Take one friendly, decent Kiwi bloke, add one stunning lady from Japan and you have a recipe to produce two of the most gorgeous girls you've ever seen. Meet Emilie and Julie the two little ladies that stole the show at a recent family photoshoot out at Rarangi.
The weather was lovely and still, the light at Monkey Bay as usual was splendid. The water even seemed not *quite* as cold as usual. So we played. And Played.
And we played some more.
And some of us got really quite soggy.
I'm all for unconventional family portraits. I love how they feel, even more than how they look.
Aya and Cory, I'm ever so grateful for the time we spent together and the fun we all had. Your girls are a real credit to you and a delight to photograph!
She liked him right away, this young man. Jono was her Dad's apprentice and he was under pretty specific instructions not to get too close to his daughter. Much like a good Taylor Swift song this forbidden romance started slowly and for the longest time they were legitimately 'just friends'. After some time Emily's sister, Bec, brought up the subject of this guy that seemed to be hanging out at their house more and more often. "We're just friends!" Emily would insist, and then added... "friends who kiss."
But Jono is a good guy, and a conversation with Emily's Dad resulted in them admitting to themselves, and those around them, that they were finally more than 'just friends'.
Fast forward five years into the story and we arrive at their wedding day. Saturday saw Jono and Emily finally become husband and wife and once and for all put that 'just friends' rumour far behind them. With one of the most gorgeous wedding dresses ever to grace this blog, and surrounded by seriously cool and loving families, the day at Old St Mary's Convent was every bit as stunning as we had expected it to be.
Emily was an organised bride. Like, really organised. Spreadsheets. Timelines. Lists. She held her wedding organising close at hand and remained in control of every aspect of her planning. Until the morning of her wedding where she took a deep breath and let everything go. Everything except for the excitement. Her planning and delegation skills were so good that the day just ran like clockwork and all she had to do was enjoy.
She enjoyed watching her loved ones open their gifts.
I think she might have even enjoyed the fact that she made her Mum cry.
She enjoyed the traditions passed down the generations. Like this hanky that was left by Nan for the first grandchild to use on their wedding day.
She thought of everything. Everything and then a little bit more. Like these amazing cufflinks for her dad which read "I'll always be your little girl".
However, if you think that this day is going to be all about Jono and Emily, well I've got news for you. This is Grace. Their little showstopper. She can do a fishy face.
Seriously, if you want somewhere amazing to get ready for your wedding, look no further than Old St Mary's Convent.
Emily, you are stunning. Like, f'real stunning.
Gorgeous makeup by Sonja Bulfin and hair by Rochelle Todd.
Meanwhile, Paul is hanging out with the guys and capturing the happenings there.
One of my favourite things about a wedding is the heritage and family history that you just can't help seeing and ultimately being a part of. It's kind of surreal knowing that we're part of such a monumental day, and capturing history for the next generation. It's pretty cool!
It's pretty neat when a groom decides to wear a kilt in honour of his family history. I also like spiffy letter openers like this. Methinks that back in the day they were sharper and not so much for letter opening...
Ok, cuteness overload right there.
I told you Emily thought of everything!
And just like that all of the planning and excited butterflies culminates in this moment.
And Jono is well pleased.
And so is Emily.
'To dry your happy tears'. Awesome.
Nina from Pink Poppie somehow makes her flowers seem effortless. I can promise you when I try to put together flowers they look a very different type of 'effortless'.
And just like that, they're married!
Such a pretty family portrait!
This is how much she liked Paul. Somehow he won her over in epic proportions.
This is their 'just won the lotto' pose. I dunno, ey. Jono, I think you should be way happier. Way.
Cracking out their best dance move ever.
This is why I love Nina.
Bring on a little bit of 'old school' reflection. Sure Paul nearly fell into the water to get this shot, but so far he's not ended up too soggy in his attempts to outshoot me. Not to worry, one day if he does get a little closer than he intended I'll be sure to shoot it. (Anyone remember the Llama story?)
