A bride with the good sense to propose to her husband? Now that’s our kind of human. And Criffel Station Woolshed in Wanaka, New Zealand, is our kind of wedding venue. A stunning 2000-hectare high country deer farm with an epic shearing shed, it was the perfect space for Lauren and John’s eclectic wedding.
“We arrived in NZ the month before and found everything from thrift stores and made decorations”, says Lauren who also organised a pop-up camping ground for 50 of their nearest and dearest. So very cool.
Tell us about how you met and the proposal?
We met working at the Grace Darling Hotel in Melbourne. I proposed to John in bed one morning. I’d been thinking about it for a while and really wanted to make that commitment to John. Afterward I found out he’d be wanting to ask my Dad when we’d been in Europe that Christmas but everything went haywire when my sister busted out the news that she was pregnant and my other sister went into labour so John obviously put it on the back burner 🙂
What DIY projects did you accomplish for the wedding?
Everything! We arrived in NZ the month before and found everything from thrift stores and made decorations and got enough camping stuff for 50 people and carted it all down to Otago from Nelson.
What inspired your wedding style?
Loving NZ and me having spent a fair amount of time in Spain (and some time studying Flamenco – just for fun, I was never awesome 🙂 )
What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?
Don’t listen to people who tell you you have to be practical, don’t waste your money on frilly crap that won’t make the day any better, and don’t get so caught up in the planning that you forget your relationship.
What does marriage mean to you?
It’s probably best summed up in the Tom Robbins (my favourite author) quote we had read out..
“One day we might wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay… And blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route.
The world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.
Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”
What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?
The ceremony, it was all as surreal and magical as the photos. Having all your friends from around the world in one surreal location in the middle of nowhere. The ceremony had everyone sniffling, even the boys! I thought it would be weird to do in front of everyone and boring for guests, but it really touched us all and set a kind of magic in the air for the rest of the day. The dance was unforgettable and then everyone kept dancing non-stop for the rest of the night. Especially me!
Any funny stories that surrounded your wedding?
The dance! And our first dance was unrehearsed, quite inebriated, totally hilarious and the most romantic thing ever. It was to Elvis’ live version of Unchained Melody and we got a standing ovation
‘I got you Babe’ by Sonny and Cher.
First dance song?
The live Elvis version of ‘Unchained Melody’.
CREDITS: Photos Jazzy Connors // Florist Hattie Molloy // Ceremony and reception Criffel Station Woolshed // Accommodation Taylor and Bell Tent Company and Lake Hawea Holiday Park // Catering Fully Pitted // Prop hire, lighting and signage So Sweet Party Hire // Furniture hire Wanaka Party Hire // Celebrant Gwen Hendry // Rings Welfe // Transport Alpine Conexions and Wanaka Wedding Cars // Bridal gown Silver Threads and Golden Needles // Lingerie Chantelle Paris via French Bikini // Shoes Chie Mihara // Hair Emma Ross // Makeup Catherine Waddell Payne // Grooms suit Suit Shop // Shoes Roberts & Hassett