The first line is always the hardest. Do you have any idea how many times I start, delete and then restart writing a blog post? I guess it's just like that moment when you first meet someone and you're not quite sure what to say after the initial "Hi". You smile, as sweetly as you can muster, as your mind darts to the possibilities of chatting about the weather or mentioning how neat those earrings are. Blogging is much like that, except, I can't see your earrings.
However, when writing about Christina and Brendan there's plenty to say! Christina was as lovely as I had anticipated and she is as sweet and gracious on the inside as she is on the outside.
Paul was with the boys as usual. I love comparing our shots when we get home, seeing what was going on in one camp at the same time as the other. These shots were taken only minutes apart.
What a beautiful bride!
Flowers by Pink Poppie. Yay!
Christina's Dad waits for the girls to get ready.
Meanwhile, back with the boys...
Brendan is an IT guy. So it seems entirely fitting to check with youtube when you want to know where to put your buttonhole.
Totally something Paul would do too.
Then it's onto the ceremony at Drylands. Some of the loveliest moments are when Dad presents the Groom with his Bride.
This was one of those beautiful people weddings. Everywhere we would point the camera we would find more pretty people.
Shaun Preston had come over from Wellington with his two baby Grand Pianos. One white one that sat on the lawn, and one black one that sat inside for the reception. He's got such an amazing talent, no wonder they shipped him over here! Insanely talented.
Then we headed off to Old St Mary's Convent for photos. It can be tricky to find large areas of shade during a sunny day, and so I was beyond excited to be able to shoot there.
Brendan and his posse. These guys know how it's done.
We were busy taking the bridal portrait when Brendan flew in at a rate of knots.
And so we decided to include him too.
Paul totally outshot me with this one. Sigh.
Brendan and Christina have the funniest sense of humour. I like them a lot.
Then back to Drylands, and a quick shoot in the vineyard before the reception.
This is Brendan's Dad welcoming Christina her into the family. Love it.
I love reactions to speeches.
Brendan and Christina are really into good wine. So I thought that this was quite fitting. If you look carefully you can see Paul lying on the grass in the reflection, and me sitting close by, making sure he's doing it right. I'm kind of like a backseat driver sometimes, probably rather annoying actually.
Brendan and Christina, thank you so very much for choosing us to share your day with you. What a great opportunity to witness and capture such a beautiful wedding, planned so perfectly, with great weather and fantastic people. We can't wait to show you the rest!
Hair and Make-up: Arthur Devine
Flowers: Pink Poppie
Entertainment: Shaun Preston
As quickly as it crept up on us, Christmas has been and gone. The presents have been opened, the pavalova has been thoroughly eaten, and the blinking lights on the ceiling have their days numbered. It was a lovely day spent with family and friends, and surprisingly to me, my Mum made it to Christmas. I was fairly sure we were going to loose her last weekend, but as is often the case in my life, I just don't seem to know everything. In this case it was a good thing.
So Christmas is 363 days away again, and so now that I have some time up my sleeve I can blog Gwen and Phil's engagement shoot!
Gwen mentioned that she was keen to have photos by old buildings and grassy fields. I knew exactly where I wanted to go! I've had my eye on this area for the longest time, waiting to pair it with the perfect couple. Gwen and Phil were that perfect couple!
As often as possible, I like to time photoshoots for the prettiest light. So we were planning this shoot for early morning. When Gwen mentioned that maybe just before sunrise was a good time, I just about spat my coffee all over my keyboard. Sunrise was before 6am, and to me that was mighty early. Gwen wasn't at all bothered by this as she is used to getting up at 4am. As in FOUR AM! She milks cows, 1000 of them. Everyday. What an amazing woman!
So although it would be pretty at 5.45am, I was willing to just imagine it and we settled to meet at 7.30am. The light was perfect.
I love this a lot. Even without their heads they're cute!
Sure they looked at me funny when I asked them to kiss over there by that dirty big puddle, but they didn't see what I was seeing!
Phil is a softly spoken bloke. Like a real blokey bloke. He drives heavy machinery and fixes stuff. He is everything that my young son, and thousands of other boys, wants to grow up to be.
Hello there awesome ring!
Gwen is such a lovely wee thing. So perfectly suited to Phil.
Gwen assured me she didn't look any good in photos. Aha. Heard it all before! Glad we disposed of that myth before the wedding!
This is Tee. Tee was brimming with enthusiasm. I wish I had a tenth of the energy he has, and the ability to catch a frisbee in my mouth. Oh no, wait, maybe not the frisbee part.
You can just SEE how much he loves Gwen, can't you?
Gwen and Phil, thanks so much for playing along. You guys are a fantastic couple and I can't WAIT for the wedding!!
It was raining. There I said it. Really raining. But I assured Amanda and Mark that as long as they got married, nothing else mattered. It seemed like the initial disappointment was quickly overshadowed by the excitement of the day. You can't plan the weather, but you can certainly make the most of it, and that's just what we did!
The wedding was held at beautiful Ngakuta Bay. A comfortable and relaxed kind of occasion, surrounded by friends and family.
