Stephanie was keen to get Hedley's attention. He, the student surgeon, and she the slightly higher ranking doctor. The only problem was, almost every day when she saw him she'd be wearing her surgical mask. There was only one thing to be done. Mascara. While it would be quite a funny story to say that the mascara alone won him over, the truth is that even if Stephanie had worn a paper bag over her head she'd have still been gorgeous. There is so much more to her than just pretty eyes, and it didn't take Hedley too long to realise this too.
Stephanie and Hedley were married at Wither Hills last month. Surrounded by the people they love most, they promised their every tomorrow to each other. I'm utterly tickled to be able to share these images with you.
Stephanie and the girls got ready at her parent's house. The wedding dress was a surprise, so we had to make sure Dad was well away from the hallway so we could nab this hanging dress shot!
That moment when you see your little girl as a bride. I can only imagine.
And what an utterly stunning bride at that!
One thing I've discovered in all of the time I've spent with brides, is that being outside in a wedding dress attracts both people driving past and tooting when we're in a public place, and even more commonly, insects. This image on the left here demonstrates this. Meet Richard. He and his friends found their way into the lace of the dress. No one seemed to mind too much, so we just named them all Richard.
The ceremony was to be held in the barrel room. Cool, moody and it smells amazing!
Add a harp to the barrel room atmosphere and things were truly magical!
And just like that, they're married.
Stephanie and Hedley were keen to stay close to their wedding guests, so portraits were done on location.
You'd be hard pressed to find a nicer guy than Hedley. He's sweet and attentive to Stephanie, and his smile looks like this! Win!
Sneaking out between speeches we managed to capture the one image Stephanie had her heart set on. Check out the amazing Marlborough view!
Stephanie and Hedley, thank you so much for having us as part of your amazingly beautiful day. We had such fun with you both! We wish you every happiness that life can offer.
It's been tough, the last half year or so. I'll just say that from the get go. You may have been wondering why I've been so gosh-darn quiet, compared to other summers. Normally the blog and facebook would have been brimming with activity, weddings, babies and lots of smiling faces. The thing is, while we have been shooting as big a summer as ever, we've also been trying to deal with my brother's cancer.
Some of you may remember Roulf from previous posts. Here, when he and Elisha came to visit during Mum's terminal illness.
Then there was, what I still call my favourite assignment yet, the birth of their son, Oliver, here.
And then when Oliver turned 1, here.
Last year most of our family got together at the wedding of Cherie and Tyrone, in Port Douglas here.
That was in August. Everything was perfect.
Then, in September, the phone call that winded us. Roulf had cancer. Not just any cancer. A bad type, pancreatic, stage four. Put-your-affairs-in-order, 3-6 months to live, type cancer.
We took as many trips to the Gold Coast as we could. We threw ourselves into researching alternative therapies. But even the world of the (sometimes) crazy, weird and wonderful couldn't promise us a better outcome.
Elisha threw herself into caring for him. Every minute through the day and night. Roulf's older children rallied, supporting their Dad in every way physically possible. To watch this kind of love was inspiring.
Then on the 18th of April, less than a week before his 53rd birthday, Roulf's fight was over. He knew where he was going, and was looking forward to seeing our dear Mum again.
So that leaves us, as a family, feeling a bit raw, to be honest and we're coming to grips with a new 'normal'. The pain is simply proof of how much we love him.
So I'm getting back on the horse (or the bike? I'm not a massive fan of horses) so to speak. I need to start sharing some of the amazingly beautiful things that we've captured over the last few months. So please do keep a look out in the next couple of weeks as we go about sharing what we've been up to.
The ring had been sitting in a sock draw for months, just waiting for the right moment to help Shane pop the question. Month after month passed and the perfect moment hadn't yet eventuated, and so the gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring waited quietly with the socks. Gemma and Shane's relationship was definitely ready for the 'next step', after meeting through mutual friends years before, then given a gentle nudge by Shane's Aunties at a party, becoming friends and finally falling madly in love. The two had grown fond enough of each other to move towns and buy a house together.
When the day finally arrived, Gemma and Shane were in Goa, India. The ring was still at home, but now it was no longer in the sock draw, it was in a bag being looked after by Shane's brother, who was completely in the dark about the ring silently waiting for it's time to shine. Shane, not being the slightest bit deterred about the lack of engagement ring, bought a place holder ring while in India, woke Gemma up early one morning, and asked her to marry him. Without a single hesitation, Gemma said yes. Which brings us to the reason this collection of images even exists. Gemma and Shane were married at Old St Mary's Convent on Saturday, complete with the long suffering, ever patient, engagement ring. The day was nothing short of perfect. Gorgeous, happy people. Oh, and it's Autumn. In case you're wondering, I do so very much love Autumn.
