She beams at her groom like he's her knight in shining armour, the man who swept her off her feet, handsome with a smile that could melt anyone in the room. Gustavo is not afraid to be a gentleman, ready at any moment to straighten Sarah's veil or open a door, these are the small clues that Sarah has truly found someone who will treat her like a Queen.
Sarah is pretty and funny and an absolute joy to be around. Photographing a photographer always comes with a generous dose of extra nerves for me, but it's hard to stay nervous around someone who is as cool and funny as Sarah.
Sarah got ready at her Mum's house, surrounded by her closest friends who also happen to be her bridesmaids, all ready with helping hands and pretty smiles. You would think that Vlady, on the left there, is a seasoned model, but you'd be wrong. Vlady who is from Bulgaria (and, incidentally has the coolest accent around) is almost never seen in dresses or makeup, but WOW when she does! Look out!
I do love Mums at weddings. Maybe it's because I miss my own Mum, but regardless, this image, right here, will be worth all the tea in China in decades to come. And this is exactly why I do what I do.
This is Katie. Katie loves her nail polish.
LOVING the dress detail with the killer shoes.
Meanwhile Paul is with Gustavo and the boys.
Gustavo is a very talented winemaker AND taster. Now, I don't mean he's good at drinking it (although he probably is) but apparently Gustavo knows his wines so well that when he tastes a wine he can tell you exactly what it is and where it was made. That, my friend, is a pretty cool party trick.
The ceremony was held in the barrel room of Wither Hills Winery, cool and dark with the yummy smells of the aging barrels in the dark distance. You cannot find more challenging light to photograph in, but the atmosphere makes it OH so worthwhile!
This is where Gustavo promised:
"I am your shoulder when you falter; I will be your oasis when you're thirsty,
I?m going to be the silence when the noise is deafening, I'll be the calm bay when the sea is rough.
I?ll be your light in the darkest nights.
I will be all to make you extremely happy from now and forever."
This is why I need to pack tissues to a wedding. Sometimes they're for others, but sometimes they're for me.
Speaking of tears, Sarah had expected her Mum would need a hanky on the day, so she fabulously created this very special keepsake.
We popped away for some photos at the ever gorgeous Hortensia House. This has got to be one of the most splendid gardens around!
While I hung out with the girls and made them do 'tin soldiers'...
Paul was rockin' the guys shots.
Sarah's Dad passed away when she was 14, both he and Gustavo's Dad were remembered by lighting candles during the ceremony. This was his signet ring, sent all the way from the UK to be close to Sarah on her wedding day.
I don't even remember what these paper puzzle thingies were called when we were kids, but I do know that it is an extremely cool thing to have as a place name!
Sarah and Gustavo have done a bucket load of travelling together. It makes sense. After all Sarah is from the UK and Gustavo from Uruguay. In fact, the entire day was filled with people from all over the globe. I was surrounded by the coolest accents!
Gustavo knew how to silence the crowd.
Gustavo's Mum is in her 80s, she knows no English and has come all the way from Uruguay to share this special day with her son. She'd also never been in a plane before. Pretty amazing!
Then, as we often do, we snuck our couple away briefly for a few more portraits just as the light was leaving. You know when you're hoping for a fine cloudless day for your wedding? You might want to think again. Clouds can be all kinds of cool.
We made the most of Sarah's favourite number, 7. Any excuse to photograph those shoes!
Once the band starts everyone gets into party mode!
Helter Skelter kept everyone up on the dance floor. And I have to admit, I sang along to every single song.
Sarah and Gustavo, thank you so much for letting us capture your magical day. You guys are absolutely perfect for each other and we loved spending the day with you! We can't wait to show you the rest of the images - see you soon!
Venue: Wither Hills Winery
Celebrant: Carol Taylor
Bride's Makeup: Grace Make up
Bridesmaid's Makeup: Darnelle Bason
Hair: Sheree Watson and Jenny McClelland
Dress: Bernadette Thomas
Suits: Sergios, Christchurch
Guest Transport: Marlborough Taxis
Cake: Becky Brand
Band: Helter Skelter
It wasn't supposed to be a setup, apparently. Jane and Matt just happened to be the only two single people at the dinner, along with one other couple. With several mysterious no-shows, somehow this dinner with friends started looking like a double date! Setup or not, though, Matt thought this pretty lady was worth following up on. First she had to wave goodbye to him, that was what he told himself. "If she turns around and waves goodbye when she leaves, I'll give her a call." Turns out that was the best goodbye wave he's ever seen, even if Jane doesn't remember a thing about it!
