Tipapa Homestead & WoolShed Wedding

James and Esther booked us last year to photograph their wedding at the Tipapa Homestead and Woolshed in Gretta Valley, North Canterbury. We were rather excited as we love photographing destination weddings. So, two days before the wedding, with a car packed full of photography equipment, our three children and dog, we headed down south. We were fortunate enough to have Daron’s lovely sister babysit our family for a few days while we concentrated on the wedding, which started with meeting James and Esther at Tipapa Homestead the day before to check out the venue and photo locations etc.

Groomsmen set up reception in the woolshed at Tipapa

The morning of the wedding we were excited and rearing to go. Daron and I arrived at Tipaha homestead just as the guys were setting up the final touches in the Woolshed where their wedding reception was to be held. Tipapa Estate is cradled in the rolling hills of North Canterbury, an oasis of privacy surrounded by 500 acres of parklike grounds – the perfect place for a wedding.

James and Esther met at University and started noticing each other during Biology class and social occasions. They began dating and before long, James arranged a weekend away to a backcountry hut in North Canterbury, along with their two much loved dogs. Before cooking Esther a lovely meal of salmon and risotto on a camp cooker, James got down on one knee and proposed while placing a beautiful engagement ring on Esther’s finger. It ended up being such a romantic weekend indeed and when they got home, wedding plans were set in place.

Pastal coloured bridesmaids dresseshang in the window at The Woolshed at Tipapa in Greta Valley

Lovely pastels for the bridesmaids.

Bride looks out the window as the groom sets up the wedding ceremony with hay bails

The guys were hard at work setting up the ceremony venue with bales of hay for the guests to sit on. Esther was sneaking the odd peak out the window and making sure that James didn’t see her at the same time.

Brides wedding detail

These beautiful flowers were prepared by ‘Fi’s Flowers “n” Art’ in Rangiora. Esthers idea was to have rustic/vintage bouquets of flowers and table settings to suit the venue. Lovely work Fi.

Bride looking out the window in Homeseat at Tipapa in Greta Valley

Brides wedding shoes and bouquet in mirror

Brides dress lying on bed in homestead at The Woolshed at Tipapa, North Canterbury

This stunning wedding dress came from the BellaDonna Bridal Collection from ‘Brides of Merivale” in Christchurch. Esther fell in love with it when she tried it on for the first time and I can see why.

Bridesmaids puts flower on brides mother

Mum and her two precious daughters, it was lovely to see such a special closeness between them.

Now, there is a little story to be told here. Emma, Esther’s sister was caught on film checking out her butt in the mirror, but she didn’t stop there, Daron believes that he heard Emma mummer, “looks pretty good”, Esther then asked, “did you just do what I thought you did?” – very funny!

Bridesmaides help with the bride getting dressed

This is such a fun time on the weding day, there is so much going on.

Brides mother puts earrings on the bride

Peggy, Esthers mum is the head prinicipal of the school that our nephew goes to, small world.

Bridesmaids help the bride put on her wedding dress

It was a real treat to be photographing a wedding in this beautiful old historic homestead at Tipapa. With large spacious rooms, high ceilings and so much natural window light, it’s  a photographers paradise really.

Bride and her mother laugh

Photographying emotion is what we love doing the most, it’s about capturing a feeling as well as a look.

Bride reads a letter from her husband

James had written a card for Esther to read on the morning of their wedding. She got so choked up that she couldn’t read it out loud and we had to tell her to look up so her makeup didn’t run with the looming tears.

Bride laughs with her mother

Awwww, mum to the rescue with big hugs.

One very, very gorgeous bride.

Glamour wedding photo of bride

“You are a very lucky man James”.


While the girls relaxed we ducked out the back to the Woolshed for some fun with the guys.

Fun groom photos at Tipapa Woolshed in North Canterbury

There is something really nice about black & whites wedding photos.

Fun groom photos at Tipapa Woolshed in North Canterbury

Yesterday when we first met James he was really busy helping to set the Woolshed up for the reception, today he was completly relaxed.

Groomsmen walking carring beer

Groom and groomsmen sitting on a farm yard fence at Ti Papa Woolshed

James, Sam, Fraser and Matt are all brothers, a pretty good looking bunch don’t you think?

In the background is the Woolshed at Tipapa, where the wedding reception was to be held.

Bride standing next to stairs at The Woolshed at Tipapa in Greta Valley

With a little time before the ceremony was due to start we went back into the homestead. Peggy told us that as a small child, Esther liked to peek through the rails on stairways. Esther confirmed this and said that she just loves stairs – more shots Daron.

Esthers gorgeous long veil was just the icing on the cake.

Bride holding her veil as she lookls out the window of Tipapa Homestead

Bride walking down the stairs in Homestead at The Woolshed at Tipapa

We then headed outside for a few girly shots.

Bridesmaids laughing with bride

Just perfect colours for a perfect day!

Bidesmaids pastal couloured bouquets

A besotted James couldn’t take his eyes off Esther as she walked towards him, mind you, nor could all the guests.