When the day starts with sparkly shoes like this, you know it's going to be a good one.
This is Gus. Gus seemed completely uninterested in the whole bridal prep thing. He just lay in his basket and minded his own business. Well, that's what I thought.
Turns out Gus saw the veil on the chair. Gus liked the look of the veil on the chair and decided to investigate further.
Naughty, naughty Gus.
Thankfully Gus, while still making sure he had a good time, remained gentle on the veil and all was well with the world.
Gemma is the sort of lass you just want to spend time with. Beautiful, yes. Funny, absolutely and sweet as a cupcake.
Thanks to Nina from Pink Poppie for making my Autumn just that little bit more special. A big yes to colour!
This is Sparkly. Gemma is a school teacher, and each night Sparkly gets to go home with someone in the class. They write stories about him and take pictures of the things they've done together. I would hazard a guess that this is the first time Sparkly found himself at a wedding!
While Emily and I were making the most of the prettiness at Gemma's place, Paul was hanging with Shane and the crew, who clearly were perfectly relaxed before the wedding!
Gemma and Shane wanted to do things a little bit differently. One of Shane's close friends just happens to be a girl, so why couldn't Emma be over on Shane's side of the bridal party? No reason, really.
Having the wedding at Old St Mary's Convent is not only special because it's an AMAZING place, but Gemma's parents were actually married in that little church while it was still out at Grovetown.
Fantails are so nosey around here!
Look at how much he adores her.
In case you've missed it thus far, Gemma also has bucked tradition and added in a 'bridesman', Glen, to her bridal party. Why not!
And don't they look like a spunky bunch!
Now in case I haven't yet made this abundantly clear, weddings in Autumn are just the bees knees. I've said it for years now, and it seems like people are starting to believe me. The weather is cooler. The light is infinitely kinder (read:makes you more photogenic). The colours are to die for. Men are comfortable in their suits and the women don't sweat off their makeup. Sunset is earlier and so the prettiest time of the day is actually while you're away having your wedding photos done.
Autumn Wedding = Win.
Gemma's students are about 5 and 6 years old. When she told them she was getting married, they wondered who she might be getting married to. When she told them she had someone in mind, in fact, it was her boyfriend, they all went "Ooooooooouuuuu!" (think mass little girl, 'you've got a boyfriend' type sound).
So you may have heard the rumour that Old St Mary's Convent is no longer. Well, you heard right. The sad news is that it has been sold. The happy news is that it will continue on as a wedding venue - HORRAY! What was Old St Mary's Convent, will now become The Marlborough Lodge. So all is well with the world.
Gemma and Shane are so perfect for each other. Gemma is full of life, friendliness and general nice-to-be-aroundness. Shane is quieter, considerate, kind and utterly adoring of his new wife.
A quick shot of Poppa's car before it gets put to bed for the night.
After the portraits were done, we all headed over to the Rangitane Centre. The evening was filled with laughter, tears and dancing. Apparently there was lots and lots of dancing.
Gemma and Shane, thank you guys for having us capture your gorgeous day. Thank you for thinking the cat-in-the-veil incident was brilliant enough to call me in for, before carefully removing the cat from the veil. Gemma, that just proves how super cool you really are. Thanks for loving each other loads, and for organising such a fantastic day.
Celebrant: Carol Taylor
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Hair & Makeup: Locks & Lashes
Dress: Paperswan Bride
Girls Dresses: Swonderful
Suits: Major Tomms, Wellington
Catering: Posh Nosh
Cake: Granny's Sweet Tooth
Reception Venue: Rangitane Conference Centre
Invitations and Menus: Sunny and Swoon
Lee remembers the first time he saw Roberta, many moons ago. She was sitting there with her packet of squiggles and he thought she was pretty cute. With a shared love of target shooting, they soon became friends, but nothing developed for years, until one day at a friend's 21st birthday they saw each other with new eyes and their friendship began to make it's journey towards love.
On Saturday that pretty girl promised to love and cherish Lee for the rest of her life, and he, in turn, promised his forever right back. If it's one thing I want you to grasp when you scroll through these images of their beautiful day, it's just how much they adore each other. Because it's a whole lot.
Now, at this point you might be surprised to see the wedding day start with a penguin wearing a wedding dress. You see, Roberta is pretty well convinced that penguins are evil and intend to take over the world. So the family has a long standing tradition that sees Roberta receiving all things penguin at any opportunity, and her wedding day was no exception.
