It was the kind of day that you just didn't want to end. And I wasn't even the bride, or the groom, or in any way related. But, I dunno, I think after the day we experienced with Bonnie and Toby I'd like to think of ourselves now as friends.
If you've landed on this blog looking JUST for more pretty pictures, then you've come to the wrong place. Bonnie and Toby's wedding WAS pretty, but it was so much more than that. It FELT. It felt like a wedding. It felt like a celebration, a coming together of families. The smiles were genuine, the tears were real, and it felt right. It felt beautiful. So do come and look at the pretty, but please take a little extra time to feel the day, because that's what it's all about.
Emily and I arrived to Bonnie's parents house and were very soon swept into the fun and relaxed atmosphere.
Please note: No flowers were actually eaten during the making of this image.
Check out the gorgeous hand stitched detail on Bonnie's dress!
And handmade cards for each of the bridesmaids.
See, the thing about Bonnie's family is that they are absolutely ADORABLE! It's in the little things, which we all know is actually the big things. So when Bonnie came out looking like the glamorous bride, the whole room erupted. Then as she turned around to show her Dad he actually took a step back in awe.
Then had to hold himself up. Dad reaction win right there.
Loving the little crazy eyed squirrel Toby gave Bonnie.
Soooooo pretty Bonnie!
And gorgeous ladies!
Who can make a bouquet of white flowers look like it's just been sent down from heaven? Nina can.
Meanwhile, Paul is hanging with the boys, and the entirely perfect puppy dog Frankie.
I think the smiles and happiness in the boy's camp would rival even the girls.
Super dashing, Mr Toby!
Then it was time to head to Wither Hills Winery to greet the guests. If there was an award for most enthusiastic welcoming groom (and, well, I think there should be!) then Toby should win it!
These stairs are a little bit cool. Or a lot cool. Think I'd go with a lot cool!
Some more smiles and tears, vows, rings...
And a royal 'happy to be married' wave, and it's all official!
One thing I really love about local weddings is the amount of friendly faces I recognise in the crowd. Some past brides and grooms, wedding party peeps, and some people that you know that you know them from somewhere, but you're not quite sure where. Welcome to a small town!
We left the friends and family to socialise for a bit while we popped away to Toby's parent's place where the garden was just begging to be featured.
But not before a little bubbles.
This old bed was sitting by the pool, but not for long! You can't have something as cool as this and not have us drag it around with us!
Poor doggie, stuck inside when all the fun is happening outside!
There was some discussion on who was going to tag who's feet as whom. Will leave you girls to fight it out!
And if I were a baby lying in the grass, this is exactly how a bridal party would give me the 'you're so cute' look.
Loving the gorgeous vineyards right now! This is Paul's view..
And this is mine.
Thanks to Emily for grabbing this shot of us which perfectly shows how my lovely husband likes to try just that little bit harder to get a cooler shot than me. Ah well.
A wedding dress with pockets. Why oh WHY don't all wedding dresses come with pockets? Revolutionary.
Then back to Wither Hills to hang out with their loved ones, sharing a few more smiles and tears along the way.
Epic Dad, this one.
Pa, Toby's grandfather, is hard of hearing, so he was supplied with the speeches so he could read them and didn't have to miss a thing. See, I told you these families were brilliant!
And we parted with the classic Marlborough view. I asked them to dance, and dance they did!
Bonnie and Toby, your wedding was a delight. Thank you thank you thank you for letting us tag along!
Venue: Wither Hills Winery
Catering: Essence Events
Celebrant: Heather Sorenson
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Makeup: Grace Make upHair: Sue - Michel Hair Design
Dress: Alma J Bridal Boutique
Cake: Sweet Creations
Music: Wolverines (Christchurch)
Stationery: An Organised Life
They tumbled out of the car and immediately started chatting, actually, mostly it was Oscar doing the chatting. He's quite the little character! We were fast friends and as he continued to chat I followed him to his 'secret cave' at the park, and we discussed pirates and boats and all such majorly important boy things.
Finn was more reserved, quietly watching and making sure that this crazy lady with a camera was ok.
