Monica & David

BG73 Readers Weddings4

Monica and David Henley planned a weekend celebration with an outdoor, New Zealand vibe. Monica shares the details of their special wedding…

We have always loved the way weddings are celebrated in many cultures around the world – with a few days and nights of festivities, symbolic rites of passage and ample time for extended family and community to meet. We wanted to fuse these ideas with a relaxed, natural, New Zealand camping style.  We also wanted a vibe of participation, with people mucking in together and communally creating an event, for people to feel a central part of it, and a great way for people to meet each other. So, with the help of family and friends, we created a weekend event where people could camp if they wanted to and come to whatever parts of the celebration they could. My aunt and uncle generously offered us the use of their property in Clarkeville, just north of Christchurch. It was the perfect venue, complete with a beautiful fresh stream and garden where we could have the ceremony, plus lots of space for lawn games, for people to camp, for us to put up a marquee and for kids to run around. We started the weekend with a potluck dinner at a local hall. It was such a nice way for us to see people from all over the country and the world before our actual wedding day. Dave’s mum and dad are great Scottish country dancers and led us all in a big ‘ho – it became clear very quickly that people were ready for a great weekend of fun and festivities. On the day of the wedding, festivities started with afternoon tea and drinks. During this time we had an official welcome and people were each given a piece of flax to plait together with someone else’s flax that they had just met. This was to symbolise the linking together of so many lives through our marriage and also to reflect our links to the land and to Aotearoa. After the garden ceremony and wedding photos, everyone got into some more Scottish dancing while the sun set, played lawn games, sipped on champagne and slowly made their way into the marquee for an amazing dinner. We danced late into the night. Finally, when only a few of us remained, we turned it down a notch, chatted, sang, played guitars and ended up sleeping in the marquee! On Sunday morning everyone joined together again for brunch. Lots of people contributed and we enjoyed great leftover food and drink from the day and night before. It was amazing to see people having made great connections and forming friendships with each other. It was everything and more than we could have possibly imagined and we have our fantastic family and friends to thank for it.

Photos by Rachel Callander. Bride’s gown: House of Kavina. Groom’s attire: Barkers

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