The Save-The-Date card has been stuck to our wall for two years now. Just to the right of our monitor displayed by all the thank-you cards that we've collected over the years, Joe and Stacey's card hung, taunting us with the promise of a wedding that would be wonderful, but still SO FAR AWAY! We would usually not book that far in advance, but somehow Joe and Stacey stole our hearts early on. Well, truth be told, it was Stacey's mum that got in contact with us before they were even engaged! We embrace that kind of enthusiasm!
Joe and Stacey's wedding was the kind of wedding that every photographer dreams about. I did worry that I had built it up so much in my mind after all that waiting, that like a good movie that's been talked up too much, it never quite measures up to the hype. I was even more nervous after talking to Nina and Leanne who were styling the wedding, it was going to be pretty gosh-darn amazing, they said. Oh dear, I thought, was I was expecting too much? The moment I walked into the house that Stacey was getting ready in every worry melted away. Because there she was, a perfect picture of calm, and beautiful even before she changed into her wedding dress.
Speaking of the wedding dress, check out this Pallas Couture gown. Just wait till you see it on her...
The kids at this wedding were something pretty special, they had the cute factor times a zillion. You'll see them pop up in this post. A lot.
Claudia didn't need to dress up to look utterly adorable.
But the young ladies got the works, and were treated like princesses for the day.
They even were given their own jewellery and lipgloss. It doesn't actually get much cooler than that when you're a flower girl.
And here comes that dress!
Sometimes it's nice to have a bit of a breeze outside on your wedding day!
Ok, so this is where I'll come out and admit that Stacey, quite possibly, makes me look like a better photographer than I am. To say that this girl is beautiful is an understatement. Those of you who are secretly looking at her and wondering if she's actually really that pretty on the inside too. Stop wondering. She is. Stacey is sweetness, wrapped in honey, throw in some giggles, and top it all off with physical perfection. Yep. She's not bad.
Stunning hair and makeup thanks to Deirdre from Locks and Lashes.
Nina from Pink Poppie, once again, hits it out of the ball park. You'll want to see her prettiness at Wither Hills as well!
If you're looking for a guy that's a pretty perfect match for Stacey, look no further than Joe. Joe is the kind of fellow who no one could find anything bad to say about during their speech. Well, except for a wee dig at his fishing skills, perhaps. Other than that this guy was praised for being a super friend, an all around nice guy and someone who looks after Stacey beautifully.
And all of that wrapped up, once again, in a pretty good looking package!
As I mentioned before, Nina and Leanne worked together to create all of this amazing beautifulness. Once again, making my job just that little bit easier.
Wither Hills rooftop ceremony. Pretty. Real pretty.
And the ladies arrive. Thanks to Emily for the great shot from the tower!
Ok, so you know when you hug your dad as he's giving you away to your new husband? You might not realise it, but it usually looks something like this.
I know, I know. They keep popping up, these little beauties!
After the congratulations and family photos, we snuck downstairs to the cellar with just the bridal party.
These boys have been friends since they started school at 5. They've been there for each other through thick and thin. And still good mates, even after the stag party. Always a good sign.
If ever there was a day to celebrate with Dom Perignon, your wedding day would be it!
Then we took Joe and Stacey down the road to hang out at Auntsfield Estate for just a few minutes.
Swoon, Joe. Look at that smile!
Although they both grew up in Blenheim, in all their childhood years they never crossed paths here. Setting off to follow their dreams in Australia they found themselves in Perth, carrying on with life not realising their future husband/wife was in that very city. As is often the case in love stories, you can't escape that little piece of home that belongs with you.
Back at Wither Hills, let the party begin!
Just as the sun was disappearing, we stole Joe and Stacey outside.
Then back inside for some more speeches and dinner.
One of the (many) things I love about Joe and Stacey, is their enthusiasm for photos. I know it was a big ask for me to get Stacey to lie down in a Pallas Couture dress, but gosh darnit, I really wanted this shot! Stacey, you totally rocked to play along. And not a grass stain to be seen!
This was the shot that Paul had in the back of his mind all day. I love the little silhouettes!
Then the boogying began. Big time.
