On Saturday, January 14, 2017, the Olive Grove event venue in Wanaka played host to what press there had dubbed New Zealand’s own “royal wedding” – the union of All Blacks rugby legend Richie McCaw to field hockey champ Gemma Flynn.
The high profile pair shrouded their wedding day in secrecy, using large white umbrellas to block the view from paparrazzi, as the couple had sold exclusive coverage rights to Woman’s Day, though the notoriously private couple donated proceeds from the coverage to charity. “We appreciated there was a lot of interest,” McCaw told the magazine, “And we did want to share our day with people who have supported us along the way, not for any other reason.”
They were married outdoors under a wooden arch (built by Flynn’s dad) above the shores of Lake Wanaka, with snow-capped South Island mountains providing a breathtaking natural backdrop. McCaw owns a home in the area, and it’s the place where the couple got engaged one year ago, but this time they returned with 170 guests.
Flynn (who changed her name to McCaw ince married), was delivered to the veue with her bridesmaids, dressed in blush pink Moochi dresses, in two chartered helicopters, while McCaw and his groomsmen, outfitted in Ermenegildo Zegna, arrived in a black Mercedez Benz. Flynn wore a custom Anna Schimmel gown (the route she took after appearing on an episode of Say Yes to the Dress Australia in November 2016), and carried a bouquet of pink and white roses and hydrangeas.
McCaw’s neices were flower girls, and the bridal party walked down the grassy aisle to Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird.” The couple wrote their own vows, promising to “be there when we need each other, and to love each other with all of our hearts – today, tomorrow, and forever.” For the walk back up the aisle as man and wife, they danced to “Let Your Love Flow” by the Bellamy Brothers.
“It doesn’t feel any different yet!” they admitted to the magazine in the moment.
A helicopter took the wedding party high into the mountains for photographs, and a lone bagpiper serenaded their return to the reception. Guests dined on Belfield beef fillet, herb and mustard lamb rack, and prosciutto-wrapped chicken. The three-tier white-frosted wedding cake came in three flavours – carrot, white chocolate, or chocolate. Even more dessert was served in the form of lemon meringue pie, brownies, and vanilla cheesecake.
“The main thing was that we wanted a very chilled-out day. That’s just the way we are,” McCaw told Woman’s Day. “I think you can get too hung up on it being absolutely perfect, but it doesn’t have to be all proper and perfect.”
The newlyweds first met at a promotional event for their respective national teams in 2012, and after McCaw realized he enjoyed chatting enough with Flynn to seek her out again, he found her not unlike most people – via Facebook. He wished her luck at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London (New Zealand finished 4th), but Flynn was too focused on her training to take much notice.
They finally got together after the Games, and McCaw, 36, bought Flynn’s engagement ring early in 2015 – but with a Rugby World Cup campaign looming (they won), he decided to wait until neither planning a wedding, nor such an elite competition, could distract from the other. While Flynn, 26, planned most of the ceremony, McCaw was responsible for three things – suits, music, and helicopters.
Before retiring in 2015, McCaw amassed the world record for most international rugby caps, and now he makes a living as a helicopter pilot. Flynn is currently in the midst of an extended break from field hockey (the Black Sticks, as they’re known, finished fourth again at the 2016 Olympics in Rio) but has not announced her next move.
Source: Woman’s Day (via PressReader)