Grace did the make-up, beautifully, as always. Thanks Grace!
Meanwhile Paul is with the boys in Picton getting ready.
I love Mums at weddings. I've probably said it before, but the photos with a Mum in it make me stop and look just that little bit longer.
Beautiful! Amanda, you looked amazing!
This is Amanda's Mum. This was just after she said that she hoped that everyone didn't mix her and Amanda up, thinking that perhaps they were twins. I love it.
This was as the boys were arriving.
Everyone needed a look!
How stylie are these girls?
Amanda's reaction to seeing her groom.
This image makes me happy. Mark was saying his vows, and had to turn away briefly as the emotion got to be a bit much.
Carol Taylor saved the day. The rain meant that the beautiful outside wedding, was now a marque wedding. She quickly arranged everything beautifully, as if that's just how it was supposed to be. Thanks Carol!
Then off down to the shore, and it rained. And rained some more. Mark was totally fine with that, he had just scored a wife!
We totally made the most of the rain. No point in letting it all go to waste!
Possibly the coolest boys wedding shoes ever? I reckon.
Add to that the hot pink girls shoes, and you're onto a winner.
These guys are so cute!
As Mark was trying to get under the veil, he exclaims "Now I can totally see why dolphins get caught in nets!" Favourite quote by a groom. Ever.
I love veils. That's just how it is.
Totally awesome at following instructions. "Be cool and serious" click "Now extremely happy, go!" click
This is Chevy the dog. Chev is Amanda's baby, totally. Although I thought she was calling him Jeff, which would have been a good name too.
Mark, totally cool.
Before we went into the marque for the reception, Amanda popped upstairs to freshen up. Here she's doing the royal wave. She's got it down.
Paul's dedication to get the shot. Gotta love it.
Worth lying on the ground for? Totally.
He had so many great shots, I have to put in just one more...
Then onto the speeches and dinner. Everyone was perfectly happy.
Cheers guys! (notice Chev on Amanda's lap there?)
Amanda and Mark, thanks so much for letting us share your day with you. What we lacked in sunshine, you made up for with your amazing attitude and everyone's ability to have fun. Can't wait to show you the rest!
Make-up: Grace Makeup
Celebrant: Carol Taylor
Flowers: The Flower Box
The email started with "I'm an avid fan...." So, well, she had me with hello. She followed this with exclaiming how much she'd love me to photograph her wedding. I asked when she was getting married. Then she admitted she wasn't actually even engaged yet. There's dedication for you! As if that wasn't enough, what totally blew my mind was that Heather Ellis is an amazing photographer in her own right!
I was a little frightened when she drove an 8 hour round trip to come and have coffee with me. "What if she's a stalker?" I asked Paul beforehand. You hear stories about meeting people over the internet you know. I just couldn't fathom why she would make such a big effort for coffee. Man, it better be a good coffee!! Thankfully we hit it off right away, she wasn't a scary stalker at all and that one coffee meeting has turned into a lovely friendship.
Fast forward about half a year, and Heather and Doug are in India experiencing the world. I get an email from Heather who exclaimed that Doug proposed in Agra at sunset across from the Taj Mahal! I knew what was coming next. And yes, I'm happy to declare that I'll be shooting their wedding in April!
So they travelled up to Blenheim this weekend, and we planned an early morning photoshoot. Like 7am early. None of us are morning people, but we managed to cheer each other up just fine and what followed was three hours of pure fun.
Doug moved to New Zealand from South Africa when he was 18 and met Heather a year later while she was working at Subway. She was just finishing a double shift and she said she looked terrible. Doug only noticed her beautiful eyes and smile. Heather knew that anyone who could see past a dirty-sauce-covered green Subway tshirt and still want her number was someone worth getting to know.
Like most of my couples, Heather was slightly disappointed with the tree when she first saw it. "That's IT?! I thought it was some magnificent big tree on a paddock somewhere?" No, sorry. That's it. But in a photo it looks pretty cool, and thankfully Heather agrees.
I told them to go stand among them thar trees, blend in and pretend to be one of them. Clearly Doug's tree blending skills are far better than Heather's. Not to worry, it's probably not a skill you're going to need much in life anyway Heather.
Heather and Doug are perfectly suited to each other. I mean perfectly. You can just tell they're best friends. The way they play and have each other on. The way they look at each other, even when my camera isn't pointed at them. Yes siree, they belong together.
I call this my needy neighbours shot. Priceless.
Then the field of yellow flowers. I've seen this yellow field a lot lately, and just ached to use it. I haven't a clue who owns it, and neither do the neighbours. So I'm hoping it was ok to walk through it. I was feeling a little Bonny and Clyde to be honest...
I love this. Love love love it.
This was the first time I've met Doug. I like him a lot. He has become Heather's second shooter, much like Paul is mine. He's charming and funny and laughs at my jokes. Bonus points for anyone who laughs at my jokes.
Heather also laughs at my jokes, and has good jokes of her own, so I like her too. I also love her work, it's fresh and full of personality. If you happen to be anywhere near Christchurch do look her up!