The Duncan family are all sorts of awesome, and it's been such a fun journey for me watching them grow. The last time I got to play with them was when Finn was only just born. Now look at him, fully two years old with all of the spunk and determination that comes with that age. While he has been told that he'll be a big brother in a few months, I'm sure he can hardly imagine what that means. For now he is the baby.
We've just returned from the A Bit More Soul photographer's retreat, and I'm all wide eyed and bushy tailed and OH SO EXCITED about capturing families loving each other, playing and being together.
I know that Grandma wants a photo of everyone under the tree. I know we generally want at least ONE good shot of everyone looking and smiling. We want a record of how our family looks. But what about how our family FEELS? Isn't that what we'll want to see in 20 years time?
How about this? This makes me smile. This makes my heart soar. This, right here, is how the Duncan family feels.
And this too.
We ran, we squeezed, we chased and we discussed pirates (several times we talked about pirates, you can never have too much of a pirate conversation!)
Did it matter that a certain two year old didn't want to sit still and smile? Heck no.
So if it's all the same to you, I might like to concentrate a little more on how your family feels. Let's get back to basics and have some fun!
Lisa and Matthew, it is my hugest privilege to capture your growing family. I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for you guys
"Ron, Ron are you home?" Hamish was planning to propose to Sally, but he knew there was something he needed to do first. Pushing the door open just a little more he stepped inside the house. "Ron?" Then, from upstairs, he heard Ron's voice. Up the stairs he went, and straight into the room to find his future father-in-law lying in bed, sick as can be. This didn't stop our Hamish though, he proceeded to tell Ron that he'd very much like to marry his daughter. The blessing was given and Hamish headed back home, armed with the most gorgeous engagement ring you ever did see.
Sally said yes, of course, and then the planning started. Sally is a wedding planning mastermind, to put it mildly. She planned, she collected, she styled and she planned some more. And all that planning paid off - it was perfection itself!
Sally and the girls got ready at her Mum and Dad's house, and the moment I saw Malcolm the Moose on the wall, I knew he needed to feature. Malcolm started life over in Canada, then after a little run in with Ron, a date with the taxidermist and a flight over to the Awatere Valley, he now features proudly in their living room.
Sally had everything perfectly in hand, she was the picture of cool calm and collected!
Just a little shout out for veils here. I love them. I love them a lot!
My favourite flowers, hands down, are peonies. So this gorgeous bouquet by Nina makes my heart sing a happy little tune.
Sally, what a drop-dead gorgeous bride!
Hamish is a real bloke, a good kiwi guy that loves diggers. Diggers are his life, so it made a lot of sense that his diggers made an appearance during the day.
They even appeared in the form of cufflinks, given by Sally.
The day was a tad breezy, not too cold, but breezy nonetheless. Breezy enough for all of these people to be rather pleased it was an indoor wedding!
Hamish's face watching his beautiful bride says it all as she glides in the church filled with some of their dearest friends and family.
As the wind whistled around the building, making the walls creak, Hamish and Sally were safe inside promising to love and honour each other for the rest of their days.
And sealing it with a kiss.
Throwing rice at weddings is not really something you see much anymore, sadly. It was done traditionally to wish blessings of fertility and prosperity to the happy couple. In some cultures it was also done to feed the evil spirits who would attend the wedding. You see a hungry evil spirit isn't much fun to be around, but one full of rice? No trouble. I'm not exactly sure where the logic for this one came from and I'm fairly sure no one tries to pacify angry invisible beings with rice anymore!
It looks fun on photos though.
Peonies are great fun to watch during the day. They start as tightish balls of flowery promise and as the hours progress the warm weather makes them open into flowery goodness. I'm a fan.
As we rounded the corner this vista took our breath away! Armed with Emily and a cell phone so we could direct from afar, we sent them to exactly where we wanted them. I'm pretty certain we live in the most beautiful country on the planet.
Hamish is the strong, silent type. Rock solid and dependable, and not one to gush his feelings to all, but looking carefully it was pretty obvious he quite adores Sally!
And she adores him right back!
This is where the amazing teamwork of Nina from Pink Poppie, Leanne from Vanilla Hayes and Sarah from Got It Covered really shows! Absolute splendicity!
