Stuff's wedding of the week: Sarah and Rhys

Sarah and Rhys tied the knot in the Kaituna Valley just outside of Christchurch.
ANDY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Sarah and Rhys tied the knot in the Kaituna Valley just outside of Christchurch.

A romantic ceremony, magical dress, champagne picnic 'reception' and private sit-down event a month later - this couple are so relieved they didn't end up eloping.

"Our favourite photo is one we aren't actually in. It is a photo of our parents when we said 'I do'. It just confirms to me that we made the right decision about having our family there with us," writes Sarah.

We'll let bride Sarah fill you in on their special day...

Although they met at school, it wasn't until they reconnected at 18 at a friend's birthday  that sparks flew.
Sarah and Rhys

Although they met at school, it wasn't until they reconnected at 18 at a friend's birthday that sparks flew.

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How did you meet? Rhys and I went to both the same primary and secondary schools together. We often shared the same classes but were never close friends. It wasn't until a friend's birthday the year after we left school (both just turned 18) that we reconnected and started dating. That was 10 years ago this year.

The couple standing in front of St Kentigern's Anglican Church.
ANDY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

The couple standing in front of St Kentigern's Anglican Church.

Tell us about the proposal: We were sitting on a boat ramp in Stanley Bay (North Shore, Auckland) picking out which house we would buy when we won Lotto and he just said "So would you say yes?" I just stared at him blankly and it wasn't until he actually said "would you say yes if I asked you to marry me?" that I realised what was happening. Looking back on it now, he still technically hasn't asked me.

Location of wedding: Kaituna Valley (outside of Christchurch) in front of St Kentigern's Anglican Church. We were married outside the grounds in the gateway.

Describe your wedding day: Perfect and not at all according to plan.

Sarah purchased her gown online through Etsy.
ANDY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Sarah purchased her gown online through Etsy.

We had planned to have a quiet morning together, go to our favourite cafe for breakfast and then start getting ready about 10am. Rhys' brother from Melbourne ended up staying with us so breakfast was out and my makeup artist had fallen through so the original schedule was gone.

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Originally, Rhys and I were to arrive early (together), before our guests, so I could 'walk out' from the Church for an outdoor ceremony. What actually happened was Rhys was late to collect me because he stopped to help a lost dog, he wasn't dressed because he didn't want to crease his shirt and all our guests passed us on the way and saw him getting changed on the side of the road.

In the end walking down the aisle meant my dad escorting me from the car across a country road. It was beautiful and relaxed and I wouldn't change a thing.

"The highlight was having our family there to celebrate with us."
ANDY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

"The highlight was having our family there to celebrate with us."

The ceremony was short and sweet and there was a champagne picnic directly afterwards, followed by a family dinner that evening.

A month later we celebrated with 70 guests at a private event at Orleans Restaurant. This was our version of the reception with cake, speeches, etc.

The dress: Purchased online through Etsy. It was the first dress I saw and I bought it straight away.

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It was a very easy process and the quality and measurements were perfect. I was very nervous about purchasing a dress I hadn't tried on in person but it was perfect. It had an ivory backless lace bodice with a full length, ivory tulle skirt.

The flowers: The flowers were from the former Aromaunga Flowers, now Mrs Bottermleys Flowers at the Tannery. I went in the day before the wedding and selected the arrangement.

Highlight of the wedding: Highlight was having our family there to celebrate with us. Our original plan was to elope, which even though our family were in support of, in the end didn't feel like the right choice for us.

Parents of the couple - Merv and Kate Beckwith, and Yoland and Robert Busson.
ANDY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Parents of the couple - Merv and Kate Beckwith, and Yoland and Robert Busson.

There was a champagne picnic in the grounds of the church for our family while we went for our photos - I loved seeing the photographs of that.

We also went out to dinner that evening and it was the last one with my grandfather before he passed away a little over two weeks later. I love that we had the chance to be together as a family before that happened.

Was there any drama? My makeup artist fell through two days before the wedding. I did a panic online search for a recommended makeup artist and found Mariessa Waddington. I knew she was booked for my date but sent her a message asking if she could recommend anyone. She called within 5 minutes of that message and within an hour, the crises was adverted. She made it her mission to help. By moving a couple of things around my mother and I were both able to have our makeup done (by her) 2 hours before the wedding.

The honeymoon: We are yet to have our honeymoon! We planned to do it after the wedding but the months proceeding were chaotic. My grandfather passed away and my stepfather feel seriously ill and was later diagnosed with bowel cancer. Once all that was over we felt like the moment had passed.

We planned a trip away for our first anniversary but I broke my foot the morning of it and we were unable to go. It has been rescheduled for September.

Your photographer and favourite photo? Our photographer was Andy Brown. He is a Wanaka-based photographer who we flew to Christchurch for the day. This was my 'big' wedding expense. He was amazing. Neither Rhys nor I are very comfortable in front of a camera and he made the whole experience very easy.

Favourite photo is one we aren't actually in. It is a photo of our parents when we said 'I do'. It just confirms to me that we made the right decision about having our family there with us.

 - Stuff

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