There is a lot of dialogue out there about weddings – anyone who has ever been engaged can attest to the fact that as soon as That Ring is anywhere near That Finger, you will be overwhelmed with ideas and trends and suggestions and plenty of “do this” and “oh, no! you absolutely cannot do that”. 


Philippa Thomas Celebrant Blog

But here’s a little secret from the wedding industry – it’s YOUR wedding. That’s “YOUR” plural, by the way, because there are two of you getting married. Two of you. That’s it! Everything else is optional (or, in the least, able to be modified to suit). E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. 


A great example of this is Unplugged Weddings. We’ve all seen the viral posts on Facebook of the wedding photos ruined by Uncle Larry with his iPad blocking the view of the photographer. That’s annoying, Uncle Larry. But you don’t have to have an unplugged wedding IF YOU DON’T WANT TO. If you have zero cares about people filming/photographing your ceremony on their cell phones, then let them. I mean, we all want people present, in the moment, all that, for sure! But, I didn’t hire a videographer at my wedding and I didn’t know that my cousin filmed the whole thing. How did I find out? She edited it and made a really amazing wedding video for us as a surprise. So yea, do what is best for you. 


To break it down even simpler, here is a list of some standard FAQs for a wedding in New Zealand: 


·      Do I have to have a bridal party? No. 

·      Can I have 15 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen and 8 flower girls? Yes. 

·      But … my bridal party is uneven! Is this ok? Yes. Your bridal party is not going to fall over due to being unbalanced. 

·      Can I invite 600 guests? Yes

·      Can I invite ZERO guests? Yes. 

·      Can I wear white? Yes

·      Can I wear blue? Yes

·      Can I wear activewear and trainers? Yes 

·      Can I get married at a church? Yes

·      Can I get married on a beach? Yes

·      Can I get married at midnight? Yes 

·      Can I get married at 11:06am on a Tuesday? Yes

·      Do I have to have matching chairs, chair covers, mason jars and a board welcoming people to my wedding? No

·      But, can I, though? Yes. 

·      Do I have to put money on the bar? No

·      Can I put money on the bar? Yes 

·      Who can witness my wedding? Anyone 

·      … even Uncle Larry with the iPad? Yes

·      Do I have to change my name when I’m married? No 

·      Can I change my name when I’m married? Yes 

I mean, I think you get the idea. There are NO RULES. I mean, if we are being technical, you doneed a registered marriage celebrant to make it legit, and you will need two witnesses as well. And a marriage licence, of course. But that’s it. It’s a pretty short list, really. 


And there is absolutely no shame in doing things the “Pinterest” way or doing things the complete opposite. Have the wedding YOU WANT. 


Robyn and Scott came from LA to get married here in Queenstown. They wanted to get married somewhere that looked entirely different to anywhere in California. And so, we hiked 40 minutes through native New Zealand bush with four of their friends, one photographer and one videographer, to get married at an amazing, isolated Lake. They wore hiking boots and wedding outfits and we carried backpacks with all of our “wedding” clothes, as well as plenty of sustainable snacks. And they did it. They got married at a viewing platform, then enjoyed the views, lapped up the scenery, had some amazing photos and we hiked back in time for them to grab Ferg Burger for dinner. 

Lake Sylvan

Lake Sylvan

Lake Sylvan

Lake Sylvan

Lake Sylvan

Lake Sylvan


Amberley and Grant chose The Millbrook Resort for their wedding. They had a bridal party consisting of three bridesmaids, one groomsman, two groomswomen and three flower girls. But they opted to stand alone at the front, seating the bridal party amongst their guests. 


Martha and Craig didn’t want a wedding, they just wanted to get married. We went out to Paradise with one photographer and one random person to serve as witness and stood in the trees amongst logs and branches. We had a chat about their visit to Queenstown, we laughed about how they met, we discussed their time living abroad together on an isolated island. They had some letters and prerecorded messages from their close family and friends that they watched and read out. And then, they read vows to one another, exchanged rings and I told them that they were officially, formally, awesomely, actually totes married. And they kissed and we cheered and then we threw petals that had come off her bouquet over them both. 

Paradise, New Zealand

Paradise, New Zealand


At the end of the day, it’s your day. It might be the best day of your entire life, it might just be a really rad day amongst a million other really rad days that you get to share with the person you love, hard. 


You will be told a lot that there are things you must do, or things you absolutely can’t do. But at the end of the day, what are you going to look back on, and smile? When you close your eyes, what do YOU see as your ultimate day to make that ultimate commitment to this person who you fancy being beside you for a long time to come? 


Visualise it, and do it. 


Have the wedding YOU WANT.