Sun, Sand and Cyclones.

May 8, 2020

New Zealand wedding - Queenstown weather
Nina and Matt's wedding at Mt Nicholas Station - Emily Adamson Photography

So – you’re getting married. Nice! And you’ve booked yourself a summer wedding? An excellent choice. After all, summer is synonymous with wedding-season…and why wouldn’t it be? Sun-kissed ceremonies and star-filled nights, delicate breezes and sparkling seas, delightfully tanned guests wearing trendy sunglasses…not to mention the unbearable heat-waves and extreme sunburns. Oh, and the cyclones, waves that halt the Waiheke ferry, un-landable Queenstown runways (leaving guests everywhere other than your wedding), and gale-force winds that rip unsuspecting Coromandel marquees in two.

Sorry…are you still there?


Despite being subjected to wildly unpredictable weather patterns for many, many years (Rhythm & Vines 2011 – need we say more), when it comes to wedding planning, Kiwi couples tend to forgive, forget and then completely disregard the possibility of anything other than a lightly-breezed, 26-degree knockout. In the minds of many, nasty weather is for other people and there’s nothing an every-half-hourly check of MetService can’t fix.


If this sounds at all familiar – don’t panic (or close the browser window, you big avoider you). We’re not here to scare, criticise or tempt the torrential-downpour gods– we just want to help you put together a simple Plan B in case your summer-stunner turns a little bit scorched or soggy.


First things first – the ceremony.


With that perfect summer afternoon in mind, there’s a good chance you’ve decided to say ‘I do’ in the great outdoors. Often, your ceremony-spot holds special meaning – along a stretch of your family farm, on your favourite path down to the sea, or in front of a view you’ve studied a thousand times – and the thought of getting married anywhere else isn’t one you want to entertain. However, it’s pretty important that you do. Whether you’re worried about heat, rain or cold we suggest you look into a nearby shelter-providing alternative – like a delightful little church, barn or community hall. There are hundreds of these bad-boys dotted around the country, all crying out to house a beautiful occasion like yours. If you’re not wanting to commit to a double-venued plan –ask if you can put the venue ‘on call’ for the week leading up to your wedding. Small local spots may even be happy to pop on a short hold for free. Alternatively, if churches and barns aren’t your thing, you could always put a marquee (or second marquee) on standby instead. And, depending on how wild the weather is, umbrellas or a roof-top may be all you need to keep your nearest and dearest dry (or free of second-degree-burns) while ensuring your beautiful view remains front and centre.


Secondly – the getting there.


After securing an element-proof ceremony location, you’re going to want to make sure that you and your partner aren’t the only people there. If dodgy weather decides to gate-crash your party, it would pay to alert your guests and vendors as soon as possible. If vendors can set up a little earlier – fantastic. If there’s a body of water to be crossed, advise people to set sail a little earlier, rather than relying on the latest-possible ferry or water-taxi to carry them safely to shore. If soaring through skies, let everyone know to be aware of flight changes and delays – and to organise themselves accordingly. Rocket science? No. A common last-minute panic? Absolutely, unquestionably, yes.  


Thirdly – the everything else.


With your church hall on hold, your guests on high-alert and your bucket of brollys at the ready – it’s safe to say you’re looking good for whatever the sky has in store. But, in the spirit of extreme forward-planning (it’s what we’re here for people), we want to leave you with a few more suggestions to help make sure your incredible day is just that. Incredible.


To combat cold, have a horde of warm layers waiting in the wings. If the temperature drops below balmy, your guests can throw blankets over knees, scarves around shoulders and old coats on for the trek to the bathroom. The extra layers may not match their outfits, but trust us - no one has ever complained of being too cosy.


If scorching heat is your stress, give guests the thumbs up on jacket-removal and be mindful of how long people are out in the sun for. Have plenty of sunblock on offer for those with less pigment, and keep chilled drinks (including lots of low-alcoholic options and water) in constant supply to steer clear of creating a drunken human soup. Avoid serving too many hot canapés and make sure there are no grazing tables (or seafood stations) exposed to the sun or bacteria-loving temperatures.


Stock bathrooms with hot and cold essentials. Towels, hairdryers and straighteners are handy for frizz-inducing drizzle, while heavy-duty deodorants, face wipes and perfume are always appreciated by sweating suit or silk wearers.


And finally – try to take it for what it is: unpredictable, uncontrollable, might-actually-make-for-quite-good-photos weather. Slip on your thermals, slop through the puddles or slap on a bit of clinical-strength deo and have an absolute ball.

New Zealand wedding - Hahei, Coromandel weather
Nate & Gemma's Hahei Wedding - Emily Adamson Photography


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