Real Weddings: Adam and Ariel

So usually when I’m booked for a wedding it’s with months or even years’ notice… and then every now and then I meet a couple like Adam and Ariel.  Adam messaged me on the Sunday and within a day we had locked them to elope at Moke Lake on the Thursday… yes that’s right 4 days later.

Because when you know, you know Photo courtesy of

Like a lot of couples who elope Adam and Ariel had started down the track of planning a big wedding before admitting to themselves it really wasn’t what they wanted.  They’re crazy about each other and what they really wanted was to dive in, get married as soon as possible, somewhere beautiful, just the two of them.

And Moke Lake was perfect. Nature provided all of the decoration required Photo Courtesy of

They live in Australia but decided they wanted to go somewhere to tie the knot, they made a short list of places they wanted to go (New Zealand making the list thanks to Ariel’s love of the country when she’s visited in the past, and her love of all things Lord Of The Rings) and googled which countries have the fastest marriage licence turn around.  At just 3 days New Zealand is no slouch in that department (a marriage licence is valid for up to 3 months so if you have the time I suggest getting onto it sooner than 3 days before your wedding.  About 3 to 6 weeks is my general recommendation. As Adam will tell you, it’s quite stressful not knowing if your licence is going to arrive in your inbox in time.)

Plane tickets booked, wedding dress and suit bought, shortly followed by celebrant booked.

There was so much love here on this day Photo courtesy of

As for what they were going to do when they got here, they weren’t sure.  I suggested Moke Lake and they were sold on it straight away. Not only because it’s stunning but also because of Ariel’s aforementioned love of The Lord Of The Rings.  Booked my friend and talented photographer Lissy in to capture their day. They booked in their florist, hairdresser and make up once they arrived.  It was definitely short notice, but it can be done! Thanks to Adam and Ariel I also learned there is at least one 24 hour hairdresser in Queenstown.

Obligatory (and absolutely perfect) sheep photo Photo Courtesy of

The original plan was to get married at sunrise at Moke Lake.  But after visiting Moke Lake from 6am the day before (definitely early risers!) they decided 9am was better for them, and so that’s what we did (being able to change around your time, date, venue easily is definitely a perk of eloping).

I picked up their witnesses (my sister and her husband who were holidaying in Queenstown and keen to come and be witnesses) and Adam – Ariel finished getting her make up done, put on the surprise wedding dress and made her way out to Moke Lake in their rental car half an hour later – and we went out to Moke Lake to choose our spot.

Love is so many things. Including holding hands on your wedding Photo courtesy of

How ecstatic they were to be marrying each other was obvious.  From the looks on each of their faces as Ariel walked down the path towards us to the emotion with which they said their vows to each other.  

Timing meant writing a personalised ceremony was going to be difficult.  Both in terms of them finding the time to skype with me to talk about what they wanted around organising everything else, and me having the time to write them something beautiful.  Luckily they were totally on board with my Pick N Mix package. (You choose one of three pre written elopement ceremony, one of three ring exchange options and one of four pre written vows options or write your own) Which was less stress for all of us.

Adam and Ariel chose the Pick N Mix ceremony that includes deciding who says their vows first with a game of Rock Paper Scissors. Photo courtesy of

When it comes to getting married, do it your way!  Adam and Ariel did, and they loved every minute of it!

Finishing with a toast! In my humble opinion the best way to end a ceremony… or lunch… or Friday Photo Courtesy of
And just because I really really like this pic. Taken back in Queenstown after the ceremony. Photo courtesy of

Want to know who made Adam and Ariel’s beautiful day possible? Here you go!

Celebrant: Me!

Photographer :

Unfortunately with no paper trail to remind them, Adam and Ariel can’t remember who did their flowers or hair… both are beautiful, so if it was you, or you know who did, please let me know I’d love to give credit where credit is due!


Location: Moke Lake

If you’re after a fun young celebrant anywhere in Central Otago or beyond and you want to have a chat (over coffee… or a cheeky wine!) get in touch, you can fill in the handy contact form below or find all of my contact details on my contact page.  We’ll make a date, whether in person or via Skype. I’m up for a challenge, so hit me with your ideas and we’ll go from there.

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