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Katherine & Rowan

With Katherine & Rowan’s charming New Zealand country wedding, it was all about family. The couple married in the church Katherine was christened in as a baby, who wore her grandmother’s wedding gown. They celebrated with their guests on the family farm. Despite the rain, everybody pulled together to change the reception from a garden tea party to a dance floor extravaganza, culminating in a well rehearsed first dance which included smooth moves like “the irrigator” and a finale lift which had guests give a standing applause.

Katherine tells the story of how she and Rowan came to be. “We met when we were 17 years old at a friend’s farm party just out of Christchurch, and have been together ever since. Ten years later Rowan dropped a knee in San Sebastian, Spain and asked me to marry him, which was a relief to the all the grandparents and surprise for me! ” Of course, we couldn’t enjoy such a wedding without the beautiful photographs snapped today by Jim Pollard.

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The bride wore her grandmother’s wedding dress (which was altered by Brent Witbrock), sourcing the polka dot dresses for her bridesmaids in London. She tells, “I was privileged enough to wear my grandmother’s wedding dress (which is over 60 years old). The original dress was a winter lace gown with long sleeves, however being a summer wedding, the dress maker carefully removed the sleeves and thick lining and altered it to fit me and suit the season.”

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Transport was an important part of the day to Katherine who remembers, ” I arrived at the church in the sidecar of my father’s darling, 1928 Harley Davidson, which he carefully hand built and restored. He spent thousands (literally) of hours tinkering away in his workshop to put this masterpiece together and built the side chair especially for the day, so I was adamant I was going to arrive at the aisle in it, rain or shine! Thankfully the rain eased for most of the journey so I made it to the Parish with my hair and makeup intact. My poor mother ended up traveling back from the church to the farm exposed to the elements in the sidecar but under an umbrella – it’s fair to say that she resembled like Mary Poppins! We travelled back from the Parish in vintage ford cars.”

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Katherine notes, “I walked down the aisle to Stevie Wonder, ‘Signed Sealed Delivered, I’m Yours’. ”

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Katherine and Rowan chose St Ambrose Church, Sheffield  for their wedding ceremony, the bride remarking, “The wedding ceremony was held in St Ambrose Parish in Sheffield. We had planned on getting married on the family farm, with the backdrop of the beautiful Southern Alps, however with the rain, we went for plan B, St Ambrose Parish where I was christened as a baby, which turned out to be wonderful, cosy and of course dry!”

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The beautiful roses came from the family garden, Katherine telling, “My mother has the most beautiful garden and she bravely cut all the buds off in October to encourage fresh buds for the big day in December. Her rose ‘Leander’ was the inspiration for the colour scheme for the bridesmaids and some of her beautiful blooms were also in my bouquet and in the vases on the tables.”

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The newlyweds exited the church to another Stevie Wonder favourite “For Once In My Life”.

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“One funny story was when we discovered that my brothers cat ‘Stanley’ had made himself at home in the reception, and had walked with his muddy paws along the white table cloths. There is quite a funny photo of my brother Martin carrying the culprit Stanley out of the shed. ”

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The couple had planned a beautiful garden party reception, the bride telling, “We had planned on having a tea party in the garden which my mother had spent many hours preparing for the day, however the weather really didn’t play its part, so we had a tea party on what was designated for later… the dance floor! I got a bit carried away and for the tea party tea stands. I purchased lots of vintage plates which I drilled and assembled. They looked great on the day and were also a nice gift to give to some of the ladies who helped out on the day. For our favours, my mother and I homemade relish using produce from my father’s greenhouse and my grandmother’s recipe. They went down a treat.”

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Of their photographer, Katherine tells, “As a landscape architect I was keen to find a photographer who could capture all the scenery, emotion and ambiance of our wedding day rather than just shoot portraits. Jim was perfect. He came out to the farm the day before the wedding to check out the venue and to meet us (in person rather than via Skype). On the day, with venue changes, too’ing and fro’ing, mud, rain, vintage cars rumbling by, demons on the dance floor and burning hot sparkles, Jim armed with an array of cameras and lens managed to capture the essence of the day , which we were thrilled to bits with. Not only did he snap the intimate moments and capture people when they were unaware, but he carefully composed some great moments which we will be able to reminisce over forever.”

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There was one last special ceremony the couple undertook, Katherine explains, “We nailed a box shut which contained a vintage Bordeaux red and notes from our groom/bride parties – to be opened on the earlier, of having our first big argument or 10 years (we can’t let the wine go to waste!).”

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Even the wedding cake had family history behind it, Katherine remembering, “We were so grateful to our families for helping us to create our masterpiece cake. The bottom tier (traditional fruit cake) was baked by Rowan’s mother, Erin. The recipe she used was Rowan’s grandmother’s and is the same cake that Rowan’s parents had on their own wedding day. The middle tier (dark chocolate cake) was baked by my mother Helen, using fresh eggs from the productive hens at ‘Riverview’. The top tier (carrot and banana cake) was baked (by the bride) me! And to put the ‘cherry on the top’, these cakes were all baked in the same square bake tins my grandmother used to create my parent’s wedding cake nearly 30 years ago.”

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“I love designing and creating objects so I made as much as I could! I designed and developed all the wedding stationery and sewed the envelopes together on the sewing machine to get a real rustic raw feel. For the vases on the tables I used my mother’s, grandmother’s and family friends’ preserving jars and then glued the hessian, lace and coral ribbon to match the bridesmaid’s dresses around the jars. We filled the candle jar with grain, such as wheat and rye, which was harvested from the farm and held the candle upright. For the table numbers, I used some beautiful silver birch branches from the farm and the groomsmen sawed and nailed these together. For the numbers I had collected up photographs of Rowan and me at our various ages, e.g.: Table one had chubby baby photos of Rowan and I at age one and so on.

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The first dance was a highlight of the night, says Katherine. “Rowan and I don’t do much dancing but from the outset we were keen to learn a few moves. After watching a few wedding dance videos on YouTube we were sold. We just had to choreograph our own routine. First we chose a song that we thought would get toes tapping – Queen, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. We practiced in our small London lounge and pieced together our own dance routine. We even threw in the ‘irrigator’ dance move for good measure. We decided from the outset that we had to go all out, and had to nail it, otherwise we would look a bit daft. We spent hours trying to master a ‘lift’ for the finale and it paid off, plus our photographer managed to snap us in action. We kept the whole dance routine a surprise to everyone which was great. We received a standing ovation from our guests and a couple of people even scribbled down some scores on the back of the menus as if we were on dancing for the stars which got quite a few laughs.”

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The Yardmen were responsible for most of the dancing on the wedding night, the bride remembering, “The Yardmen, our band were fantastic, and got everyone out of their seats and onto the dance floor where there were some serious shapes cut!”

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Congratulations on your marriage Katherine and Rowan! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Jim Pollard for allowing us to share today’s wedding!