Well well well. So sorry I haven’t written one damn thing! Actually that’s a lie, I have been journaling (journalling?) each day so we’re all good.
I’m going to briefly go over the first few days as they were so busy and crazy with wedding things I’m not going to remember everything.
So when we came out of the airport I was so excited like a child at the thought of seeing my dear friends Ro and Kate again after a mere 4 years. Little did I realise that they’d already seen me through the automatic doors run over to the money exchange with Javi in tow. I was just in a hurry to see those girls! So we were reunited and it was great, like no time had passed and we just all slipped right back into it. Oh I’d missed them so much – Skype is great and I fully appreciate it and all that but god it was good to actually hug each other, I couldn’t get over it!
So we spent that evening and night at Ros gorgeous new pad and met the puppy and cat and flatmates, all lovely but Jed definitely kept us the most entertained. He developed this new habit of licking legs which amused us all, he was only licking Javis legs though which made it even funnier. (This is the pup if you hadn’t figured that out already). We relaxed that night and made it to 9pm before crashing into bed… to be wide awake at 3am but hey we didn’t get out of bed till 7. I had places to be and bridesmaid dresses to try on…
I met Kates sister Rachel and Sarah, the sister of Si, husband to be, and with Kate we tried on our bridesmaid dresses in this wonderful dressmakers house. It had huge tall ceilings and kids toys everywhere outside and dresses of all sorts and colours and shapes on the inside. Rachel and me went behind our curtains and got to it. I stepped into my pretty navy lacy dress and found I couldn’t even pull it up to my hips. Argh stupid you’re supposed to put this type of dress over your head, duh! So I put my arms and head through and pulled it down and er… couldn’t pull it over my hips… bloody wank shit bollocks!!!! I gulped back tears thinking I’d ruined it all just as Kate said “Sam do you need a hand zipping up?” I responded with a shaky “um I actually need the dressmaker!” which bought lots of laughs but certainly not from me. So the lovely woman came in and took one look and was like oh. Er. Right. Um. LUCKILY at this point Rachel piped up from her corner and said “um my dress is huge.” That’d be mine then! Thank fuck! Uff so disaster over. That was morning one of this holiday. ..
After dresses were done I got dropped off at Ros and she was lovely enough to take us on our first trip to a seaside town called Akaroa. This is where her family have their pretty house on the hill overlooking the whole flippin bay – the window is huge so you can literally waste your whole day sitting there watching the water, it must be so relaxing. Before we saw this place though we had lunch on a hilltop restaurant called The Hilltop, and had a little walk around the actual town, which is very quaint and cute. It almost feels like there should be horses tied up outside each shop. On the way home from Akaroa we went for a drive around the city, which is still in recovery mode from the big earthquake back in 2011. I was really keen on seeing this as the girls were with us in London when this happened so it is all the more poignant to walk down the streets and see it first hand. There are some brand new buildings but mostly you see empty spaces where buildings once were and now are temporary car parks. Also there are still a shockingly high number of buildings still half falling down – of course they’re cordoned off but it seems like it happened days ago not years. It’s all very surreal and that’s just for me let alone the locals. When we got home we spoke to Ros flatmate a bit about it all as she is an emergency nurse so her side of the story was fascinating and upsetting both at the same time.
That night I think we made it to 9.05pm?
Day two consisted of Javi and I driving Kates car that she’d left at Ros for us back from Christchurch to her place in Darfield, about 45 mins away. We jumped in the car all on time at 8am and I clocked the gear stick. Or rather, the gearstick with letters next to it. OK, automatic. Only briefly driven one of those before. No problem. How do you start the bugger. I tried my hardest to push that little button but eventually Google told me to put my foot on the brake. Well who knew! So we drove to her little house which is soon to be double the size and dropped off our bits then straight off to drop Javi at the family farm to bond with Kates dad and we went off to meet the other bridesmaids to get our nails done – which was a treat (first time pedicure for me and shellac stuff which is amazing it dries so fast!). Quick bite to eat after with the girls which was nice to get to know them then back to the farm to get Javi and a few hours helping out there. The marquee looked great, how exciting for the next day…!