I had asked Heather to step forward, but she didn't quite hear me right and did this. Maybe she thought I said forehead? Either way, it's way funny. I love the look on their faces. They'll do what I ask, even if it makes no sense at all.
Next we went cherry picking. You can't come to Blenheim in December and not go cherry picking. It's like an unwritten rule.
We assured Doug that this shot was worth lying in the wet grass for. See Doug? It totally was.
I can barely stand the wait for Heather and Doug's wedding. HURRY UP AND COME QUICKLY APRIL!!
Anita had promised me an unconventional wedding, fresh and fun. She also mentioned that she may have a meltdown at some stage beforehand. She was entirely right about a fresh and fun wedding, and entirely wrong about her meltdown. Cool, calm and collected, she was perfectly beautiful, and perfectly ready to marry the man she had been with for the last thirteen years.
The whole day was orchestrated to be fun and casual. Held at the gorgeous Te Mahia Bay Resort, the weather played along with us nicely.
Surprisingly through his life Selwyn has been labelled as a nerd. I have to say, he has to be the coolest nerd I ever did see! As hard as I tried, I simply couldn't find anything nerdy about him. So either that's a really great sign for him, or a really bad sign for me.
Anita ordered, designed and assembled the flowers herself! She has such amazing style, it just blows me away.
How's this for a stunning place to get married?
This is where having two cameras pointing at the same thing can be really useful. Paul tends to capture fuller scenes with his wider angle lenses, and I tend to get in a little closer.
Paradise, right there.
Then off for a wander we went. This is where the fun and unconventional comes into it. I love a couple that shares my warped sense of humour!
Paul found this great angle, and, once again, outshot me.
See, this is the thing. Every wedding we try and outshoot each other. It's a healthy rivalry. We know who won by the image the couple chooses for their thank you cards. So far I think I'm winning. Which is only fair, really, don't you think?
They had brought props along for their photobooth later in the evening. I was not above using them, not at all!
The team know how it's done.
And they see the funny side of it all.
Back to the reception in the gorgeously decorated marque.
You thought I was kidding about Selwyn being a nerd. I wasn't. It seemed to be a repeating theme through the speeches, he was even given these glasses as a reminder of his childhood. Surely they couldn't have been that bad. Surely?
Reactions to speeches = win.
Anita and Selwyn, thank you so much for letting us capture your special day for you. All the very best for the future and enjoy the honeymoon!
Hair: Arthur Devine
Celebrant: Jan Hook
Wedding Venue: Te Mahia Bay Resort
Catering: Posh Nosh
They met at University many moons ago. Neither would admit to who liked whom first, but that was ok, because you could sure tell they like each other now. On Saturday they get married, and I, for one, am VERY excited about it!
When we talked about where they'd like to go for their prewedding shoot, they both agreed they'd like urban and funky. Neither of them like stodgy photos, and they said they weren't afraid of been seen by the public - so BLUE WALL it was!
They've been living in England for the last five years, and I loved hearing about how different life is over there. How things are so fast paced and interesting. Bummer about the lack of sun though... I think I'm happy staying right here!
This is one good looking couple. Saturday is going to be greeeeeeeat!
I know, I know I've got this low down angle thing going on lately. Just indulge me.
Anita is going to be a gorgeous bride, no doubt about it.
And with such a great sense of humour, these guys are going to have a really fun time.
See you soon guys, bring on Saturday, let's do it!
She was glowing from the moment I walked in. Amanda's life was changing forever, she would marry her sweetheart, move to an entirely different city and they would start their lives together. Adam and Amanda are everything that makes a wedding day magical. Watching them get married, so young and so in love, I had a silly big grin all day.
The shoes were so classy, I loved them!
Flowers by Flowertime. Gorgeous!
It's not everyday that you get to ride in a limo!
Amanda's Dad gives her away. Such a great moment, this one.
Tom Hatch does a great wedding. I love being reminded about how important it is to look after each other in a marriage, how blessed we are to have each other and how we must cherish every moment we spend together.
The wedding was held at Elim, their home church, which also doubles as a school. The very school Amanda went to as a kid!
Speaking of kids, this is Austen. He's two and don't you just want to pick him up and squeeze him?!
What a beautiful bride! We went to Pollard Park for photos, which was a fantastic idea as it was super hot and Pollard has some great shady places to hang out.
Adam's tophat made me happy. Real happy.
Paul and I were both shooting this, and this is his shot. Somehow I knew he was outshooting me by lying on the ground!
Then he nailed the flowers. I love this angle! Got the whole low down thing going on.
Then off to Amanda's Grandad's property. It's on the market now that Grandad has passed away, so this was the perfect way to create some final memories of a very special place.
Then off to Drylands for the reception, and some final images in the vineyard before we headed inside.
How cute are they?!
Adam's Aunty made this amazing cake.
Adam and Amanda, words can't adequately say how thrilled we are to have been part of your amazing day. We wish you both all the very best starting your brand new life together. It's been a real joy to get to know you both.
Hair: Julia Bushell
Makeup: Grace Makeup
Dressmaker: Lorraine Pedersen
Cars: American Limousines
Reception Venue: Drylands