A spare U2 ticket, that's all it took to spark a little flame that would later become a full on fire. Not a real flame, or that would be a terrible waste of a perfectly good U2 ticket. No, it was when Sally and her sister gave Josh the spare ticket that they first really started to notice each other. Sally said that Josh liked her first, he didn't object, so I figure she's probably right. A long distance relationship then started, and when Josh obviously knew that Sally was well worth pursuing he headed down to Christchurch, and the rest is history!
We decided to go to Rarangi for their E-Session, and although a little bit chilly (you get that in May!) the light was great!
Sally had commented when we started out that the couples on this blog always seem so affectionate, and she felt a bit unsure about how they would be in front of the camera. Well Sally, just as I said! You guys look totally adorable!
Sally and Josh are super easy to get along with, and we chatted the entire time. By the time we got back home I felt like I had made new friends!
Thanks so much for coming out with me Sally and Josh- I had such fun with you both! Can't wait until December, it's going to be great fun!
Shan and Aaron met at Waikato University, both International Students from China and both with the same last name. What are the chances? Thousands of miles away from home, meeting the man of your dreams from your very own country. It was meant to be!
Since graduating in 2010 they moved back to China and now live in Shanghai. They are getting married there at the end of the year, but not before a trip back here to New Zealand where their love began.
This brings us to an email I thought couldn't possibly be true. Shan found our little blog, all the way over there in China, and decided that she wanted US to photograph them for their pre wedding photos here in New Zealand. We read the email, answered it and then dismissed it as one of those emails, because A) I had never heard of the custom of having a pre wedding shoot and B) It seemed fanciful thinking that they would choose us! BUT wait! It was absolutely true!
Seems that this small town girl needed to learn a thing or two about Asian wedding traditions! So just in case anyone else is as naive as I, here's the lowdown:
Here in New Zealand it is customary to have our photos taken during the wedding day. However, in Asia it is quite normal to have a pre wedding shoot. The couple, and in this case much of their bridal party, get dressed into wedding clothes and create images that will be displayed at their wedding.
I was in heaven. We had time. Hours of time. We made the most of the fabulous Marlborough scenery and wandered from place to place following the light and getting to know each other as we went.
Once again Deirdre delivered the goods in both Shan's hair and makeup, as well as providing a beautiful starting point to our photographic adventures.
I loved showing off our amazingly beautiful province. I loved the fact that the rain that had been taunting us for days disappeared and left us with a crisp and beautiful freshness in the air. I loved how Shan and Aaron were fully into it. Like, really into it. I mean, coming ALL THE WAY FROM CHINA kind of into it. This was my happy place. I never wanted to leave.
Aaron is one seriously cool guy, and he's a lover of photography, which makes him even cooler.
After our play at Locks and Lashes we headed over to Old St Mary's Convent. I knew the trees would be all kinds of cool, and as the light softened up as sunset approached I knew things would only get better. And they did!
I called out for them to act like they'd just won the Lotto. I think they'd be happy...
I can't actually remember what it was that I said that got this reaction. Maybe it was just the fact that I was lying in the foetal position and they had no idea what this crazy photographer was going to do next!
And then back to the romantic stuff. Shan and Aaron have such a natural and happy way with each other. It's beautiful to watch.
Shan, your gorgeous smile was the first thing I noticed about you.
And then the race was on. The sun was setting and we had to get across town to THE TREE. It was worth the effort. The light was sublime!
Shan and Aaron are clearly beautiful on the outside, but they are also beautiful on the inside and that's what makes for lovely images!
Just like a fairy tale!
As we were walking along the track people passing would nod and say 'hello'. To me this is just normal. But Aaron commented on how friendly everyone is here. Thank you Blenheim folk!
Turns out Shanghai boasts 13 Million people. That's a lot of people. If you walk to the supermarket you're not likely to ever see anyone you know. That would weird me out.
And then, after the sun had set, we headed over to Wither Hills Winery where they were to have a celebration dinner. They had a room to themselves, all set up, beautifully warm and the fire was crackling. The ladies got dressed into something less formal and a lovely relaxed day slipped into a lovely and relaxed evening.
Before we said our goodbyes (rather reluctantly, might I add!) we wanted to do something just that little bit special for Aaron and Shan. In China it is rare to see the stars, yet in little 'ol Blenheim they are out for all to see. Paul was super keen to create this image which included the stars shining brightly. I think he's done an amazing job!
Shan and Aaron, it was an amazing experience to spend the afternoon with you and your friends. We feel super privileged to have been given the opportunity not only to photograph you, but also to get to know you. If ever we find ourselves in Shanghai we will be sure to look you up!