Traditionally, once the mother-of-the-bride removes her hat, the other ladies are also allowed to remove theirs. Good thing there were these spiffy hat holding clips!
That's our Sally, she thought of absolutely EVERYTHING!
There were 120+ guests at the wedding and each one had their place marked by their name and Sally's very own 'dictionary meaning'. Witty and cute, and often having something to do with animals or farming it seemed, these included:
'n: One who owns a menagerie of stuffed animals.'
'n; One on a farm tour, giving a farm tour, or thinking about a farm tour.'
'n; One who moves stock with experience and skill over youth and speed'
Each person also received their own chopping board! Pretty neat!
Check out these incredible bar leaners Hamish created out of old wool presses! Loads of cool points for Hamish. Loads.
It doesn't matter how you look at them, sheep are funny.
Then as the sun set the festivities really got going inside the marquee!
Sally and Hamish, thank you for having an incredible wedding, and thank you for choosing us to capture it for you! It was simply amazing!
Celebrant: Bishop Richard Ellena
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Hair: Rachel Crosby
Dress: Robyn Cliffe (Christchurch)
Cake: Judy MacKenzie
Cars: McKendry Ford
Music: The Filthy Two (Wellington)
Wedding Stationery and Reception Details: Leanne, Vanilla Hayes
Tables, etc: Got it Covered
Bar, Chopping Boards: TH Joinery
The day was perfection itself. The Marlborough sun was shining, and the warmth of the air echoed the way Caroline and Adam looked at each other. Caroline was radiating happiness and Adam couldn't keep the smile of his face - he was marrying his best friend! After six years of getting to know each other, seeing both the best and the worst of one another and still being thoroughly smitten, the wedding day had finally arrived!
Caroline and the girls got ready at Vintners Retreat, and makeup was one by the lovely Grace Simpson.
Who can absolutely rock a colour palate that mixes purple, yellow, orange and green? Nina from Pink Poppie can! It's like this mix of colours has been bffs from the beginning of time!
Caroline's 'something blue' was in the form of her Mum's garter and stitched on it was her Grandmother's brooch of the 'Blue Boy', a painting much loved by both her Grandmother and late Grandad.
There's that radiance I was telling you about! What a smile!
I already knew that Adam was a box of fun, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that his twin brother Callum also knew how to keep things light and those around him chuckling. I can just imagine growing up with these guys as brothers, never a dull moment I bet!
Each of the boys were given a tiepin, which contained the GPS coordinates of the exact spot Caroline and Adam got married. Pretty cool!
Caroline surprised Adam with a set of flashes in his family's tartan, made especially for him back in Scotland! For those of you who are as uneducated as myself, kilt flashes are the brightly coloured strips that hang down from about the top of the socks (or hose, if you want to be super traditional!)
And this little gift was somewhat less traditional.
Meet Sam. Sam is the frisbee in the middle there. I can't tell you exactly why a frisbee would be named Sam, or why a frisbee named Sam would be so warmly welcomed into a wedding, but Sam was indeed included in the festivities.
And then the beautiful bride arrives on her father's arm.
The wedding and reception were both held at Marlborough Vintners Hotel and everyone could enjoy the beautiful Marlborough sunshine.
Hugs and more hugs.
After the hugs and congratulations, more hugs, and some family photos, we headed off to Old St Mary's Convent where we made the most of the gorgeous grounds.
Look at the COLOURS! Epic coolness! I also love the little green tufty snowballs, which look remarkably like parsley's pretty cousin!
It seemed only right to have Sam the frisbee feature a little bit more!
Hello beautiful ladies!
As I mentioned in their engagement blog post, Adam will take your call if you have to dial 111 and need some police assistance. However, if you need a snazzy looking fellow to pretty up some pictures for you, I reckon Adam is the model to call. (No need to thank me Adam, a talent like yours should not go unsung...)
But in all seriousness, Adam knew that the Beautifullest-Person-Of-The-Day award belonged to his gorgeous bride!
Seriously stunning, Caroline! But Caroline is not just a pretty face, she's warm, sweet and fun to be around!
Then as playtime drew to a close, it was time to get back to MVH.
