Real Wedding – Shaun & Kelvin, Wellington NZ  
Real Wedding – Shaun & Kelvin, Wellington NZ  
Real Wedding – Shaun & Kelvin, Wellington NZ  
Real Wedding – Shaun & Kelvin, Wellington NZ  

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.

The meeting.

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!


The ‘one’.

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.


The proposal.

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.


Planning process.

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.


Style inspiration. 

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.


The ceremony.

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.


The outfit. 

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!


Favourite moments.

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.


Wedding soundtrack.

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.


Planning surprises.

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. 




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

Suits: Institchu

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

Cake / cake topper: Wedding cake of cheese made by In House Catering; Topper made by Flaxation

Entertainment: Dean Ward The Wedding Crashers

Photo booth: Simple Booth HALO

Hotel: QT

Tea ceremony venue: Hot Sauce at QT

Honeymoon: Tokyo – Europe (Italy/Malta/Finland)

Wedding website service: WithJoy


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