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13/01/2016

Richie McCaw, Gemma Flynn wedding: Guests, dress, venue and more

Against the sound of thousands of hearts collectively breaking, there's an eerie quiet in the All Blacks camp over Richie McCaw's engagement news.

Fans were quick to congratulate the rugby star and his hockey-playing bride-to-be Gemma Flynn (or mourn that they'll never be the future Mrs McCaw), while the Black Sticks also shared a tweet of congrats to their player.

Wonderful in white, Gemma gave us an idea of how she might look as a bride at last year's Halberg Awards.
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But from the rugby fraternity, there was nary a peep, with more player tweets about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (looking at you, Piri and Liam) than of congratulations.

Our guess is the silence means super-secret nuptials, with the planning - and the A-list guest list - kept well away from the public eye.

We've compiled a list of possibilities to help plan what will arguably be the biggest wedding in NZ history:

THE GUESTS

The hardest part of any wedding is culling the guest list. It's even harder when you're a celeb, with the public wanting to know who made the cut, who didn't, and what it might mean.

Will the entire Rugby World Cup-winning side be invited, along with their +1s? Or will Richie have to pick his faves? Kieran Read, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealamu seem like certain invites, and our money's on Dan Carter as best man.

Alongside the inevitable rugby and hockey A-list, we're expecting a small number of who's who from outside the sporting world to attend, but the guest list will mostly be made up of the media-shy couple's close friends and family.

Will John Key make the list, and pester Richie for an altar-side selfie? We sure hope not.

THE VENUE

Auckland, Christchurch, or somewhere far, far away from prying eyes?

If the happy couple's engagement photo was any give away, central Otago might be a good spot for a white wedding, while Gemma's hometown of Tauranga also has plenty of picturesque venue options.

An estate would be ideal: The private pair will likely want to reduce their travel between the ceremony and reception to avoid unnecessary exposure to paparazzi, and give their celeb guests as much privacy as possible.

Queenstown's Stoneridge Estate could be a goer - but will Richie and Gemma want the same wedding photo backdrop as Ali and Casey Williams?

Instead, chopper pilot Richie could jet the pair into Omarama Airfield, marry in the aerodrome, and put their guests up in the on-site chalets. If they ask nicely, they could probably get the overhead airspace closed to keep snap-happy media out.

The other big decision is: glam or rustic? While our money's on a luxury lodge, there are also plenty of 'grammable options off the beaten track for this laidback couple.

THE DRESS

We wouldn't be surprised if top New Zealand designers have already got their bids in to dress the couple for their big day. Will All Blacks sponsor Barkers dress the boys? And, most importantly, who'll design Gemma's dress?

Kiwi designer Jane Yeh is the obvious choice, having dressed several All Black wives, including Casey Williams and Amy Kahui, and top female sports stars like Kayla Sharland, Casey Kopua and Temepara Baily.

Another possibility is Anna Schimmel, who was enlisted to create the gorgeous gowns of Honor Carter and Amber Vito.

THE DETAILS

Will Richie and Gemma go the full celebrity route, and do a photo deal with a women's magazine? Though not possible for us common folk, an exclusive over pics is the perfect way to stop guests watching the ceremony through their cellphones, and posting unauthorised photos online.

Security is bound to be tight on the big day, to keep VIP guests feeling safe and ensure their privacy. Will Guy Williams pose as an All Black and try to sneak in? We wouldn't be surprised.

It's anyone's guess what song the couple's first dance will be set to. Richie's previously revealed he's a bit of an easy listening fan, but we hope it'll be something a bit more upbeat to get the All Blacks on the dancefloor. Might we suggest We Are The Champions?

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