Jono is such a sweet, good natured Kiwi bloke. He's fun, yet understated, kind and totally adores his new wife!
It was quite fitting that the new Mr and Mrs Wilson had their reception at 'Wilson Hall'.
I love me a good generational photo!
Essence Catering provided the yummiest buffet ever!
Emily's Mum made and decorated this amazing cake. Four separate tiers. Two were gluten free. Then Emily's Grandad turned the handle for the knife.
Emily's Dad has been working for the lines company for decades, Jono has been there for a good few years as well, so what better place to sneak them out to than out the back where there are all sorts of cool things, like these giant cotton reels.
And transformers and things!
After the light was well and truly gone we headed back inside to finish off the evening with a good dose of dancing.
The most memorable of the dances would have to be the 'birdie dance'. You just can't help but want to join in with the birdie dance, or at least hum along really loud (the tune is in your head now, isn't it?) I can actually spend a lot of time looking at this particular image. So much going on!
How Emily managed to do country line dancing in a dress that I'm sure weighs more than she does, I have no idea! She absolutely rocked it!
Emily, Jono and Grace; you guys are a fantastic family and it was our absolute pleasure to capture all of these special memories for you. Thank you for inviting us in!
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Venue: Old St Mary's Convent
Minister: Lester Terrill
Hair: Rochelle Todd
Makeup: Sonja Bulfin
Cake: Emily's mum - Heather
Piper: Allister Cassidy
DJ: Roger, Audio Entertainment (Nelson)
Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas
You know those friends of yours who don't have kids, but you think they'd really like them if they did decide to have them? Well I've found the PERFECT kids to have them hang out with. Eva and Henry have the adorable factor going on, times one trillion. Last time you saw them here was back when Henry was just a tiny baby, and Eva stole the show with her gleeful joy when she saw her 'wow' treat. This time they're both just that little bit bigger and to be honest, the cuteness factor has only grown larger.
George and Chrissy brought the kids out to Pollard Park where we could play, chase and giggle (and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just me who was giggling...)
You can't help but smile, can you?
Eva has the most magical imagination. We looked for fairies and trolls and all manner of fun imaginary friends. This was the moment that I said there might be fairies in the trees. I dunno about you, but I'm pretty sure there are fairies up there!
Chrissy and George, as always, it is an absolute pleasure to capture your beautiful family. You guys are doing an amazing job!
Who would have ever thought that the simple act of buying the pretty girl in the dairy a red crocodile lolly would lead to that very girl falling madly, deeply in love with you? Obviously there must have been more to Andrew than just his generosity with crocodile lollies that caused this lifelong relationship to form, because otherwise we might see a sudden demand in the crocodile lolly market.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds Andrew and Sorayah were married on Saturday at Te Mahia Bay Resort. A gorgeous day full of fun and laughs and lots of kisses from the summer sun (actually, the sun was particularly amorous and surrounded us all with its somewhat over-zealous love). But the warmth that was felt on Sorayah and Andrew's wedding day was not only thanks to the sun, but also to the many friends and family that travelled out to celebrate this amazing day.
Thanks to the beautiful Grace and her amazing makeup skills!
Sorayah is actually a hairdresser herself (well, in her former life anyway!) So of course many of her friends are hairdressers, which is hugely handy if you're having a wedding! But does that stop Sorayah from getting in there and helping? Absolutely not!
Last year Sorayah completed her teaching degree and has now become a teacher. Her class had prepared a folder of Marriage Advice for her to read on the morning of her wedding. Among them was this little gem, "Marriage lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life." There was also other helpful tidbits, like encouraging Sorayah not to vomit on Andrew. I suppose that is pretty good advice, if you think about it.
Sorayah had kept everyone completely out of the loop when it came to her wedding dress. Only her Mum knew what it was like. She even threw her friends and bridesmaids off the trail by sending them a picture of an entirely different dress!
So when it came time for the big reveal, it was really quite fun.
If I told you about the pretty blonde girl with the infectious, beautiful smile you'd possibly know I was talking about Sorayah, with skin like a porcelain doll and a smile that lights up any room. Sorayah, you are so SO pretty!
