Dancing Mountains and Puppies

One of my favourite chopper pilots once lived next door to me. A smart cute Canadian guy he was popular with the ladies and the lads so his full moon farewell party was a banger. It was wrapping up at around 3am in the morning when the friendly little Weiner dog from next door came wandering up our driveway. Her belly was full and round. I suspected she was pregnant and was excited to run my hand over her little belly knowing there were baby doggies inside there. Next day she had her litter, under a boat in the neighbours yard. Very Fijian! That same week Kat  and I started corresponding about photographing her wedding. I enjoyed sharing pics with her of baby Weiner dogs litter suckling ‘cos Kat’s a vet nurse so obviously loves all things animal. I knew immediately she would be a great bride to collaborate with. My beloved mumma was a nurse and I always found nurses to be sweet, kind, down-to-earth, loving people. Kat was no exception! 

Ben who also worked in hospitals on the finance side was of the same ilk. They met at university and they had been together since she asked him to dance at college event. Ask and ye shall receive eh? ;) Her beautiful sister Lucy was her bridesmaid and he had his brother and her brother as groomsmen.

Ben’s dad wore a tie with dogs on it to honour his new daughter-in-law. What a sweetie!

The Chapel at The Outrigger is up on a hill above the resort overlooking the sea. After family photo’s we headed right to the top of the hill with the bridal party for some more photo fun in the golf carts I’d prepared earlier. 

And then they danced. They practiced their first dance moves so they would nail it on the dancefloor later that night in front of their loved ones. He had proposed to her on top of Mount Kosciuszko on a romantic weekend away, just after frolicking in the snow, and here they were 2 years later, only minutes after being married, dancing on a mountaintop together as hubby and wifey. It was a lovely romantic moment to be part of.

The rain started just as we finished their portraits at sunset down on the beach. Dontchya just love good timing. And so off we went to party. The buffet was excellent. The cocktails yummy! The venue was beautiful and the family and friends were loving and fun. 

And then they did their first dance. By the glow of the gigantic LOVE sign, he picked her up and spun her around and around, the delicately beaded trail of her italian lace dress sweeping gracefully across the floor. Setting her back down gently on her feet her loving father took her into his arms. He was so tender with her it almost made me cry. And I enjoyed a solid knowing this was a marriage made to last.

First Time In Fiji

This was my first wedding shoot in Fiji and boy-o-boy-o-boy was I excited. I jumped on the Ferry out of Denerau on the morning of the wedding, sailing was smooth and the skies were blue. Just quietly I was a bit delighted to be commuting to work on a ferry to a small island in the South Pacific. Ticking off the career goals!!! After a quick 45 minute ride we arrived at Musket Cove. I was impressed with the understated beauty of the resort. 

There’s no cars on the island so I grabbed a yellow bike and rode to Jeanette’s bure. This was Jeanette’s second wedding so she was a very chilled bride. I guess she knew what to expect having been there done it before. Like me she was probably also charmed by the beauty of the island and soothed by the sun and the sea. 

And her beau Bruce was low key hanging out with his sons, his dad and his best man brother  in a bure across the lagoon. It was obvious their children and family meant the world to them, they’d asked me to make sure I got lots of family photo’s. 

Her handsome blue eyed son gave her away and her beautiful daughter was her bridesmaid. A local Fijian dressed in traditional costume blew on a conch shell to announce their arrival as they walked down the grassy isle to their sea front altar. 

Salty tears dried on their cheeks by the gentle ocean breezes. The bright sun sparkled on the ocean. With rings on their fingers and joy in their hearts, the deed was done. There were drinks, snacks and songs and family photo’s.

Then the three of us disappeared for some romantic couple portraits. I’d picked out a few magical spots when I arrived early that morning. I loved how easy and affectionate they were with each other. The memory of their chemistry makes me tingly in my heart.

Day turned to night. The falling sun set the sky on apricot coloured fire as he covered her neck in kisses.  Fairylights tinkled, tropical flowers perfumed the air, fire dancers twirled their flaming staffs under swaying palms. This was a blissful place to enter a marriage. A promising start.

Quaking Applause

One of the most powerful moments for me at this wedding was during the celebrants officiating speech, the part where it usually reads “Marriage is the union between a man and a woman” had been changed to “Marriage is a union between two people.” I found myself letting out a spontaneous loud cheer of relief and joy that marital laws now respected the choices of same sex couples. I’m all for love and this handsome couple were definetely very much in love and very much loved by many. 

Ashwin and Rod were married in a Quakers Hall in Surry Hills to pay homage to Rod’s mothers chosen religion and in a nod to their tolerant and accepting attitudes towards same sex love. It was an austere interior, all polished floorboards and wooden floorboards. What was remarkable was the circular formation we all sat/stood in.

They had been together 27 years, Ashwin was 13 years Rod’s junior and Rod was was getting married at 70. Inspiring! They did a rockstar exit and disappeared out the back alley to get an Uber to their reception at Stanton and Co.

They invited me to photograph them in the mens bathroom when we arrived. They attended the ceremony in Kurti’s, as a salute to Ashwins indian heritage and changed into sharp navy single breasted suits. I felt awkward being the bathroom with them but these two were so committed to spending as much time with their friends and family who had flown in from all over the world I accepted whatever time I could have alone with them to make some romantic artistic portraits. Luckily the bathroom had a rustic semi rendered wall that gave texture and the light was ok. And they were 90% dressed. 

One of Rod’s family sculpted a groom and groom topping for their wedding cake that included their precious and beloved pet rabbit.

It got stormy outside and steamy inside with the appearance of a Bollywood dancer and the DJ spinning classic 80’s numbers. There was a lot to celebrate! 

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