Rachel & Glenn by Charlotte Kiri

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

We both are in communications, Glenn is a writer and content director for a large publisher and Rachel is a talker – actually a freelancer in public relations and events.

As well as that Rachel has been a wedding celebrant for the past 4 years and married over 30 couples. It is a job that Rachel just loves – talking about love to people in love! So Rachel has certainly seen her share of weddings and spent many hours pouring over wedding inspiration as part of her business and of course as personal interest.

We met through our jobs when Glenn was an editor of an automotive magazine and Rachel was in automotive public relations, (so a bit of a taboo on the work front at first!) we had actually been in contact over the phone and email through work for years but never actually crossed paths. Both of us were in Milan on a work trip where Rachel’s company was hosting Glenn. For the first time we met face to face and had the opportunity over a limoncello after dinner in the bar to chat in depth.

That night we couldn’t believe how much we clicked and we had so many things in common including that our mothers families had fled their countries of birth in the exact same year with Glenn’s mum’s family settling in NZ and Rachel’s mum’s family in Australia. This meant we both met every member of our extended family on our mothers sides the following year at huge ’50 years’ celebrations commemorating their migration. No one could quite believe the coincidence of this for both of us.

When we returned back to Australia post our work trip in Milan we met up for a drink and Milan reunion chat and then commenced about 3-4 months where Glenn chased Rachel while she got scared of actually finding the right guy and then finally caved and stopped running when she realised all her dreams had actually come true in Glenn for real! Our friends described Rachel’s behaviour as ‘come here come here – no go away go away’ constantly tormenting poor Glenn who had fallen head over heels pretty quickly.

We both consider ourselves a bit on the weird side! Glenn refers to Rachel as his wonderful weirdo because he delights and perplexes with her unique and upbeat personality which keeps life so entertaining and fun. We have never had a fight as we balance each other immediately when one gets grumpy or upset and try to help with positivity and understanding and this makes for such a calm and happy relationship. Not only that we laugh! As much as possible, at each other, at ourselves and together at life.

Both of us refer to ourselves as nerds and big kids. We are known for our love of puzzles and difficult lego projects, as much as we are known for having a the flair of throwing epic parties at our home from birthdays to our annual grand final day bbq. So we have a mix of quiet and crazy life and we love it that way. We have a dog Molly who is very much a part of most things we do. Sadly she couldn’t travel to NZ for our wedding.

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…

We chose to get married in NZ for a couple of reasons… although Glenn was actually born in the South Island of NZ it was more so that Rachel is obsessed with NZ and feels so incredibly happy when she is there, an addiction that Glenn now shares.

We looked at a few places but given that we both love the forest and log cabins when we found Fiordland lodge we knew it was the place for us for the ceremony and the reception. It is a giant log cabin with exposed and raw logs and the biggest open fireplace in the south island, so we felt happy that if we had to have the ceremony indoors we would still be very happy. Not to mention the view out to the lake and mountains was just so special.

With a love of love and it’s magic as a celebrant, Rachel set out to create a magical themed ceremony setting. Along with magic it was to have a whimsical, elf-like feel.

 We knew we wanted everyone to be included, something Rachel had noticed at other weddings when everyone didn’t have a seat how sometimes it doesn’t feel as inclusive. So we came up with the idea of everyone in a full circle around us and everyone seated so the energy was enclosed and everyone could see perfectly. Our desire to have everyone included also led us to have no bridal party so that everyone was a part of the day.

The brief to the talented Gypsy at The Vase was to create a magical forest floor circle that we could stand in for the ceremony and she provided the most amazing creation that she even went hiking out in Paradise trust just to get mossy sticks to include as per my brief.

We did the additional styling ourselves including simply tied ribbons on stakes marking out the 4 quarters of the circle with small aisles and creating a field of silver hearts on mini stakes as an aisle for the walk-in.

Inside Gypsy continued the magic with more mossy twigs and greenery flat lay across tables and with candles in all different sized vases all around the room including littering the front of the stunning blue stone fire place.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Rachel wore Grace loves lace. Being a wedding celebrant she had been obsessing over their style and dresses for a few years. In fact the dress that she chose, which was the first one she tried on coincidently, she had liked so much she had actually posted it twice by accident to her celebrant business Instagram! The Grace Loves Lace whole experience was amazing, from the friendliness and helpfulness of staff to the whole experience of trying on outfits in their showroom. They make you feel welcome, comfortable and like they are your friends with a genuine interest in your special day. So much so they asked for photos and video post wedding and wrote back to them with such gratitude and praise for updating them. Rachel also purchased her grey fur jacket from Grace Loves Lace.

