This is one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve seen yet. It took place in Nelson, New Zealand. I spent my teenage years in this small seaside town, which makes this wedding extra special to me. And being that New Zealand has recently taken steps towards Marriage Equality, it’s a very exciting time for the New Zealand LGBTQI community (including me!). Their photos are so full of love! Thank you Courtney & Mel for sharing your love story. And a big thank you to Nelson Wedding Photography for perfectly capturing the day! x
“Mel and I had been talking about getting married for a while. The “proposal” (for want of a better word I guess!) came after Mel and I went shopping for engagement rings. We were on holiday in Australia, and Mel, who wasn’t originally going to have an engagement ring, found one that she really really liked. She liked it so much that she kept telling me how much she liked it, so off we went to buy it with big grins on our faces! I picked mine, but, as indecisive as I can be sometimes, I swapped mine for more bling later! Anyway, we went to the beach to have a drink and calm our collective nerves. Mel turned me and she said… “I’ll marry you if you marry me!” How could a girl refuse?!
Over the next 2 years we scrimped and saved and negotiated what ended up being our perfect wedding for us. We really struggled with not having enough money to have a reception to feed everyone, but we would have hated not to invite some people over others. In the end, we compromised and came up with a plan.
To put a small spanner in the works, I contracted pneumonia two weeks before the wedding. I was unable to stand for long enough to have my wedding dress fitted the week before. I was in the emergency department exactly one week before. I had been in bed for two weeks and was getting weaker. My friend had to seek my wedding shoes for me. My biggest worry was not about how sick I was, but that I couldn’t stand for long enough to make it through the ceremony – I was going to go, and if I had to lie or sit down during my vows, I was going to marry Mel that day come hell or high water!
The big day finally came, Mel and I broke tradition (ha!) and stayed together the night before, then Mel went off to get ready with her parents. Our good friend Jaz Grew was an absolute trooper – she raced between Mel’s place and mine, getting me, my bride and my brides’ maids hair & makeup ready. We had our ceremony on our desired golden beach, Little Kaiteriteri. We were true to form; two girls equals twice as late!
The ceremony was beautiful; we walked up the isle together as planned, walking to “Bless This Day” by Liv McBride. The beach was full of our closest relations and friends – there were so many more than we had anticipated! All that genuine love and support, all gathered to be with us on our special day, and to welcome us as a newly joined married couple. After the ceremony, Mel and I took a moment alone to reflect and regroup – wow! We’d done it!
Our reception was at Relish, a gorgeous small intimate restaurant overlooking Nelson harbours. The meals were spectacular. We had sweet speeches from Mel’s dad and an enormously special gift from Mel’s family – they had spent months travelling up Wales and other parts of the UK gathering photos and special messages from her family members who couldn’t make it.
As we were dined with our closest friends and family, our other guests were arriving next door at the yacht club. Over the 2 years between the proposal and the wedding, we had gathered candles, candle holders, glass stones, glass vases, pearls and other beautiful decorations, all themed in a tasteful rainbow (groups of colours, red, orange, yellow, blue, green and then purple, grouped one per table). The candles were lit, the band had arrived from Invercargill (three amazing Musicians called Lipstick and had begun playing. One of our “bridesmaids” (if you can call that, given that he was a boy!), introduced us. We entered to a huge gathering of the rest of our friends and family, about 150 or so, all clapping and cheering. We stayed out well beyond our expectations – right up until our bridesmaid said (tongue in cheek) “you know, I love you guys, but will you f**k off already and go to the hotel!?” They really did have it all under control, we just didn’t want the day to end…