Saturday, 26 December 2009

Boxing Day wedding

Boxing Day. A very big day for us, as my brother got married in the morning at the Chatham Island Court House. About a dozen of our family were there to witness the brief ceremony before heading to my cousin's home for a day of celebrating in the sun.

To start the day, my sister-in-law and 22-month-old nephew came up to the cousin's house where I was staying to get ready. The wedding dress had successfully made the journey from Wellington, the cake was looking good, but only parts of the bouquet remained; the white gerberas survived, the roses had to be culled.

Fitting in perfectly with the Chathams' laid-back ways, we were casually getting ready for the wedding when my sweetie called out that a weka had come into the house. Where else but on the Chatham Islands would this happen? These cheeky birds are protected on the mainland of New Zealand, but are actually a pest on the Chathams and, therefore, are allowed to be eaten. We watched this one playing around on the deck and running under the trampoline before heading back inside to continue getting ready.

The ceremony itself was incredibly brief; we managed to video all of it in around ten minutes. Apparently the only formalities required in order to get married in New Zealand, apart from applying for a marriage license more than three days before the ceremony, consist of a declaration of two sentences stating that the couple know of no impediments to their being married and calling upon those present to witness the marriage. And so I became an official witness to a marriage for the first time, proudly signing my name on the dotted line.

The roads on the Chathams are mostly gravel, some covered in lime, and very few are sealed with tar. Clean vehicles are a rare sight; even the newest cars or machinery are quickly coated in thick layers of dirt. My sweetie took this opportunity to write a message on the back of our family vehicle soon after the wedding ceremony:

The only problem is that it was us who were mostly out and about driving in the vehicle, and not the newly-married couple. I was looking around for a cloth to wipe off the incriminating writing later on when my cousin insisted we leave it; she thought it was hilarious, and apparently this is what gets rumours started!

The reception was a casual, all-day affair at my cousin's historical home, Nairn House. Built in 1882, it is one of the oldest on the island and they have done a beautiful job of restoring it in recent years. My sweetie took this panoramic photo from the garden, where we had a barbeque lunch and enjoyed a day simply relaxing in the sun. People came and went while the children played alongside the house, then went swimming in the adjacent river.

In a year's time, my brother and sister-in-law are hoping to throw a wedding party in Wellington and this time invite their friends, including some from overseas, along with my sister-in-law's family from Finland. For our family, this was the perfect way for them to get married without any of accompanying 'fuss' and mayhem that we see all too often and weddings.


Genki said...

Sounds like a lovely way to get married! And a nice post-Christmas activity. Happy New Year!

Sab said...

SOunds wonderful! And I'm laughing about you guys driving the 'just married' vehicle... I should put that on the back of my parents car!

I love all the stuff you talk about.. .the roads, the birds... it sounds so interesting! I think I wanna visit! And that house is exquisite!