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I had the pleasure of photographing my cousin’s wedding in August of this year in the beautiful Cozumel, Mexico. Thanks to my wonderful Uncle Mike and Auntie Cheryl who are thus far my highest paying Photography “client”, I was able to attend this special family gathering. Many (but not all) of us were there to witness my gorgeous little cousin Erin, marry her long-time partner, Brendan. It was the experience of a lifetime. Below the wedding photos, I have included some photos of the resort in general where I lay by the pool for nearly a week solid drinking Mai Tai’s and long-islands and eating american hotdogs and quesadillas. yummm….

The Palace…..

My room balcony and hammock.

Hotel room with Jacuzzi bath.

Guacamole

Churros

Sunset at dinner.

The happy couple.

Mi familia.

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Just before I shot off to Mexico for my cousin’s wedding, I “co”-photographed my dear friend Ruthie’s wedding at the South Titirangi Yacht Club. The tide was out, which was actually quite cool because we could head out onto the otherwise non-existent “beach” for quick shot of photos before reception food. They wanted the photos done in 30 mins. I think we did 45, still, I’d say pretty darn good to get done ๐Ÿ™‚ So happy to be with my gorgeous friend and her lovely man on this day. xx

 

Being with Graham and Huia on their wedding day was such a beautiful experience. Having already had their family and now a good number of grandchildren, they decided to get married. Her brother flew over from Australia to perform the ceremony and explained to us that they wanted to do this to their children and give them a turangawaewae, a place to stand, a family built on marriage. Their focus (no pun intended) was to get a lot of shots of family, so it resulted in a shorter ‘couple’ photoshoot, but we still got a few of the glowing bride and groom. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jerry was my trainer at my gym… any definition in my thighs i owe to him… ๐Ÿ˜› so shooting his wedding was the least I could do. Jerry is Samoan, Nina is Cook Island so as you can imagine, the day was rich with culture… it was beautiful to be part of their special day. Their little girl Faith kept us on our toes all day, she refused to be part of the photography on anyone else’s terms, i’m pleased we still managed to get a few shots of her. ๐Ÿ˜›

 

So… after years of saying “i’m not sure if I want to do wedding photography”, I started doing wedding photography! surprise!! Well, I sort of stumbled into it actually. My first wedding was meant to be last friday, 21 January. I was riding my bike with my trainer at the gym one day back in November chatting when suddenly we were loosely agreeing to me shooting his upcoming wedding. After I shared some fears, thoughts and photos I’d taken we were locked and loaded… Somehow in the midst of that I ended up getting to shoot a wedding (daughter of a co-worker) in November which lead to another ask from a friend who was a guest there for his brother’s wedding 8th of Jan. So my ‘first’ which was last friday, became my 3rd and here we are.

I feel like I really lucked out because all of these weddings have been island weddings. 1) Tongan/Maori ย 2) Samoan/Wallesian and ย 3) Samoan/Cook Island… and in the words of my dear friend Wade… “once you’ve been to an island wedding, white weddings are just a rip off”. Thanks Wade. I find this to be 100% true.

So here are my tips for shooting island weddings:

1)ย Be prepared for LARGE bridal parties. My smallest has been 10, the largest 17 plus 4 toddlers… NEVER a good idea… DON’T let the kids come on the photoshoot whatever you do, have a small session with the kids and then send them with grandmas etc… the kids in the bridal party are mostly not nieces and nephews, they are children of the Bride and/or Groom plus all the bridesmaids, you don’t want your bridal party distracted during group photos, it’s enough to worry about keeping all those adults focussed (no pun intended).

2) Also be prepared for the bridal party to have some very young people in it… These are often chosen because they are siblings or close family members which means they are not as loyal and servant-hearted as the life-long best mate.. they are chosen for honour, not for helpfulness. And while I’m on this, it’s rarely a good idea for girls under 16 to wear large-heeled shoes, consider an alternative.

3) Always plan for the bride to be at least 1 hour late. Make sure the Bride and Groom have allowed extra time after the ceremony to make up for the time lost. Chances are, even if a PI bride can make it to her wedding on time (unlikely), the guests won’t, so she’ll have to be late anyway. Leave plenty of time for photos! More than you normally would!

4) Never, and I repeat NEVER let them serve food after the ceremony before the group photo (if you’re doing a whole group photo)… you will never get them back. If you want your bride and groom to have their group photo, get it done straight away and have a helper that has a loud strong voice and speaks the language of the dominant people group….

5) Stay for the reception. I’m working on my ‘price list’ now, a rite of passage and part of becoming a real wedding photographer… and i’m thinking it’s going to go something like this: 1) basic package all weddings ย includes girls getting ready, ceremony, formal shots and reception venue, one price. 2) Island weddings, all of the above, plus reception for base price plus a feed of Oka and Chop Suey. Man, you do not want to miss those dances… it’s the best part of the wedding! And the Bride and Groom will be forever in your debt for capturing these super significant moments.

6) If a Cook Island group performs and starts at anytime indicating that their paddle is a phallic symbol and they’re quite happy shoving it in your face (the only white single girl at the wedding) run and hide immediately, it’s not a one-off and it will only get worse. (Based on a real life story).

7) Kope = Hurry up! in Samoan.

and lastly #8) Don’t do it unless you LOVE island culture. And if you do, you will be the happiest photographer on the planet.

over and out. tofa soifua. xx

I LOVED photographing Kurtis and Frieda’s wedding! They did such a beautiful job of everything and it was awesome to be with them for their special day. …aaaand, I got to see him drop her on her head! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Rachel and Nela were my first official wedding! I’m friends with Rachel’s mum and she asked a few weeks before if I could help as they didn’t have a photographer! I nervously obliged and this is the final product (plus hundreds more!) i’m pretty happy with it! Nela and Rachel were a joy to be with on the day, you could really feel the love! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

I was *also* not the photographer for this wedding (as below)… but it was my dear friend Ange who got married so I took the freedom to move around a little, be a tiny bit more brave… I also went with them on the photoshoot as an unofficial (invisible) second shooter, was good fun (mostly hanging out with the girls), as well as going over to the boys house to take some early shots of the boys getting ready.

Ok, so obviously I was not the photographer at this wedding, I was a guest… but in an effort to post something up of a bride and groom, here are my lovely friends Phil and Bex who got marrie on April 17, 2010.