Wedding Of The Year 2021

Read Kristina & Chris’s Emotional Story


Tui Hills’ Wedding of the Year winners – Auckland couple Kristina and Chris Ellson – married with Kristina’s father being denied the opportunity to attend because of Covid restrictions. You can read their special story below.

Chosen for embodying the spirit and style of Tui Hills, you’ll be able to see even more of Kristina and Chris in the Real Weddings section of the January edition of New Zealand Weddings & Honeymoons magazine. They’ll also be enjoying a weekend for two and spa experience at the fabulous Waitakere Resort.

To enter the 2022 competition, couples who’ve married at Tui Hills and enter between November this year and October 2022 need only to fill in our feedback form. Ask your Tui Hills wedding coordinator for more details.

Now, for the couple’s special story, in Kristina’s own words…

The past two years have been hard for everyone! On March 21, 2020, at the end of my hair and makeup trial, the prime minister made an announcement making it very hard for our wedding to go ahead – restricting 70+-year-olds going out into public and movement between regions throughout NZ.

At that point, we made contact with Tui Hills, and Ruth helped us decide to put the 18 April wedding on hold. Well, while holding it together throughout that phone call, I soon learned that the hair and makeup could take messy crying as I shed a few tears that afternoon letting people know we were on hold.

On the other side of Lockdown, we knew we wanted to get the wedding in before the speedway season started in November – otherwise, most of our guests would not attend.

We settled on 25 October, however we were unable to tell guests for a while as my dad passed away as we went into alert level 2.  It didnt feel right to announce at that time. What was most upsetting was my biggest fear that dad wouldn’t make it to my wedding.  Had Covid not intervened he would have made it.

He had also been practicing his walk as he wanted to walk down the bridal path (though the beauty of tui Hills was the backup plan of him meeting me at the end of the bridal path and just walking down into the glade). We honoured him, and Chris’s dad who had also passed, with Chris wearing a tie pin with their names on it, and I carried their pictures in my bouquet.

With the travel restrictions in place, we were unable to have guests from Australia, including Chris’s family of his mum, sister, brother in law and niece and nephew. However, when doing our final visit at the venue prior to the wedding, Chris tested a live video into our wedding group on Facebook – one, this meant our guests got a sneak peek of our beautiful venue, but two, it gave us the option for our overseas guests to still join our special day.

On the day we were blessed with beautiful weather – clear blue skies and sunshine. The venue was set up beautifully and we had many guests comment on the stunning location. My mother and bridesmaids kept commenting that I was very calm the whole day, and it was easy to be as Tui Hills had taken care of everything for us and I was about to marry the love of my life!

Chris was very insistent to Marieke, our wedding coordinator, that I would be on time and he was very happy that not only did I arrive on time, I wasn’t wearing the bright pink “My big fat gypsy wedding” dress I had been teasing him for months about. Our wedding was as close to perfect as you can get and we had a fabulous start to life as a married couple.

Photos by Sarah Weber.

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