Tag Archives: new zealand

Casual Auckland Wedding with a Stunning Ocean View: Simon & Amonné

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Simon & Amonné were married in Auckland, New Zealand in December. They chose Bethells Beach Cottages as their venue, with it’s stunning views and perfectly unassuming laid back vibe. “After looking at several venues on Waiheke Island, we found a beautiful venue. But the day before we went to formalise the booking it was snapped up”, explained the bride. “Heartbroken, we came home, I went to sulk and Simon jumped online and found this little slice of heaven. Not only was it breathtaking, but it also looked out over the beach where we had our first kiss. The venue became the canvas on which an unforgettable day was painted. The wildness of the Auckland West coast and the black sand beaches made for a memorable sunset and was our view from where we said ‘I do’. The venue had three cottages and we stayed on before and after along with close family.”

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“Our theme was ‘casual'”, she continued. “As this was the second time around for both of us, we did not just have a wedding, we involved both our children in the ceremony and we became a real family. With several kids in our circle of friends we decided to make this day as family friendly as possible. We had no seating plan, no aisle to walk down, no cutting of the cake or place cards. We had our friends and family involved and mos of them played some role in the day’s proceedings (amazing flowers, wonderful celebrant, music, photographer). We had child minders, a bouncy castle and the ceremony started early in the day, which meant almost all our friends were able to be part of our day.”

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A Bohemian Wedding with a Travel Theme: Ariane & Jonathan

Filipino born Ariane & Jonathan now live in New Zealand, which is where they chose to have their May wedding. The 3pm ceremony was held at in the vineyard of the Ascension Wine Estate in Matakana. “We wanted to showcase how New Zealand is part paradise and part home with our wedding, Ariane told me. “Marrying in a vineyard in the dead of autumn, what could be more gorgeous than that? Ascension Wine Estate was the perfect backdrop for us. The theme was a mish-mash of our passion for travel, photography, literature and the French countryside. We didn’t really set something in stone, but in the end, the travel-bohemian theme dominated, with hints of shabby chic and vintage.”

For the ceremony space decor, the couple added personal touches such a flowers in beer bottles, twine and pinwheels. “In the vines where the ceremony was held, we tied beer bottles with twine and hung it around. We also made pinwheels out of colorful scrapbook papers in lieu of flowers to grace the aisle. We carried that over to the reception venue by having wine bottles adorned with lace and twine as centerpieces. We also had disposable cameras in French-country muffin trays on the tables. The colors of the pinwheels in the ceremony were carried over to the reception through a candy buffet where we served colored popcorn, gummy bears and red licorice.”

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A Dramatic Alpine Wedding: Brie & Leonard

With a penchant for the dramatic, is it any wonder that I went a little gaga over Brie & Leonard alpine wedding? The black wedding dress, the intimate ceremony, the epic mountain top photographs…I love it all! The bride even had a rams skull (yes really!) instead of a bouquet.

“Basically our story goes like this,” the bride began, “Leonard and I are not really conventional people and despite a few failed ideas to do things more traditionally we quickly discovered that your wedding is not the time to be what you are not. So we followed our hearts to our dream wedding in New Zealand. Leonard proposed to me on the top of a New Zealand mountain in the snow, which was just magical, so we decided that a snowy mountain would make the perfect place for our wedding. We had no guests so we decided to use a helicopter to travel to a completely isolated place with no road access.”

The bride wore a black wedding dress which she made herself. She also made her own headpiece and even her shoes! “I had tried on about 100 different white/cream/ivory dresses but regardless of the style or how beautiful they were they just didn’t feel right,” Brie continued. “Black is what suited me so I ignored tradition. I had a design idea and I wanted my dress to be unique so I decided to make it myself. The only problem was I didn’t know how to sew! I had a sewing machine and a lovely lady in the local fabric shop with advice, somehow I stumbled my way through the rest. A strapless dress in the snow probably wasn’t wise but I put heat pads in my shoes and gloves, wore three pairs of stockings and survived on adrenalin.”

With such an intimate wedding (just the two of them!) it was important to the couple that they had an amazing wedding photographer to capture their day. That way all their friends and family back home could see how wonderful their wedding was. “Other than us, the most crucial thing about our wedding was our photographer. We chose to use Anna from Alpine Images because her work stood out as art rather than mere photography. When we asked if she would do our photography for us, we asked that she ignore the fact that it was a wedding and look at creating individual pieces of art. We gave her a few guidelines about the mood we wanted to create and left the rest to her. We are so glad we did because combining her imagination and talent we ended up with magnificent photos. It also gave us a fantastic day, sneaking up to Sunday church sessions to pose with a rams skull, down dirty alleyways, in concrete car parks, and in the back doors of unattended bars – all Anna’s ideas! Everyone who has seen our photos asks about the rams skull and why we had it.”

