Strangely enough, I met Tony and Suzanne while rock climbing in Argentina (like how most photographers meet their clients). Tony was this gentle giant lumbering his way up the rock wall and Suzanne was flew up the same wall like it was her natural environment. They kept up with my work and a few years later asked if I would fly to Auckland, New Zealand to shoot their wedding. Before I even said yes, I had started dreaming up a 2 month camper van trip to take through the North and South Island. I could not say no, so I didn’t. Like I would have.
So off to land where Lord of the Rings was filmed I went. I stayed with the family in a neat vintage camper that was parked on Suzanne’s parent’s front lawn. It was awesome. When possible with destination weddings, I like to go for a run with the bride and/or groom the morning of the wedding. Get in a little workout and relax a bit before the madness of the day begins. So that’s what I did with Suzanne through the roads that ran along the quaint town of Pukekohe. After a shower, Suzanne got together with her mom, maid of honor and sister to get ready. Dad and brother hung around, but stayed out of the way to not ruin the surprise of seeing Suzanne all done up in her gown. It was a very intimate but light setting and they made me feel like a member of the family. Suzanne’s gown incorporated part of her grandmother’s dress, which made it even more special to the bride. And what a big smile it put on her dad’s face when he saw her for the first time.
A short drive away, I met up with Tony and his groomsmen while they got ready. We had a bit of time on our hand, so we decided to head down to the local Rugby yard to do a shoot since all the guys were Rugby players. These guys can’t stay away even for a day.
I rode with the girls to the St. Stephen’s Chapel in Parnell. This was the most charming little chapel I’ve ever been in and the max capacity was something like 25 people. What it lacked in size, it made up for with this beautiful light that came through the stained glass. The ceremony was also filmed so that the rest of their guests at the reception could see the ceremony later that evening at the Imperial Lane restaurant.
The reception was already packed when we arrived and a loud of cheers erupted when Tony and Suzanne walked in for the first time as husband and wife. Drinks were drunk and food was enjoyed as the guests mingled. At some point, one of the guests took my camera and handed me a drink. Random side note: we’d end up traveling together in Australia a few months later and then again in Mexico the following year.
After the wedding, I stayed with the family for a week in Pukekohe while I edited their photos and watched the cricket with her dad. It was incredibly to be able to sit their and go through the finished photos with everyone together. At the conclusion of that week, I bid them farewell and flew to Christchurch where I rented a camper van and drove around New Zealand for nearly two months. You can ask me about that crazy adventure if you’d like.