My favourite thing about weddings is that they’re a rare sanctioned time for all of us to be real with each other. We say things we don’t normally say and talk about things we don’t normally talk about. We’re encouraging, honest, and again, real.

So it is with today, just us as a fam being real.

Six weeks ago Britt called me – I was in Wanaka about to marry Glenn and Elle – with the news that Dave, her father, my father-in-law, our housemate, cat sitter, friend, in-house financial advisor, and subeditor of so many posts like these, possibly had cancer but we needed to investigate further.

Not even six weeks later, on Wednesday just gone, we lost Dave to the effects the melanoma had on his liver, then kidney, and his body. This week we’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so much family, good friends, with lots of tear-soaked hugs, anonymous generous people dropping meals to our front door, enough flowers to start our own florist, and all of your loving words, thoughts, and prayers. Thank you.

I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s super hard running a small business when what you sell is you, and how you market yourself is you being you, and all of the administration is you, but you don’t have a whole lot of “you” left to give. I’m writing this in a cafe waiting for Sean and Leigh, after I’ve cancelled and rescheduled, and rescheduled again with them, trying to make the time for us as a family to grieve and find same peace, whilst also trying to be that you that all of you saw and thought you might like me to be your celebrant.

And that’s why I’m writing this.

I didn’t know how to restart our business after a week’s holiday cut short so we could rush home and be with Dave in his final days. I didn’t know how to be bright and bubbly on social media or how to even stand up in front of a crowd and celebrate the two of you getting married but last week I found the strength to do that twice, on Thursday for Glen and Wendy, and Saturday for Ben and Ashley, and today for you.

We’re back, we’re a little raw, we’re getting through our emails, and we are encouraged more than ever to keep on changing the world for the better and creating the world’s best marriage ceremonies and elopements.

But I couldn’t move forward without acknowledging where we’ve been, we’ve been through hell, and we’re missing Dave so much. He’s always been the guy in my mind as I try an encourage couples to walk into their ceremony together and then say “but if you really love your dad, then of course he can walk you in, it’s important to love and honour him”. Dave’s always been the guy in my mind as I try and bridge my crazy young modern wedding planning thinking whilst also respecting the fact there is a more formal and polite wedding tradition behind us that isn’t actually all that bad. And aside from all of that, Dave’s the guy responsible for bringing Britt not only into my world, but all of our worlds, and for her being the generous, thoughtful, loving, and mindful person that I love her for being. She’s unapologetically Britt and that’s totally Dave’s fault 🙂 and as we prepare to bring our own little girl into the world I’m hoping and praying I can be as much of a father as he is.

I make a pretty solid effort at trying to keep a private life alongside our public business life, if only because I’m sure that most of you wouldn’t care about photos of my lunch on social, but Dave’s influence in our life, our family, and our business, was far reaching, and if I was working at big corporate I’ve got no doubt I could return to work this week without bringing him up. But not when our work is so personal and close to our heart.

I know that you invite me into your weddings, and Britt and I into your elopements, because we are who we are, so it would be an insult to you to glaze over this dent in our universe this week.

Thank you for caring about us, because when you cared about us, you cared about Dave as well, and when all is said and done, all of the likes, follows, subscriptions, dollars, notifications, and reposts in the world mean fuck all if we don’t care for each other.