Caroline is actually Leanne's sister, and blog watchers will remember Leanne as our very talented album designer and also the maker of all things beautiful at Vanilla Hayes!
Love the old photos as table numbers!
You never know what stories you're going to hear when you listen to wedding speeches, and how well you're going to get to know someone's story. Having heard all about the way you and Callum came into this world, Adam, I feel closer to you now.
Leanne and Jacqueline, Caroline's sisters, shared a few great gems and a good dose of sisterly love.
Caroline and Adam, what a great day! Thank you for allowing us to capture it for you! Enjoy your Asian adventure! Will catch up when you get back
Venue & Catering: Marlborough Vintners Hotel
Portrait Location: Old St Mary's Convent
Celebrant: Coralie Holdaway
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Makeup: Grace Make up
Hair: Sarah Dawson
Dress: Helen Forster Bridal (Wellington)
Cake: Debbie Giles
Cars: Imperial Limousines
Music: Division Street (Christchurch)
Wedding Stationery & Reception Details: Leanne, Vanilla Hayes
Susan and Rupert were friends, flatmates and flying buddies. They went to work together, ate lunch together and hung out together. Rupert taught her to fly in the mountains. To start with they truly were 'just friends'. But being 'just friends' suddenly became less appealing to Rupert when Susan decided to head off to Alaska to do some flying and exploring there, by herself. Suddenly this pretty girl with the heart-warming smile was about to fly out of his reach and Rupert knew what he had to do. He declared his love, handed in his resignation at work and went with Susan to Alaska.
Alaska proved to be even more of an adventure than Susan had anticipated... Rupert proposed. He knew what he had found in Susan and he wasn't about to let her go.
And all of this brings us to this wedding. This amazingly beautiful day that kicked off our wedding season and awoke the excited butterflies in my stomach that had been sleeping while we had some quiet time over winter. And what a way to get them going!
Susan got ready out at Locks and Lashes, surrounded by some of her 'besties'. No lack of smiles from anyone ALL day!
I actually remember these girls when they were teenagers and spending time with my niece, how nice it is to see them a decade later and still such great friends.
Susan, I knew you were going to be a spectacular bride!
Present time from her groom!
Meanwhile Paul is with the boys as they get ready.
Loving the cufflinks, they give away the first clue for the theme of the wedding!
Mitchell, Rupert and Susan's wee boy, was to go down the aisle with Jett, his little cousin, and his Nana. Seems that holding hands is not always everybody's cup of tea.
And when the urge hits for a little lie down, it pays to just go with it.
Rupert's bride arrives!
And one by one the bridesmaids head down the aisle to these beautiful lyrics:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
Then, when only Susan and her Dad were left, the music faded out and the bagpipes ushered them in.
And Rupert watched his bride walk towards him.
And he hardly took his eyes off her the entire time.
Pay attention to Grandma Shirley, Susan asked us. She's 90 and ever so special. This was Grandma Shirley applauding for the wedding kiss. Beautiful. Almost poetic.
And then they were married and the smiles continued!
Am I the only one who wants to squeeze Mitchell's cheeks?
Then it was on to Hortensia House, where the stunning gardens and blossoms welcomed us with open arms (or open branches?!)
In her speech, Susan said that she feels so lucky to have Rupert that she pinches herself every day.
The guys knew how to rock the parasols. Indeed.
Veils are hard work on a wedding day. They fly about, they get stuck on sequins, tugged by unsuspecting hands, dragged through leaves and snagged on trees. They are entirely impractical. But this is the ONLY day you get to wear one (and not seem out of place, I guess!) So I embrace them. I think they look dreamy and romantic and I delay the removing of the veil as long as I can!
It was time to head to the reception at the Rangitani Centre out at Spring Creek.
Where every detail was lovingly thought out and displayed to create the most amazing Vintage Travel theme!
Susan is a woman of many talents, not only can she fly donuts in the air, she can silence a crowd with her beautiful singing voice.
Rupert is the kind of guy you want your daughter to bring home. He's got a friendly open face, an honest smile and is a great guy to be around.
Susan is a commercial pilot for Air New Zealand, so if you're on a trip from Auckland to Wellington, perhaps check if a pretty blonde lady is the one doing the driving!
Time to dance!