“Our wedding was all about us and our love for each other,” Brie concluded. “It was very romantic and I’m so glad we rocked it out in our own way!”

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Under the Spotlight – Steff Metal: Gothic Wedding Blogger & Celebrant

Photography Credit: Brian Livingstone

Clearly a lady of multiple talents, I’m super excited to introduce Steff Metal to you today, a lady who is genuinely doing something new and exciting within the wedding industry in New Zealand.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Steff Metal, a freelance writer, artist, blogger and heavy metal maiden living in New Zealand with my cantankerous drummer husband and our medieval sword collection. I run three websites for people in alternative subcultures – Steff Metal (a heavy metal magazine), Grymm & Epic Copywriting (copywriting and business solutions for alternative businesses) and Gothic Wedding Planner – a blog and ebook dedicated to helping alternative couples plan their weddings.

My work ranges from copywriting for steampunk corset designers to blogging for companies like Lip Service and writing features in tattoo magazines. I’m about to launch a webcomic for heavy metal cat lovers, and I’ve recently been appointed a NZ wedding celebrant with a specialty in gothic, pagan and alternative wedding ceremonies.

I’m based in New Zealand. I’m only licensed to perform weddings in New Zealand, but I’m blessed to have an amazing group of readers and clients from all over the world.

By Steff

Wow, you sound like a very busy lady! How did you get into this kind of work?

I never wanted to do just one thing for a job. I wanted to be a writer AND an artist AND an archaeologist AND an advocate for people with disabilities and … everything! After a failed career in archaeology (no one seems keen to hire a blind archaeologist – ah well, their loss!) I started freelance writing and found I really enjoyed being able to write on a variety of subjects. I used to run a small-time alt. wedding blog, but I wasn’t giving it my full attention, and it fizzed out. I knew I wanted to blog – I just hadn’t found the right topic.

I wanted to write about heavy metal, but all the metal blogs I read were a) written by men, b) focused only on the music and c) were often quite negative and snarky. In 2009 I launchedSteff Metal, a blog about the heavy metal lifestyle. Instead of just reviewing albums and doing interviews, I talk about travel, fashion, books, movies … I even run an advice column!

Steff Metal has been hugely successful. I got the blogging bug big time and re-launched my old wedding blog as Gothic Wedding Planner. I was still working full time making Braille books, and freelance writing on the site. I’ve since discovered a talent for copywriting, so added that to my repertoire, focusing on those small alternative business I love the most.

I became a wedding celebrant after a conversation with a girlfriend. “I don’t want to have just anybody perform the wedding ceremony,” she said. “All the celebrants I’ve talked to stare disdainfully at my tattoos.” I said I could see what the requirements were for becoming a celebrant, and she was so excited by the idea I filed the application the next week!

How do you differ from others in your field?

I KNOW alternative. I’ve been an active member of the heavy metal, gothic and various other alternative scenes for over 10 years now. I understand the aesthetics and lifestyle and I’m never going to call your ideas tacky, weird or macabre.

Photography Credit: AMK Photography

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Hannah & Carlos’ Full Moon, Movie-Themed Fancy Dress Wedding

Hannah & Carlos’ full moon/supermoon/autumn equinox/fancy dress/movie themed wedding rocks my world. I’m kind of blown away by the whole thing! The couple put so much love and attention in creating their perfect wedding that I didn’t want to miss one detail…so, over to the bride…

“We had a fancy dress wedding, the theme being movies. A big part of Carlos and my time together has been spent watching movies…we love them! We’ve shared many hours snuggled up together, going on journeys through film.”

The ceremony took place on Wharariki Beach, Golden Bay, New Zealand (spectacular!) and the reception afterwards was held at Wharariki Beach Holiday Park which was owned by one of their friends. Carlos went dressed as the Mad Hatter and Hannah wore a beautiful tutu style dress, made for her by her sister.

“Our friends Jade, Dion and their daughter Willow helped make the whole wedding possible. On the day, when we were all ready, they transported us down to the far end of the beach in their jeep, all dolled up just for us. We clambered down onto the beach after a short jaunt through the bush, and then I got into my tutu there. Then we had a short journey through rocks and tidal pools from the sea, onto the big stretch of beach. We arrived together, with our Best Man, Bridesmaid and Flowergirl, all coming down the beach from the opposite end to everyone else. All our guests were waiting at the entrance to one of the beach caves, with an aisle made of flowers and surrounded by colourful flags on bamboo poles. When we got there, Carlos and I walked up the aisle together, totally together, ready to meet our Fairy Celebrant.”

