Flash wedding, with no hangover
The downside to the dream wedding day is usually the big bill that follows, but that was not a problem for Conor O'Riordan and Louise Hutterd.
As the winners of the Dream Maker Dream Wedding competition, they received a wedding package worth $30,000, including a custom-made dress and rings, accommodation all over the region, catering and a helicopter flight to Mt Olympus to shoot wedding photos.
The ceremony was to be held on the beach at Little Kaiteriteri but after an anxious morning eying the weather yesterday, the couple switched the venue to Kimi Ora Eco Resort, where they exchanged rings, vows and kisses. Miss Hutterd told Mr O'Riordan he made her feel "as though I'm the only woman in the world" and he told her she made him the "man I want to be".
Then the new Mr and Mrs O'Riordan combined sand from Kaiteriteri, the site of many happy memories for them, and from Ireland's Sherkin Island, where they met three years ago, to form a symbol of their love "that would be as impossible to separate them as it would be to separate these grains of sand", said wedding celebrant Angel Pearson.
Mrs O'Riordan, 25, who works at Russells Curtains, and Mr O'Riordan, 33, an assistant contract manager for Downers, were one of the five finalist couples, out of 42 pairs, who had to complete challenges to win the Dream Wedding title. Her favourite task was when she constructed a "boob tube" wedding dress for him to wear while his was the Amazing Race- style dash through the streets of Nelson.
The competition was the brainchild of Kaiteriteri wedding and event organiser Terri Everett, who envisioned it as a way to promote the region as a wedding destination and network businesses to cross-promote each other, boosting tourism overall.
Yesterday's festivities finished with a $2000 fireworks display at Kaiteriteri, which Mrs Everett said rivalled the Kaiteriteri New Year's fireworks and had come as a huge surprise to the O'Riordans. The fireworks were sponsored by Kelvin Holdaway and Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles, both of whom had approached her after the Dream Wedding radio campaign had ended.
She said the promotion had been a huge success in terms of putting Nelson on the map as an international wedding destination.
"I've got two different industries, the wedding industry and the tourism industry, working together now. If you look at Queenstown and some of the other honeymoon destinations, we've got so much more to offer."
She said even one wedding could have "a massive spinoff" for regional businesses and her goal was to "bring outside money into the area to improve our local economy".
"Our ambition is to make the region the capital of New Zealand for weddings, events and honeymoons."
She said the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill had also been a boon to the wedding industry.
The competition and its marketing was a $60,000 project that involved more than 50 businesses. Their sponsorship and co-operation meant she had had to spend only $2000 on the project, said Mrs Everett.
The O'Riordans are staying at Kimi Ora and having a spa package before moving to Awaroa Lodge and Split Apple Hideaway.