Stormy Westport Wedding…

Kyle and Lana’s wedding day was held on Easter Friday in Westport. The day before their wedding, the Westport and Greymouth regions got hit particularly bad by a ferocious Cyclone. Cyclone Luci that hit New Zealand a month earlier had turned out to be a bit of a fizzer, so we didn’t really pay too much attention to the storm warnings with this latest Cyclone. While driving down to Westport on the Thursday, it wasn’t until we drove out of the lower Buller Gorge that we started to witness the full force of the storm. Large trees had been pushed over from their roots, but luckily we managed to navigate around the fallen trees that lay across the road.

Six kilometres from Westport we came to a halt, ahead were lots of cars and trucks lined up due to a road closure. While we were waiting patiently our car shook so much it felt like we were about to get blown over.

Next thing two guys wearing high vis and armed with walkie talkies approached us. “Where are you heading?” one of them asked as he looked at our company name on the side of our car, “Westport, for a wedding tomorrow”, I replied. “No you’re not, the road is closed,” he paused and said, “What are you going to do now?” I detected that this guy was a bit of a hard case, so I replied, “We’re going to turn around and head back to the nearest motel, drink wine and make love”. After an even longer pause, he replied, “Well, think of us out here in the wind and rain while you’re doing that”. I muttered, “I don’t think so”, as I wound up my window. Soon after the road was opened (dam).

We carried on into Westport where we had arranged to meet with Lana at the NBS Theatre. As we crossed over the bridge heading into Westport, we were rather captivated with seeing the extremely high waves being pushed along by the wind on the Buller River. Normally I would get out and take a shot, but not today!

The next challenge was actually getting to the NBS Theatre. There was debri all over the road, iron was flying off rooftops, power lines were down, and detours galore. Eventually, we met up with Lana and her bridesmaids to discuss options for her wedding tomorrow. The original plan was to have the wedding ceremony at the Riverview Lodge followed by the reception at the NBS Theatre, but at this stage Riverview wasn’t accessible with trees down all around it. Backup plan, ceremony in the NBS Theater. The power was completely out all over the region, surely it would be back on tomorrow. If not that would cause a whole new bunch of challenges, not only with the bride getting ready, but lack of lighting for the ceremony and catering during the reception (gulp).

Chrissy and I stayed at my cousin’s place at Carters Beach, we also had the pleasure of photographing their wedding last year. Stacey and Owen were home from work early like the rest of Westport when we arrived, it was nice to sit down with them and enjoy a beer and have a catch up, it had been quite a day so far.

We had originally planned to search out photo location options upon our arrival to Westport, but with the storm raging it didn’t seem like a good move to go outside. As the sun started to go down we decided to go and have a look anyway. When we arrived at Tauranga Bay the rain had stopped but the wind was so strong I could barely stand up. Chrissy stayed in the security of our car while I braced the elements to get the stormy shots.

Arriving back to the comfort of Owen and Stacey’s home, we enjoyed a tasty roast meal that was entirely cooked on the barbecue (thanks so much guys). However, the coolest thing about our delightful meal by candlelight was that the salt and pepper shakers had their very own lights, so you could see exactly how much you were using, who thinks of this stuff? Now, there is another thing that I should mention here, Chrissy woke up in the middle of the night with a thought of shock horror (if there’s no power, how am I going to dry my hair)? Gee, Chrissy what about the bride?

Now on the wedding day, the original itinerary was kind of thrown out the door compliments of the Cyclone. There was still no power and the guys had been rushing around all morning trying to find generators for lighting, surely the power would come on soon? With limited time we quickly drove to Kyle’s parents home to where the guys were getting ready. On a good note, it wasn’t raining and the winds had died down for now.

So where does a girl get ready on her wedding day with no power? the local Fire Station of course, where they had generated power. I bet a bride has never got ready here before.

Arriving at the Fire Station, Lana’s friend and makeup artist Lisa was finishing off the girl’s makeup. She was kind enough to offer us the use of her house for the pre wedding photos, good natural light was important to us now and her place was perfect.

Good ole West Coasters, everyone took the challenges in stride once the descion was made earlier in the day for the wedding to still go ahead.

Check out the cowboy boots – cool.

Lana looked stunning and that smile of hers could have lit up a powerless world.

You might be thinking, what’s going on here? Rog (Lisa’s husband) decided to get a kiss or two while the bride was still a single woman, after all this was his bed. That was fine until Lisa caught him – so funny!

Meet these gorgeous girls; Abby (Kyle’s sister), Lana and Addie (Lana’s sister).

Awwww, special moments with mum and dad.

Just down the road from Lisa’s place we had spotted an old shed where Rog (Mr Fulton Hogan himself), stores his heavy machinery. We found out later that Lana had originally thought of having photos taken here, so it worked out perfectly.

