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The Offbeat Bride: Katie, bank officer

Her offbeat partner: David, electronics engineer

Date and location of wedding: Southern Alps near Methven, New Zealand — August 31, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We met through a shared love of the mountains, so it was a given that we'd get married there! Access was by helicopter, so the only people present at our ceremony were our parents, the photographer, and the celebrant. The helicopters were our biggest wedding cost (and they were a serious cost), but it was so totally memorable flying up into the Southern Alps.

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For our reception, we just wanted to throw the best party we could. Vendors were an issue because Methven is a very small country town, and we had to pretty much bring everything in ourselves. It was the middle of our winter here in New Zealand, and there are no florists in Methven, so we didn't bother with flowers at all.

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One of my girlfriends made me a beautiful fur muff to hold instead of flowers. The caterers were of the mobile variety, and rolled up in their van all prepped and ready to go.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We designed our ceremony to be very short because we didn't expect to have such good weather. At the very least we assumed we would be cold, and we didn't want to end up with hypothermic parents.

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The ceremony consisted of us saying our vows, exchanging rings, and ending with a kiss and a group hug. Then we cracked a magnum of champagne and frolicked around in the snow.

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I am of Scottish ancestry on my grandmother's side, so at the reception we did a quaich ceremony. A quaich is a two-handled bowl that is filled with whisky. A blessing is made to the newlyweds, and then the quaich is passed around the guests.

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Our biggest challenge: The first was trying to find a compromise within the wedding industry for my feminist and financial beliefs. What I did: insisted on a ring in my birth stone because diamonds leave me cold. Wore blue instead of white, which apparently has a longer history anyway. I didn't want table decorations and favours, and instead loaded tables up with wines and tasting notes. Finally, I avoided bridal magazines like the plague and read Offbeat Bride to offset the madness!

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It was also challenging to get the venue for the reception set up. It was a ferry ride and a six-hour drive from home, and we were bringing everything with us. However, the emcee coordinated all our friends while we were away getting married and we didn't end up by having to do a thing. Delegate and it will get done! More importantly, delegate to someone who is not afraid to organise others — loudly if necessary.

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My favorite moment: Flying up into the mountains and taking in the incredible scenery was one of my favorite moments. Saying my vows and realising that my tough father-in-law was crying like a baby was also up there. Seeing all our guests waiting for us at the reception, dressed in their furs and finery, was amazing.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I couldn't get enough of the colour fabric I wanted for my dress (blue shot with green), so I had to change to a blue shot with purple. I really, really loved the blue/green but it was not to be. However, we never expected to have such a clear blue day, and I really ended up liking how the blue-purple looked with the blue sky and white snow.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: It's not just your day, it's your partner's day, too. Plan it together and incorporate both your obsessions and interests. Both of you should do the hard yards organising it, since for most, it's probably your first test of working together on a major project.

If it will really hurt someone for you to do things a different way, ask yourself if it's worth it to you in the long run. Sometimes it feels good to be the bigger person — trust me.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? That we have great friends and family who really went out of their way to do tasks for us that we couldn't do ourselves, and rolled up in the morning all hungover to help clean up. We felt pretty special and blessed.

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Comments on Katie & David’s winter wedding in the mountains

    • thank you, we were so privileged to get such a superb day in the middle of our winter

  1. That dress looks amazing with the mountains and sky. Congratulations on getting married and doing it your way! Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks – the dress colour was a compromise that ended up being better than the original idea 🙂

  2. Your pictures are breath-taking! Such an awesome looking wedding. Best wishes to both of you!

  3. Wait…August 31st, 2013 hasn’t even happened yet!
    is this wedding from the future?? (insert tardis joke here)

    • 2012… not sure if that was my typo or Offbeat? Ooops. We chose the date because it was blue moon.

  4. Love the way everything just pulls together. So energetic, open, and lovely! Your dress..wow! Congrats on a wonderful day!

  5. Yes the Blue/purple looks great with the white snow and blue skies… beautiful wedding and great pictures too! Congratulations to you and your husband!!!

  6. Ha, I absolutely love the picture of you jumping, where you can’t see the ground. It looks like you’re flying way high up in the air!!

  7. OMG that last shot of you walking hand in hand in the mountains is unbelievably gorgeous!!!

  8. Absolutely stunning! Isn’t the country of ours just unbelievably gorgeous? I love your dress 😀

  9. Wow, this is just all around amazing, and I’m sure the pictures don’t do it justice. What a fantastic place and way to share your day. Your dress is phenomenal and you both look so absolutely happy. Congratulations on such an amazing beautiful wedding and marriage alike.

    • Thank you from the Groom! Was a magical day, stunning scenery…better than we could have ever hoped for 🙂

  10. I have so many questions and comments. Where do I start? First off, I can honestly say, I have never seen anyone get hillicoptered to their wedding site. Wow!

    The bride had to be cold. I’m cold just looking at her.
    Was the photographer a certified ice climber? It appears he/she climbed the mountain to get that arial shot with the copter sitting behind the group. Obviously, they didn’t get to use the chopper.

    okay, last thing I want to say….. “GET IN THE CHOPPER!!!” – arnold schwarzenegger

    • Thanks for your cool comments! Why have wedding cars when you can have wedding helicopters! It was a balmy 2 degrees at 6000 feet – what you can’t see is the good thermal gear we both wore 😉 Being skiers used to the Southern Alps we went prepared, oh and the little hip flask of liqueur definitely helped..heh-heh! We had two helicopters for the wedding, so one took the side doors off and circled over the top of the other to capture that photo 🙂 Definitely had fun doing the organising of them (being a flying nut myself)!

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