The opening line of a novel is critical. The same is true of a wedding ceremony, and this one is hard to beat.
Jo’s mum gave her two warnings when she left the UK almost 5 years ago for her working holiday: One: ‘If you get a tattoo, I will disown you.’ Two: ‘Just you wait and see, you’ll fall in love with a Kiwi and won’t come back.’ How prophetic at least the second warning would prove to be...
I first heard from Gregg and Jo 18 months before their wedding. They'd met up in the snows of Mount Ruapehu, when she was preparing to go back to Borneo, while he packed up for a summer in Antarctica, and as they wrote, "they exchanged numbers and promises to share photos of their adventures on return, and then promptly forgot about each other".
Needless to say, they eventually remembered about one another, and decided that Wedderburn Castle in the Scottish Borders was the ideal place to celebrate their love.
Jo's bridesmaids included her younger sister Kathy, Carla who she met at Glasgow University, and Bex, her old housemate from Mt Ruapehu, who also made Jo’s dress.
Jo and Gregg’s friends, Carla and Gillies, gave a great reading of the wonderful poem by Hovis Presley, 'I rely on you'
And during the pause for contemplation, Jo's father Frank gave us a moving rendition of The Brahms Intermezzo, Op.117 No.1, which he used to play for her when she was tiny.
Gregg and Jo spoke their very personal vows directly to one another, and exchanged rings whose design was inspired by the mountains they are drawn to again and again.
And while they signed The Marriage Schedule, Jo's brother Graham gave us Tim Minchin's song "Nothing Can Stop Us Now"
When they got back to New Zealand, Jo sent me these shots and told me that they were just about to do it all again, Kiwi-style, with Gregg's family and all their NZ friends.
As she said, "How many brides get to wear their wedding dress twice within a few months?!"
We'll take any opportunity for doubling up on the parties..."
It was a day full of love, laughter and fun, as you can see in these great photographs from Martin Pettinger. He's posted his own blog on the wedding here, where you can see some more shots, and get a bit more info on the Castle.
My thanks to him and of course to Gregg and Jo - long may they remain happy, laughing, and enjoying life to the full!