Roberta's parents had kept the wedding cars totally secret until the wedding day, so she had no idea what to expect. Did she expect a penguin wearing a wedding dress on the bonnet of their Hilux, sporting a bench seat on the back? Probably not.
Don't worry, though, there is a step ladder so the girls could easily get on the back.
Understanding her parent's quirky sense of humour (which, by the way, has wonderfully rubbed off on Roberta), she embraced the Penguin (and the fact that it was wearing her old dancing eyelashes) and waited for the ACTUAL wedding cars to arrive.
Roberta's parents live in one of the most picturesque places in Marlborough. Imagine waking up to this view every day!
Roberta is a little on the shorter side, it would be fair to say she's somewhat funsized at 5ft 1'. Lee comes in very handy when she needs to reach things, as he's 6ft 3. So, Roberta's parents solved the height challenge by giving her a wedding elevator.
Just what all short people need!
So at this stage of the day we already have the bridal penguin, the Hilux and the wedding elevator. I was already in my happy place, and we hadn't even gotten the dress on yet!
Check out the beautiful blooms from Nina at Pink Poppie!
Serious blog watchers will see that Roberta's chief bridesmaid is Rebecca, whose amazing wedding we photographed only a couple of years ago.
Thanks for the extra height, once again, goes to the wedding elevator.
This special ring was given to Roberta on the morning of the wedding, by her Mum. It belonged to her great grandmother. Pretty special!
And just then the real wedding cars arrived, and Roberta knew that she wasn't going to have to sit on the back of the ute after all.
Roberta, you are a jaw droppingly beautiful bride!
Meanwhile, Paul is hanging with the boys at MVH as they get ready.
Being in charge of the wedding rings is a big responsibility.
Grandparents at weddings make the day just that bit more special, don't they?
The autumn light was kind and allowed us to do some daytime vineyard shots.
I'm not exactly sure what I said to get this reaction, but I'll take the awesome facial expressions! These guys were a seriously cool bridal party!
Just casually showing off the wedding socks.
This broken down old cottage is not only seriously cool for photos, but also holds special significance for Roberta's family. Her Grandad actually lived on this property while training with the army during the second world war.
Together, Roberta and Lee have a likability factor that blows pretty well every measurement I could use. So I'll just say it's a squillion, and you might kind of, sort of, get an idea of how nice it is to get to hang out with these guys on their wedding day.
This old cottage won't be around forever, so immortalising it in these wedding images is a pretty cool idea!
In case you missed the 'I really, REALLY love you' vibe between these two, just check out this moment walking back to the car.
Back at MVH to rejoin the guests for an evening of fun and lots of laughs.
While you might not know it to look at her, turns out Rebecca has awesome rapping skills. Roberta had joked that she should either do an interpretative dance or a rap for her speech. Let's just say the Fresh Prince of Bel Air would be proud!
Hello beautiful evening!
MVH has yummy food. Like, really yummy. If only there were a way for you taste the goodness in these images...
Lee and Roberta, that was a fab wedding. Like, really, really great. Thank you for allowing us to hang out with you and be part of the celebrations. Thanks to you guys I'll be keeping an eye out for those pesky penguins, in case they ever do decide to take over the world.
They both secretly knew they were perfect for each other. Their friends and family knew they were perfect for each other. The teacher who kicked them out of the 400 seat lecture hall because of their constant chatting, probably knew they belonged together too. But neither of them wanted to ruin their awesome friendship by admitting they wanted to be more than just friends. So Billie and Chris remained friends for a whole year before either of them admitted their true feelings. Finally love blossomed. Adventures ensued, graduation, earthquakes, jobs, a house and epic overseas travels.
All of this brings us to this amazing weekend where Chris and Billie's loved ones all converged on The Grand Mercure Monaco Resort in Nelson. A big, beautiful celebration of two people who truly are perfect for each other, promising to spend the rest of their lives together. You'll want to make yourself a cup of tea and settle in, because this wedding was even better than I promised it would be.
Billie and Chris put loads of thought into this weekend. Their number one priority was that their guests had fun, and what better way to start the fun journey than with a box of lollies for each guest? Not just ordinary lollies though. No, they went with personalised M&Ms. Who knew that was even a thing? Well, it is!
If we were marking the bridesmaids out of 10 for enthusiasm, these girls would be off the chart. There was much smiling, much laughing and a whole bunch of 'awwwwwing'. They did good bridesmaiding.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of personalising sweets, each bridesmaid also got personalised chocolate.
The wedding dress was a surprise to almost everyone. And judging by these faces, I think it got the tick of approval.
To say that Billie is simply beautiful would be an understatement. She's more than just a pretty face, Billie is bubbly, friendly and an absolute delight to be around.
You can't beat a good father/daughter moment like this.
