and Bacon sandwiches and a wonderful meal in Akaroa that evening - The Little Bistro.