Sara + Sean | Christchurch Wedding

Tell us about your dress journey experience:

My dress was a custom variation of the Grace gown. Meg made adjustments to the gown to be more in line with the evening wedding/party by shortening the train and we added the custom blouse at the final fitting.


How  did you meet?

I took a room in a flat when I moved to Christchurch and Sean was my flat mate. It took about two months to get from flat mates to something more than friends and a few more months of denial until we realised we had found ourselves in a relationship!

Source of inspiration:

I don’t know that there was one inspiration source. When we knew we wanted to do something different my maid of honour suggested a surprise wedding and we went for it! Once we picked an inner city venue (remembering it had to be somewhere people would likely hold an engagement party) it made sense to be photographed in Christchurch city and have street style food and grazing tables rather than a seated meal.


Engagement story:

Hiking in the Canterbury mountains is a hobby of mine and I secretly always thought Sean would propose on top of a mountain. When he suggested camping and hiking up Mount Thomas I wondered if his knee would finally buckle but he was so cool, calm and collected I quickly shrugged off any ideas of a proposal! Sure enough, when we summited Mount Thomas he proposed with my Grandmothers engagement ring which he was given by my parents a few weeks before hand when we visited them for a weekend.

What was it like having a 2020 wedding?

We got engaged the weekend before we went into the first lock down in March which did pop the engagement bubble. We were really anxious about needing to move or cancel the wedding but it also gave us a wonderful excuse to do something different! We decided on using an “engagement party” as the cover up for our surprise wedding and surprised our guests with a wedding in October this year. The bridal party were the only ones (as well as the vendors) in on the secret and it was so much fun to plan! We greeted our guests and hosted an engagement party for ~1.5 hours before running away to get changed while Sean started “speeches” and announcing it was our wedding day.

Favourite part of the day?

So many! But seeing everyone surprised and thrilled for us takes the cake. Our parents were really emotional and so proud and there was such a buzz in the room during the ceremony.

Do you have any advice for our future brides?

Trust your vendors and don’t be afraid to give them creative licence. I said to our florist (bunch) that she could do whatever she liked and the flowers were stunning. We trusted Sophie from The Welder to plan the menu and listened to all of her advice and suggestions and the whole thing went so smoothly. I think people can want to control the process too much and letting go and trusting the professionals not only made the whole thing less stressful but also turned out better than we could have dreamed.

Our Vendors


Flowers / Bunch Floral

Food  /  Welder Events

Celebrant / Hannah Duder