Stuff's wedding of the week

Moving to quake-hit city for love

Last updated 05:00 30/05/2014

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A tale full of romance, giddiness and surprise - Michael and Rebecca's beautiful backstory is one in a million.

We'll let Rebecca fill you in on all the details...

How did you meet? Michael and I met back in November 2010 when his fellow Otago mate Joel married my gorgeous friend Kirsty. They tied the knot at a special place called Monkey Bay at the end of Rarangi Beach in Marlborough which happens to be where I grew up and my parents still live. 

After a recent break-up, I definitely wasn't expecting to meet the man of my dreams while I was home for the weekend, but Kirsty had promised Mike that there would be a roomful of single ladies awaiting him at the top of the south. As he put it in his groom's speech, 'it went down like a form two disco' - we caught each other's eyes from across the room, but his wingman, aka cupid Nic, set about ensuring he got Mike a dance. 

What followed was hours of talking and the sign of a true gentleman - he put me in my dad's car at 3am. I returned to work the next week a different person and after a week, my workmates egged me on to make contact.  After six months of long distance dating: me in Christchurch and Mike in Dunners, he did the unthinkable and moved to post-earthquake Christchurch to live with me...

Tell us about the proposal: Early in 2013 we had made the decision to move to Melbourne together and unbeknownst to me, Michael had been searching for the perfect ring to pop the question. He later told me the jewellers struggled to sell him on any particular design, couriering in stock to show him each time he returned. Finally, one ring, which had been lost in transit, finally arrived in store (on my birthday funnily enough!) and Mike was sold. 

Meanwhile we'd busily sold all our furniture and had hired a truck to transport the rest back to my parents' in Marlborough. Michael was suspiciously insistent that before we moved to Australia the next day, we needed to walk along the beach to Monkey Bay one last time. He walked on one side of me the whole way to avoid me noticing the ring box, and sitting atop the cliff-face overlooking Monkey Bay and back along Rarangi Beach, he made me the happiest girl on earth by asking me to spend the rest of my life with him.

Location of wedding: We got married at the spectacular Wither Hills winery (fit for Wills and Kate on their Royal tour earlier this year!) on February 1, 2014 with all our friends and family from near and afar. 

We had visited the winery the summer before and fell in love with the atmosphere of the barrel room below the winery. We chose this as the location of our ceremony, followed by a delicious reception dinner (with good wine of course) in the tasting room, where all the meticulous staff made our dream day and night extra special.

Describe your wedding day: Michael remembers turning on the car the morning of our wedding, to hear 'It's going to be the best day of our lives' blaring out of the car radio.  As he said later to all our guests, it was fortuitous. I agree of course!

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I got ready with my beautiful bridesmaids at my childhood home which gave me the special opportunity to have photos on the beach I grew up exploring.  Mike and his groomsmen enjoyed a relaxing time, with the help of a beer or two, getting dressed at the gorgeous Bell Tower - the place we stayed on our wedding night.

The ceremony was candlelit and intimate, and was led by Carol Taylor who managed to calm any nerves with a laugh or three in between. My brother Michael (yes, another one) and Mike's sister Justine shared special readings and my fabulously talented friend Amy Grace sang with an acoustic guitar while we signed the register. 

The reception was filled with laughs and love, delicious food and wine and MC'ed by my other brother James. It all seemed to rush by in a haze of hugs, warm wishes and beaming smiles and at midnight we ran off into the darkness to sit under the stars at the Bell Tower with a bottle of bubbles in tow to reminisce on an incredible day.

The dress: My dress was completely unlike what I expected to choose. After a few different occasions of trying dresses on, I walked out to my sister, one of my bridesmaids and my Mum wearing the latest contender with a huge smile on my face. I just knew it was 'The one'.  It was a one-shouldered lace and silk design of the Essence range, sourced by the awesome April at Wilkins Bridal. The bridesmaids tied in well - all in matched one-shouldered gowns in 'Beyond the Sea' shade, by Alfred Angelo.

The flowers: Nina Stanley of Pink Poppie florist delivered our beautiful bouquets of freesias, roses and lisianthus.  With my mum's help, we designed the rest of our decorations to reflect where we had met at Monkey Bay, with beach stones, driftwood and flax, including silver monkey charmed flax ketes for our guests to take their lolly favours home in. 

Highlight of the wedding: Definitely the moment we were pronounced husband and wife, with Michael interrupting our celebrant to hurry her along to let him kiss me! 

Everything was awesome, but I enjoyed delivering my surprise to Michael after cutting our crazy cake... Mike had jokingly told me that I wasn't allowed to speak at the reception, so instead I had created a medley of old school MJ songs on acoustic guitar and rewritten all the words to be jokingly about Michael and our relationship.  Wither Hills had kindly printed all the lyrics on the back of the menu for our guests and in between laughing at my silly lyrics, by the end, they were singing along.

Prior to our wedding day, Mike had asked me what I was looking forward to most about our wedding day, and he delivered... with the most thoughtful and heartfelt speech later in the night which I will forever remember.

Was there any drama? 'For those of you who don't know me I am Gus, the best man - I am the one who split my trousers earlier!'  We had no idea until he stood up to speak, but some swift thinking meant we didn't even need to find out! 

A few people were sick leading up to our big day and a couple still were on the day, but all in all, we were so caught up in the moment that if there were any major dramas, we didn't and still don't know it!

The honeymoon: Still to come. We had a 'mini-moon' in Kaiteriteri before flying home to Melbourne, but Mike has arranged three weeks of travel, booking all our flights and accommodation for an overseas getaway at the end of August.  I will find out what I need to pack before we head to the airport and find out where we are going along the way!

Your photographer and favourite photo? Jessica and Paul Jones of Jessica Jones Photography are masters of photography. We had jokingly said to them during our portraits that they must have Photo-Shop monkeys in their cameras working instantaneous magic when they would show us pictures they had just taken.  They are truly talented beyond any expectations we had, and two gloriously friendly people to boot which all of our guests remarked on during the day. We are so grateful for all the special candid moments they captured - it really is too hard to pick a favourite!

- Stuff

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