Joe and Stacey, I don't feel like saying 'thank you' really expresses how grateful we are to have been your photographers for your wedding day. We really do wish you guys every single happiness, for decades and decades to come.
Venue & Catering: Essence Events - Wither Hills
Celebrant: Carol Taylor
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Hair & Makeup: Deirdre, Locks & Lashes
Dress: Pallas Couture
Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Cake: Sugar Baby Cakery
Wedding Stationery and Reception Details: Leanne, Vanilla Hayes
"He is one hot farmer", Sophie said to her friend Kimberly as they were horse riding one day, talking about her neighbour whose family owned the land they were riding on. Secretly hoping to see said 'hot farmer' they continued riding and chatting about the man who had captured Sophie's attention so well. As they rode up to the last gate, who should be there, but Paul. With eyes locked on each other Sophie made her way slowly through the gate. "Did you see his eyes?" she asked Kimberly as she caught up with her. Clearly Sophie was utterly smitten. The feelings must have been somewhat mutual because on Saturday Sophie got to marry the hot farmer from across the road on the very farm she was riding her horse on that day. Score.
One of Sophie's great loves are her pets. Being a vet nurse she obviously has a real soft spot for the furry, feathered or hoofed kind. And when she speaks about them you can see her eyes twinkle just that little bit more than usual. Meet Rose, who really wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.
Parents of both the bride and the groom are super special to us, we love watching their faces beam with pride as they watch their children take that next step in life. Sophie's Dad was no exception. I know that he loved seeing Sophie looking like a princess, but what I think really made him glow was seeing her so happy.
This smile right here is what makes a parent's heart leap. Seeing your little girl THIS happy trumps the dress and the flowers. For sure.
Having said that though, just LOOK at these gorgeous flowers by Jane at Fleurs!
Sophie, you are so beautiful.
Meanwhile, my Paul is already over the road where the boys are getting ready. Paul's parents (that is the GROOM Paul, oh dear, this could get confusing!) put in so much time and effort getting their place just perfect for the wedding. It looked amazing! This farm has been in the family since World War 2, and now Paul spends his days working the farm along with his family.
If you're picking up a dog-loving theme among the people at this wedding, I think you'd be right!
You actually can't smile bigger than this. Like. For real. Try it, it's impossible.
I love watching people's faces after the ceremony, it's the first time they get to talk to the bride and groom and congratulations and hugs and smiles are in abundance. If you're planning your wedding, please make sure you allow enough time for the mingle! You won't regret it!
From time to time there is a small person that takes just that little bit more effort to get to warm up to the camera. My Paul made it his mission for the day to get the shot of this wee one. It may have taken until the reception, but he got it! You'll see as you scroll on.
Then it was time to steal the bridal party away to find some other cool spots on the farm.
While I know I really shouldn't be happy about a drought, I am a little happy about the colour of the land right now. Don't tell the sheep I said that.
Check out the super lovely bridal party!
Stunning makeup thanks to Grace!
Part of the farm is planted in maize. I have to admit I was a little excited about it when I saw it!
This is Flirt, Sophie's most beloved horse. Having photos taken with Flirt was on the top of Sophie's to-do list for the day. And what a star she was! Apart from wanting to eat the flowers, her manners were impeccable!
Just a little note, if you're a bride and you leave your phone in the care of your bridesmaid you may find duckface selfies on it. Ahem. Sorry about that.
Check out the beautifully decorated marquee! Flowers a-la-Verve and so many details beautifully arranged by Paul's mum and her fantastic team of helpers.
Loving the horseshoe table numbers, made by Paul from the very shoes worn by Sophie's own horses.
I'm sorry (not sorry) to interrupt this broadcast to bring you a miniseries of very cute kids.
And check out the seriously cute smile that my Paul eventually got out of this wee tot!
We were hoping for an amazing sunset to finish off the day, but all the hoping in the world could not produce it. However, this sky wasn't altogether a fail, quite the opposite I'd say!
Is it wrong to say that I may have found another tree to love?
We then snuck back to the festivities and everyone got their groove on to the awesome Headrush band from Christchurch.
Sophie and Paul, what an amazing day! What an absolute buzz to be able to celebrate your wedding with you, thank you!
