What really matters?


In a story about celebrity weddings this paragraph caught my eye:

Barbara Williams and fiance Fakaanga Mapa, both 23, decided to delay their nuptials because they could not afford to make the day as special as they had dreamed. They had saved $15,000, but decided they wanted to invite more guests and provide better catering.

It reminded me of the true story of a vicar who was approached by a couple who had asked him to officiate at their marriage.

They wanted to postpone it because they couldn’t afford to do it.

He listened to them then said, “What really matters?”

The answer was their commitment to each other and celebrating that with family and friends.

They were married on the date originally scheduled with their family and friends present and had a party afterwards in the church hall. The church did the catering as a fundraiser and guests brought their instruments to form a band for the dancing.

The possibilities for spending money on weddings are vast but it doesn’t have to be that way and the expensive things are not what really matters.

Five weddings – three countries – two months


Summer is traditionally wedding season but five weddings in three countries in two months is somewhat more than the norm.

The first was at the Enfield Presbyterian Church in North Otago:



 It was followed by a reception at Riverstone Kitchen.

Religious marriage ceremonies aren’t legally recognised in Argentina so if you want to be married in a church you have to have a civil ceremony first. The civil ceremony for the second wedding was held a few weeks before we arrived but the religious ceremony and party we attended more than made up for missing that.

The wedding service took place in a church in Mar Del Plata:


It started at 8.30 in the evening and was followed by a reception which was just starting to wind down when we left at 6.30 the following morning.

Three days later we attended the civil ceremony for wedding number three in Buenos Aires then the religious ceremony in Pilar the following weekend.


That started at 7.30 in the evening, which is early for Argentina, and the reception was still in full swing when we retired at 5.30a.m.

The fourth marriage service took place in a beautiful North Otago country garden and was followed by dinner and dancing in what was a grain store and is now the NZ Malt Whisky Company’s  headquarters in Oamaru’s historic precinct.


Wedding number five took place in Townsville. The ceremony started with the bride’s father playing the bagpipes and concluded with the release of tropical butterflies.


The groom is a prawn fisherman so when we went in to dinner we were greeted by a platter but in the excitement I didn’t think to take a photo until we’d all had several:



Each of the weddings was different, each was special, all were celebrations of love and commitment with the delighted support of family and friends.

I don’t think any of the couples were troubled by the political considerations which are being debated at Kiwipolitico and The Hand Mirror .

But I’m sure that while a lot of thought and planning went into the celebrations the five brides and grooms were aware that the wedding was just the beginning of the marriage to which they were committing themselves freely and wholeheartedly.

It’s 26 years ago today since my farmer and I exchanged our vows, so I have now just – by a couple of weeks – spent more than half my life with him.  I hope that like us these couples discover that love grows and because of that marriage gets better each year.

I hope too that, in the words of Pinky Agnew, they have:  enough love to give each other trust, enough trust to give each other faith, enough faith to give each other strength, enough strength to give each other courage, enough courage to give each other freedom, and enough freedom to give each other love.

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