The Ultimate Canterbury Wedding Giveaway | Mel and Reed


It feels like a lifetime ago now, but back in February Mel and Reed became the winners of the first ever Ultimate Canterbury Wedding Giveaway with the most refreshing entry speaking nothing other than that of their love for one another. Five months of planning came and went at the speed of light and on the wedding day it became crystal clear that these two shared a love so uniquely special and sparks were ignited from the hearts of everyone in attendance as they said yes to forever together.

I’m switching things up a little today and sharing a love story from two perspectives because it’s just too good not to! Soak it all up, then be wowed with the visual goodness from their wedding day!

Reed: Mel and I met for the first time in December 2014 at my Best Man’s family home. We were about to head off on a New Year’s trip the next day. Now, what became apparent rather quickly is this encounter had us feeling drawn to each other in a way they hadn’t experienced before - The connection, the mutual attraction, everything was instant. The following night we spent ages talking to each other and everything seemed so easy and effortless like we had known each other for years. We knew very early on that we loved each other and it was exactly one month in where we actually said it. 

The next few years saw our love and relationship grow. We moved in together, travelled overseas together, moved cities together, bought a house together, got engaged and brought our wee dog Macy home, all the while having plenty of laughs and a heap of fun along the way. 

The day before I proposed, I went to Mel’s parents to ask for their blessings which was a very nervous time. It was the perfect weekend as Mel was flying down from Wellington and both our parents were in town. I led her to believe that I had a sponsor shoot up the Port Hills and had set up a fake calendar notification just in case Mel wanted to check. I asked her to come along suggesting it wouldn’t take long and that we could spend some time together afterwards.

It was a beautifully clear sunny Christchurch afternoon and we arrived “early” and drove around until I could find the right spot where there weren’t too many people, during which time I I was just telling her I’m not exactly sure where the shoot was. I finally settled on a spot and decided to go for a walk to go to the toilet just to get her out of the car.  As we walked, I found a clearing and waited patiently for the last few stragglers to clear. The moment they were alone I dropped to one knee and the rest was history. 

When we started thinking about what was important to us about celebrating our marriage, having family and close friends together was top of the list and we wanted to make sure it was the wedding that celebrated the abundance of love that we have for each other.

I’m sure the actual planning process itself would have definitely been more stressful on Mel as she did most of it but we were so incredibly lucky to have won a planning package as part of our prize which meant everything was taken care of by Lucy from Christchurch Weddings. We made use of Skype for most of our meetings and Lucy was able to accommodate these all around our schedules and made time to meet with Mel whenever she was visiting Christchurch which made the process so easy. If I had to point out the hardest part, we found that was narrowing down the guest list. 

Mel: I had a slumber party the night before our wedding at an AirBnB I booked so I woke up surrounded by my closest friends which I highly recommend and loved that I was never alone. The whole morning was so mellow, there was no rushing. Lucy had planned out everything so well and we didn’t run over schedule at any point. We just had platters and got our hair and makeup done then left for the photos with more nerves than I’ve ever had! I’m so glad we did a first look because it look nerves away from the ceremony, but kept all of the emotion in the ceremony.

Reed: I woke up very nervous on the morning of our wedding, I guess just thinking about the enormity and excitement of the day ahead so I went for a run to ease my nerves before the boys met me and mum and dads and we got ready to see Mel for the first time as a Bride. We were well ahead of schedule for the first look photos so parked up at a café for an hour or so. Once Mel and the bridesmaids were ready we went to the spot for the photos. I remember being so nervous waiting for Mel to come up and tap me on the shoulder, but she looked absolutely beautiful! After this myself and the guys went to a bar for some food and a beer before we head to the venue for the wedding. 

My nerves and excitement were so high as we waited and talked to the guests arriving. It was a very special and emotional moment watching Mel and her dad walk down the aisle. Once we were together at the ceremony, it felt like we were the only ones in the room and we couldn’t keep the smiles off our faces. We had the most amazing ceremony that went by so quickly. Afterwards we mixed and mingled with family and friends, had some family photos and then we were off to the reception. 

The reception venue was amazing and both Lucy’s did a fantastic job planning and setting it up. Every element was absolutely perfect. The evening’s events were outstanding amongst great speeches, nailing our first dance, great music in the air and just enjoying the company of everyone. We couldn’t have asked for anything more and were both so happy with the day. It is crazy how quick it went and we made sure to take some moments together to soak it all in. 

Reed: Looking back, we packed so many special and unique moments into our wedding day. Our first look photos were very special and I’ll never forget Mel walking down the aisle. The speeches were great, we enjoyed our first dance and also look forward to opening our wine box with letters for 5 years’ time which we filled and sealed at the ceremony.

Mel: I remember a number of special moments from our wedding. I saw my brothers crying - I tried to take in everyone’s smiling faces while the ceremony was on! Nailing our first dance was one of our proudest moments. I also loved that Debbie suggested we take some time alone during our ceremony, so while our witnesses were signing their life away we were tucked around the corner talking about how excited we were! 

There are so many pieces of advice we could give, but some of the top ones are to take moments together after the ceremony to take it all in. Seriously enjoy every moment as the day actually goes by so fast. Do a first look! That was fantastic! And finally, don’t umm and uhhh about committing to an expense, if you can afford it, do it, because you only have one day in your life to make it happen. 


Hannah Bird Photography and Debbie Hawker Celebrant were both standout vendors for us. Hannah was super easy to work with, picked an amazing spot for the first look photos and had plenty of backups if the weather didn’t turn up. Most importantly, the finished product was amazing! Debbie was again very easy to work with and captured our story. The ceremony was well received and given plenty of compliments for its modern flavour. She was always just a phone call or email away and had plenty of ideas for the vows and extra little touches within our ceremony. Following the ceremony everyone was telling us how incredible our celebrant was - We know! 

Full Planning | Christchurch Weddings

Full Styling and Hire | Bleu Studio

Ceremony Venue | Ilex Cafe

Reception Venue | Backstage Social Club

Photography | Hannah Bird

Videography | Velvet Cinema

Florals | Bourbon Rose Florist

Tree Hire | The Little Big Tree Company

Pot Hire | Pottery World

Lighting, Sound and Power | Insight Audio Visual

DJ | Pulse Entertainment

Photo Booth | Selfie Station NZ

Custom Neon Sign | Neon Signs NZ

Tables, Napkins and Decor | The Little Hire Company

Tablecloths | Pacific Linen

Back of House Marquee, Chairs and Decor | Party Warehouse

Paper Stationery | Paperweight Design

Acrylic Stationery | Paris and Pine

Cocktails | Eaton Drink Co.

Craft Beer | Cassels Brewing Co

Bar Staff, Canapes and Grazing | Victoria Food Service

Dinner Mains | Moveable Feasts

Cake | Rebecca Jane Sugar Art

Desserts | The Cake Eating Company

Celebrant | Debbie Hawker

Hair | Graceful Hair Art

Makeup | Kasia Stanicich

Tans | Bronzed Goddess

Nails | Blush Nail Artist

Brides Skin Treatments | Beauty Assets

Brides Hair Colour and Cut | Pure Hair

Brides Teeth Whitening | The White Smile Company

Rings and Bridesmaids Bracelets: The Village Goldsmith

Mothers Gifts | Love in a Jewel

Brides Dress | Blue Belle Bridal, brand Emmy Mae Bridal

Brides Shoes | ASOS

Groom and Groomsmen Suits | Sergio’s Menswear

Bridesmaids Dresses | JJ’s house

Bridesmaids Shoes | Andrea Biani

Bride and Bridesmaids Earrings | Heartbeat Bridal