Rupert and Susan, thank you for welcoming us so warmly into your wedding day. We wish you every happiness and many years of love and laughter together as a family.
Spring has officially sprung which means wedding season is just around the corner! Ahhhhh wedding season! As photographers we often refer to the two seasons of the year as wedding season and not wedding season. As the weather warms up, flowers burst forth and the trees awaken from their wintery sleep, so too couples, deliriously happy and in love, promise to both have and hold for the rest of their lives. And weekend after weekend we get to be a part of their day. It's absolutely magical!
So then I present you with Caroline and Adam. Funny and thoroughly easy to spend time with, we spent our time together at McKendry Park among the Spring prettiness!
Caroline and Adam met through mutual friends about 6 years ago. Clearly Adam knew that Caroline was thoroughly worth the effort as he up and left his hometown to start their lives together in Wellington.
I think if I had to sum Adam up in two words it would be FUN and CHEEKY. Granted I've yet to really get to know him, but by the way that he makes Caroline laugh, I think I might be right on the money.
Any couple that will willingly and without reservation lie down in the grass at my suggestion gets bonus cool points!
Caroline, you are so stinkin' BEAUTIFUL! F'real!
You know when you call 111 in an emergency and someone talks you through your situation and sends police help? Well, that guy you speak to might just be Adam. If you're after interesting work stories, I reckon Adam would be absolutely full of them!
Adam and Caroline, I am unbelievably excited about your wedding next month! It is going to be all kinds of gorgeous and I cannot wait to capture it for you!
It was two and a half days of being immersed in Pinot Noir. Not literally, thankfully, but I sure do know a lot more about this wine variety than I did before the Cloudy Bay 2014 Pinot Noir Event! Don't get me wrong, I could quite easily tell the difference between a red and a white wine, but being able to identify what region of the world a particular Pinot came from just by tasting it was (and still is!) somewhat over my head! We sure did enjoy photographing some very smart wine folk though!
The Pinot event was all about education by experience. The first two days were for invited guests from all over the world, some VIPs, a scattering of media, restaurateurs and people from the wine industry who would come and learn all about how Cloudy Bay create their Pinot Noir. They were wined and dined and what started out as a group of strangers seemed to very much finish as a group of friends.
On the first 'hands on' day the group were taught all about where the wine started, right there in the vineyard. Everyone was given some pruning and tying gear and were let loose on the vines, with the guidance from the experts.
Annette Scarfe is an international Master of Wine, very much a VIP in the wine industry and someone who can absolutely tell what a good Pinot Noir looks like.
All of that manual labour meant that everyone was well ready for an amazing lunch, beautifully created by Dave and Sarah from Essence Events.
And then a little friendly competition of wine blending. Each team was given a specific food for which they were to create a perfect Pinot Noir match.
There was some pretty serious blending going on. It's all about getting the perfect ratio!
The evening saw more food and wine and a whole lot of laughs served up to the guests.
And the wine makers in their absolute element!
Saturday was the BIG day. This is the day open to those who have bought tickets, and believe me, if you like Pinot Noir you will find yourself in your happy place.
First of all you'll be placed among some of the most discerning wine experts in the land and be served 18 handpicked 2011 Pinot Noirs from all over the world. You won't know what wine you're tasting until the very end. In the meantime you swish, smell, taste and spit your way through each option. You'll write notes and compare one glass to the next.
Then you'll get to hear what the wine experts thought of each wine. Some wines will be highly praised, and a couple may be referred to with words like 'compost'. (pretty sure that's not high praise!) Finally, when all is said and done, you'll find out exactly what each glass contained, where it was from and the price of each. You may feel a bit sad about the fact that you've just spat a rare $350 per bottle variety.
Meanwhile, celebrity chef Ben Bayly created a jaw dropping long lunch for eveyone out the back.
Check out the amazing vintage lounge that Paula, from Vintage Events, created!
And gorgeous little floral touches by Janine from Verve.
So it was time to kick back, relax and be served some of the most delicious food by one of the top chefs of the country.
And to finish off, a little dancing for those so inclined.
So there you have it, a wee snapshot of what was a most beautifully put together event. Well done Cloudy Bay!