A Surprise Finale

In Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula this morning, a bellbird serenaded me as I walked towards Henry to say my vows. After 28 years of living together, bringing up two children, travelling in New Zealand, we had returned to the country that won our hearts ... and got married!
We are an eccentric family who do things backwards, let's be honest. Raise children to adulthood then get married, go to the other side of the world to tie the knot, have a wedding in the morning, outside in a garden, with an eclectic mix of traditions, poems, songs and readings. Four New Zealand women made our day: Phillipa, our lovely celebrant, Ali, the owner of our venue, FyrneBrooke House, Denise who did make-up and Raquel, the photographer. 
When we arrived at the bed and breakfast house, after greeting us, Ali told us something like: 'We don't do stress here, we just work it out.' I thought, that's something I need to remember! 
Who could be stressed here? The tranquil garden had a brook running through it, crossed by a little bridge, and had so many places to sit, surrounded by an abundance of greenery and flowers, there just wasn't time for us to take advantage of it all. But we were spoilt, and we loved it. The house was beautiful too, with flowers in every room.
Phillipa had worked hard on crafting the words of our wedding ceremony, liaising with us from a distance (not a problem in this day and age), until it was all perfect. We had some traditional vows, but the ceremony also included a handfasting  - the cord made by Henry from ribbons. Joe read a poem from Winnie the Pooh and Phillipa came up with a Tolkien quote to finish with. We signed the register while our chosen song 'We are Stars' by The Pierces, played in the background.
After that, we were served a breakfast of eggs Benedict and other local delicacies - with honey from our host's own bees. We had also brought our own Champagne - that was a first at this time of day!
Raquel took us around Akaroa then, to get some amazing views. 
An unforgettable day!