There were loads of people on the beach in Portugal. Michael was armed with a hidden picnic of wine and cheese, and the intention to ask Nicole to be his wife. He just had to find that perfect moment. Nicole wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but once the beach cleared out and Michael explained why they were there and that he wanted to marry her, it all became clear. She said yes, of course, and on Saturday at Ngakuta Bay in the Queen Charlotte Sounds, surrounded by sunshine and happy guests Michael married his friend's hot sister, Nicole.
Nicole and the girls got ready at an apartment in Picton, with a fantastic view of the marina. Below on the streets music was playing as the Iron Man competitors finished their race. Picton was buzzing!
Oh my gosh, Nicole, you are STUNNING!
Meanwhile, over in Ngakuta Bay, Paul hangs out with the guys while they prepare for the day. To be fair, for guys it's a whooooole lot quicker to get ready than it is for girls.
I love this gift from Nicole. "A little box of things for a wonderful husband"
I think 2015 will be remembered as the year of the selfie stick. I wonder if its invention will render the humble wedding photographer out of date? Hmmmmm.... I think our job is probably safe. For now.
After a quick trip to Ngakuta Bay in some pretty sweet cars, Nicole makes her way to her waiting fiancÚ, flanked by her proud-as-punch Dad.
Who seems really, really pleased to see her.
Check out these gorgeous flowers by Janine at Verve.
So Michael and Nicole were in the beetle, and the bridal party followed behind in the combi, complete with ribbons, and off we went to Picton to find some epic locations.
And epic we found!
One thing I absolutely love about photographing in a different town is finding spots we haven't photographed before.
Is it just me, or is this a particularly good looking bridal party?
Our second stop was by this funky old car with a tree growing out of it's bonnet. Like an actual tree.
Seriously, New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world, and the Marlborough Sounds might just be the most beautiful part of the country!
Add two people in love and freshly married and you have a recipe for some great pictures!
I asked the bridal party to give me their best "I just won the Lotto" expressions. Some people seemed more pleased with the win than others.
These guys do the 'fierce' look really well!
Rockin' the selfie stick in the combi.
Back to Ngakuta Bay and the marquee in the backyard, complete with old caravans and furniture made by Michael entirely out of pallets! These guys had styled their wedding beautifully - so much detail and everything fit perfectly.
Check this cake out! Gorgeously done by Granny's Sweet Tooth (aka Michel's mum and sister)
Michael asked Nicole's Dad, Ken, if he could marry his daughter while on a trip out to Havelock on Ken's Harley. Although Michael doesn't remember much of the trip out to Havelock, he certainly remembered Ken's answer, "You've got my blessing, boy." Arriving home with a grin from ear to ear, Nicole asked her dad what was going on. Turns out she was going to have to wait till she got to Portugal to find out!
I'm such a sucker for big blue eyes!
Seu para sempre = Forever yours in Portuguese. I know. I know. Too cute!
I love old caravans! Well, I love the LOOK of old caravans, retro, cool and basically pretty neat to look at, stand beside and take pictures of. I'm not much of a camper myself, though. In fact, I almost bought a pen today that said, "I love not camping!"
Congratulations Michael and Nicole! Thank you so much for allowing us to be part of your day! It was nothing short of perfect!
They always knew *of* each other, but not more than a passing "Hi" once a year or so. Small towns are like that. Leanne and Marcus were just two people carrying on with life as normal, entirely separate. Then life threw a curveball. A really, really big curveball. Leanne got cancer. Generally this is not how love stories start, but that's exactly where this one does.
The town rallied around Leanne to support her with a fundraiser. Small towns are like that too. Cue this unassuming farmer, who was drawn to the pretty girl with the strong spirit. They chatted and the evening ended. Leanne simply carried on with her life after that night, focussing on her treatments and fighting to get better again.
Marcus didn't forget Leanne and knowing that she was in hospital getting treatment he asked her sister if she thought Leanne would mind if he popped in to visit her. Expecting that Leanne would probably appreciate the company, she assured Marcus a visit would be just great.
Turns out that was the best move Marcus could ever have made, and since that day he has been right by Leanne's side.
