Ruth and Kevin’s business venture was inspired by their own intimate wedding.
When Ruth Carpenter and Kevin Townsend’s love journey started, it wasn’t in the usual fairytale manner. It was with the swipe of a finger on Tinder.
Their wedding was similar – a modern ceremony far different to the extravagant affairs they both had for their first marriages, with the couple sipping Champagne at Ruth’s family bach in Russell after a short but sweet event with just 22 guests.
It was no surprise then when the loved-up Aucklanders announced they’d taken on another unconventional venture, this time in business. Owners of new luxury pop-up wedding company Simply Wed, they’ve stepped away from tradition to offer smaller-scale nuptial services, with prices starting at just under $7000!
The concept, Ruth says, was inspired by their own modest love story. “After trying all sorts of internet dating, someone suggested I try Tinder and – hey presto – the very first date turned out to be Kevin.”
For ex-journalist Kevin, 56, modern dating proved successful when he met Ruth, 51, “who looked better and younger than she did in her photographs”. The pair immediately hit it off. He tells, “If you’ve dated a lot of people, like you tend to online, you know if you’ve found The One because the date isn’t like any of the others.” When he asked about Ruth’s favourite comedian, it was a pinnacle moment. “She said Jim Jefferies, an Australian who’s very out there,” he recalls. “She later confessed if she’d said it to other men she dated, they wouldn’t have thought she was a fit and proper person.” But Kevin thought it was fantastic. “To paraphrase Renée Zellweger, she had me at Jim Jefferies!”
Soon after, the two spent Easter at Ruth’s holiday home in Russell, then shortly after that, they shared a weekend with Kevin’s parents in Christchurch. By Christmas, seven months after meeting, they were engaged. Like their relationship, they wanted a wedding that was swift, easy-going and special. To avoid missing summer, they organised it in three months, all the while building the foundation for a future business together. “We wanted an intimate wedding, but we quickly discovered that a lot of people, like photographers, are geared towards weddings of around 100,” Ruth tells. “So finding the right people to be involved, who weren’t going to cost the earth, took a bit of doing.”
Wanting to fill a gap in the market for nuptials that were cheaper and cosier but also a step above the registry office, Simply Wed was born.
The couple’s two-hour standard package includes a celebrant, photographer, two-tier cake, flowers, venue styling, Champagne and canapés – all the elements that added spark to their own romantic day. “These weddings are unusual at the moment, but I can guarantee in 10 years they’ll be commonplace,” Kevin beams. “They’re the weddings of the future!”
By Cloe Willets. Published in Woman’s Day, December 10,2018.