Check out these gorgeous flowers by Jane at Mayflower. I love how the bouquets match the girls dresses!
Pretty ladies indeed!
The two flower girls won my heart early on. But who was going to be first in line to have their photo taken? They couldn't agree, so I suggested what my kids do when they're at a stalemate, paper scissors rock!
Meanwhile, down at Te Mahia, Paul is hanging with the boys as they get ready.
It seems that everyone benefited from having so many hairdresser friends!
And here we go, let the wedding commence!
In one of the more unique ways a bride can arrive to her wedding, Sorayah and the girls decided to make their grand entry via boat. See? That's them speeding towards the beach.
Ever the attentive bridesmaids, the girls made sure Sorayah remained hidden until the time was right!
Oh my gosh. SO CUTE!
With Emily, once again, planted in a high vantage point we were able to capture this amazing view! Thanks Emily!
I promised the bridal party a high-five for the person who did the silliest thing when I counted to 3. After counting, clicking and examining the image I decided that the guy with his finger up his nose was probably being the silliest, as many of the others hadn't really registered the request in time judging by the surprised/blank looks on their faces! Remembering my offer, and the winner being the guy with his finger up his nose, I promptly decided I didn't want to high-five him after all. Sorry Max. With even more time to think about what they'd do, subsequent silly images are best left out of the general public's view. Just sayin'.
While this may seem like a prayer meeting, I can assure you it was not. The next shot will explain it a little better!
Being a particularly fun filled bridal party, I took the opportunity to lie in the foetal position in order to grab this shot. I'm pretty sure this is their 'grossed out' face. I chose not to take it personally.
These guys pulled off the 'men with parasols' look surprisingly well!
Oh, oh! Before we move on to the reception, I wanted to share one of the family photos with you. Usually they're pretty stock standard, look and smile, type shots. This group wanted something rather specific. I like it.
Sorayah and Andrew's wedding has been planned and poured over for the last two years. Sorayah handled every aspect of this amazing day leaving not even the smallest detail to chance. Each time we caught up I heard more about the bits and bobs she had been collecting, and how every time Andrew would arrive home after working in Australia he would find the house just that little bit fuller. Just a bit more muslin, a few more jars. Who needs a guest room?
I love my couples. I love their enthusiasm to come outside when the light is beautiful and let us play for just a few more minutes. You see, you just can't get these soft light type images during a harsh sunny day.
Looking haaaaawt there Andrew!
With the beautiful light now passed, Sorayah and Andrew continued on with their reception. I always feel just that little bit closer to 'my' couples after I hear their speeches. So often stories are shared about their childhood and youth, funny things, accidents, embarrassing stories. So in the interest of sharing, and because I don't think I've told you all this before, I'll share something about me...
I once told a check out lady that I loved her. I didn't mean to, you see, it just kind of came out as I was leaving. "Bye, thank you!" was what I would have said (I know, because I've replayed this moment in my head many times). But no no no... what did I say? "Bye, love you!" What can you say after that? I couldn't make it better by telling her that I didn't, in fact, love her at all. So I just left it at that and walked away.
Sorayah had prepared a slideshow of photos as a surprise for Andrew, which included a beautiful song that Sorayah sang herself! With a reaction like this, I'd say that was a win Sorayah!
And because Paul is really into his starry shots lately, I'll leave you with this one! Pretty gorgeous hu!
Andrew and Sorayah, thank you so much for having us as part of your day. You guys are great fun, thanks so much for all the laughs!
Venue: Te Mahia Bay Resort
Minister: Pastor Tom Hatch
Flowers: Jane, Mayflower Studio Florist
Hair: Jasmin Luke, Jamie Fuller & Julia Blacklaws
Makeup: Grace & Sonja
Dress: Paperswan Bride
Catering: Fairweathers & Sorayah's Dad
DJ: Matt Flight
Invites & Stationery: Leanne, Vanilla Hayes
Props: Amy Gorrie
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!