“Work it girls”.

Julie looked lovely in her gorgeous mother of the bride outfit.

Still no rain, unbelievable, how many times does this happen to us when there is such bad weather forecasted for the day. Chrissy always says we must be good luck charms.

Lana you look beautiful!

The ceremony was scheduled to start at 2pm and everything was going to plan.
I must admit that Chrissy and I were completely shocked when we walked into the NBS Theatre, it was almost completely dark (our eyes hadn’t adjusted yet). Chrissy looked at me and said, “omg how are we going to work in this”? and I replied, “we have no choice”. The only natural light coming into the theatre was through an open side door, not to worry our skills would be put to good use today.

Wedding ceremonyin NBS Threatre in Westport

To us having a wedding ceremony in a movie theatre seemed a little unusual, but given that fact that the West Coast has a reputation of raining a lot, NBS has been used many times for weddings before (with lights).

Kyle and Lana were born and bred in Westport. Lana works at the Buller District Council as a Community Services Officer, responsible for communications and funding. Kyle works for Geotech Ltd, which specialises in drilling & blasting, mostly in the mining industry (that must be cool, he gets to blow stuff up).

This delightful young couple first met at work. Lana used to work with Kyle at Geotech, but it wasn’t until Lana left the company that they ended up dating each other.

Kyle planned to propose to Lana during a dinner out the night before her birthday. Before leaving for the restaurant, a friend dropped by for a chat and he ended up going out with them. Over dinner the friend jokingly said something about Kyle popping the question, so Kyle held off. During the drive home, Kyle stopped at a beautiful lookout overseeing the stunning coastline and popped the question then.

Bride and goom sitting on rock at Tauranga ay in Westport

During the family photos it started to rain, oh no, not now! We had planned to go out to Tauranga Bay for the location photos but as I looked into the sky and saw dark grey rain clouds my enthusiasm started to diminish. It was actually Chrissy who suggested that we head out to the coast and have a look anyway. Ten minutes later we arrived at Tauranga Bay, surprisingly it wasn’t raining there, but it was windy and cold. “Let’s do this”, my enthusiasm quickly came back!

Bride and groom kiss on rocks at Tauranga Bay in Westport

Moody wedding photos taken at Tauranga Bay in Westport

The clouds were now really putting a show on for us – rain stay away.

Bride and Groom walk along beach at Tauranga Beach Westport

Bride and groom walk hand on hand along at Tauranga Bay in Westport

Dramatic wedding photos taken at Tauranga Bay in Westport

Stunning coastline, amazing couple.

Bride and groom stand in long grasses looking out to sea at Tauranga Bay in Westport

Bride and groom hug on long at Tauranga Bay in Westport

Bride and groom as waves crash over rocks at Tauranga Bay in Westport

Aggressive waves were crashing all over the place, it was now just a matter of good timing to get the perfect shot.

Wavrs crash over rocks next to bride and groom at Taurangs Bay in Westport

These two newlyweds did so well, as I said previously, it was cold!

Moody wedding photos taken in Westport

Bride and groom standing on rocks looking out to see at Westport

This will be a day to remember for a lifetime, in so many ways.

For two weeks in a row now it has started to rain just as we are finishing the location photos. The same thing happened at Chris and Kara’s wedding last weekend.

On a cold day like today, snuggles always keep you a little warmer.

“Nice car girls”.

“Ok everyone, jump into the Mustangs and lets head back to the NBS Theatre for the wedding reception”.

Do you really need all those beers Rog?

The power was still out in Westport, but thankfully there were enough generators to provide some light as well as enabling the caterers to prepare fingerfood. Unfortunately the toilet area had no lighting at all and I needed to go! I couldn’t find the community torch so I relied on light from the back of my camera to help me see in the pitch black. Where are those salt and pepper shakers when you need them?

During the wedding reception I grabbed a beer and sat down at the top of the theatre. I began thinking about what a cool job we have, no two weddings are ever the same, we get to meet so many awesome people and travel to some really nice places – love it!

Fun times…

Kyle and Lana rocked the dance floor.

Our work had finished for the day and what a day it was.

Next morning, the calm after the storm.

Before heading back home we went for a drive through Westport to check out some of the damage, unfortunately the cars from Value Vehicles didn’t fare too well.

Kyle and Lana, thank you so much for choosing us to photograph your special day, it’s been a wedding we’ll never forget. Everything worked out perfectly in the end and it gave us great pleasure to see you both smiling and enjoying yourselves so much throughout the entire day. They say love conquers all and it certainly did today. We wish you both the very best, funnily enough we’ve recently booked a wedding back in Westport on the same day next year so who knows, our paths may cross again.

Daron and Chrissy X


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