Gibbston Valley Lodge wedding

"It only took one simple sentence to reduce this middle-aged scribe to a blubbering mess, “you should get married in New Zealand, I honestly think it’s for the best”."

Can you organise a wedding in 3 weeks? - you sure can!

I got a call from Alan to say that he and his partner wanted to get married at Gibbston Valley Lodge. "Fabulous and congratulations" I said "When?" "In 3 weeks time - can it be done?". "Absolutely - as long as you can get the licence - it can and will be done".
And so followed a busy and exciting 3 weeks of organising paperwork, location, schedule, clothes.

And what a day we had! Following days of cold and snow clouds with more of the same forecast, the sun magically and unexpectedly came out and warmed hearts, bones and smiles. After a seriously comprehensive morning of wine tasting with Gibbston Valley Winemaker, Matt Swirtz, the happy couple said their 'I Do's' on the lawn with Zelia, from Gibbston Valley Lodge and I as witnesses. Then off for a relaxed fun trip round the vineyard, wine cave and local secret spots for romantic photos.

I love an intimate wedding. So personal, so special. Thanks for asking me - I loved every minute.
Venue: Gibbston Valley Lodge
Celebrant: Andrew Bell
Photographer: Celia Walmsley, Stagebox Photography
Gibbston Valley Lodge stars: Zelia Horrell, Andrew

Check out the story by Alan Granville on today's www.Stuff.co.nz


With plans for a wedding in Ireland scuppered by Covid, Alan Granville decides on a new location for his nuptials.
Check out Gibbston Valley Lodge

Stagebox Blog | Weddings

I've taken the Pride Pledge to show publicly that I support all people who love each other and who wish to marry and spend their lives together. The Pride Pledge is an initiative to increase visibility, inclusion and safety for LGBTTQ+ people in our community. We are already a diverse and tolerant country - now is the time to make that tolerance visible and to celebrate our pride as an inclusive community.
Even though I've lived and worked for most of my careers in environments where LGBTTQ+ people are welcome, safe and play key roles, including hotel industry (my first career) and the arts, dance and theatre (my more recent careers), I have also worked in environments where this is, sadly, not the case. So it is important to me to show support publicly for all LGBTTQ+ people.
So many of the weddings I photograph are for same sex couples. The love and joy and warmth of these weddings is so special and precious and is often heightened because of the journey the couple may have had to take to get to the point of being able to marry. I am always honoured and blessed when couples choose me as their photographer. Choosing your photographer is a big decision - I'm with you all day and the photographs I create are your lasting memory of your special day.
I wish we lived in a world where Pride Pledge wasn't needed, where all people are accepted, safe and welcomed for who they are. But sadly we don't and so it is important to say 'I support Pride Pledge'.

Check out Pride Pledge

Queenstown rainbow wedding capital


Queenstown will host what is believed to be the country's first rainbow wedding expo to re stimulate the resort's economy.

Plans for this year's Queenstown Winter Pride Festival have been unveiled which include trumpeting the town as the rainbow wedding capital.

Winter Pride Festival event director Martin King said the inaugural expo on September 3 at the Novotel would showcase Queenstown as a wedding destination for the LGBT+ community.

Read all about it here by Jo McKenzie McLean


Stagebox Blog | Weddings

Did you know it's really easy to elope, right on your doorstep, in New Zealand?

Here are the 10 key steps.....

1.  Find THE ONE!  Congratulations - this is the hardest step but if you're reading this you've already achieved this one - WOOHOO!

