New Zealand: Day 3 & 4 Getting Married


Day 3 - Queenstown: Day Before the Wedding


We headed to The Fig, a Lebanese cafe for breakfast. We learned if you grabbed food from the glass case on the counter, usually sandwiches and pies, it was a third of the cost of the food on their menus. We ate a sandwich and a baked tomato dish of shakshuka, so tasty.

We headed back on the road for the hour and half drive to Queenstown. We took a short cut through the mountain pass and on the way, passed by the cutest old hotel called the Coronado. The next time we visit, we are definitely staying there.

We arrived in Queenstown and headed to our gorgeous lake view Airbnb, there we met up with our wedding planner/photographer Warren from Heli Weddings and got the schedule for the next day (our wedding!)

After, we headed down the road five minutes to the Airbnb that my parents, my sister and her family, and my best friend Claudia were all staying in. We grabbed the ladies of the group and headed for a spa day at the Sofitel hotel in downtown. This is where we met up with Matt’s mom and step dad Barry. Matt went off with Barry for lunch and the ladies received a relaxing day-before-massage. After the massage, we went to the Left Bank restaurant in the hotel and had a Parisian lunch.

Matt and I then headed back to our Airbnb to prep for the wedding. Then that evening we met everyone for dinner at a restaurant called Ivy and Lola’s on the waterfront.

Matt’s Mom Patsy brought me a gift of something “old” and “borrowed.” It was Matt’s deceased grandfather’s gold wedding ring with these delicate charms (representing Matt and I attached) tied with lace and made into a bracelet. I heard many stories from Matt that his best friend growing up was his grandfather and on seeing this I was tearing up pretty hard at the dinner table.


Day 4 - Queenstown: The Big Day

Oh man today was the day we are getting married! Although I’m a bit older in my life, oddly enough it still feels too young, not sure how others get married straight out of college. Anyway Matt is amazing and I’m a super lucky girl.

The day started with me waking up well before sunrise and us heading to town and getting savory breakfast pastries at a cafe called Bespoke Kitchen. Matt loves coffee, so we grabbed him a grande coffee from the town Starbucks as well (don't judge, drip coffee is hard to come by in NZ). We stopped by a clothing store and picked up duck boots for Matt so his feet wouldn’t freeze in dress shoes at the top of the mountain.

By the time we were back at our place it was time for the whole day to get started. The hairdresser, Tina, arrived at 10:30am and gave me beautiful curls, unfortunately these totally fell out later. Then right as she was finishing, the makeup artist, Yanisa, arrived at 11:30. At this time Matt was all dressed and ready. He left to go buy us a cake to serve at dinner and pick up his parents from the hotel in town.

By 12:30 the whole family, photographer, and film crew arrived at the house and it was complete chaos. We shot our first look on the driveway and grabbed a few family photos at the house. Then we headed to a park near the airport and grabbed more photos of the family. Matt and I got a few moments walking and playing with fall leaves. We realized we forgot our wedding papers and had to go back to the house quickly to pick these up.

After this we headed to the helicopter pad at the airport. The six of us Philippa (celebrant), Matt (pilot), Warren (photographer), Robbie (film), James (slo-mo camera and drone operator) and us boarded the compact 6 person helicopter. We crossed the lake and headed to our first stop on top of the snowy Bayonet Peaks. Although the helicopter was extremely smooth and the view was mesmerizing, the helicopter ride itself was a bit daunting. This was my second time in a helicopter and Matt’s first, I don’t think he was frightened at all. We all received protective headsets with microphones so we could talk to one another, the crew made some ridiculous jokes and it really calmed my nerves.

When we got out of the helicopter at the top it was definitely cold. The snow in some places was up to our knees if we didn't step properly. I was really glad to be wearing sorel snow boots with thermals underneath my dress to keep my bottom half warm. I wanted to avoid wearing a jacket in the pictures, so my top half was freezing. Matt pretty much wore a regular suit with dress pants and no layers, he was shaking throughout. Luckily he bought the duck boots so his feet were dry.


We found a beautiful lookout on Bayonet Peak and Phillipa started the ceremony portion. She and Matt had worked together to talk about us and our memories, so the ceremony was very fun. After the main ceremony Matt recited his prepared vows. This whole section was a blur for me; I just remember the cold, the tears, and the feels. There was also that daunting yet exciting realization that this was finally it. Then we walked to the other side of the mountain and I said my prepared talk since I didn't want to recite my own vows... this speech made us both cry some more and Matt loved it. We took more photos and videos here then took off for the second peak.

The second peak was on a non snow covered vista called Cecil Peak (we landed on a questionable ridge line). This was an amazing view overlooking the lake below as was setting. We took more photos and videos, popped champagne and signed our wedding papers. Then we descended back down to the airport at 6pm and headed back to our Airbnb.

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I changed out of my constricting wedding dress and we headed to meet everyone for dinner at Josh Emmet’s (New Zealand’s Master Chef) restaurant, Rata. I arranged a pre-fixed feast style dinner that was so incredibly delicious, every dish being unique. Instead of going out after dinner we were both exhausted from the day and headed home to fall asleep.