That evening we had a pub dinner with the novios and Si’s good friend Joe (our campervan is named after him) and all crashed pretty early. Thursday was a whooooole day of wedding prep which was so much fun. We spent literally the whole day helping everyone with building, moving hay bales, washing, cleaning, making centre pieces, organising boxes for tables. Highlights were me falling in the hay barn and getting tons of the stuff spiked into my legs, Kates sweet grandad driving over to us in his tractor to specifically get Javi to wipe the bonnet of it hahaha, so funny, and a yummy dinner at a different pub that evening. Wedding day tomoro!!
Wedding day finally arrived! The night before Javi stayed in a hotel round the corner and Kate and us bridesmaids stayed together in a gorgeous cottage so we could be girly and get ready together in the morning of course. As we were eating breakfast Kate gave us all presents of very pretty dark blue kimonos and beautiful tiny delicate pearl bracelets to wear! We all felt very pretty even before we were ready. Her mum came and so did the hair and make up ladies and the photographers and all of a sudden it was go go go! But actually we had so much time we were taking tons of photos of everything going on and with the hotrod (Kates mum’s amazing handbuilt bright green car that was taking us to the wedding – more on that later). It was boiling hot already and Kate finally had her dress on and walked down the stairs – she looked absolutely stunning. It was so her and was just the right amount of sparkle and she looked extremely comfy too. We zipped ourselves into our little dresses and a few posey photos were taken before her dad arrived to collect her – that brought a tear to my eye as she came round the corner of the house and he saw her for the first time, he’s such a sweet soft guy he didn’t really know what to say! We piled into the green hotrod and Kate and GJ into the blue one, and off we went! Oh and our flowers were so special, a big rustic mix of gerberas (will look up that spelling when I have wifi!) roses, grasses and lots of other country flowers I have no idea of the names, wrapped in bale twine. Very pretty and set off our bright coral nails!
We arrived at the farm and did a fast lap around the gorgeous ceremony area which had everyone sitting on straw bales with a backdrop of huge straw rolls to block off our big entrance. The sun was high by this time, about 2.30, but there was a perfect cool breeze. We spun around behind the rolls and as the lyrics to the entrance song started I was first to walk down the aisle. I wasn’t nervous at all but I was pretty much walking with my eyes closed as the sun was right on us at this angle, I had to hold back the tears it was so bright. Luckily where we stood up at the front we were side on to the sun – all the guests were face on haha. When Kate came down with her dad it was all surreal and gorgeous and flowy and just perfect and poems were read by both sets of mums and extremely sweet secret vows by the novios. I hadn’t even spotted Ro and Javi until me and Liam (Si’s brother) were last to walk back down the aisle and I saw them right at the back. Ro looked very summery and pretty in her dress and Javi handsome in his Vietnamese grey 3 piece.
Hugs and kisses were all exchanged and many photos taken over the next couple of hours – we watched the novios, best man and Rachel go off in the helicopter (nice to have friends in high places aye!) to go up to a nearby mountain for photos – cannot wait to see those! Champagne was had and everyone mingled. The day went off without a hitch and the buffet food was an incredible feast, mm. Unfortunately I had so many pins in my head I developed a migraine and drank water all night but that meant I remembered everything and no hangover the next day woohoo!
The next morning we all regrouped at the farm for more booze and the rest of the buffet served as lunch – oh yum! And these giant crayfish Si and Joe had caught a few days before, so tasty and gigantic. After lunch we got a ride back to Christchurch with Ro to pick up our camper (I was so excited to get our home!) Wasn’t nice saying bye to our Ro but it had to be done. Javi calls her his kiwi sister. When we got back to the farm it was already about 7pm and I got a go in the green hotrod round the obstacle track the boys had made in the paddock! It was so fun, the thing really grips and doing 360s was fun and dusty! What a laugh, now I definitely want to have a go at rally driving.
Later that evening – so we’re at Saturday 5th March now – Javi and I had dinner in Methven and camped on the farm after everyone had left. Saying bye to Kate was weird as we’d spent the whole time prepping everything for the wedding of course but what an honour to be able to do that. I’m so lucky she a) asked me to be bridesmaid and b) I was able to come!! Thanks Kate and to my boss!
I’m calling a stop here as this is officially the end of the wedding stuff and tomoro our adventure begins on our road trip… sleepy time early as we want to get going early tomoro!!