Alyce + Mitchell by Kate Craig Brown

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and yourrelationship

We are a pretty regular couple! We met roughly 6 years ago through a mutual friend but were a bit slow off the mark to make it official! It wasn’t until about 9 months later when we still couldn’t quite shake each other that we decided to finally make it official.

Since then it has been pretty smooth sailing with multiple overseas holidays (when you could actually do that pre COVID), living in multiple places before deciding on a move to the Central Coast where we purchased our first home together. Since then we have added 4 chickens and 1 dog to our family. I work as an Emergency Nurse and Mitchell works in finance. Our lives are definitely about more than just our jobs though.

We love to be outdoors soaking up the sun as much as possible, either bushwalking, at the beach or out in our garden. We especially love dog friendly places where we can take our much loved pup with us as well. We love taking time out to enjoy the simple things in life like having a fire in our backyard, with a few beers, our doggie at our feet and watching our chickens scratch around. We are currently doing some renovations on our home and updating our garden to include a bigger veggie garden so we can grow more of our own veggies and herbs. One thing that stands out as being unique in our relationship is the way that we are a constant reminder to each other to take life slowly, stop, and enjoy all the little moments. The things that make us the happiest are doing the most simple things together and it makes life seem pretty damn good!

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

Our Wedding style was casual, bohemian, chilled and basically like a big picnic with all of our favourite people! We had always envisioned the day laid back and with minimal formalities. From the moment we started planning we wanted a cocktail style wedding with food trucks and a live musician (so so thankful that Rob showed up last minute as that was one of our most wanted!). We loved the idea of our guests being able to sit down where they like and mingle as they like. We also wanted our guests to have a choice in their food and eat at the time which they wanted so the food truck style worked absolutely perfectly for us.

Neither of us had travelled to New Zealand until 10 months before the wedding. We saw pictures of Criffel Station Woolshed online and thought “wow, that is our dream Wedding venue”. When we broached the idea of a New Zealand wedding to Mitchell’s parents they were all for it. Having travelled to New Zealand before they told us it would be beautiful, and Mitchell’s Dad especially, encouraged us to do it. We had few days of leave free before we were due to fly to Fiji for a friend’s wedding. So we quickly booked some flights and travelled to New Zealand for 3 days to check it out. From the moment we visited New Zealand we were absolutely in love and knew it was the place we would get married at.

We loved the feeling of freedom in the wide open space at Criffel Station. As you walk down to the Ceremony site the view is obscured and you are walking through trees, all of a sudden it opens up to a clearing that is the Ceremony site and the view is breathtaking. Especially on a cloudless day, which we were fortunate enough to have on our Wedding Day, you look out to the mountains with fields beneath you. The setting was pretty much the beauty of the nature that surrounded us.

At our outdoor Reception we had the bar on one side, Mexican food truck and Gelato truck on the other side and in between was rugs on the grass, bar leaners under sun umbrellas and giant jenga and connect 4 for our guests to enjoy. This was exactly what we wanted and our idea of a big picnic! As the sun went down and it got a bit cooler we moved indoors to the beautiful rustic Woolshed to sing and dance the night away with Rob leading the way.

Tell us about your main outfits:

The main goal for both of us when choosing our outfits was that we wanted to be comfortable for the whole day. I wore a loose fitting lace dress with a silk slip beneath – dress by Spell Bridal. It was an absolute dream dress! I could sit down on the rugs with ease, dance the night away and move so comfortably the whole day.

Mitchell also wanted a look that was casual but it could be noted that he was the Groom. He was comfortable all day and wore a linen shirt which was perfect for the New Zealand climate. His white linen shirt had a lining of bright floral colours which added a little pop of colour. He is already looking for events he can wear his wedding outfit to again because he found it so comfortable. We decided not to see each other’s outfits until we saw each other at the Wedding so thankfully the outfits all matched well and Mitchell has good taste in clothes!