Hair & Makeup and Photo location #1: Deirdre, Locks & Lashes
Photo location #2: Old St Mary's Convent
Photo location #3 : The Tree, Harling Park
Dinner and Photo location #4: Wither Hills Winery
"Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;"
This gorgeous poem by Ogden Nash had me smiling wide as wide can be during Joanne and Ian's beautiful wedding ceremony. The day that Joanne and Ian promised to "have and to hold," was beautifully organised, down to the finest detail. It was a day filled with friends and family that came from as far away as Europe!
The day began for me at Chateau Marlborough where Joanne and her girls got dressed.
Gorgeous hair and makeup by Deirdre at Locks and Lashes. Joanne, you have the most beautiful porcelain skin!
Sipping water through a straw means you don't mess up your lipstick!
Flowers by Nina at Pink Poppie. I think these may be my favourites to date! The blue ring on the left belongs to Joanne's Grandmother and is her 'something blue'.
As Dad walks in to see his daughter as a bride, the smile is unmistakeable!
Meanwhile, Paul is with the boys. Mum helps with the finishing touches as Ian gets ready.
The boys had a surprise wedding car for Ian - the Defender Land Rover! Ian grew up with one just like it on the farm, and has happy memories surrounding it. Even if sometimes it struggled to get up the hill!
I suppose it would be much like a yellow combi van would be for me. We had one when I was a kid. My Dad was a spray painter and painted it canary yellow and I was painfully embarrassed by it, yet how cool would that be to have it now? Seriously cool!
Also seriously cool, Joanne's groom, Ian.
The wedding and reception were held at The Winery Riverlands (formally Montana) which was the perfect location as the weather was looking a little bit dodgy and having an indoor location so close at hand was just great. Thankfully the weather held up, and gave us some lovely soft light to work with.
And here comes the bride!
I love this little look that Joanne is giving Ian.
"Far and wide, far and wide,
I can walk with you beside;
Furthermore, I tell you what,
I sit and sulk where you are not.
Visitors remark my frown
Where you're upstairs and I am down,
Yes, and I'm afraid I pout
When I'm indoors and you are out;
But how contentedly I view
Any room containing you.
In fact I care not where you be,
Just as long as it's with me."
"In all your absences I glimpse
Fire and flood and trolls and imps.
Is your train a minute slothful?
I goad the stationmaster wrothful.
When with friends to bridge you drive
I never know if you're alive,
And when you linger late in shops
I long to telephone the cops.
Yet how worth the waiting for,
To see you coming through the door.
Somehow, I can be complacent
Never but with you adjacent."
"Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;
Likewise I have never larnt
How to be it where you aren't.
Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,
To hold you in my sight forever;
Let none, not even you, disparage
Such a valid reason for a marriage."
Paul captured this wonderful image of four generations! That, right there, is a legacy image. I love it.
Then it was off to the Malthouse for some more photos.
Since Joanne and Ian met they have flown 58,000km over the last six years just to spend time together. That's the price you pay when you fall in love with someone in a different town! Thankfully they now both live in Wellington and trips away will now be leaving together, and coming home together! Their first trip as a married couple will be to Rarotonga!
There was no lack of smiles and laughter from this lot!
Then back to The Winery Riverlands where Joanne's meticulous planning pays off.
And so let the dancing begin!
Ian's ring was made from gold that his grandfather mined and put aside for all of his grandsons. How special to have such a beautiful piece of heritage on your finger!
But wait! There's MORE!
Unfortunately the light ran out on the wedding day, and the combination of no light and no time left us with no beautiful scenic shots of Marlborough. Not to worry though! The next day was completely gorgeous, and so Joanne and Ian got dressed up again and we went and did some more playing!
Deirdre was kind enough to let us come and use her amazing property to get the shots that finish the story. I was in my happy place!
How is this for an amazingly impressive dress?
I LOVE next day shoots! We got the best of both worlds, the soft light of an overcast day on their wedding, and a postcard beautiful Marlborough day the next day. It's win win!
Ian and Joanne, thank you so much for choosing us to capture your beautiful wedding. Have a fantastic (and warm!) time in Rarotonga!
Venue/Catering: Justine and her amazing team at The Winery Riverlands
Hair & Makeup: Deirdre, Locks & Lashes
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Celebrant: Archdeacon Danny Te Hiko
Dress: Astra Bridal
Suits: Sergios, Merivale
Cake: Kiss and Bake Up