The day after Billie and Chris got engaged Billie's mum started this amazing cross-stitch. Now, I've tried to prove my womanhood by the odd cross-stitch in years gone by, and let me tell you, it's not as easy as it might seem. This truly is a family treasure.
Ok, so I'm going to try not to overshare the flowers, but I can't promise I'm going to be very good at keeping it down. Super beautiful, Nina!
Meanwhile, in a unit across the complex, the boys have just arrived home from a morning of tenpin bowling and are getting ready for the big event.
I don't think I saw anyone, all day, who hadn't received some kind of special little gift from Billie. Seriously, she's just that lovely.
To be honest, I think Chis got the most epic gift of all!
What is the use of having matching socks if you can't show them off?
There's always this moment when all of the bridesmaids have already walked down the aisle, and the bride and her dad are almost suspended in time. It's only a few seconds, really, but it's one of the most profound pauses in the day. After they step out everything changes. In a good way.
Chris was well and truly ready for that change. It would mean that his best friend would become his wife.
See this moment right here? Usually it's only a split second, and with all of the excitement of finally being with her groom, the bride rarely gets to see it. While I can't possibly know what Billie's dad was feeling, I would hazard a guess that he's pretty darn proud of his little girl right there.
Thanks to Rachael Schepers who put together a really fantastic wedding ceremony!
The deal is done, and he walks away with the girl!
Billie and Chris warned me that their bridal party would be a lot of fun, and they were right!
It wasn't hard at all to get them to play!
After we had some fun with the bridal party, we let them get back to the other wedding guests and snuck away with just Billie and Chris.
One thing I LOVE about photographing in different towns is finding new locations. Great trees, interesting light. Win.
Billie and Chris live overseas, so Chris thought it would be romantic to propose to Billie on one of their trips home. But sometimes even your best plans can turn to custard. Having travelled through the Middle East on their way to get home, Chris had picked up a gnarly infection in his arm - made considerably worse by the 14 hour plane ride. Arriving in New Zealand, swollen and needing fairly urgent care, Chris was immediately put on IV antibiotics. Trouble was, Billie isn't good at being in the same room as needles, fainted, and hit her head on the way to the floor and ended up on concussion watch. Undeterred Chris still planned to propose to Billie. Surely this trip would get better. All he needed was the engagement ring, ah yes, well about that... it hadn't quite made it to New Zealand yet.
So, now battling the infection and unable to fly, the pair drove down to Queenstown, Chris' arm in a sling and no engagement ring in sight. On their final night they stopped at Mt Cook, where Chris had planned his romantic proposal, helicopter ride and all. Except the weather was rubbish, and the helicopter trip was cancelled. But Chris didn't give up. How about a walk on the beach? "Well that's a stupid idea, the weather is rubbish!" exclaimed Billie who was completely oblivious to what was going on and somewhat grouchy about the entire experience so far. Ok, forget about the walk on the beach.
Back in Christchurch and the stars finally aligned. The ring arrived and Chris took Billie punting down the Avon river, ending it with a picnic at the park and finally the proposal. To which, of course, she said yes.
After our adventures we headed back to Monaco where all the guests were ready for an evening of fun!
All of the reception flowers were beautifully put together by Chris' mum Jo.
On your wedding day you kind of become somewhat of a celebrity, everybody is keen to talk to you and wish you well. This moment with Granny stopped me in my tracks, quite possibly the most beautiful well wishing moment of the day.
We love sneaking out at dusk when the light is soft, just for a few minutes. Paul and I were shooting something entirely different and sent Emily off into the distance to see what she could get from a third angle. Sure enough, she finds the ideal spot, directs Chris and Billie into where she wanted them, and BAM. Shot of the day. If she keeps this up I'll be able to retire soon!
Billie and Chris' first dance had everyone mesmerised.
I think the reactions to the dance were as fun to capture as the dance itself!
The Bubble Men came up from Christchurch, so this was the first time I've heard them. When I met them and ask what kind of music they played, Mike casually said "Oh, we're a covers band". And like a true kiwi he seemed somewhat understated about it all. Then they got up and OH MY WORD were they great!
I don't think I've ever seen that many people up on the dance floor at one time. Chris and Billie's greatest wish was seriously granted. And then some.
Billie and Chris, thank you for inviting us to be part of your day, to witness the beautiful moments, the hugs, the family and the love. Thanks also for our special box of sweets. It's so pretty I almost don't want to eat them. Almost.
