I won’t lie, I was pretty pumped about saying goodbye to winter for a little while to bask in the warmth of far North Queensland. However it wasn’t only the sunshine that kept things warm, but the hugs and the laughter of family that I hadn’t seen in years. Last week was a good week. Really good.
I’ve known Cherie since before she was even born. She’s my sister’s oldest girl and I’ve watched her grow from a baby and become a fine and beautiful young woman and then life took us in separate directions and different countries entirely. So when Cherie asked if we would come to Port Douglas to photograph her marriage to Tyrone we totally jumped at the opportunity! It was time to stock up on some family time!
The wedding was to be held at the beautiful Bali Hai, an exclusive executive retreat in the middle of absolutely nowhere, surrounded by the most amazing Australian scenery.
Cherie and Tyrone were arranging our accommodation, and so as not to be too much of a fusspot I said all I wanted was a door to shut. Nothing too fancy. It turns out that no one quite realised how close to nature our room actually was. Here is a picture of our room when we turned up the first night. Gorgeous and comfy bed, but doors? No. No doors. No walls. Just net curtains as walls and then right out to the rain forest. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful. But it seems that I’ve been entirely kiwified, and gone soft in my old age. New Zealand doesn’t have a single creature that wants to kill you, but North Queensland? Everything is trying to get you.
I have a theory that if you name something it becomes far less frightening. So that big pointy-faced rodent that was making russelly noises out in the bushes was called Russell. He actually looked like a giant evil rat (ROUS or rodent of unusual size, anyone?) But the locals said he was probably a bandicoot. The locals also said not to worry about the snakes because they’re hibernating. Turns out the locals were either lying or misinformed, because apparently snakes don’t hibernate (including the one out on the road that got run over the day before the wedding.) Good thing I only found that out for sure when I got home.
Strangely enough, the hut without walls was probably one of my favourite aspects of our time away. Turns out me and ‘glamping’ are quite a hit. Next thing you know I’ll be hosting some TV show about surviving in the wild….
The days leading up to the wedding were full of family and laughter. And kids. Lots and lots of kids!
Oh, remember my tiny nephew Oliver that has featured on the blog a few times already? Well this is him now. He’s 3 and he will melt your heart in 3 seconds flat.
Bali Hai. Beautifulness.
Every spare moment saw the children in the pool. And I sure can’t blame them, it was HOT.
Pretty well the entire wedding was created by family, so the morning of the wedding meant that the final little jobs had to be done. Cherie and Tyrone did very well getting about the place and not seeing each other before the ceremony!
Cherie has always had a larger-than-life personality and is great fun to be around. Her wedding day would be no exception, which means that I get great photos. Yes!
I don’t know if it’s because I’m her Great-Aunt and so I’m biased, or if this baby actually is the cutest thing ever. Just looking at her big eyes and squishy cheeks makes me want to grab her and squeeze her.
To be fair, most of these kids had NO idea who this crazy Aunty was. But I was OK with that.
Cherie and Tyrone’s wedding was not at all about overly planned details, she didn’t care about getting a ‘hanging dress’ shot, wasn’t concerned about the glitz and glamour or having everything ‘perfect’. No, the entire day was about getting married and spending the day with the people they loved. It’s all about family, she told us several times. And so because I love to capture story more than anything else, I was in my happy place!
That’s not to say that I didn’t sneak a few detail shots in here and there…
There’s that personality I was telling you about!
And the dropdead gorgeous face to go with it!
Once all of the jobs were done at Bali Hai, the boys headed into Port Douglas to get ready.
You know when you get stuck in someone’s dreadlocks as a kid?
This trip was the first time we had met Tyrone, and I have to say, he seems pretty well perfect for Cherie! A reserved but friendly type of fellow with a welcoming smile.
Back at Bali Hai and it’s time to get the dress on!
Seriously GORGEOUS Cherie!
Moments before they walk down the aisle, you can’t go past a good father/daughter moment!
All of the nieces and nephews were part of the wedding party and looking pretty darn smashing!
The wedding was loosely a Gatsby Garden theme, which meant those of us who were keen got to add extra feathers and pearls. And for those who weren’t into either of those, you can always draw on a moustache. Top points go to Robert on the far right of this image…
Tyrone and his family are from Papua New Guinea, and Cherie’s Dad and his family are all from Thursday Island. I absolutely LOVED the Island feel to the day. I don’t know how they manage it, but I’d love to be able to bottle the feeling of ‘family’ that they brought to this wedding. Such warmth. Such kinship.
I didn’t have to beg to get a crazy photo out of them…
We escaped the masses for a little while and found some more pretty epic spots around Bali Hai.
This was a spectacular bridal party, with no shortage of people willing to play up for the camera.
And they looked gooooooood!
The groomsman on the top row there is doing his gecko pose. Everyone needs a solid gecko pose.
Back up to the reception where people were finding seats and getting ready for the bride and groom to come and join them.
No prizes for spotting the people I was related to…
And here they come! Oh, and check out the entrance that Tyrone made himself!
As the sun set over Bali Hai, it was time to get the party started!
Everyone was up having a pretty darn splendid time when suddenly BOOM! The sky exploded into a thousand twinkling colours and everyone was surprised by a fireworks display!
I think it’s safe to say it went down a real treat!
And then back to the dance floor where there was no lack of energy!
The bouquet toss is always worth watching.
Pure bouquet catch joy, right there!
Just like almost everything else in the wedding, the music was also done by the family. The instruments were set up, and those who were musically inclined were free to come and jam. Seriously, these guys were GOOD!
Ok, now. I’m going to interrupt this post to show you this guy. He was fluttering about the lights and dive-bombing the odd guest. We thought he was a big bat or something, but turns out he is actually a moth. Anybody who would like to tell me more about him is most welcome to! We sure as heck don’t get giant moths like this in New Zealand!
Even Tyrone and Cherie did a duet! Beautiful!
So there you have it. It’s over a hundred pictures and still I feel like there was soooooo much more to this story! Nevertheless, this is only supposed to be a highlight reel afterall.
Thank you Cherie and Tyrone for inviting us to share in your stunningly beautiful day. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you for not realising there were no walls on our hut and helping me to harden up and make new wildlife friends! Thank you for sharing your day with so many friends and family and giving us such a great story to capture. Thank you also for giving me an excuse to wear a feather to a wedding. We love you lots xx
Celebrant: Pastor Imani
Videographer: Robert Commandeur
Hair & Makeup: Tokunai Hair, Cairns
Dress: Hannii, Melbourne