Real Wedding – Shaun & Kelvin, Wellington NZ
Kelvin and Shaun drew inspiration from the New Zealand scenery surrounding their celebrations and their love for hiking and beaches to create their theming ethos, “Mountains to Sea”. The result is an impeccably stylish soiree interspersed with layers of personal motifs and carefully curated detail. And underpinning it all? Effortless, infectious emotion.
A rich colour palette of deep forest green and soft indigo, with hints of teal and violet, gives a modern impact with a classically timeless sensibility. Touches of New Zealand natural elements included paua cufflinks and flax buttonholes, while the rings featured a mountain image. We love the florals by Yvette Edwards, a blend of whimsical elegance with a masculine touch, perfect to elevate the warmth of the venue and add textural interest.
Overwhelmingly, it’s the sense of abundant joy and all-out fun captured in every frame by Had To Be You Weddings that had us feeling all the feels. This is one dream day that undoubtedly was equally as fun as it is aesthetically stunning, ultimately the perfect combination.
To see every captivatingly curated detail, scroll on.
We met playing badminton in Perth. Every week, we’d spend hours playing badminton before heading down to Chinatown for late-night suppers. Sixteen years later, we’ve perfected that cycle of eating and working it off!
Our relationship grew organically. There was no defining moment; we just realised we spent every moment together, being active, eating, drinking, and travelling. We’re quite different and have challenged each other over the years, growing and taking the best bits of each other yet retaining our individuality.
On Mt. Fuji’s summit. Shaun surprised Kelvin with a proposal hidden in a photo of their seafood dinner the night before: “Will you Kelly-marry me?”. Initially in disbelief, Kelvin eventually said yes. We celebrated with a sunrise before descending the mountain.
We were walking around Wellington Harbour, and Shaun pointed out The Boatshed, a venue he had been to a 21st at many years ago and said he’d love to get married there. The door was open, so Kelvin said, ‘Let’s go in.’ The next thing we knew, we were setting a date.
We had clearly defined roles: Shaun would organise the wedding, and Kelvin would organise the honeymoon. It was 2019, and as a destination wedding, most arrangements were made online. A practice that proved helpful when the pandemic hit.
One nice surprise was meeting our photographer, Laura, who was recommended by Melbourne friends. Instantly connecting, we’re so happy she could capture our special day in New Zealand.
One of the very first things we decided upon was the flax buttonholes from Flaxation, and our website and invites were designed using these as inspiration.
We’ve always loved hiking and beaches, and we love NZ flora and fauna. So, our inspiration evolved to ‘Mountains to Sea’, using a palette of Wood Pigeon, Tui, Paua, native flora, etc. Blues and greens, with hints of teal and purple.
The energy we wanted was a party atmosphere. We wanted people to have the freedom to move about, so we opted for a grazing table, bar stools, and leaners.
We were humbled by the amount of people who travelled, especially in a tough economic climate. 75% of the guests were international. The blending of cultures was particularly significant and allowed for some special moments over the weekend: a pounamu blessing ceremony, a Chinese tea ceremony, and then the formal wedding ceremony.
Aligning with our ‘Mountains to Sea’ inspiration, we chose blue and green suit jackets paired with grey trousers. The blue was easy to find, but we dedicated significant time to finding the perfect green. Touches of NZ were incorporated with paua cufflinks and flax buttonholes.
The rings feature a mountain motif, symbolising our love for nature and acknowledging connections with Fuji and Taranaki.
We opted for self-tying bow-ties based on a friend’s suggestion: they look sexy when casually undone later in the evening. He wasn’t wrong!
The ceremony was absolutely our favourite moment of the day, mostly due to our amazing celebrant, who kept everyone engaged, laughing, and feeling genuinely moved throughout the entire ceremony.
A special moment unfolded during our photoshoot when a massive octopus ventured onto the shore to pay us a surprise visit!
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage feels like the most natural progression in our relationship. While we’re both completely capable of maintaining our independence, neither of us can imagine a life without one another. We offer each other comfort and challenge, balancing one another and pushing each other to be the best we can be.
Ceremony beginning: Po karekare Ana by Kiri Te Kanawa & Maori Music Group
Groom’s ceremony entrance: My Boy by Marlon Williams
Signing: Sway by Bic Runga
Cake cutting: Your Song by Eli Goulding
Recessional: Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder
Reception entry: Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede
First dance: Stand By Me by Florence & The Machine
Second dance: Nutbush by Tina Turner
Last dance: Last Dance by Donna Summer
Funny stories or near disasters.
We had to cancel our April 2020 wedding just 30 days before, at the onset of the pandemic. Although devastating at the time, this experience made us stronger, and our rescheduled day in 2023 became even more meaningful.
We were ecstatic that all but one of our vendors from 2020 could join us for our 2023 wedding. They had all been so considerate through the postponing, and reuniting with them felt like getting the band back together. We had the added bonus of having developed friendships with them over the three years.
We were also very happy with our decision to use flax buttonholes, they were still perfect three years later!
Words of wisdom.
Keep the day true to yourselves. We had a clear vision of the type of vibe that we both wanted ourselves and our guests to experience. This made it so much easier to plan the details.
Dreaming of a destination wedding? Perhaps even taking the celebrations overseas for a truly inspired celebration? We’ve curated some of our favourite real weddings from abroad, for your daydreaming pleasure.
SHAUN & KELVIN’S VENDORS
We included in our speech the following thank you to our vendors. “To our celebrant Hogan, photographer Laura, caterer Beth & Team, DJ Dean, and planner Mae. We know a lot of businesses in the wedding industry didn’t survive the challenges of the pandemic. Now, as we’ve seen you all in action in your respective roles, it’s clear why you’re still here. You have supported us and reassured us. You’ve been calm and professional, but kept it fun. Hogan and Laura, in particular, our real and virtual sessions over the years have really cemented your place in our hearts as firm friends. You are all amazing. We wish you all well in the future, and we’ll be sure to tag and promote you!”
Ceremony & reception venue:The Boatshed, Wellington NZ
Celebrant: Hogan Gill, Happy Anchor Marriages
Photography: Laura McGuire, Had To Be You Weddings
Styling: Mae Pullar, Mavis & Foxe Events
Decor / hire: The Vintage Party
Florist (venue): Yvette Edwards
Florist (buttonholes & cake topper): Anita Rodger, Flaxation
Shoes: Bared Footwear
Rings: Rhett Dale, Uniform Black
Bow ties: The Tie Bar
Catering: Beth George, In House Catering
Beverages: Regional Wines
Activity prizes (novelty tea towels): Print Locker
Entertainment: Dean Ward The Wedding Crashers
Photo booth: Simple Booth HALO
Honeymoon: Tokyo – Europe (Italy/Malta/Finland)
Wedding website service: WithJoy