Since that goodbye wave, Matt and Jane have spent four years together, falling in love, moving overseas before finally coming back to Blenheim to get married.
Matt's family have the most spectacular vineyard and property which we got to explore while doing their engagement session.
And as we explored we got to know Jane and Matt just that little bit more, and now that we've heard all about how they met and and seen just how much they adore each other, we are even MORE super excited about their wedding in February! Beautiful people, outside and in, getting married. Bliss!
This was the moment I asked them both to be tin soldiers. Some people make exceptional tin soldiers, and others are adequate. Let's just say that Jane was exceptional. The dog gave it a jolly good try too!
The proposal story starts on the final days of Matt and Jane's holiday back home and Matt had quite the surprise planned. Just a casual summer's walk to one of the highest places on the property, well, that's what Jane thought it was. But as they rounded the corner, and Matt took her hand, Jane saw a picnic rug set out with all sorts of goodies and bubbles. That's when he got down on one knee and asked Jane to marry him. It was an immediate yes. And the spot they are standing on right here was the very spot that Matt proposed. How's that for a view?
Jane knew that her family would be itching to hear the news and wanted to call them right away, but Matt had more up his sleeve. She wasn't allowed to call until after the next surprise.
So after their picnic celebrations they headed back to the house, and there, waiting for them to arrive with the good news, was both Matt AND Jane's entire family, flown in from around the country! It was at this point of the story that I realised just how important it was that Jane was going to say YES! A high risk proposal indeed! Clearly everyone knew just how perfect Matt and Jane are for each other.
What a fantastic time we had with you both, thank you for the grand tour of your amazing property and allowing us to get to know you! We're super excited about February, it's going to be great!
You know when your friend recommends that you watch a movie because it's the BEST movie of all time? It's never really the best movie of all time, is it? I think it's probably because they've just built it up too much and in reality it's just a really good movie, but you still feel let down. I think I did that once with Napoleon Dynamite and I'm pretty sure my sister still hasn't forgiven me for that. Sorry about that sis.
I was scared that Joan and Sam's wedding was going to be like that, I was scared that I was just too excited about the whole thing and somehow reality would get in the way of how I had hoped it was going to go. However reality was every bit as good as I had anticipated. Joan was every bit as beautiful, Sam was thoroughly handsome and adoring, the day was filled with so much love and genuine smiles and friendly faces, well, I came home buzzing and freshly in love with weddings all over again.
Joan and the girls started their day out at Locks and Lashes with Deirdre who, as always, did the most beautiful job of making the ladies look effortlessly pretty.
I knew early on in the day that this was indeed going to be a seriously beautiful day.
Joan's Mum, Marilyn, was close at hand with her calming motherly encouragement.
One good reason to get married in November would be to make the most of the peony season. I know you could give Nina twigs and tumbleweed and she'd make it look amazing, but give her Peonies and she does beautiful things like this!
Joan, Sam is a very lucky man indeed!
If you were to meet Joan's parents you would see how she got to be so darned nice. In fact, this was a common thread through the whole wedding. Nice people. Like really, really nice people. Not just nice to me because they know I have the power to add pimples to their pictures if I wanted to (not something I'd do, obviously, but perhaps keep that in mind if you're ever at one of my weddings....) but these people were nice to each other too.
Which brings us to another nice family. Sam was getting ready at his childhood home, aided by his also very nice Mum.
I didn't even know the boys wore these socks until we were downloading the images on the computer at home. Paul did a great job of making sure their colourful side was well captured!
Sam's family were some of the original settlers of this area, arriving here in 1871, so it made perfect sense to be married in the church that has been a big part of his family history since it was built way back in the day!
Still cool as a cucumber while waiting for his bride.
How is this for a beautiful collection of images?
You just can't fake happiness like that.
And the moment Sam gets to take Joan back down the aisle as his wife.
We took the bridal party back to Sam's family home where we captured more moments that will no doubt be displayed along side the rest of the Gane family's amazing wall of historic images.
You can see why I was happy, can't you? And it wasn't even my wedding day.
These swings have been in this old tree for so long the branch has grown around the ropes.
