Paul and Jeff were "not looking for a traditional wedding at all. "The whole evening had to be amazing and there is only one place to go to for amazing - Ruth Pretty Catering,” they explained.
"We wanted a celebration to incorporate our passions for wonderful wine and food, with our families and friends. A gorgeous cocktail party at The Boatshed, with the ceremony during the evening, and a central Veuve Clicquot bar, was perfect”.
The couple live in Australia, returning to Paul’s hometown Wellington for the wedding. "It was not too difficult to choose between New Zealand and Australia for the venue as gay marriage is not legal in Australia.
"Choosing Ruth as our caterer was also easy. We’ve known Ruth for many years and she has catered many events for us and friends, so we knew we were in safe hands.
"We wanted a Wine Bar look. Obviously the Veuve Clicquot bar was the highlight: it’s our favourite champagne and we wanted it to flow all night. Our guests are still talking about it! Ruth very kindly lent us her French bottle trolley, to take all the empties. It was almost a challenge to fill the 50 spaces!
"We wanted to highlight some amazing New Zealand wines from Paul Pretty's cellar, especially to the 54 people who travelled from Australia, and also some top Australian drops to the local Kiwis. Likewise showing off some finest local foods was a privilege. The menu represented the things we love, like oysters, whitebait and individual serves of snapper & chips in a cone. See menu here.
"The dessert bar offered seven individually-presented desserts AND the choice of eight home-made ice creams.
"The idea behind the cocktail party approach with food stations was to avoid people sitting at their allocated tables all night. We were bringing a lot of different groups of people together and we wanted them all to get to know each other. This was an amazing success with many new friendships formed.
"The dress code was ‘sophisticated elegance’ and it was fantastic to see the efforts everyone went to. Although Paul’s dad in a kilt surprised some!
"The famous yellow (some say orange) label sparked our look, with the colour used cleverly by Ingrid from Scent who did the theming work and flowers. She did an amazing job and the venue looked superb. The Boatshed’s spaciousness gave us plenty of scope to be creative,” they commented.
Of course, a wedding is more than food and champagne. Family was a priority for Paul and Jeff, and the family photos were held on the The Boatshed's beautiful little beach, with the ceremony inside.
Paul said "Our children Tayla and Bailey, niece Hannah and nephew Nicholas all played a role in the ceremony, and this was very important to us. Tayla read from Tuesdays with Morrieand Bailey’s reading remembered those who could not be or are longer with us. Hannah lit candles and Nick was in charge of the rings.
"So many talented people contributed their skills to help us achieve our dreams. Andrea Sanders was a fantastic celebrant, very attentive to our needs. Harpist/guitarist/ singer Marg Harper from Tauranga not only played before the ceremony; she learned a new song (Mel Parson's Fireworks) to sing during the register signing. Awesome local singer Anita Prime entertained, and had everyone up dancing for most of the night.
"Ruth said afterwards she’d never seen so many wedding guests dancing and having such a great time. She loved it when Jeff sang Beautiful in my Eyes while Paul danced with his mother, and our parents all danced as our take on the traditional first dance. They were then joined by the rest of the guests.
"Photographer Murray Lloyd documented the evening beautifully. We especially love the sequence of empty champagne bottles!
"Special recognition goes to Olivia and her fantastic work as our co-ordinator at Ruth Pretty Catering. She was great to work with, and we were delighted to have her there with us on the night to see a lot of her hard work and planning come to fruition.
"Of course, having Ruth there as our chef was a special privilege.
"In summary, we felt the event was exceptional. We are so happy with how it came together and how it was executed.
"Our guests agreed. Feedback was unanimous: the food was amazing; the wine and drinks were amazing; the whole evening was amazing. Just what we wanted!
"Quite a number of people have suggested we make it an annual event ... now if only we can figure out a way to sell tickets .....” Paul and Jeff laughed.