Hokitika Journalist Rebekah Lyell, 26, met dairy worker Chris Fraser, 27, through a mutual friend and bonded over their mutual love of motorsport and rugby.
How did you meet? "We met through a mutual friend Scott who acted as wingman for Chris," says Rebekah. "We instantly bonded over our mutual love of motorsport and rugby. Luckily the fact that Chris supports Ford, whereas I'm a Holden girl, didn't stand in our way."
Tell us about the proposal: "In our typical style, it was very low key and a little bit different. We'd been looking at rings for a few months. I was going through a nasty health scare and on the way to a specialist appointment I popped into the jeweller where I saw the perfect ring and texted Chris about it. I got home from the specialists and Chris told me he had a present for me. He pulled out the little box and there was the ring! When we called my Mum immediately afterwards she didn't believe us as we'd tricked her a number of times previously that we were engaged," says Rebekah.
Location of wedding: "We got married at Fat Pipi Pizza in Hokitika, a gorgeous little pizzeria on the beachfront with the best pizza in New Zealand according to Lonely Planet. We had photos at Lake Mahinapua, about 10 minutes south of Hokitika, and on the Hokitika beach. Fat Pipi was a perfect venue - our guests enjoyed the most delicious pizza (including their famous whitebait pizza) and we had a lovely relaxing evening.""
Describe your wedding day: "After a week of snow and rain we were extremely lucky to have perfect sunshine," says Rebekah. "The day was very relaxed; my photographer spent the whole morning trying to wind me up! I got ready with two friends who had come down from Whangarei for the big day, my Mum and sister. We did our photos first as the ceremony wasn't until 4pm and we wanted to stay with our guests. Doing them first was great; it took a lot of pressure off us. We had a short ceremony in the backyard of the pizzeria just as the sun was setting over the beach. The evening was incredible - relaxed, casual, and a whole lot of fun."
The dress: "Despite my stubbornness that I was not going to wear a wedding dress, I found the dress for me on Trade Me with the exact measurements. My sister who was my maid of honour was seven months pregnant so my wonderful Mum made her a convertible dress to fit with her rapidly changing body."
The flowers: "Being winter and a hayfever sufferer, I decided to do my own flowers. I used two shades of purple paper (that the boys managed to match perfectly with their shirts despite never seeing the flowers!) and created an origami bouquet for myself and my sister, as well as boutonnieres for the boys. I added little crystals and pearls, as well as two charms to honour my grandfathers who have both died."
Highlight of the wedding: "Seeing all our family and friends from across the country come together and help us celebrate," says Rebekah. "Everyone was relaxed and had a blast which was exactly what we had hoped for."
Was there any drama? "It was too relaxed for any drama," says Rebekah. "The only hiccup was that my grandmother fell ill the day she was meant to fly down from Auckland for the wedding. She was admitted to hospital and was banned from flying. Luckily, my quick thinking Mum managed to organise a Skype connection for the ceremony."
The honeymoon: "We spent a glorious eight days in Rarotonga the week after the wedding. We did nothing but snorkel, scooter and eat our way around the island. Pure bliss."
Your photographer and favourite photo? "We were lucky enough to enlist our friend Janna Sherman to take photographs for us. I worked with her at the paper and I knew she was a great photographer.
She did an amazing job shooting her first wedding despite all her nerves. My favourite photo would have to be the one of us both in the car although all of the photos from Lake Mahinapua are stunning with the reflections of the Southern Alps in them."
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