Wedding ceremony under the tree at the Woolshed at Tipapa in Geta Valley

When you plan a wedding you never know what the weather will turn on – today was just magic.

Greta Valley wedding ceremony

Esther told us later that the highlight of her day was seeing how happy James looked when they saw each other for the first time on the day.

Wedding ceremony on the lawn at Tipapa

It’s easy to see why James and Esther chose this stunning venue, the rustic country setting suited them just perfectly since they are both outdoorsy people.

Bride and groom resite their wedding vows

Esthers cute little nephew, Elliot, had the special priviledge of being their ring bearer. There are always lots of ooh’s and aah’s when little ones are involved in the ceremony.

Groom places wedding ring on brides finger

The lovely Jane Godfrey was the celebrant today, it was easy to see how much she loves her job.

Group photo on the lawn at Tipapa Woolshed

Group photo on the lawn at Tipapa Woolshed

Rose petals are always a lot of fun to throw in the air and make awesome photos.

Guets congratulate the bride and groom

Cuteness all around.

Groom kisses his bride

Bride walks holding her bouquet

After the ceremony and family photos everyone enjoyed scrumptious o’dourves and the most amazing fresh lemonade that I have ever tasted – Yum I think I had about four glasses.

Bride vand groom kiss under Willow tree

Time for a little love and romance. There are some amazing trees around the estate but this had to be my favorite, a huge willow tree that you could pretty much hide under.

These two would kiss, followed by lots of laughter. Ok, it might have had something to do with the photographers and the bridal party cheering them on!

Bride and groom laughing by huge tree

One of the things that Daron and I excel in with working together as a two photographer team, is that we are constantly photographing from different angles and distances, this gives our couples so much more variety with their images.  We always receive so many comments after the couples get their images “wow, we didn’t know that you got that shot”.

Bridal party watch the bride and groom kiss

Bride and groom in tree trunk

Again it’s been a really difficult task choosing which pictures to put in Storybook, these are just some of our personal favorite shots.

Groom holdsbrides wedding dress while laughing

Loving that dress Esther!

Hello Mr Ed! he was checking out the bridal party probably wondering what all the hilarity was about. I had to put this shot in as I know Esther loves horses and is a very good eventist.

Bridal party in front of the Wool Shed at Tipapa in Canterbury

Bridea nd groom run and laugh

This dress was a lot of fun, James thought so too.

Groom kisses his brides hand

Bride and groom kiss in tree blossoms

I always thought March and April were my favourite time for wedding photography but I tell you what, I think September and October are equally as good. I mean nothing beats love and romance amongst the glorious colour of wonderful spring blossoms.

Romantic wedding photos taken at The Woolshed at Tipapa

Spring wedding photos at the Wool Shed At Tipapa in Canterbury

Picture perfect – one of my favorites!

Wedding photos taken in a wool shed

Last stop before heading to our next location at Motunau Beach was the historic woolshed. This woolshed was constructed by native timber in 1890, we just love working in any place old and rustic. These stunning photos were taken by Daron, he got a high five when I saw these shots – you rock sweety!

From Tipapa we drove for ten minutes to Motunau Beach. I couldn’t believe that in such a short distance the sky went from a clear vibrant blue to thick coastal mist and cloud. Yesterday when we checked the beach out it was perfectly clear so we weren’t expecting this, but not to worry, we did what we do best and that was capture beautiful romantic wedding photos.

Groom and groomsmen smoke Cigars

First up, a celebration cigar with the bro’s.

Bridesmaids hold pastal coloured brollies

The girls did well here as it was getting a little chilly and damp.

Beach wedding photos

This was one of the spots that we had checked out the day before, hmmmm, those clouds actually add a little drama – very nice!

Bride and groom kiss on bluff near ocean

Bride throws her veil in the air

Everybody that reads Storybook knows how much we love veils. They’re a girls best prop on her wedding day and we have so much fun with them, the longer the better we always tell our brides.

Bride and gbroom sit on a log on the beach near Tipapa

With a high king tide there wasn’t much beach left to work with. The waves came crashing really loudly towards us, rugged and wild.  This is Daron’s shot….

This is my shot taken at the same time from a different angle.

Bride and groom stand on rocky beach near the Wool Shed At Tipapa

AND we didn’t even get the dress wet, although we all had to run a few times.

Bride and groom kiss undera Cabbage tree

Last stop back up the hill was this Cabbage tree,  goodbye Motunau, hope to be back here again one day.

Wedding reception in the Wool Shed at Tipapa in North Canterbury

Back right on time for the evening’s festivities to start. The atmosphere of this once working woolshed pervades every plank, and the extensive shearers stencilling on the walls tells a fascinating and historic story.

Cutting of the cake during wedding reception

The old Home Stead at Tipapa

Finished for the day, Daron and I sat in the quiet serenity of the gardens with a cold beer and reflected on our day. It feels so good to know that we have once again created stunning timeless memories. Thanks so much for choosing us to photograph your special day, James and Esther, it’s been an absolute pleasure and we hope you have an amazing honeymoon in Thailand in January.

Chrissy and Daron X


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