2.  When?  Decide when (or roughly when).  It's good to have a couple of dates in mind.  So many people go for summer weddings but we love winter weddings - they are intimate, uncrowded and very special.  You can also get great photos in winter with the soft light and expansive scenery without distractions

3.  Where?  Yes you can get married in your very own garden, veranda or house.  Or you can choose a public space, waterfront, park, mountain top, church, friend's garden or farm.  We know some great spots.  Some public spaces require permission and we can help advise you on that as we've done a lot of weddings outdoors on public and private land  

4.  Talk to us - our Elope in Your Own Backyard  package gives you the key essentials - Celebrant, Photographer and bubbles all in one easy step.  AND we've got a special price running until 30 September 2020.  Check out full details 

5.  Marriage Licence - you'll need to apply for your licence from the Ministry or Internal Affairs and we can advise you on how and when to do this

6.  Design your ceremony - we design your ceremony with you and make it totally unique to you

7.  Photography - I talk to you about the style of photography you like, where you'd like your couple photos taken and give you tips for looking gorgeous in your photos

8.  Two witnesses - choose your two witnesses.  These can be family, close friends or complete strangers as long as they are old enough and of sound enough mind to know what they are witnessing and signing.  We'll crack open that bottle of bubbles, included in your package, for the signing of the register.  

9.  Hey presto - the key elements of your wedding are all done.  You can now get married!

10.  Of course you'll probably want to some rings and something to wear but the key parts are all done. 

The Elope in Your Own Backyard package is available throughout the year for 4-10 people and includes Celebrant, Photographer for ceremony and couple photos and a bottle of Quartz Reef bubbles for the toast.  And we have a special offer running until 30 September July 2020  Check out full details

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  I'd love to hear your story.  For a casual chat, check dates or to book call Celia on 021 583 124

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Let's get you wed!



Stagebox Blog | Weddings

With a special wedding Celebrant and Photography Package for Winter 2020

I'm so proud to be working with the wonderful Glennys Logan, the hardest working celebrant (Live Love Wed) in New Zealand to bring you this special Elope in Your Own Backyard package. Together we combine many years of wedding experience, enthusiasm and true love of a good wedding and we work together to make your day super special, smooth and unique.

We had an overwhelming response to our recent Cromwell Caremongering Elope in Your Own Backyard prize giveaway, which we created as a gift for one lucky Cromwell couple as a response to the Covid-19 lockdown.  It just goes to show that romance is alive and well and that there are lots of wonderful couples itching to get married as soon as they can. 

So we created this fabulous Elope in Your Own Backyard value package for all you fabulous couples who had to postpone your wedding or who got engaged during lockdown.  

We reckon Elopement weddings and 'Tiny' weddings will be trending this year and so we made this package to make your wedding super special and easy to plan.

Special package available: until 30 September 2020 

In true elopement style tailored for 4-8 people and includes:

Celebrant: for ceremony 

Photographer: for 2 hours to cover ceremony and couple photos after the ceremony in a beautiful spot of your choice in or around your area 

Bottle of bubbles: by Quartz Reef

So why not Elope in Your Own Backyard?

Show me the price and details

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 We'd love to hear your story.  For a casual chat, check dates, ask questions or to book call Celia on 021 583 124 or Glennys on 027 434 5749 or

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Let's get you wed!

Celia and Glennys
Photographer and Celebrant

Want to know more about how to elope check out 10 easy steps to eloping in New Zealand 


Win a Wedding Winners

So proud to have been part of the recent Cromwell Caremongering 'Win a Wedding' prize.   

The brainchild of Glennys Logan, celebrant LiveLoveWed, and Nicola Brockie of Cromwell Caremongering, this 'local elopement' package was for one loved up Cromwell couple to celebrate love, this beautiful area of Central Otago and the amazing wedding professionals we have living here.

As Glennys and Nicola said 'Life's been a bit tough for us all recently and we want to give a local couple something feel-good to look forward to, and..as no one is travelling anywhere anytime soon, we want to promote staying local, supporting local, and showing you that all we need for a spectacular wedding day is right here in our own back yard'.

The winners of the draw were announced on Thursday 7 May.  Eleven hopeful loved-up couples entered the prize draw with a chance to win an Elopement package valued at over $2,800 including:

The lucky winners were Karyn and Steve - check out the video of their Love Story