Leanne says that he has given her something to really fight for. And fight it they did. Together. She's now completely free of cancer, and later this year they're going to vow to be together for the rest of their lives. In sickness and in health. And you know what? If anyone knows what those words really mean, it will be Leanne and Marcus.
Leanne and Marcus, we loved getting to know you. We loved spending the time at the amazingly beautiful lighthouse, we loved the light, the sky, the stunning landscape and the seal (the alive one, more than the dead one). But most of all we loved you guys and your amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with us all!
Siblings can be a great source of all things wonderful. Sometimes you can borrow their stuff, they can help you with the dishes or share some of the heat when you get in trouble. And sometimes they can bring you home your future husband. Well that's what happened to Nicole anyway. Michael was Nicole's brother's friend, and for a very long time that's all he was.
But somewhere along the line things must have changed quite dramatically, because come this time tomorrow Nicole is going to be married to her brother's friend. And I'm pretty darn excited about being there to photograph it! With these two as bride and groom, it is going to be BEAUTIFUL!
We started our pre-wedding shoot together at Upton Oaks among the olive grove and doves. Like, actual doves.
Then, following the light towards the beach we stopped at the old buildings at Chaytors Rd. It's hard to go past this place and not stop. It harbours a lot of cool points.
Nicole is a hairdresser, which may help explain why Michael has a pretty cool crop!
Lovin' that smile!
Nicole and Michael, we're super excited about capturing your wedding tomorrow! We'll see you real soon!
"We're all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness and call it love." Dr Suess. And that, dear friends, is one of the best wedding readings to date.
Blake and Shaye's wedding was everything I expected it to be. The smiles were genuine and flowing in abundance, from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. Friends and family gathered to celebrate this beautiful young couple's love and to watch them promise the rest of their days together.
Shaye started her wedding day getting ready in Havelock, her own hometown. There's something really special about coming back to your hometown for your wedding day. It doesn't matter how far away you move, and where life brings you, there's something very 'full circle' about coming home to get married. Especially when you're surrounded by your special friends!
And the special friends may, or may not, have special nicknames inspired by a tv show.
There is beauty in simple things. Like this jewellery box that belonged to Nana before she passed.
And there's one of those winning smiles I was telling you about!
Thanks to Gran for the good luck pennies. In fact, thanks to Gran for so much of the day. Shaye's eyes sparkled when she spoke of her and of everything she had done. Creating all of the amazing food for the afternoon tea on the farm, and the flowers at the reception and just her general support.
If ever there was an 'adopt-a-granny day', I think I might be lining up for this one. I could tell you how old she is, but there'd be no way you'd believe me. Oh, check out the pretty nails too!
Meanwhile, on the other side of Havelock, the boys are all quite happily chilling out before the ceremony.
Check out these amazing six pack holders that Blake had for his groomsmen.
This smile right here? It only got bigger during the day.
Then it was finally time to head to Shaye's parent's beautiful property in Canvastown for the ceremony. This is Mini, who took it upon herself to steal the show. That is, until Shaye arrived!
Shaye and her Dad lovingly built this gorgeous car together when Shaye was only 14. Her first car. It's name was Chicken. Cool points to Chicken for driving her to her wedding.
Could there be a more perfect spot for Blake and Shaye to get married? I think not!
Blake was the most perfect groom you could ask for. Full of enthusiasm, he absolutely ADORES Shaye, and he's not bad looking. Not bad looking at all!
The rain was threatening. While we realise the region desperately needs some water, we were still hoping and praying that the water stayed up in the clouds for just a little bit longer. A few little spats of rain through the ceremony were probably quite helpful for the rest of us who needed an excuse for the excess moisture in our eyes.
Shaye is like a little ray of sunshine. As if you needed any more proof, look at her here.
We stuck around the farm for a few minutes to make the most of its gorgeousness!
Check out these gorgeous flowers by Leaf & Petal.
We headed down to Totara Flats where we totally found our photographer happy place with light that allowed us to go anywhere we wanted. After what has been sun, sun and more sun, having a bit of soft light to play with was a really welcome change!
The overcast weather did mean that the sandflies were out in full force. Not to worry, wives can come in handy when you need someone with sandfly swiping skills.
