Tag Archives: beagles

In which the human lizard gets married overseas and it is very easy

union jack, australian flag and new zealand flag decoration

I’ve never been too keen on the idea of overseas weddings but when you are from the UK, your partner is from New Zealand, and the country that you live in won’t let you get married, you don’t have a great deal of choice. The choice that we did have was whose country to go for. When it became clear that I had quite a few ideas about how I’d like my wedding to go, while kiwi gf had LITERALLY NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT, the decision became a simple one.

From there, we found that planning a wedding is incredibly easy.

Here’s a rundown of how the planning process went after we told my parents that we wanted to have the wedding in their part of the beautiful English countryside.

  • Parents emailed us a list of venues they thought would be good. We looked through the list and picked one. They visited and booked it. Tick.
  • Decided to have the reception in the village hall. Mum spoke to her next door neighbour who does the bookings. Tick.
  • lazy beaglesMade cute photo of our beagles into a ‘save the date’ email that most people didn’t actually get. Tick.
  • My sister said “Please, please, please can I decorate the village hall?” Tick.
  • Went through pointless process for kiwi gf to get a marriage visitor visa for UK. Tick. Twice. Tick.
  • ‘Gave notice’ of our marriage, with extra scrutiny because of kiwi gf being a dirty foreigner. (Luckily, as the lady later told us, she could tell our relationship was genuine as soon as she saw us in the waiting room – rather than holding hands and looking all lovey dovey, we were playing on our phones.) Tick.
  • Asked my bestie if her defunct function band would get back together to play for us. Tick.
  • Ordered ten dresses from the internet. Liked one but it didn’t fit. Ordered different size. Tick.
  • Went with kiwi gf to a dress shop where she spent 20 minutes trying on dresses (10 minutes of which was spent trying to work out how to put on one of the dresses) before choosing one. Tick.
  • Bought an $11 Word template on Etsy for the invitations. Sent invites. Tick.
  • Ordered two pairs of shoes from the internet before returning them and deciding to wear a pair I already had. Tick.
  • Went shoe shopping with kiwi gf who bought the second pair of shoes that she tried on. Tick.
  • Tried to arrange hair and make-up. Failed. Mum booked for us to go to a hairdresser in the nearest town. Tick.
  • Mum sent an email with food options for the buffet. Chose our favourites. Tick.
  • Asked my awesome friend if she would bake the cake, also to be the desert. Tick.
  • Put together our one real contribution to the proceedings – party bags (which we forgot about until half our guests had already left). Tick.
  • Copied and pasted vows from the internet. Tick.

bunting and fairly lights

Based on our experience, I would offer the following tips for planning a wedding on the other side of the world:

  • I suspect this has already become clear but, outsource. If you are very lucky, you’ll have a mum who loves to plan things, as well as friends and family who have talents that they are happy to share.
  • Give those people the freedom to make decisions, and trust them to get it right. When my sister asked what the colour theme was, we said: “You choose.”
  • Prepare yourself for the reality that some people will simply not be able to come. Find the silver lining: these people will get you the best gifts.
  • Decide the things that matter to you and scrap everything else. Wedding favours? No. Chair covers? Hell no.
  • If your parents aren’t big drinkers, make sure they are clued up on how much alcohol you and your friends can get through of an evening. On a related note, big thanks to my bro for doing a beer run.
  • Film it. We set up a video camera to film the wedding, speeches and some of the dancing. The end product is of dubious quality – not unlike the dancing – but it was great to be able to do a screening for our whanau (family) who couldn’t be there on the day.
  • Relax. Most of the arrangements are out of your control so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Remember when it wasn’t cold all the time?

It’s winter at the moment. It is raining and it is cold. Seems like as good a time as any to recall the joys of summer.

My first Australian summer saw me living in the country and hanging out with livestock. As fun as that was, the next time summer came around, I was keen to see and do everything that Melbourne has to offer at the start of the year.*

I then remembered that I am really lazy, and so “everything” quickly turned into “a few fun things when it’s not too hot”. Here are some of those things.

Moonlight Cinema

This is an outdoor cinema in the Botanic Gardens and runs on nights throughout the summer, except when it rains. A pretty familiar set up you might think, as indeed I did when we went along to see The Theory of Everything. But no, this is Australia and so the girl next to us brought her pet snake with her. Not cool.


After England’s disappointing performance in the tri-series and abysmal performance in the World Cup, I think it’s best that I focus on the Big Bash League here. As mentioned previously, we support the Melbourne Renegades. We went to all but one of the home games, decked out in our red t-shirts, sometimes with a small child, always with snacks. Our team didn’t do particularly well – we decided their motto when batting is “Everyone gets a turn” – but it was always good fun to watch and we’ll be back next year.

Zoo Twilight

A picnic and concert at the zoo, with lions roaring in the background. What’s not to love?

Water fights

I’m lucky enough to have a really mature fiancée who does things like coming back from the supermarket with two big water guns. The joy of a Melbourne summer is that it’s actually hot enough for a water fight to be refreshing, rather than something that leaves you shivering and grumpy.

The dog beach

The fun thing about beagles is that if you let them off the lead, they will pick up a scent and run and run until they are dots on the horizon and you are a sweaty mess trying to catch up. A fenced dog beach is, therefore, a magical thing for a beagle owner like myself. They get to run around and you get to enjoy the beach – everyone’s a winner.**

The Australian Open

So, I didn’t actually go to the tennis this year either… but I saw a bit of it on the TV. Did I mention that I’m really lazy?

* Which, dear international readers, is when summer takes place in Australia. Madness, I know.
** Except for the jellyfish Jasper rolled around on. Because it is dead.