International wedding photographer in Cornwall
It’s so hard to believe that we’ve already been back home for a full month! I chose not to post about our final month of travels because it was spent focusing less on being a tourist and more on being with good friends. Stops included Melbourne, Airey’s Inlet (a small town along the Great Ocean Road), Auckland, and Whitianga. That final stop is what brings me to today’s post.
Our time in Whitianga was focused around Mike and Megan’s wedding. Whitianga is a small beach community of a few thousand people; it’s laidback, peaceful, and very much the sort of place I could spend a great deal of time. Oh, it also happens to be a short drive from not one but many truly spectacular beaches. Back in 2013, while visiting Whitianga, Rich and I visited Otama Beach. Its white sand, volcanic rock, and huge, scraggly pohutakawa trees immediately captured my attention. And there was no one on it. No one. After a short walk down the beach, we stumbled across what was clearly a wedding set up – chairs, aisle, signing table… I commented about how amazing it would be to photograph a wedding there. Imagine: me being an international wedding photographer in Cornwall. What are the chances? Fast forward two years, and guess where I found myself, preparing for Mike and Megan’s big day….? You betcha. Funny how dreams work out.
Rich and I have had the good fortune of hitting the road for work on multiple occasions in the past two years, and there’s so much I love about traveling for weddings. I always end up in town at least a day and a half ahead of the wedding – in this case, 5 days – and that means I get to spend time with the couple, their family, and their friends, and watch the pre-wedding energy build to a crescendo. I get to lend a hand with bits that need doing, chat with folks I often wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to meet except in passing, and document the little moments that lead up to “The Big Day.” The other really big bonus: folks get used to seeing me with a camera in my hands and they learn to carry on as normal, instead of stopping what they’re doing to smile for the camera. :)
Enough’s enough. Let’s get on with the details – and SO many details!
Mike and Megan were married on a warm, perfectly cloudless, New Zealand summer day at Otama Beach. It wasn’t deserted, but it was definitely breathtaking. Megan got ready with her girls at her parents’ place in Whitianga, while Mike got to spend his last night as a bachelor out by the beach in a rented cottage with his friends. Each was surrounded by friends who were clearly important in their lives – people who made them laugh, knew their history, and also knew when to point out how incredible the day, the bride, and the groom all were. There were no divas, no clowns; just six people who were all there to help shine a spotlight on Mike and Megan. That’s sometimes a little more rare than people realise.
Megan was a stunner – lace details in the dress, a majestically long veil, simple jewelry, and classic hair and makeup to highlight her quiet elegance. Mike went for a navy suit and brown shoes – a combination I’d not seen before, but man, did it look awesome out there on the sand. The pair had the good fortune of working with possibly the single most considerate officiant I’ve ever met, who was keen to get out of their way so that they could be the stars of the show. She did a beautiful ceremony and the couple stood in the sand, framed by an elegantly simple arbour and the big blue sea. Nerves were running high for both Mike and Megan, so it was awesome to see so much laughter and expression throughout the ceremony as lines occasionally got fumbled – those little bloopers make everyone relax! There was a champagne toast on the beach, photos in the sand, and a few stops to make use of the exceptional scenery I had at my disposal.
During my time with the wedding party, it was so interesting to watch Mike as he attended to his beaming bride; there’s a quiet admiration and adoration there that was touching to witness. I think that sometimes a groom can get lost because of all of the attention lavished on the bride, but Mike was a gentleman – and a dapper one, at that.
The evening reception was to be held at Whitianga’s Flight Club (not Fight Club, as I often misread it, much to my amusement) Ballroom, and I would be making a huge mistake if I didn’t highlight two very important points about this reception: 1) The Ballroom and its staff were amazing. Just plain amazing. Thanks to their current policy of allowing clients to provide their own ingredients, the bride and groom were able to source a great deal of the food themselves. The rock lobster, scallops, and kingfish used for the canapés were all caught by the groom and his brother- and father-in-law; the meat for the main meal was sourced from the bride’s uncle; the bride is a classically-trained chef, so the interest in what was being served to guests was very evident – the food was the best I’ve had at a wedding. 2) Jess Rose, of Miscellaneous, did such an incredible job on the decor that I was actually speechless. After I returned from photographing the venue, Megan asked if she could see a preview. I said “no” to a bride for possibly the first time ever. However, I knew that this room was going to be something worth waiting for and I refused to spoil the surprise. If I lived anywhere near Jess, there is no question that I’d be planning styled shoots every spare chance I got and all of my brides would get her name as my first referral. I could bang on endlessly about the quality of her work, but I thought I’d let the photos speak for me before my professional admiration gets embarrassing.
Food and decor aside, the reception was memorable for many reasons: 1) Graham, the father of the bride, stole the show with an exceptionally entertaining speech (I particularly loved how he referred to the search engine as “the Google”); 2) The grandparents! There were three, they were smiley and lovely and I wanted to keep them, and Nana Merle told me she was going to go dancing (in her wheelchair – which she did) and “might get kicked out” – said with the most mischievous grin EVER; 3) Riou, who was visiting from Melbourne, was announced as the only single male (non-relative) in attendance; 4) the makeshift photo “booth” was bedlam for 90 solid minutes; 5) it was open bar. ‘Nuff said.
Just to top off what was already a fantastic event, Megan and I headed out to a local waterfall for a short day-after session that was just gorgeous. Somebody pinch me. :)
Mike and Megan, it was such an honour to document your day for you. I hope that the photographs will help you relive all of the moments you saw, and maybe a few you didn’t realise were taking place. Congratulations! Here are your highlights:
I’m Ang – a wedding photographer with a passion for capturing light and photographing natural moments in life as they happen and wherever they happen. I love working with couples from Cornwall and around the world on their wedding day so that I can capture the little details and emotions that are shared during the day. Please explore more of www.momentusstudio.com to see more examples from this Cornwall international wedding photographer.