Wedding Crashers

How do you know the bride and groom?

A safe enough question for making small talk at a wedding, but my response tended to raise a few eyebrows:

I designed their wedding invitations… and to add to the scandal of it all – the bride doesn’t know I’m coming!

wedding polaroid guest book

Crashing a wedding: wedding etiquette can be broken

I first met Jane at the Queenstown Wedding Fair. We didn’t even have a proper conversation – I just passed over my details as I had a crowd looking over my invites and I couldn’t talk.

Over the next couple of months Jane, her partner Steven and I met to discuss their upcoming wedding invitations and designing their Save the Dates. With two wedding ceremonies to organise – one all the way over in Ireland and up in Queenstown – they wanted to get invites early.

It was during the design of the invites that we got talking about how hard it was to make friends as a “grown up” in Dunedin. Everyone sticks to themselves and loves promising to catch up for a coffee – but seldom does. We decided to make a date!

Our Monday coffee dates are now a regular part of our routine – and we’ve even managed a couple of date nights with the boys who get on famously.

It was a couple of months out from the Queenstown blessing/ceremony when I got a message from her fiance Steven asking “Do you want to come to the wedding? I know Jane would love it. Sorry I don’t have an invite for you but I’m sure you can sort yourself out with one!”.

Hence how I found myself in the unusual predicament of having coffee with the bride-to-be a week out from her second ceremony, pretending I’d see her the next week… when really I was all set up for a weekend away in Queenstown as well!

Getting to the wedding

Of course, Friday dawns and the only snow Dunedin has had all winter has fallen. It’s a cracker. Daycare’s not opening till 10, the road between Outram and Middlemarch is closed. I have to go today as I have a meeting in Arrowtown at 10am the next morning… and oh – did I mention I was driving *alone* to Ranfurly, to pick up hubby on my way? Oh boy!

To add to my stress, somehow Craig thought it would be safer if I took his 4wd (which I drive exactly once a year when he’s pissed at Christmas) and I had to leave four hours earlier than planned – just in case it got worse. I’m so bloody nervous I don’t eat till I get to Ranfurly, and I have to stop for a coffee run (just how are you meant to do the coffee run when you’re driving a manual truck anyway?!)

coffee in ranfurly

After waiting round Ranfurly for hours while hubby finished work (and having no data on my cellphone OMG I want to die) we finally got on the road at 7pm – much later than planned – and headed to Queenstown. We felt pretty underdressed rocking up to Millbrook in the 4wd after working and travelling all day, but they made us feel right at home. And holy crap check out the bed.

massive bed at millbrook resort queenstown

Luckily the Hole in One bar was still open so we both had quick showers, changed and caught a golf buggy over to grab a couple of drinks.

wine at millbrook hole in one cafe

We scored an awesome deal – two nights accommodation, brekkie both mornings at the Clubhouse and $100 resort credit – so naturally, we had breakfast on-site, despite me having a 10am meeting and it being like, 9am.  And thank god we did walk to breakfast because when else would I get to see this beautiful view?!

millbrook resort on the way to breakfast

We GORGED ourselves on the buffet – there were cooked options too but loading up on the croissant, bacon, scrambled eggs and little sausages were enough for me.  My morning meeting cancelled at the last minute, so we decided to wander into Queenstown. The whole time I was on-edge, knowing that Jane would be in Queenstown getting her hair done and maybe doing last minute messages… I knew if she saw us, the surprise would be ruined!

Heading “home” to our lovely apartment, we drove past the wedding venue – the Lake Hayes Pavilion – and as we did, we saw Steven pulling in! SHIT! I could tell there was *someone* in the front seat, but I couldn’t tell if it was Jane, and so we just had to wait… times like this having a personalised number plate is a curse!

When we got home, it was time to get dressed. I was so excited about my outfit, a beautiful dress by Beau Couture – as soon as I tried it on, I knew it was perfect!

After getting ready we headed back to the Hole in One Café for a quick lunch, and then the complimentary shuttle bus dropped us to the wedding. We were pretty early – it was due to start at 3 and it was barely 2.15 – but I figured we could help set up if necessary… and I was right. Steven’s cousin had been delegated the set up, and he’d broken his wrist the night before! Using Jane’s notes and my recollections from her Monday-morning-coffee-convos, we set up the ceremony site and made sure it was perfect.

As guests started to arrive, there were a couple of people I knew so we got talking to them. Then Robyn, a mutual friend and Jane’s talented makeup artist arrived and saw me. She was thrilled to see me and assured me Jane would be as well – phew!

wedding guest who wasn't invited

As they reaffirmed their vows, Jane looked around and spotted me in the crowd – her mouth dropped open and *thank god* she was pleased to see me! After the short and sweet ceremony we headed inside to congratulate the lovely couple, mingle with the guests and have a mulled wine or hot chocolate… fitting for a mid-winter ceremony.

I loved the wee touches Jane & Steven had at their wedding – it was “sit where you want” and so instead of table numbers they had funny “talking points” – this was my favourite:

funny wedding reception talking point

Considering it was a wedding where we knew very few people… it was one of the best we’ve been to. Such a lovely bunch of people, we left having made friends and plans to catch up with them again.

The next day we headed home and dropped into the Omakau Commercial Hotel – I just wanted to share these pics because not only was it the best mocha that I’ve had in a while, it was a great place to stop for a light lunch, so I wanted to recommend going via the Ida Valley for something different, if you’re travelling from Queenstown to Dunedin. And of course the Omakau Commercial Hotel was just named the Best Country Hotel sooooo there’s that too 🙂



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