Your bridal party also comes in handy when you need impromptu, musicless dancing.
Hey Blake, that there, I'm pretty sure, is a smoulder.
With having the wedding on your own parent's farm, and the reception in the Town Hall, this wedding had every element of the chic rustic wedding that is so popular right now, yet it all came together so genuinely and (seemingly!) effortlessly. Even the classic cars were their own!
But without a doubt, the winning element of this entire day was those smiles. Those beautiful, genuine, happy faces, all day long.
Blake even brewed his very own beer for his wedding. Man points. I reckon.
Blake and Shaye, what a delightful day to share with you, thank you! Enjoy every minute of your lives together!
It's in the little things. The way he smiles at her when she's not looking. The way he holds her hand as they walk together. The way he looks after her. It's in the way that she way she melts in his arms as they dance, even though they both claim that they're not the best dancers in the world, it doesn't matter one bit. This was the day that Aurelia and Nic were married, and it was perfect.
I started my day with the girls as they were getting ready at the Rockferry Cottage. Whatever Nic wrote in that letter to Aurelia was a win. A massive win. It was pretty early on in the day, but I was already convinced that judging by what was written on that paper, it was going to be a goodie.
Gorgeous flowers by Jane at Mayflower.
This amazing gown may not have been seen by many up to this point, but it is well travelled. It has managed to make it half way around the world, wrapped in it's special bag, on planes as carry on luggage and zapped through many airport security machines. It's travelling efforts are to be well commended!
And after all of that effort, there's always that moment where you're hoping the dress still fits...
Aurelia, you stunning stunning bride, you!
Meanwhile Paul hangs with the boys as they get ready in Picton.
Mums + Weddings = Super.
A little Google help meant that they boys knew exactly how to arrange their pocket squares. What did we do before Google?
And just like that Nic is ready for his bride to arrive.
It's been a while since we've been lucky enough to have a wedding at the beautiful Woodend Gardens, and it's looking as spectacular as I remember!
We try to make a point of always capturing our groom's face while his bride walks towards him. Because this is the moment that they've both been planning for so long, this is the moment every girl imagines and I'm pretty sure that seeing what their groom's face looked like at this moment is right up there on the 'special moment' list!
Pops is friendly and really quite loveable, we were asked to take special notice of Pops.
This day has been 11 years in coming. All those years, all that planning, all comes down to this moment. This promise. The kiss that seals their marriage so they can start the next exciting chapter of their lives.
Perhaps it was because of his background in the Navy, or he may just love the beach, but whatever the reason Nic was super keen to have some wedding photos at the beach. Because I knew that Monkey Bay was just a little walk up and over the stairs and the light would be perfect there, I was super keen to oblige the beach request!
As we were up by the safe and dry rocks taking pictures, I heard Aurelia say how lovely the water looked and how she wanted to go put her feet in there. So, encouraged somewhat by her photographer, and aided by her bridesmaids, the girls went and played.
I'm pretty sure the boys called this one the '100 mile stare'. Nailed it boys.
Then after the playing was done, it was time to return to the guests who were all happily waiting at Wither Hills.
And the smiles continued.
I have the say, the food by Dave and Sarah at Essence is second to none. For real.
Sunset. That glorious time when a bright day turns soft and magical. Where wrinkles melt away in the soft light and colours glow. If you're planning a wedding you'll want to get a good idea of when the sun is setting and make sure you have time put aside to allow your photographer to play. They'll thank you for it. And in turn you'll thank them for it.
The Chilli Dogs got the place pumping and everyone up on their feet.
Some shorter people had the luxury of boogying around the dance floor in royal fashion.
Nic and Aurelia, thank you guys ever so much for including us in your amazing day. We wish you guys every happiness!
Ceremony Venue: Woodend Gardens
Reception Venue: Wither Hills
Celebrant: Heather Sorensen
Flowers: Mayflower Studio Florist
Hair: Tracey - Bride Beautiful
Bridesmaid Dresses: Aunty Barbara McDonald
Makeup: Rocky Bragdon
Suits: Suit Source, Auckland
Cake: Mrs Vercoe's Cakes
Cars: Omaka Classic Cars
Music: Chilli Dogs