For many years now Te Kani my Husband of 20 years has been twirling around the idea to renew our vows, and while I thought it was a nice idea, I asked him why? We had a magnificent day 27th February 1999, we had his late Mum with us, as at that time we did not know she would not have many more months with us.
My Husband's family are a musical family, his Grandfather Inia Te Wiata, a well known Opera Singer, Carver, and Actor passed away in 1971, however, the genetics of a great voice and presence has been passed through the generations. I will never forget the amazing voices of Te Kani's Whanau serenading our family and friends. We are blessed Te Kani and our youngest children, Lily and Wiremu also sing like the sweetest birds. Te Kani sang the Al Green song "Let's stay together", at the service and made everyone melt. The hankies were passed around - and I felt like the luckiest girl in the World.
Anyway, moving on 20 years later.......... 2019 was a particularly tough year for us and our Whanau (Family).
Te Kani had a quad bike accident and broke limbs, was diagnosed with cancer, and had surgery. Our youngest daughter had a significant car accident. We had a tough time with family problems, and to top it off, just before Christmas we lost Te Kani's Dad, a wonderful Man who held such Mana (Maori for prestige) and an integral part of our Whanau - a huge heartache for us all.
Around this time an old time friend of mine and a "Life Celebrant" Natasha @natashabowen4u and I were chatting, and I had this brain wave, wouldn't it be great to surprise our kids and renew our vows, to put 2019 behind us, and look forward to a great 2020. Te Kani was on board and we started planning.
I knew our eldest son Lachlan and his Fiancé were returning to New Zealand from Japan for a few weeks. At that stage, I had no idea that they too were planning to get married.
Kani, and I got busy, and planned the surprise, we got into building our outdoor bath area to hold our ceremony, all the time, keeping it all under wraps. It was such an exciting time, not only looking forward to Lachlan's return from Japan, but we had also received the news from Bali, our eldest daughter while holidaying had got engaged to Kellie her partner. I could hardly contain my excitement in the build up to our Vow Renewal's.
The countdown was on. Lachlan was due to arrive December 20th, and low and behold December 19th I had just walked in the door from the hairdressers.............. Lachlan and his Fiancé Hisa surprised us a day early!!! After not seeing Lachlan for 3 and a half years, I didn't think my heart could cope with much more happiness.....Thankfully, Te Kani and I had only one more day to keep our secret.
Before we knew it, our "day" December 20th, 2019, 20 years on from our original Vows was here upon us. The weather Gods were not in our favour, it started to rain, and our beautiful bath area was not to be. We opened up our house "Waihora Lodge", and had a wonderful ceremony at the base of our staircase.
To be honest, it did not matter about the rain, it just meant the World to us, that we had surprised our friends and family, and they were all with us to share the love. Our house was full to the brim with such a buzz - such special memories were being made.
Te Kani and I walked down our staircase to the beautiful tones of his Father singing "Let's begin the beguine", such a bitter sweet time, after losing Bill a few months prior.
I wore my original dress I made back in 1999, I also removed my train, and attached it to my late Mum's satin headpiece that she wore when she married my late Dad in 1957. I felt their energy was also with us sharing our "day".
We were so fortunate to have our lovely neighbour Reneé at @onepoppyweddingflowers create her mastery with such beautiful "foam free" blooms. The super talented Hannah at @hannahbaker.snaps has made our year with such magnificent memories in her photography.
Even writing this blog, a month later, tears of happiness, still prick my eyes.
Towards the end of our most moving day, the sky cleared, the rain ceased and Hannah said let's go down to the outdoor bath area, overlooking the Kaipara Harbour and take some photos .... these photos are priceless.
2020, is a year of many blessings. I wonder what it will bring?
Lachlan has returned with Hisa to Japan, I know they are heading off to Paris to get some Wedding pics in front of the Eiffel Tower in March.
Briar and Kellie will be planning for their future together. Our two youngest kids also have exciting plans ahead, Lily has job opportunities to look forward to, and Wiremu will be performing in Les Miserablés with his School Production.
Te Kani is heading into his 41st year with the New Zealand Navy, and I am just loving A Deer Cottage. Our family, friends, garden and animals bring me such joy, peace and tranquility.
Life could not be better - blessed.
Te Kani and I in front of A Deer Cottage