That was just the beginning of friends and family involvement. Mel and Chris were living in London when they got engaged, and were doing lots of travel before moving to Sydney.
"Having the wedding at Greenhill meant that Mum and Dad coordinated a lot of things for us from their end,” Chris acknowledged. "They are very experienced in the hospitality business, and were a huge help.
"Although we didn’t really have a particular vision of what we wanted at the beginning, it all evolved over the months of planning into a great day, and we have some amazing memories”.
Mel drew on the skills of some close friends and family for different aspects, which made it all very personal. Her cousin Soraya designed the save the date, invitations and menu stationery, her friend Lucy made the signs and ran the photo booth, while another friend Jess and a jazz trio sang while passarounds were served to the 120 guests while photos were taken.
"With lots of relatives coming from all over the world, many from the UK, it was nice to have them all staying at the lodge so we could catch up before and after the big day. Afterwards, we could relax and enjoy a big shared family Christmas, to follow the excitement of the big day,” she said.
Scottish touches were everywhere: a piper played from the top of the tower as guests arrived, and played Mel up the aisle. The 14 tables were all named for Scotch whisky, and haggis passarounds proved very popular.
"Although we didn’t tell most people what it was until after they ate it,” they smiled.
"Ruth Pretty’s food was fantastic, and many guests called it the best wedding food, and the best staff, they’d ever experienced. We agree!
Mel said "Chris’s mother recommended Ruth, and when we saw she had catered for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the months before our wedding, we were obviously in good hands!
"We met Ruth and Paul in Wellington when we arrived back in New Zealand from our travels, and talked through everything we wanted to make our wedding personal and special.
"For example, our own hamper including smoked salmon, strawberries and bubbly, and the late night bacon butties were brilliant, everyone loved them! She has catered for several of our friends’ weddings too, and we all give her glowing recommendations,” she concluded.
Ruth and Paul were particularly pleased to receive a note from Chris’s parents: " It’s nearly 4 weeks since Chris & Melissa’s wedding at Greenhill Lodge, and Christine and I wanted to thank you for providing such great food and service both on the wedding day and at the post wedding brunch.
"We have received so many complimentary comments on the quality of the food and the excellent service that you and your team provided that helped to make the wedding day such a great success.
Thank you for all of the organisation and hard work that you and your team put into making the event so memorable. John & Christine, www.greenhill.co.nz ”
Melissa had the final word: "It was a fantastic evening, followed by an outstanding after function. Thank you for everything you did to make the day so perfect, the food was delicious, the sequence of events flowed and everyone had a great time. Your staff was fantastic. Thanks again, weloved it”.
For more of Mel and Chris’s story, and their beautiful wedding day, see this blog from Look Love Wed, http://www.looklovewed.co.nz/real-weddings/2015/3/1/melissa-chris-romantic-day-out/
Photo Credit: Eva Bradley Photography