Her dress was accessorised with Giuseppe Zanotti white ankle boots with an epic gold heel. She knew she wanted to be comfortable and not really being a heels kind of girl she wanted something unique and fitting for an outdoor wedding.

She wore a gold necklace, earrings and bracelet set with diamond doves on them that was passed down to her from her now deceased Grandmother who had worn them on her wedding day in India in 1948. These became the inspiration for the gold feather head piece that she wore in the back of her hair, made by friend and well-known Melbourne milliner, Jill Humphries.

Glenn had an incredible experience having his first custom made suit made for him by The Bespoke Corner in Melbourne. Miles Wharton who runs the Bespoke Tailor made him feel like a King through the process. His beautifully tailored black velvet tux came complete with his initials on the cuffs and the wedding date under the collar.

He accessorised with shoes and socks from Aquila.

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

For the ceremony we wrote a rhyming poem, Dr Seuss style, about our love story and the path from meeting each other to ‘big chase’ till we got together properly through to our engagement, we had two of our best friends, Bree and Stu, deliver it with much dramatic flair at the ceremony and this had everyone laughing.

As part of our all-inclusive feel to the wedding we had the MC’s introduce the guests to a concept of open mic night for the speeches and should anyone like to speak they just needed to put their name down with them but they would be limited to 2 mins per person and if they continued the music would start to play like the Oscars to wind them up.

The speeches that we had were excellent, some prepared by parents and some ad hoc from wedding guests. All were funny and emotional. Rachel’s mum revealed in her speech that Rachel had been conceived on a holiday with Rachel’s father when they had been travelling around the South Island of NZ in a campervan. This explains a lot about Rachel’s affinity for NZ and the South Island and something no one had known before!

Also it rained on and off all day… when it came to the ceremony time the sky opened up and the sun peaked through giving the most stunning light just in time for the vows. As the clouds moved away post ceremony we could see that it had snowed on the tops of the mountains and everyone was so excited by it. I have never seen so many rainbows in one weekend as over our wedding weekend. The sky did so many stunning effects. It also made for interesting photos as we trooped through the pampas grass onsite with our clear umbrellas (lucky I bought these in case!). Our photographer Charlotte had to think quick on her feet and managed to make amazing use of the rainy and moody sky to capture some stunning photos.

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

We actually collected advice from so many couples who had got married, especially those who had done destination weddings, about what to do to ensure our day was the best day ever. Some of the BEST advice we got was, don’t sweat the small stuff – things will go wrong but nothing else matters but getting married to the love of your life and to let everything else go and smile. This definitely came in handy to remember when the singer forgot to learn the walk in song for Rachel’s entrance and didn’t advise this to the last minute when Rachel was waiting to walk out and no music was playing!!! Rachel had to take a deep breath for this one and smile before getting the singer to just play any music so she could get married!

The other great piece of advice we got was to slow down and breathe and get a grip of the day at certain times so you could ground yourself and enjoy it and not have it all fly by. We loved spending the night before the wedding together and then having breakfast together and have a walk around the lodge grounds and look at the view together before separating to get ready. This was really special time for us to take stock of what was ahead of us.

We also had our MC’s give us a heads up 15 mins before seating everyone for dinner and sent us away to our bridal suite. We went back there and had a quick hug and ‘OMG’ moment where we just stopped and sat down together to catch our breath before we were introduced back to the room and back in the swing of the party. It re-energised us, it gave us a moment to take it all in and bounce back and enjoy the night.

Our biggest advice is don’t get stressed by the wedding, you will be spending the rest of your lives together and this day is a special one but most important is that you celebrate each other and focus on your love and it’s celebration. Stay calm, balance each other, be patient with each other and enjoy every minute with gratitude, not just of your wedding day but of your lives together. It’s so special to find one person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Photography: Charlotte Kiri Photography | Videography: Tango Films | Venue & Catering: Fiordland Lodge, NZ | Celebrant: Charlotte Winkle | Styling & Planner: Rachel, The Bride |  Hire: Party Plus | Flora: The Vase Queenstown | Bride’s Dress: Grace Loves Lace | Groom’s Outfit: The Bespoke Corner | Groom’s Ring:  Kalvari | Bride’s Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti  | Groom’s Shoes:  Aquila | Bride’s Feather Headpiece: Millinery Jill  | Makeup: Tre Dallas Make up | Hair: Alissia Hitchcock | Groom’s Fragrance: Tom Ford | Bride’s Fragrance:  Diptyque