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

One of our favourite memories is actually from the next morning! We decided to stay onsite at Criffel Station at their Kanuka glamping site. We barely slept that night because we were still so happy and excited and kept waking each other up to talk about moments that had happened in the previous 24hrs. It would have been around 5 or 6am that we decided we should just get up and watch the sunrise. As we got up and ventured out of our tent we watched the full moon (as it had been a full moon on our Wedding night) setting on one side and dawn appearing over the mountains in the other direction. We snuggled under blankets on the hammock and bean bags with warm cups of tea as we watched the sunrise on the first morning of our married life together. Criffel Station is a working deer farm so we sat there for a long while and watched the deer run in the fields beneath us and just talked and soaked up how amazing the last few days had been.

Another favourite moment would have been when Rob (the legendary musician) arrived. Our run sheet got thrown to the wind when our scheduled musician didn’t show. So we started our speeches earlier instead and just kept a Spotify playlist running in the meantime. My sister, Joanna, was only a few lines into her speech when Rob came tearing into the carpark. He pulled up near the crowd before parking and started honking his horn and got out of his car (all while still putting his belt on). All of our guests went crazy and everyone screamed and cheered his arrival. It was a great moment and reminded us this is why we invited these people and love them. Even when things aren’t going to plan they embraced the new plans with us.

After the ceremony, the owner of Criffel Station drove us and Kate (our photographer) to a private location onsite for photos. We had seen a photo of another couple at this site but did not really know what to expect. When we arrived and jumped out of the car I cried at the beauty of this site (I did A LOT of crying this day). From this location you could see all the way out to Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Kate had asked us for our favourite music artists during our planning conversations. At this site Kate wandered seamlessly around us playing our favourite music from a speaker she carried along. During this time we enjoyed the landscape, listened to the birds and chatted endlessly about the fact that we had just gotten married! This was the moment that Wanaka became a part of our souls forever.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

Enjoy every single moment of the day and the whole process of getting married. Enjoy sharing the joy and happiness with your family, friends and partner. It doesn’t have to be the perfect day and something is bound to not go exactly to plan but just roll with it and you can still have the most magical and beautiful day. Don’t let the stress of planning a Wedding make you forget the reasons why you are marrying one another. When things started getting stressful for us and we felt like there were lots of ends to follow up we did a spreadsheet. A massive spreadsheet with every single little detail we had to follow up prior to the Wedding. We also had a column with a date of when it was to be completed by and allocated the task to one of us. This way we ensured we shared the load of wedding planning and it took away the last minute stress of things we might otherwise have forgotten.

Trust other people’s recommendations. On our brief weekend trip to NZ, we checked out Burrito Craft and ordered some food and chatted to them that we were considering having them for our Wedding. The lovely Julia from Burrito Craft wrote down some other vendors she recommended for weddings including Helen (our celebrant). We quickly called Helen and arranged to meet for a drink that night as we were flying out the following day. When we met Helen she straight away disclosed that she was in fact Julia’s Mum! Helen then went on to suggest her niece, Kate (our amazing Photographer). So we basically had their whole family to help us with our Wedding but it worked great!!

We had the best celebrant, delicious food and the most amazing photos and we had to put barely any thought in to it all. Also, have the day you want to have! We didn’t have a typical Wedding but that is also not the kind of day we wanted. Our families were completely supportive of this because they agreed we were planning a day that suited our personalities and styles. We can honestly say that it was the best day of our lives! It was so much more amazing then we could ever have imagined. What made it amazing was having our favourite people there with us to share the moment with. At the end of the day all that matters is who you are marrying and who you are celebrating it with!

Ceremony Location: Criffel Station | Photographer: Kate Craig Brown Photography | Celebrant: Helen May | Entertainment: Robert Glen Music | Hire: Wanaka Wedding Hire and The Rustic Rabbit | Outdoor lighting: Entertainment Solutions | Flora: Alpine Flowers | Grazing Table: Lavish Grazing Co. Catering: Burrito Craft | Drink Service: The Container Bar | Ice Cream Van: Black Peak Gelato | Signage: River and Foxxe | Bride’s Dress: Spell | Groom’s Attire: Sargent Peppers Menswear | Rings: Monty Adams | Bride’s Shoes: Tony Bianco | Earrings: Barefoot and Blonde | Charms: Perfect Charmer | Makeup: Ella from Beauty Spot | Hair: Sara from Absolutely Fabulous Hair | Bridesmaid’s Dress: Chancery The Label