Back in high school Chris was part of the 'in' crowd, he played rugby and the parties he got to go to were the 'cool' parties that Mandy wasn't part of. But he knew about Mandy, and rather fancied her. She fancied him right back, but turned him down every time he asked her out.
All that was needed was a couple of years for Mandy to be living in the Gold Coast, and on her return come across the cute guy from high school. This time she agreed to the date.
A date turned into something so much more serious over time, and one thing lead to another and now there is the most magnificent ring on Mandy's finger. He got the girl!
Mandy and Chris were only names on our calendar up until last week when we did their engagement shoot. We hadn't had a whole lot to do with each other, as Mandy's Mum had been doing most of the organising. We met at our house and decided to go to the Wairau river for some nice naturish shots. It was really only a matter of minutes before I knew I wanted to adopt them into my circle of friends.
Easy to talk to and thoroughly fun to be around our time together flew past, as we laughed and chatted and laughed some more.
As we walked through the trees I looked to my right and saw this patch of heavenly light. My jaw just about hit the path! Look how preeeeetty!
Mandy, you are so so beautiful!
If you want to know what being around Mandy and Chris is like, just look at this image. To me this sums them up just beautifully!
Chris and Mandy, we can't wait for your wedding! Bring on Autumn, it's gonna be gorgeous!
I've known Cassie since she was the tiny wee girl with a mischievous smile and gorgeous deep eyes. Somehow time whizzed past me and this beautiful girl has grown into a beautiful woman, now with a family of her own. While I can't stop this freight train called time, I can capture the beauty and freeze it, this 500th of a second, to enjoy for many many years. Sheesh, I'm sounding all deep and meaningful tonight! Fully deep and meaningful AND OLD!
You could get lost in those beautiful, beautiful eyes. Stunning Isla!
Cassie, it was a delight to reconnect with you after all of these years. You and Francis are doing a splendid job with those kids, you are a BEAUTIFUL family!
It all started with a high speed blender. You see, I've totally been sucked into the 'blender' craze. You throw all sorts of yummy (and sometimes not-so-yummy) things into a blender, whizz it all up and WHALLA, you have magnificent healthy blended green goop! Some of my kids are more excited about mummy's new fad than others.
But anyway, I digress. We started our relationship over a blender Billie Jean was selling, and before long we were friends and on the riverbank photographing her gorgeous wee family!
This is Rye, the luckiest little boy in New Zealand. His parents dote on him SO MUCH that I'm pretty sure he should get the title.
Either that or 'Cutest little face ever' title.
Just LOOK AT HIM!
This boy has so much personality!
Billy Jean is all about a natural, nutritional, good-for-you lifestyle. That includes continuing to breastfeed Rye. I told you he was the luckiest boy ever!!
Billy Jean, Nick and little Rye, you guys are an absolute inspiration! Thank you for letting me photograph your amazing family! I'm so glad our paths have crossed!
I'm a sucker for pregnancy, childbirth and babies. It's my thing. I love the process, I love the anticipation and I love the joy that a new baby gives to parents. It's so addictive that we've done it half a dozen times, and while our older children insist we give them more siblings, I've called it a day. I've hedged my bets that I'll have grandchildren someday, and so I'll just wait patiently for that. In the meantime, I get my fill of new baby snuggles when I get to photograph them!
Stephanie and Jay are starting this amazing journey of parenthood and I've been there to document it. What better place to silhouette a baby bump than at THE TREE?
Stephanie, you make pregnancy look effortless!
And then baby Deacon was born. Oh my word, I was besotted as soon as I saw him!
Is it odd that I think baby sneezes are the cutest thing on the planet?
Stephanie and Jay, you guys are amazing parents. Enjoy watching your little man grow!
Emily and Jonathan's engagement session was a long time coming. We scheduled it, rescheduled it and rescheduled it again (and then again?) Generally it was the weather keeping us apart, not just little spatterings of rain either! Big dramatic windy and rainy weather, that only eventuated the afternoon of any date we were planning for. So time after time we would watch the weather, see it closing in and call it off. Then, finally, even though the weather was ONCE AGAIN threatening our play outside, we moved our session one hour forward and went for it anyway! You see, it was their five year together anniversary. Perfect timing!
So without further ado, I give you the very patient, very marvellous Emily and Jonathan!
These guys have a likeability factor of 187%.
Not only are they ridiculously good-looking (wowzers Emily!!) but they're also super easy to get on with, chatty, fun peeps. Just the kind of people that shine in front of my camera!
Jono and Emily met through mutual friends, over time their friendship grew and Jono began to be fully wooed by Emily, who admitted that she was probably the first one of the two to like the other.
And wouldn't you know it, just as we were finishing up the wind turned bitter and the rain made an appearance, but it didn't matter because we were DONE!
But wait, there's more inside! Check out little Grace and her two little teeth!
As if Emily and Jono needed help being likeable, Grace just pushed them off the scale entirely.
It's not going to matter one iota what the weather will be like on your wedding day Emily and Jono! We are going to have such fun, and you guys get to be MARRIED!
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