Gracehill Vinyard Wedding | Andrea and Douglas

I'm finally finding time to sit down and go through photos for the year now that I'm winding down and getting ready to have baby snuggles. I'm thinking of all the photographers in the wedding industry who are gearing up for their busy time of year.  And I'm realising I never posted any of the photos I wanted to share from LAST seasons weddings that I did second shooting for. Joanna Walker had me along to a few of her weddings, and it was awesome and a real privilege working next to her.

Here is the first wedding I joined her on - a long day with a traditional Malaysian tea ceremony first thing in the morning and then a Western ceremony at Gracehill Vineyard in the afternoon.  I photographed the groom getting ready in his parents tiny apartment. I always love this part of the day with all the anticipation and the friendly joking of the groomsmen. And I LOVED the Malaysian tea ceremony portion where the groom and groomsmen went to the brides parents house and were challenged to complete heaps of crazy games, then serve tea to all the relatives with lots of tears and laughter throughout. Then to the Grooms parents house where they served tea again to all of HIS family.  At Gracehill Vineyard they had a touching ceremony, a beautiful sunset, more games, lots of touching speeches and a pretty amazing first dance.  And I was only going to choose my favourite ten or so images that I took on the day, but I just don't know how to narrow it down when there are SO many from this absolutely HUGE day.

Auckland wedding photographer | Myles and Emma | Kumeu Valley Estate

I wanted to photograph a wedding. I had no intention of becoming a wedding photographer, being quite content with my family-life photography sessions. But a very close friend has asked me to photograph her wedding in August, and I suddenly realised I needed to get some wedding photography practice under my belt before then. I have been to weddings before... I have had my own wedding... but I don't think anything really could have prepared me for photographing a wedding. I am beyond grateful to Marie Richards Photographer for allowing me learn from her, and so honoured that Myles and Emma were happy for me to tag along and take photos of their most historical day.

Myles and Emma were set to get dressed and ready for their big day at locations very far apart, so Marie asked me to photograph the groom and groomsmen getting ready while she stuck with the bride and bridesmaids. 

I showed up at Myles and Emma's home without ever having met them before. Emma was already somewhere else, and had probably been getting ready for hours. Myles welcomed me in a friendly but distracted way, too focused to worry about me.  I told the groomsmen (and groomswoman and page boy... aaand mother and father of the groom) to go ahead and pretend I wasn't there.  In the space of time from entering the doorway to leaving for the ceremony, I had learnt a lot about their story, and their love which was reflected in the home they share, and in the closeness of their friends and family and ease in which they expressed their emotions. The hand-made wedding ring box, the puzzle Emma made for Myles with a secret message on the back, the music, the whiskey - it made me feel like this time, at their home, was the most significant part of the day for me, even though it's not  part of the day that is usually focussed on. It was the part that was real; the part that came before the show. Oh, and it was HOT... really hot. 

The rest of the day was stunning of course, and Emma was a beautiful bride. The ceremony itself was held at the Kumeu Valley Estate, at the end of a meadow under some pine trees - a magical place. The reception was in the cutest building in the most fairytale setting. We left after the bridal party entered for the reception, but I would have loved to stay and join in the festivities.  My body probably wouldn't have held together though, even if we had been able to stay. I felt as though I had run a marathon and not eaten for two days. 

My aim was to document the candid moments of the day in a way that had substance and meaning. I have always loved a more journalistic style of wedding photography, so wanted to set myself the goal of telling their story with the photos I took. I also felt connected to Myles after hanging out with him before the ceremony, so stuck with him a bit more during the day, rather than taking heaps of photos of Emma who I never really had the chance to meet properly. Marie and second shooter Gemma Flay Photography worked their magic with all the key ceremony and portrait aspects. I just learnt so much from the day. Here are the photos I took that represent their day through my eyes...