Chelsea & Ben were married 11th January 2014, on a gorgeous sunny day at Chelsea’s parents family home. Surrounded by close family and friends they tied the knot in the family barn that Chelsea grew up playing in. Wild flowers decorated the barn & marquee with Hay Bales scattered around the property for guests to hang out on with a cold drink enjoying the late afternoon sun.
We asked Chelsea & Ben to describe their day to us with a few questions + some awesome advice for brides-to-be planning their day!
The Suits //
The grooms suits were all ordered online using Grab-one vouchers! We got a sweet deal, and definitely recommend it because they all got them tailor made. Ben in particular really struggles to find suits that fit his long lean figure, and he looked like such a spunk in it! He was pretty sure that he wanted to go with brown, though we almost gave up since no-one in Wellington stocked brown suits. Or at least not a nice brown like the one we were wanting. The suits they ended up with were actually quite a unique colour, but they looked pretty awesome, and the main thing is Ben loved them!!
A big focus for us was that we wanted our friends and family to feel relaxed and have a good time, so that’s why we personalised it with comical
“So you’re going to sit through a wedding” brochures, and a treasure map to the different drink stations.
Inspiration for the day //
Ben and I are both from Nelson so it was a no-brainer that we would get married there. We decided to have it at our family farm, since I’d lived there my whole childhood and it was quite special. In terms of having the ceremony in the shed it was kind of a case of making do, we were just trying to think of places that would be convenient. My mum suggested having it in the shed, which turned out to be a great idea because we didn’t have to worry about wet weather or power or any of those practical things, yet still kind of got the outdoor experience. I should show you a photo of what it looked like beforehand though, it was packed full of about 30 years worth of old trucks and junk. My dad spent flippen ages emptying it out, and no-one of us could believe how awesome it turned out to be!! Having it on the farm influenced the style that we went for. We were definitely going for rustic (or Russtick) but more of a natural, homey rustic than a cottage-y, polished new-age rustic.
Ben’s dad grew a huge patch of wildflowers for the table centrepieces //
The DIY stuff was what really made it about the two of us. Some see it as a way to save money, but to be honest if I’d bought all of the stuff it wouldn’t have felt as personal to me. That’s why Ben and I made all the invitations ourselves, my mum made all the tablecloths and table runners, my dad found old pallets and built the planter boxes for the other tablecentres, mum and I made all the jams for the favours.
As a meteorologist it was quite fun naming all the reception tables after types of clouds, and also matching them up to the personalities of the guests at each table. We got a lot of comments about how different that was to any other wedding!!
It’s all those little details that made it so special //
The Dress //
My dress was made in Wellington by Sally Eagle of Sally Eagle Bridal. A friend of a friend told me about the new boutique she’d just opened, and when I got there her style seemed pretty in sync with mine. I pretty much knew the design and shape that I wanted, but couldn’t find the right kind of lace anywhere. Sally set me up with a fabric shop in the UK where I ended up importing it from, and from there it was all too easy really! It turned out just like I imagined, and I felt like a goddess wearing it. Plus it was actually really comfortable!! I definitely recommend getting a dress with straps on it.
The Shoes //
My shoes were from Overland, and it was simply a case of walking past one day and looking in just-in-case. The colour was exactly what I had in mind for my bridesmaid, and they had this funky wooden heel which was perfect for the theme of the wedding. This was like 7 months before the wedding, so it was great just to shop at my leisure without any rush to find anything.
The Bridesmaid Dresses //
The bridesmaid dresses were a bit more of a pickle. I found these awesome shoes, but finding fabric to match them took a lot longer than planned! From pinterest I’d kind of developed an idea of what I wanted, though no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find a picture that matched perfectly. I ended up going to a friend of Ben’s mum who managed to make my idea a reality. Making a miniature green version for Milla, the flowergirl, was a last minute decision based mostly on convenience (I was going to dress her in white to match me) but turned out to be even better than the original plan.
The Hair & Makeup //
My good friend Amy Thomsen did our hair and make-up, along with her assistant Jaime Palmer.
Since both of my bridesmaids also went to Wai Coll we all had so much fun getting ready in the morning. Was way better having hairdressers we all knew!
The Veil //
My mum made my veil, and actually remade it on the day of the wedding when we realised the original clip wouldn’t work with my hair style.
