New Zealand Oceania Travel Stories

Our Travel-themed Wedding in Central Otago, New Zealand

“We have been through good times and bad, rich and broke. With our many adventures and misadventures, I learnt that what mattered most is that we have each other.”

With most of our friends and family gathered before us, Jon and I declared our love to the world on October 14, 2017 in Central Otago, New Zealand. After sharing the story of our engagement in India, I am delighted to share the story or our wedding – one of the most precious moments in our relationship.

Finding the right person is truly special. Jon and I are very happy that we found each other. For four years, we have shared memories of love and travel. This wedding is yet another chapter of our journey together as a couple.

The quote above was a line taken from my personal wedding vows to Jon. Despite being fond of writing letters to him, it still took a lot of time to let my feelings flow through words. I think Jon felt the same way, as he didn’t show anyone the final copy of his wedding vows until our wedding day!

RELATED POST: Our Wedding Proposal Story: Getting Engaged in Orchha, India

Wedding Theme: Incorporating our Love for Travel

Our travels and our relationship have always come hand in hand throughout the years. We couldn’t tell our story without talking about all the places that we have been and the experiences that we have shared so it was just fitting to choose travel as the theme for our wedding. The travel theme really fit with who we are as a couple and showed our love for exploring the world.

From the lanterns we got in Vietnam which we used to as a centerpiece on our wedding arch to little suitcases (handcrafted by my cousin, Anne), which we used as wedding gifts, we incorporated various elements of travel throughout our wedding. We didn’t hire a wedding planner so I was hands on with all the aspects of the wedding (thanks to Kirsty, my maid of honour for keeping me on track). Our wedding invitations were inspired by boarding passes and our wedding programme was made to look like a passport. For decorations, we included our own travel souvenirs, our travel photos and various maps and globes. The planning was stressful at times but well worth it in the end. Our family and friends also helped out with the wedding, which made it more memorable. I will write about the creative ideas that we incorporated in our travel-themed wedding in a separate post. So keep a look out for that if you are planning to have your own travel-themed wedding.

The Venue: Central Otago, New Zealand

While we thought it would be a great idea to get married on a beach we love on Koh Kood, Thailand, the amount of work that would have involved meant we began searching for other options. I also heard the marriage certificate is in Thai, so that would be troublesome!

My family and friends had never been to New Zealand so it was a great decision to have the wedding in the country we now call home. We thought that it would be a good opportunity for them to see where we live and to visit some of the attractions in New Zealand.

Known for its dramatic landscapes, heritage towns and great wines, Central Otago has that old world charm and the outstanding natural scenery that we really love. While there are many available wedding venues in Central Otago (it is quite a popular region for weddings!), we decided to have our wedding at Steve’s (Jon’s dad’s) place in Alexandra. We stayed there for the first few months when we moved to New Zealand and we really adored the place (it also saved us from hiring a venue).

RELATED POST: The Best Things to Do in Central Otago, New Zealand

Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress

On our wedding day, I wore a delicate silk and lace wedding dress with a mid-length lace wedding veil. I absolutely loved my dress, which was inspired by a few different wedding dress designs I found online. I would proudly say the dress was really made for me.

My wedding dress was made in Hoi An, Vietnam, which is famous for its skilled tailors. When Jon and I stayed in Hoi An (while waiting for my visa), we already thought it was best to get my wedding dress made there. The only problem was we weren’t sure about the details of our wedding yet so we couldn’t buy anything too far in advance. After our move to New Zealand, we thought it would be easier to get a wedding dress made here or buy something that was already made but it was very limiting (they also don’t come in my size so alterations would be expensive!). After a lot of research on the pros and cons of buying a dress online, I finally decided to get back in touch with one of the shops we visited in Hoi An, which has previous experience in weddings (and delivers internationally). It was the best (and cheapest way) that I could get the wedding dress design that I wanted. I ordered the dress about 4 months ahead of the wedding and had a few alterations about a month before. If you want more information on how I got my wedding dress made in Hoi An, leave a comment or send me an email.

RELATED POST: 10 Fun Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

A Change in the Bridal Party

One of the hardest moments during the planning of our wedding was when my maid of honour backed out at the last minute. Two weeks before the wedding day, when she was already in New Zealand with her boyfriend, she decided to leave early, abandon the wedding and rebook her flight to Hong Kong (as she found it too expensive to travel in the country, or so she explained). While most brides would be distraught by this scenario, I had received a lot of support from family and friends and at that time I was so excited for the wedding that I knew it wouldn’t ruin this beautiful occasion.

Kirsty, who had helped me out with a lot of the planning in New Zealand, took over the role of maid of honour. Good thing my bridesmaids had mismatched dresses so she fitted right in.


Our Wedding Day

Despite the manic morning spent setting up the venue, our wedding day was exactly how we envisioned it. We even got lucky as the weather cleared just in time for the wedding ceremony.

The Wedding Ceremony

Integrating different cultures made our wedding (and our ceremony) an interesting one to prepare. Apart from the usual aspects of the wedding (readings, music, etc – which also took a long time to choose), we included the cord ceremony in our wedding, one of the many wedding traditions in the Philippines where the bride and groom are symbolically united as one with a cord in the form of an “8” (or infinity).

“The cord symbolizes an infinite bond of love you share that keeps your relationship strong in the face of adversity, as well as that you both are no longer two, but one in marriage. May this cord remind you to face your life together courageously and to be mutual in support of each other in carrying out your duties and responsibilities as a couple and may your love grow stronger and bind you closer together through the years.”

Jon and I included the traditional vows, as well as personal vows for each other. I find it hard to explain how much love I felt during that moment. Those very words we expressed on that day wwere our heartfelt commitments to one another. The promise to love one another and to be loyal to each other is so special.

For our exchange of rings, we were inspired by a sweet line from one of our favourite TV shows, Game of Thrones,

“I am yours and you are mine, from this day, until the end of my days. “

The Reception

Central Otago wine and a variety of New Zealand cheeses delighted our guests before and after the wedding ceremony. Inspired by a traditional Kiwi BBQ, we had an array of roasted meats and potatoes, and salads for dinner. For dessert, we had French macaroons, sweetheart cookies, lots of chocolates, ice cream and our favourite New Zealand lollies and sweets. We adored the casual atmosphere during the reception, where we celebrated the occasion with family and friends. We shared toasts, breezed through our first dance as a couple and savored our beautiful two-tier wedding cake.

Do you plan to have a travel-themed wedding? Do you have plans for a destination wedding? Let us know.

About the author

Gia Kristel Algie

Currently based in New Zealand, Gia grew up in Manila, lived in Singapore for three years and travelled the world for nearly two years. From watching sunsets to hiking mountains, she loves the outdoors. She enjoys living in big cities but takes pleasure staying in quaint, small towns. An aspiring photographer and budding writer, she is the voice behind Mismatched Passports, a travel blog dedicated to the journey around the world with her husband, Jon.


  • I also had a travel-themed wedding!!! Just like yours, we had souvenirs from countries we visited as our centerpieces. Each table was also named based on the country we’ve been to. It was a lot of fun preparing all the decors! Our giveaways were pink and chocolate brown pasaports that some of our friends and family still use to this day! Our wedding cake was a map of the world! The baker did a fantastic job! Reading your blog just brought back memories from our 2015 wedding!

Leave a Comment