Venue and Catering: Grand Mercure Monaco Resort
Celebrant: Rachael Schepers
Flowers; Bouquets: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Flowers; Decorative: Jo Dearsley
Hair and Makeup: Tonic Hair Culture and Beauty (Richmond)
Suits: Rembrandt / Reiss (London)
Videographer: JD Smit productions
Photobooth: The Amazing Travelling Photobooth
Cake: Chocolate Velvet (Nelson)
Band: The Bubble Men (Christchurch)
String Duo: Lisa Cowie / Juliet Ayre (Nelson)
Pianist: Barry Korcheski
Wedding Hire: Got it Covered
A few days ago we met Billie and Chris and we took them to Rarangi for a prewedding photo shoot. We talked about the important things in life, like inappropriate places we've laughed, adventurous travel stories, and a proposal saga that sounds almost too 'a series of unfortunate events' to be true. There was laughing, running, dancing and chatting. Before the morning was over we had gained new friends and a fresh excitement about their wedding tomorrow!
So as I sit here, putting this post together listening to The Eagles (don't mock), Paul is busy cleaning lenses and getting our gear ready for Billie and Chris' big day tomorrow. I would hazard a guess that you'll want to come back later next week to see what I'm sure will be a pretty epic wedding post.
Billie and Chris, we'll see you tomorrow. It's going to be a goodie!
Sam and Matt's story proves there can be life after loss. A beautiful love story of two people who had known each other for some years, but not really noticed each other until that accountancy seminar a couple of years ago. Who said accountancy was boring? Sam was both beautiful and easy to talk to, and Matt was smitten. Love blossomed and Matt was ever so keen to spend the rest of his life with Sam.
"Being able to call you my wife is a privilege and an honour, which I will never tire of." If that was all Matt said the entire day, he would have still won. But there was more, so much more. Just watching Sam and Matt get married on Saturday at Old St Mary's Convent was enough to warm any heart, and by the end of the day mine was as full as it could be.
Sam's mum stitched this into her dress as a special reminder. Also, tucked away in your wedding dress is a good place to keep your anniversary date, in case you ever need it in a hurry...
This here is Sam's Great, Great Grandmother's Rose of York broach. She was famous for wearing it every Sunday, with her Sunday best.
Special moments with her daughter Kiara. Kiara is like a little ray of sunshine, I can see why Sam chose her as bridesmaid. She did a pretty spiffy job as bridesmaid too, even if this was her first wedding!
Jake, Sam's son, came all the way over from Scotland especially for the wedding. That's love for you. I dare say he didn't mind swapping seasons for a few days either.
Sam bought this special pocket square from France, and stitched these beautiful words.
Sam and Matt wanted to see each other before the ceremony, so we arranged a first look on the balcony of Old St Mary's Convent before all of the guests arrived.
And the ceremony begins.
How stunning a bride is Sam? Utterly perfect.
This beautiful table and chair belonged to Sam's Great Grandfather, and and has made the journey, like other guests, all the way from Yorkshire in England. Nothing like a bit of family heritage to join in on the celebrations!
Check out this AMAZING little Humber. Now, I know almost zero about cars, but I know that THIS is a cool one. Matt actually races this car and told me all about it. Most of the details went over my head (although they sounded very impressive at the time), I do remember him saying it runs on plane fuel!
The thing about falling in love with someone, is that you sort of become someone new. I don't mean that the old you is gone, it's more like, well, you're you PLUS you have more added to your life. You see, before Matt, Sam had no interest in things of the sea. Now, with Matt, she has learned to love sailing and diving. Matt has absolutely added adventure to Sam's life. Love and adventure. See? Perfect.
The beautiful thing about the connection that Sam and Matt have with each other is that these gorgeous moments of connection we have captured would have happened, whether we pointed a camera at them or not. This is absolutely who they are together.
Hello beautiful reflection!
Just in case you were wondering, yes, this is Nina's amazing design.
Every mother and daughter need to be able to nail a solid pout pose together. Good to see they've got that under control.
See those hanging leafy chandeliers? That was Pink Poppie too. Oh, and if you're looking for someone with some amazing furniture and general awesome stuff, go talk to Paula from Vintage Events. She has pretty things to make you swoon!
Naked cakes are seriously popular right now. While I'm sure it might look effortless, this kind of creation is anything but! Beautifully put together by Melissa from Sweet Creations.
Gorgeous food by Posh Nosh.
Oh, and check out the personalised beer, brewed especially for the wedding by Dave, the best man!
We only have a few weeks left of these balmy beautiful evenings, so pleased to be making the most of them!
Sam and Matt, thank you for finding each other, falling in love and putting on this AMAZING wedding! Thank you also for that amazing evening we spent doing the pre-wedding shoot on your yacht. Like, seriously, that was crazy fun.
Venue: Old St Mary's Convent