What a champ huh?
I asked Chelsea to pull a face for Ben just before we left for the ceremony - Priceless!
The Celebrant //
Tony Barnett was our Celebrant. He was AWESOME, and we didn’t know how awesome he would be until we were up there! I mean, we know he would be good, but he turned our ceremony from a boring regular ceremony into a fun, enjoyable ceremony that had everyone laughing. He just had a knack for knowing what our style was and making it work. I didn’t realise the ceremony would be so much fun!! That was probably one of the most memorable things for me. Having fun in the ceremony, and not being able to stop smiling and/or laughing.
Favourite Moment //
Surprising Sam with a poem to read out during the ceremony which he didn’t know about.
The Flowers //
Our bouquets and buttonholes all came from Fields in Richmond. Wendell Field did such an amazing job. I went to him a few months earlier saying I wanted Billy Buttons, cornflowers, and wildflowers. I wasn’t sure he’d actually get any, my mum and I had been searching everywhere for Billy Buttons for like 12 months and short of importing them from Australia had no luck. I’d even tried to grow some from seed but didn’t have any success. Would’ve been quite cool to say I grew the flowers in my own bouquet, but I wasn’t very diligent with them. Plus the cat kept weeing on them… Ended up taking him some Rosemary from the garden to use, so I guess that at least made it a bit more personal.
The day was just so perfect, I didn’t realised how perfect it would be.
Favourite Moment //
It was so cool when we came into the marquee for the reception and looking around at all our guests smiling and having fun. It was so cool to see that they were enjoying themselves as well!!
The Band //
Our band was Summers Sons. A couple of the band members were old family friends, and I’d heard them at Amy Thomsen’s wedding so I knew they were good. And they were good. You know it’s a great band when the guests are having so much fun dancing and partying that no-one’s even noticed the lead guitarist playing behind his head!! Looked like they were having just as much fun as we were, and they tolerated a few drunken guests trying to karaoke with them too. Great sports, would definitely recommend them to anyone. We had lots of comments from the guests about how they had a good setlist too, they seemed to play songs for everyone.
The Cake //
Mum and I made the cake ourselves in the week leading up to the wedding. That was probably the biggest stress point in the planning, I had all these elaborate ideas but didn’t realise how hard it would be just to make the cakes look level and even!! My poor mum was pretty stressed about it too. But, despite that, it was pretty cool to say that we made it ourselves, especially when we got sooo many compliments about how it was the best wedding cake people had ever had. And I think I even liked the simple appearance better than my original plan anyway.
The Caterers //
Spit Roasters were the caterers and they were awesome. Relaxed buffet style food with lots of meat was exactly what we were wanting.
Advice for people who are planning now? //
Go with the flow! So many of the parts that I liked most about our wedding were things that just happened/developed as we went along. My grand idea for the cake didn’t work out, but to save stress levels and prevent bridezilla moments we toned back the expectations and the pressure, the cake turned out bigger than I thought, and I actually liked the overall appearance even better. Rabbit Island wasn’t going to work for the ceremony, but the shed turned out way more awesome anyway. I didn’t have time to find cream fabric for the flowergirl dress, but the miniature bridesmaid dress looked even cuter! I would also recommend, depending on the person, not including your fiance in every little detail along the way. I started out trying so hard to include Ben in everything and make him feel part of the planning that I overwhelmed him with every little idea that I had. Needless to say he soon got grumpy, and it ended up having the opposite effect where he didn’t want to have anything to do with the wedding. Especially since we had so long to plan. My advice is wait until you can summarise the important points in a concise manner, and pick your discussion times wisely!!
Our rings were handmade by Brian Barrett in Wellington, who helped take our ideas and make them work. He found us a beautiful green tourmaline for my engagement ring, and made our matching wedding bands with a funky beaten finish. Ben and I both love wearing them and showing off that we’re married!!
Final Words of Advice //
Pinterest. Honestly, I lived on Pinterest for the first 18 months, collecting ideas and tweaking them in my head to put my own twist on them, then googling images of new ideas that I had. Especially while Ben was overseas, I filled the void of him being away with wedding planning. So much creative inspiration on there, and so many ideas that you can personalise and do your own way!! Plus a great way to keep track of everything you’ve thought of already, kind of like a visual to-do list.