Real Weddings: Kimberley and Ricky

Kimberley has had the honour of being one of my bestest friends in the world for several years (of course it’s been beyond an honour to be counted among your friends too Kimberley!)  In January I was blessed to get to marry her and the love of her life Ricky in Bannockburn, Central Otago.

These two were just beyond happy to be here getting married to each other!  Photo credit goes to Tim Hawkins of Central Lakes Photography and Celia Walmsley of Stagebox Photography

Kimberley and Ricky are one of those couples who make you believe in love, in fate, in there actually being one person you’re meant to be with (shut up, I’m not crying, you’re crying.)

Their wedding day was a stunning Central Otago day.  Warm, sunny… and unfortunately blowing a gale like you wouldn’t believe.  The plan had been to get married on Kimberley’s family’s vineyard, but that wind had other ideas.  Half an hour before the ceremony was supposed to start, they called it.  Packed up all the props and guests and moved it down the hill to the Bannockburn Inlet.  

The team did an amazing job of getting everything set up and ready to go in their new location in quick smart time (this kind of last minute relocation isn’t for everyone, but worked beautifully for Ricky and Kimberley) Photo credit to Tim Hawkins of Central Lakes Photography and Celia Walmsley of Stagebox Photography

(Side note, yes moving the ceremony can be done.  Your celebrant will need to write a cover letter explaining the reasons for moving it and the exact address of your new venue.  When it comes to deciding whether to move or not move… I’ll talk about that in another post, there’s a lot of things to be taken into consideration).  

As the Bannockburn Inlet is public property I needed to make sure Ricky (and by default Kimberley who wasn’t there) understood what that meant in terms of uninvited guests.  (I can ask them to be respectful, but I can’t ask them to leave) and he said to me, without a word of lie (although possibly some paraphrasing because I can’t remember the exact words) “the more people see me marry Kimberley Brown the better, I want to share how happy I am with the world”.

When it came to their ceremony, Kimberley and Ricky were a celebrant’s dream.  As with all couples I sat down with them and asked them about themselves, about their story, about what they have seen and liked/ not liked in other weddings.  About what getting married to this person means to them.  About all the options they have for their ceremony… and I have literally pages and pages and pages of notes.  Please, when a celebrant asks you lots of questions about your relationship, yourselves, your story… answer them with great detail.  I swear they’re not (only) asking you all this stuff because they’re nosy.  They want to write a ceremony that’s about you, for you and reflects you.  The more info you give them, the more they can make that a reality.

Kimberley spent a year on exchange in Denmark.  Her host family from that time are still a big part of her life.  They talk regularly, they have visited each other in NZ and Denmark since.  And so her host father walked her from the bridal car to her father, who walked her down the aisle

Kimberley’s host Dad walking her from the car to her Dad to walk her down the aisle.  Photo credit to Tim Hawkins of Central Lakes Photography and Celia Walmsley of Stagebox Photography

(Another side note – there is almost nothing you can’t do in a wedding ceremony.  Traditions are lovely, but they are not compulsory, if something else is what floats your boat, tell me about it, we’ll make it work!)

Throughout their ceremony there were so many tears, so much laughter.  They spent the ceremony holding hands, enaged with one another, with me, with their guests, with their bridal party – including Tank and Sprocket their babies, I mean dogs, I mean fur babies.

 They are the first couple who have taken me up on playing rock paper scissors at vows time to decide who is going to go first – and their vows were beautiful.  

And the winner is… I can’t actually remember, but they both wrote and delivered absolutely beautiful vows.  Photo credit to Tim Hawkins of Central Lakes Photography and Celia Walmsley of Stagebox Photography

They were real, they were about their relationship, each other, what matters to them.

Later on that night we were treated to a fully choreographed dance number by Kimberley and Ricky and their bridal party.  

It was brilliant, it was hilarious… and I bawled like a baby.  When I have my celebrant hat on at weddings I occasionally get a little misty, but that’s it (had I been a guest at their wedding I would have been laughing and crying along with everyone else!)  It’s later that my emotions come flooding out – like watching them dance, or when photographers send me montages of wedding photos (Sally and Sam, boy did I cry when I saw yours!)

This is everything I loved about Kimberley and Ricky’s beautiful wedding day… I’m going to let them take over now with what they loved about me, and advice for anyone soon to be wed.

Hannah nailed it. We wanted a fun, vibrant ceremony which captured our story, and when Hannah sent me the ceremony I didn’t want or need to change a thing- all I needed was to find the tissues- it was that good!

It wasn’t just perfect on paper, she delivered on the day with a clear and confident voice that all our guests could hear, even in the gale force winds!….. Speaking of which- we had a last minute (I’m talking 1/2 an hour before I walked down the aisle) change of venue due to said gale force winds- and Hannah was a Super Hero, I’m sure she must have been wearing a cape and her knickers on the outside! She liaised with me and my hubby to be calmly and nothing was a problem!

Thank you Hannah, you made our day super special!

Our advice to couples planning their wedding now would be not to buy into the pressures of who should or shouldn’t be invited.  We had  a “smallish large” wedding – 80 guests. Had we invited everyone on our maybe list it would have been much much bigger.  To keep our guest list to a number we were comfortable with, and could afford to celebrate with the way we wanted to, we came up with a guideline that helped us decide whether or not a person should be invited.  “if we haven’t heard from/ been invited around by/ had a response to our engagement party invite/ in the past 8 months to a year… then they aren’t invited to our wedding. We have absolutely no regrets about this.  And we owned our decision… we did not let anyone who felt they should have been invited make us feel bad.  We knew it was our day, our money, so we had no guilt at all.  


Want to know about Kimberley and Ricky’s amazing vendors, here’s the rundown:


Celebrant: Me! Contact Me

Photographers:  Tim Hawkins Central Lakes Photographyand Celia Walmsley Stagebox Photography

Dress: House of Kavina for bride Ali Express for bridesmaids

Bride’s shoes:  Street Legal

Suits: HallensteinsAli Express

Videographer: Everafter

Catering: Wild Earth Catering

Hair: Lisa Reynolds Hair Stylist

Make up: Tania Stewart Hair Stylist

Reception Venue:  Lake Dunstan Boat Club


Wherever and whenever you’re planning to get married – massive congratulations!  If you’re looking for a fun young celebrant I’d love to hear from you. I’m based in Alexandra, but happy to travel around Central Otago and beyond.  I’m up for a challenge, so hit me with your ideas and we’ll go from there.  

You can contact me on Facebook, call or text me on 027 384 7886 or email me at

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