Sam's rocking the flowers.
Quite the handsome groom, this one.
Paul captured this shot while perching like a ninja on the vineyard post. I thought this fact should be mentioned, and appreciation given to the man who quietly captures stunning images alongside me, often actually outshooting me in many cases. But please don't tell him I said so.
My view wasn't altogether terrible though.
Ok, so this is usually where I ask the crowd to say 'hurray' and I often take great delight in saying how they could probably do better. This group, however, did the most perfect 'hurray' I've ever heard. I told them so too and just to prove it's not what I 'say to all the girls', I'm saying it right here, in public. You guys were great hurrayers. (note: that's a real word starting from now.)
And also very good at mingling in beautiful light.
Wither Hills, of course, looked quite the part.
There were many jokes shared about the unreasonable amount of 'George' and 'Georgie's' there were at the wedding, along with a large percentage of the world's redheads. And, admittedly, it was rather remarkable!
Then the sun was setting and the light was disappearing fast. We raced downstairs and into the vineyard and it turns out we timed it pretty well perfectly!
Let the dancing begin!
Sam and Joan, your day was utterly beautiful, seriously gorgeous and a total delight to be a part of. Thank you, thank you! Enjoy Fiji!
Celebrant: Derek Harding
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Hair & Makeup: Deirdre, Locks & Lashes
Reception Venue: Wither Hills Winery
Dress: Karen Willis Holmes
Suits: Sergios Christchurch
Cake: Melissa Ray - Chocolate Shoppe
Cars: Blenheim Toyota
Ceremony Music: Anneka Thwaites
Reception Band: Zeal Band
Reception Details: Leanne, Vanilla Hayes
You just never know what kind of beautiful things are going on quietly around the country, pockets of understated prettiness and love intended only to impress the closest of family and friends. Lynda and Shorty's wedding was one such occasion. A gorgeous ceremony tucked in amongst Marlborough's hills and vineyards at Clos Henri Vineyard.
Lynda worked in the office, and Shorty on the boat. Perhaps they might not have ever really met if a mutual friend had not introduced them, with an inkling that this might be a beautiful match. Turns out that it was, but Shorty and Lynda didn't realise it till some months later when their paths crossed again. This time a friendship blossomed and before long love saw them happily together and then finally engaged.
Clos Henri has a gorgeous little old church, now a tasting room, nestled up against beautiful Marlborough hills.
So classically pretty, Lynda! I love Nana's pearls.
This sand ceremony saw sands from three very special beaches poured into the one vessel. That's a pretty cool keepsake.
The moments after a wedding are usually some of our favourite to photograph. These unguarded moments of hugs, congratulations and general happiness are what weddings are all about.
While I realise we are well and truly wedding photographers, I can't put aside the child photographer part of me during a wedding. If you present me with cute kids, I will capture them!
And who can blame me?
Fabulous flowers by Nina at Pink Poppie. Of course.
We waved goodbye to the wedding guests for a few minutes and popped up the hill, where the view was rather inspiring.
Lynda and Shorty are perfectly suited to each other. They're quiet and not so used to being in the spotlight, but the way that they were able to shine for the camera was quite amazing!
I wouldn't normally call somebody 'Shorty' unless I was pretty sure it was the name they generally go by. Shorty assures me that he's quite used to it, in fact his brothers and many of his friends also have nicknames. So when I met Popeye, for example on the bottom left there, I was hardly surprised. I must point out that this is Popeye's FIRST time in a tie, and to be honest, he's making this suit and tie thing look quite effortless!
I'm not easily excited by cars. I think cars are one of those things that you're either really into, or you're not really. Well, generally I'm not. Unless it's a Combi. Then I'm very excited about cars. (and Minis too, just for the record)
Probably one of my favourite dress backs to date. Gorgeous Lynda!
Shorty and Lynda, thank you for inviting us to capture your beautiful wedding. We wish you guys oodles and oodles of happiness together for many, many years!
It was one year ago this very day, almost to the minute, when Willie proposed to Anne. This beautiful girl he met through his flatmates had become so much more than just a friend. It was the evening before they made the big move from Wellington to Christchurch, and being proposed to was the furthest thing from Anne's mind. She did wonder why Willie was so nervous. Willie was never nervous.
Then, when Willie produced the amazing sparkly diamond ring, it all became clear. Anne said yes, and for the last year (exactly) has been Willie's 'wife to be'.
