Destination wedding you say?! Well this year I had the most exciting opportunity to travel to New Zealand to photograph a wedding season and explore this wonderful country. After a tough year last year it was exactly the tonic I needed and my goodness did it not only live up to my expectations but completely surpassed them too. I left a part of my heart in this incredibly beautiful country and I hope to be back one day soon.

I’m delighted to share this stunning Hahei wedding with you of the beautiful Sarah and Dion. I was lucky enough to head over to Hahei camping for a week in January so I was able to scout out a few locations for photos. I was spoilt for choice!

I loved being part of S+D’s intimate and personal day. It was filled with so much love and emotion and it was hard not to be swept away by the romance of it all. S+D got married at a stunning contemporary Bach (holiday home to us Brits) overlooking Cook’s bay. It was simply breathtaking. S+D got ready at the Bach but in separate rooms but once they were ready they had a gorgeous first look. This was my first time photographing a first look and I have to say I loved it.

We then headed off with the bridal party for some champagne, nibbles and a few photos before the ceremony. I was already loving everything non-traditional about this day. Bring it on.

After a bit of fun in a kiwi valley we headed back to tie the knot… literally. S+D had a handfasting ceremony whilst exchanging their own vows. Pass me the tissues…

Afterwards I whisked S+D off for some alone time (and me and my camera) as we headed down to Cook’s coast onto a beach that was secluded and overlooking Mercury Bay. I was in heaven. I could have photographed them forever, such a dream. We had a bit longer on Hahei beach too… it would be rude not to given it was where Dion proposed to Sarah. We stopped by the swing where the question was popped. How romantic!

Finally it was back to the village hall for food, emotional speeches and epic dance moves!

I hope you enjoy looking through this blog post as much as I enjoyed reliving the day. Make sure you read on to the bottom to see what S+D had to say about their big day. x

A few words from Sarah and Dion.

How they met…
We meet several times over a 15 year period, through different people and in different cities – seems the universe was trying to tell us something…

The proposal…
Dion proposed as we watched the sunrise from Hahei beach (which was one of his favorite family vacation spots).

A bit more about their big day…
We chose to get married in the same area as we were engaged for sentimental reasons and also to share this amazingly beautiful place with our guests.

Having been living abroad for a number of years, we had missed out on a lot of years with our families. We knew it would be a very emotional day for us, and our loved ones so we wanted to keep the proceedings relaxed and fun.

We decided early on to have Dion’s mother as the celebrant. It meant a lot to have someone close to us being there for the special moment and in the pictures we will look back on in the years to come. A lot of our family and friends helped us out with various details on the day – and it made it all the more special.

We are both quite private people so we didn’t want to get married right on the beach, instead we decided on renting a holiday home for the event, and found one with an amazing view to boot! We initially were going to have the reception there as well, but due to weather concerns we decided on the Community hall in the heart of the beach town – this would mean we could setup the day before and not have to worry about the weather, plus most of our guests were staying within walking distance so that made it easier for everyone.

In keeping with the relaxed and fun theme, we choose bright colours and a quirky typography approach to the stationery design and our decorations.

Favourite parts of the day…
I (Dion) spent the early morning with the guys, starting with a big breakfast then a swim down by the beach. It was the calm before the storm, everyone was in a great mood and it was really good just to chill out and contemplate the day ahead.

For me (Sarah) my most cherished memories are all those private moments I had throughout the day – starting out with breakfast with my mum, little sister, niece and maid of honor; the time with Dion before the ceremony; the drive to reception with our bridal party; and all the words shared with hugs.
The photos were also a great time for us to have a break and be able to talk between ourselves. There was surprisingly little time during the day we spent together other than our photos sessions.
When you get to the dancing you know you’ve done it! No more watching the clock and managing the carefully orchestrated events of the day, its time to relax and just enjoy being in the company of your close friends and family.

Some supplier love 🙂
Ayesha Photography >
From our first meeting we instantly connected with Ayesha and on the day she was amazing – surprising us with a special location to boot! All our guests loved her too 🙂

The Village Goldsmith >
Dion first found Village Goldsmith when engagement ring shopping. He was super impressed with the level of craftsmanship and professionalism, when they collaborated on the design of the engagement ring. We both got the same outstanding service when we returned for the Wedding bands.

Missebeauty >
Full disclosure – Emma is Sarah’s little sis but she is absolutely amazing at what she does! I think it is because she is super passionate and genuinely cares about the health of your skin and nails.

The Food Gurus
From our very first inquiry to reception cleanup, Evan was super helpful and accommodating. A lot of the guests had dietary limitations (gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarians) and the Food Gurus were one of the few catering companies that made this a breeze!

Advice from the happy couple…
Never stop communicating. Help each other reach your dreams.

What was your first dance?
“Heartbeats” by Jose Gonzalez

Sarah and Dion summed me up in 3 words…!
Talented! Vivacious! Creative!

A few words of love from Sarah and Dion – thank you soooo much! xxx

Ayesha was recommended to us by another photographer and after checking out her portfolio we reached out via email (with all our fingers and toes crossed hoping she would be available). As we were living overseas at the time Ayesha setup a Skype appointment for us to have a chat – and we instantly felt secure in our choice. Ayesha is very approachable, kind, funny and professional. Her portfolio does all the talking for her creativity and talent.
Us being complete novices when it comes to organizing a wedding, we found Ayesha to be a huge help! Early on in the process, her questions helped us define our ideas, and closer to the time, create a solid day plan with realistic timings. Looking at our photo’s now, I can see she really listened to our ideas and what we appreciated in her work – and delivered beyond.
We had a destination Wedding in a beautiful coastal area of New Zealand and Ayesha made a special visit a few weeks before hand to scout out the venues and a surprise for us – even arranged access to a private beach!