“We wrote the whole ceremony ourselves, with help from our Celebrant and dear friend, Lolly Dadley-Moore. We wrote our own vows, which we each repeated after Lolly. However we both started with a little message, written on a paper heart. That was a surprise to each other. Both of us totally bawled as soon as I started speaking, as did most of the guests. Sigh. How emotional! We were completely connected, eyes blazing hard into each other, with everyone else falling away, disappearing…all I could see was Carlos. All he could see was me. But how amazing to be surrounded, so close, by all our friends and family! I love that everyone was right up close and personal, throughout the ceremony.”

“Afterward, the bubbly was popped and we proceeded to be hugged and squeezed by everyone that was there on the beach, all kitted out in costume, surrounded by colourful flags. It was quite surreal to see all these characters on the beach, like a different world. Like a movie. Perfect.”

“The guests then headed up the beach, carrying the flowers and flags back up to our friend’s campground. Carlos and I headed back down the beach for a few photos with our friend Pete, then Dion and Willow drove us back to the camp. We were trailing cans, rattling around, announcing our arrival. The campground had been totally decorated by our friends in the days leading up to this…Anand set up his Moroccan Tent, friends brought out tables and chairs from the local High School, Ricki let us borrow his huge sound system, Natalia made a dreamcatcher that hung above the dance floor, as well as setting up all the white lycra decorations, the gold hanging stars, the lights…there were fairy lights and black lights and spotlights, borrowed from a range of friends. There were psychedelic wall hangings surrounding the DJ booth. There were drum fires dotted around the place. The place looked so incredible…and it was only to get better as the sun went down.”

“We had a huge potluck meal, provided by everyone. There was a cleaning crew already at work that night, and all the next day. We retreated back to the Moroccan Tent to eat and drink, there were toasts and we were sung to…I cried. Again. And then the moon came up, full and huge and blazing a light so clear and bright all night long…”

“Our first dance was to Nina Simone’s ‘My Baby Just Cares’. It rocked. Then we were treated to a stunning bellydance performance by my big sister and two dear friends – more tears flowed. Then the dancing continued, as we all hit the dance floor for a trance party…our friends DJ’d for hours, we had such a blast! Somewhere in there we cut the cake, but I totally forgot to throw the bouquet…it was such a crazy event, so much going on that I completely forgot!”

“Carlos and I crashed out late late in the night, exhausted and spent. Our little caravan had been set up with gold hanging heart decorations and rose petals were flung everywhere…it was so beautiful. The following day, once the entire thing was packed down and cleaned up, we drove away to spend the night at another beach…staying awake just long enough to open all our gifts, cry some more, then watch the moon rise over the ocean. Waking just in time to see the sun rising in the same spot, we were back to the real world, but married now…united…totally, gloriously, magically happy.”

“My Mum had bought us a beautiful little handmade journal/book and left it on the main table at the reception, by the cake for the whole night. We invited people to write us messages…when we read the book the following night, we were in tears because of all the beautiful heartfelt messages our friends left for us. We will treasure that book forever.”

“Our wedding was so much fun – it was light and colourful, there was much laughter and tears…it was so heartfelt and powerful, everyone noticed that and was moved by that. Neither of us are mainstream conservative people…we are unique, we love to have fun, and we love to dress up. We didn’t have much to spend, so we did everything as cheaply as possible, but that took nothing away from this event – it was AMAZING! I was shocked by how much power we weilded just in being open and expressing our deep love for one another, in front of everyone else that we love. So many friends pitched in to help create this wedding, I am still blown away by that. All of that, for US. For LOVE. Far out.”

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Mary & Sam’s Private Bay Wedding

Mary & Sam were married in a private bay in Picton, New Zealand. Their biggest challenge for their wedding was that they lovingly (and painstakingly) restored a 70 foot boat to transport their guests from the ceremony site to their reception at Herzog Winery!

“Working to restore a non-functioning 70-foot launch so we could transport our guests was… well, it was Rock n Roll in fact that we had no sleep, too much to do, and had to call in our amazing family to bail us out! We tried to forget about the industry noise around weddings and instead focused on the fact it’s just the thing that happens before you’re married, so let’s have a party focused on love instead.”

It was all worth it though, especially the magical moment when a pod of Dolphins followed the boat on the journey to the ceremony. Wow.

The couple DIYed the majority of their wedding and used wedding blogs as inspiration, “I can’t speak highly enough about the great wedding blogs out there (my favourites were Rock n Roll Bride, The Wedding Chicks, Ruffled and Green Weddings Shoes)” Mary explained. “They tutored me through making tote bags, our own centrepieces, invitations, fixing jewellery, all sorts of things that made the wedding of our dreams accessible provided we threw in a little blood sweat and I-can’t-believe-super-glue-won’t-stick-to-this-metal-but-my-fingers-are-stuck-together-tears.”

Mary wore a stunning lace pre-loved dress by Allure Bridal (style number 8634) and shoes that she customised herself from an old pair of shoes, some fabric swatches and lots of super glue!

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