We headed up the Wither Hills in the evening, in search of great light and great scenery. We found both.
But when you are as GORGEOUS as this, well, you don't need much to make an image sing!
I have these brilliant ideas, like, "Go and sit in that long grass, over there!" And sometimes those ideas are followed by a touch of hay fever. Sorry about that.
Anne and Willie are a beautifully friendly, easy going couple and I'm pretty well certain that we are going to have a whole lot of fun come their wedding day in February!
When I asked Anne what images appealed to her and Willie, she said they loved vistas with hills and vineyards. They loved big open space images, so I knew exactly where I wanted to take them! The only downside was that when we planned the photo shoot it was howling with gales up to 100km per hour. I can promise you that this is not the time you want to be up the top of the Wither Hills! So instead of sheltering in alleyways and by walls, we decided to postpone the shoot until the following week. Not only was this the anniversary of the day they got engaged, the weather was PERFECT!
And once again, The Tree makes a guest appearance. I love The Tree.
Anne and Willie, thank you so much for coming out to play and making the trip TWICE! We had such fun with you both. Bring on February!
They've got the kind of energy that could run a small city for some months. If we could just plug them into some kind of downloading device, I'm fairly sure we'd all be rich. These kids are fun and full of childlike buzz, which meant I had to match their energy. Good thing I'd taken my spirulina!
Hunter, Lexi and Piper are Regan's beautiful children. I can assure you she brought them to the session as clean as clean can be, it didn't take long though for bits of the park and the beach to attach themselves to the children. I reckon that means we did it right! We played and we played and we played.
Sometimes we even cried. Well, it's more like the 'royal we', which means just the little one. Piper is 4 and an absolute doll!
I didn't have to ask Lexi to spin and shake more than once!
I owe this boy an ipad. I was running a guessing competition and told the kids the winner would get a mystery prize. Turns out Hunter won and my idea of giving him a hug for the prize was not really what he had in mind. So I mentioned maybe an ipad would be a better prize. Hunter liked that idea. Regan tells me he still hasn't forgotten about that one...
The kids were promised both ice cream and permission to play in the waves and get wet when we had come to the end of the session. Good plan indeed!
That water was a lot colder than it might look!
Beautiful beautiful Piper!
Regan, Hunter, Lexi and Piper - thanks so much for coming out to play! What a great time we had with you, it's was great to be able to practise my animal noises and Simon-says skills!
Blog watchers may well remember my favourite assignment ever. The images of my nephew Oliver meeting his parents for the first time have to be some of the most moving I've had the privilege of capturing. One year ago I blogged all about it and the Internet really seemed to approve, even places in the 'real world' like the supermarket had people stopping me and talking about it. So here, one year on, I give you Oliver in all his toddler goodness.
But just to refresh your memories, this was the moment Elisha met her little man for the first time.
And he only had eyes for his Mumma.
There is not a single feeling in the world like this one right here. Looking at your baby for the first time has got to be the most magical thing a parent can feel. Love, pride and a heart so full you just don't think it can fit inside your chest anymore and all of this because of a squishy, somewhat messy, and perfect little person.
One year on and Roulf and Elisha are still looking at Oliver with that same kind of adoration.
A year isn't very long, really, but when it's your very FIRST year it's pretty full on. Sleepless nights, teething, milestones to attain to so your mum can facebook all about them. It's hard work on a little man!
I think I'm probably too attached to look at this without bias, but have you ever seen a cuter little face?
Roulf and Elisha actually live over on the Gold Coast, so that bush behind them is made up of Aussie trees. Probably with Aussie snakes and spiders. I haven't lived over there in over 20 years and I think I've probably gone soft, but to me it seems like all of the creatures in Australia somehow want to kill you. And everyone is just going about their daily lives as if there isn't a giant brown snake in their compost bin, or a redback spider sitting in their mailbox. I like New Zealand, especially the part about it not having any dangerous animals....
Bubbles, intriguing to a little boy.
Must. Chase. Bubbles!
I love the fact that Oliver is grandchild number 30 on our side of the family - thanks for taking the pressure off me for that one guys!
Roulf and Elisha, you guys are super special to us and having Olly has only made that moreso. Thanks for all the laughs, the dinners, the amazing coffees and letting us all invade your place. We had such a blast with you!