We were extremely lucky to even make it out of Wellington as it was such a windy morning and lots of flights were cancelled all around us. I learnt something new that day though - apparently the ATR propeller planes despite being bigger aren't equipped to fly in strong winds but the Q300 planes are - luckily enough that was what we were flying on so we made it out......just.
I remember sitting in the terminal watching 2 Boeing 737 planes take off before us and watching their wings dipping side to side as they struggled to get airborne in the 100+ km/hr winds and thinking...'hmmmm this is gonna be interesting!'
We'd both already had coffees while waiting at the airport and I'd enjoyed seeing the airport looking all festive as we wandered around with Wheelie Bag that I'd received from Stuck on You earlier in the year. Our Grabaseat flight allowed a small piece of cabin luggage only - so it's amazing to think we managed to pack in both our wedding outfits and everything else we needed into the small bag for the night.
As soon as we took off the plane started bouncing around and there were a few 'lose your lunch' moments and nervous laughter throughout the cabin but luckily it only lasted a couple of minutes and then we were up into clear skies and the rest of the flight passed uneventfully.
Upon landing at Rotorua airport, Mark said 'don't freak out but I have a surprise planned for you'. Now anyone who knows me well (and Noah is just the same) know I don't usually go in for surprises so it was hard not to quiz him about what we were doing but I decided to try and behave myself and just go along for the ride. I knew we were heading for Mamaku (we'd plugged it into the Sat Nav but that was it).
We headed through Rotorua (man I'd forgotten how stinky the town is in places!) and out the other side towards popular Rotorua attractions like the Agrodome and Zorbing. I couldn't help asking 'will my footwear be suitable?' as I'd only brought sandals and heels for the wedding and Mark fended this off with a suitable reply that left me none the wiser.
We carried on out into the wop wops and I recall saying to Mark 'oh it's a shame we didn't think about catching up with Mum and Dad since they're only an hour away' and Mark replied 'oh yes a bit silly of us mind you we'll be seeing them in 3 weeks for Christmas anyway'. I'd been doing the math and had a sneaky suspicion that as Mamaku was in the direction of Hamilton it might have been a possibility but I also didn't want to get my hopes up in case that wasn't the surprise.
Eventually we arrived at The Blueberry Cafe in the middle of nowhere and I was too busy taking photos to notice a white car parked slightly out of sight. My overachiever of a bladder as always needed the restroom first but then as we walked into the cafe, Mum and Dad were waiting!
It was simply the loveliest surprise I could have asked for that day - I'd had a pretty rough week at work and I had some big decisions still hanging over me, plus we hadn't seen them for 4 months so it was just wonderful to be able to set eyes on them, give them a big hug and wile away a lovely hour together before we had to head back to town to get ready for the wedding. And the food - practically everything on the menu was blueberry in some shape or another - was pretty darn tasty too!
After a quick stop in at the hotel to get ready, we headed down to the lake to the Lakeland Queen paddle steamer which was the venue both for the ceremony and reception. After a short but lovely ceremony, the bride and groom went off to get their photos done, returning in time for a 5pm cruise out into the harbour over dinner.
I think we ended up with the most raucous table of the lot - we knew one of the couples very well as Aaron and Lucy are old friends of ours (Mark works with Aaron and used to work with Lucy too back in the day) and the joke of the day was how many table centrepieces (jars filled with Eskimos or Fruit Puffs) could we steal from other tables without them finding out?! And then there was the 'Westside' poses - I cannot even remember why we did this only that it was hilarious at the time - I guess you had to be there?!
It was such a lovely and relaxed low-key wedding but Lizzy had still done an amazing job on all the table settings - from the Eskimo centre pieces to the little gift boxes painted in blackboard paint with little chocolates inside and the bunting hanging around the room - all delightful understated elegance.
The rain that had set in on the cruise stopped in time for the hills to take on a salmon tinge as the day slipped into night, and we slipped into bed early at 9pm with the thought of a 7.30am flight ahead of us the next morning.
It was a lovely day out to celebrate our friends' commitment to each other and also a time to reflect on our own vows to each other nearly a decade ago now.