Ever since she was a teenager, Rebekah Martin has thought men get a pretty raw deal when they decide to propose to their girlfriends. So when the Motueka teacher decided the time was right for her and her boyfriend Caleb Wolfreys to get married, she wasn’t going to wait around for him to propose. She also knew she had to do something special, realising an engagement ring wasn’t going to cut it – but an engagement chain saw would.
“I always thought getting engaged is really unfair for the guy,” says Rebekah. “The girl gets an amazing ring and he’s left with an empty bank account.”
Rebekah remembered a conversation she and Caleb had when they met during their first year of high school, where Caleb said that if a girl ever proposed to him, he’d like a Stihl chain saw because he’d always wanted one. So she visited the Stihl shop in Ashburton to search for the perfect power tool to pop the question with.
“I went into the shop and the guy was a bit confused as to what I was doing there – I was wearing a summer dress and heels – but in the end I explained why I needed a chain saw and he said it was one of the weirdest stories he’d ever heard,” Rebekah laughs.
“He was a bit concerned his girlfriend might try to do the same thing. He said to me, ‘Don’t you go putting ideas into girls’ heads!’”
After eventually settling on a model, Rebekah stashed the chain saw in her car boot and made Caleb solve a puzzle to point him in its direction. “The leftover letters of the crossword spelt ‘In the Boot’, so I walked out there and opened it and saw it just sitting there,” remembers Caleb.
Attached to the chain saw was a note from Rebekah asking him to marry her, as well as a disclaimer assuring him she was not joking. “I was stunned, I had no idea that she was planning it at all,” smiles Caleb. “I was joking with her and asked her if I said no, did I still get to keep the chain saw,” he laughs.
“He actually never said yes,” adds Rebekah. “He said, ‘Yay, I’ve got a chainsaw!’ But we’re married now, so I guess it worked!”
Even though the couple had talked about the idea of proposing with a chain saw years earlier, Rebekah had never thought she would pop the question to Caleb, and says the idea came to her when she was driving from Motueka to Ashburton.
“All of a sudden, I just thought, ‘I’m going to propose to him,’” she says. “By the time I got to Motueka, I was doing it.”
Rebekah rang her friends to see what they thought of the idea, and also called both her parents and Caleb’s to ask for their blessing. “Luckily, everyone thought it was a great idea!” she says.
And Caleb says it was the perfect way to get engaged. “It’s pretty unique – how many people get proposed to with a chain saw?”
The pair, who have been officially dating for four years, wed on December 29 at the Methven Heritage Centre in Christchurch.
Wearing her mother’s wedding dress, Rebekah walked down the aisle to She’s a Rainbow by The Rolling Stones, and celebrated with family and friends at a musically themed reception. And, of course, the chain saw – which has been used by Caleb at his mate’s farm – was included in the celebrations.
“We took it to the reception. It didn’t fit the colour scheme, but oh well,” says Rebekah. “We had to have it there!”