Hopewell Lodge Marlborough Sounds wedding

Our first wedding of 2014 saw us packing up the car and heading down the Marlborough Sounds to our beautiful and idyllic accommodation at Te Mahia Bay Resort. A short boat trip across the water to Hopewell Lodge was where Francis and Katie’s wedding was to be held the next day so not long after arriving, we jumped in a boat with the lovely Hunter family and headed over to Hopewell to meet with the bride and groom.

The owners of Te Mahai Bay Resort, Trevor and Jann Hook, kindly upgraded our accommodation to one of the luxurious seaview apartments with stunning views across the water.

These two were certainly having fun on their Sea Doo jet ski, that thing could go!

Francis and Katie greeted us at the pier and we instantly fell in love with Hopewell Lodge. Hopewell sits on the waters edge of the magnificant Kenepuru Sounds, surrounded by native forest and torquoise waters, a perfect little paradise. A lot of Francis and Katie’s family and friends had already arrived and were enjoying the peaceful tranquility, what a way to relax before a wedding.

After sitting down with Francis and Katie and going over their wedding itinerary, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the area searching out photo locations.

As we left for the boat trip back to Te Mahia, one of the guests flew in by private plane – COOL!

The next day, Daron and I woke up to birds chirping and glorious sun streaming through our window, it was going to be a magic summers day. After a huge breakfast we jumped back on the boat with Dave and headed across to Hopewell Lodge to some pretty chilled out and relaxed guys who were getting dressed and ready for photos.

Francis’s two brothers came all the way from the UK and Australia to see their youngest say his vows to the love of his life.

And here he is, the man himself looking rather handsome in a gorgeous backdrop of pungas and ferns – loving this place.

The other guys didn’t look too bad either.

We had to be careful not to get Francis mixed up with his brother Nick as they look so alike.

Francis had found the perfect clam shell to present their wedding rings in.

Not a bad looking bunch.

Daron decided to take a lovely portrait shot of Jann (wedding celebrant and owner of Te Mahia), and I managed to get one as well. Haha it’s not often I get in front of the camera these days unless I’m being used as a test dummy, hmmmm…. Actually one thing I have promised myself is that we must take some photos of our own family soon, we’ve become a bit slack in that department, one family photo in the last 10 years doesn’t quite cut it.

Native flower bouquets put together by Katie’s bridesmaids, great job girls.

The bridesmaids, Emma, Tracey, and Sam (Katie’s sister), all travelled over from the UK and Tayla (francis’s daughter) had the honour of being chief bridesmaid today, she was very excited to be welcoming Katie into their family.

Here’s the gorgeous bride herself with a pretty amazing hairdo.

In 2011 Katie left the Uk and came to New Zealand where she had planned to spend a year traveling. She soon realised that NZ was where she wanted to live and it was dur. During her travels around the country that she spent three months living and working at Hopewell Lodge where this idyllic location soon became her second home. Little did she know back then, that this was the place where she would eventually get married and become Mrs Watson.

Arriving back in Auckland, Katie was doing some volunteer work for Pat (Francis’s mum), at Community Waitakere. Pat had become quite fond of Katie and over lunch one day she introduced her to her son Francis and his daughter Tayla. With a bit of matchmaking from Pat it wasn’t long before these two fell head over heels in love. One year later Katie was wearing an engagement ring on her finger, Francis wasn’t letting this girl go.

After five weeks together, Katie went back to the UK for six weeks over Christmas. It was hard for them to be apart, but it actually made their relationship stronger and they skyped or called every day without fail. When Katie arrived back in New Zealand, Francis and Tayla picked her up from the airport and they have lived together ever since.

Pretty as a picture!

I bet Katies parents were enjoying the New Zealand sunshine as I’ve heard it’s been pretty cold in the UK lately.

It was a perfect day for a wedding in so many ways.

As the music played the ceremony began.

A smile can say it all.

So can a few tears.

There is someting very special about intimate destination weddings.

You can tell a lot about a couple when you hear them resiting their wedding vows to each other, at times I felt the emotion and talking with Daron later, he said that he did also, but told me not to tell anyone – whoops.

A sweet bundle of cuteness right here, I think she’s going to be a little heartbreaker with those huge blue eyes.

It’s such a great feeling to have found the one you know you have been waiting for all your life.

A special keep sake for the marriage licence.

This young man just couldn’t hold out any longer, I had a wee chuckle as his head drooped further and further.

So much raw emotion in this wedding, this is what Daron and I aim to capture, it’s just priceless.

Hello Mr and Mrs Watson…

One thing I really love about destination weddings is there is a happy and relaxed feeling especially when you are in such a beautiful place as this. We always blend in like part of the family and we get plenty of hugs, which is great, because we LOVE hugs.

Beautiful surroundings + happy people = very happy wedding photographers.

Time to get a little crazy – you guys rock!

It was very hot and cloudless, we spotted this area down by the water the day before, it offered really nice texture and most importantly, shade.

Down on the beach, the rocks were a fantastic colour so this was a must have location for some beautiful wedding photos.

There was so much love and connection between these two that they made our job really easy today.

One of my favorite shots.

Hmmm, what did you just say to her Francis? Must have been good, whatever it was.

These two shots were taken at the same time (Daron’s above, mine below) two photographers, two angles, that’s how we roll.

Back at the reception everything was beautifully decorated from the natural surroundings, it couldn’t have been more perfect. Mike, Lynley and their staff put on an amazing feast for us all, not to mention the fresh mussels that they are famous for.

I also found a new favorite food while I was here – bacon wrapped around prunes on the bbq (to die for).

After our scrumptious dinner the speeches got under way. Francis and Katie’s speeches were very emotional and I found myself with tears running down my face a few times, more than slightly embarrasssing. But then Francis’s two brothers took the stand and I laughed so much my sides still ached the next day. I think they took out the best ever speech award and probably the longest. I’ve never heard a speech so well planned and presented and even though they gave Francis a bit of flack, it was all in good humour and created quite a bit of entertainment for the rest of us.

Dads turn…

Check out the wedding cake, best and yummiest pavalova I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

Sadly Daron and I said our goodbyes (but the good part was, we got more hugs), and everybody clapped as we left, which really blew us away. We drove home to Nelson with huge smiles on our faces, feeling lucky to have met such a wonderful bunch of people and honoured to have created such beautiful memories for Francis and Katie – love our job it doesn’t get much better than this.

All the best Francis and Katie, you’re a match made in heaven.

Daron and Chrissy xx



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