Skye & Mitch’s wedding was, in a word, perfect.
Now this is not to say that everything went perfectly according to plan. One or two curve balls were certainly thrown at them on the day of, as you will read in a moment. In the end, however, their wedding day was amazing and beautiful and perfect for them.
My day with Sky and Mitch began at The Rees, one of Queenstown’s premier accommodations. They were fortunate enough to have the bridal party and all of their guests stay there with them! The Rees is wonderful for wedding accommodations because of their large adjoining rooms that allow easy access to neighbouring units. The hotel was able to keep everybody close together, allowing this part of the day to feel more family centered.
The ceremony was held at the always stunning Thurlby Domain (Note: as fo 14 June 2021, Thurlby Domain is closed and not accepting any bookings. They hope to reopen soon but don’t have a date for this yet). The privately-owned property sits between Queenstown and Arrowtown in the gorgeous Dalefield Heights area. It features rambling grounds, beautiful old trees and stunning stone buildings and historic ruins.
Thurlby Domain is one of my favourite places to shoot. It’s tranquil, beautiful and, dare I say, a little bit magical. At least that’s the way it feels to me and almost every couple I’ve ever photographed there.
Now about those curve balls I mentioned earlier. The first one – and the most major one of the day – occurred just as the beautiful bride and her bridesmaids were literally 20 metres away from walking down the aisle. The lovely Gemma and John of Calico had been given the thumbs up and were already playing the “walking down the aisle” music. As the ring bearer had walked a hundred metres or so to the ceremony location with the bride and bridal party, the groom’s ring had come somehow worked itself loose from the bow-tied ribbon on the pillow he was carrying and was lost somewhere on roughly 100 square metres of lawn.
I whispered the news in the celebrant’s and groom’s ear, and they quickly dispatched a small army of searchers to help in the hunt. (The rest of the wedding guests had no idea what was going on). Somehow everyone managed to stay calm as the search team scoured the lush green grass for Mitch’s missing titanium ring. Amazingly, after only 10 minutes of search, Sophie (or Sophie “Saves the Day” as she’s now officially known) found the ring!
After a bit of tearful celebration, the guests seated themselves and the wedding party resumed their places. The flower girl and ring bearer and bridesmaids made their way down the aisle followed by Skye and her dad – as if nothing had happened!
The second curve ball happened mid-ceremony when a couple of very loud fixed wing aircraft flew directly overhead one after the other. Even with the PA, it was impossible for the guests to hear what the celebrant Philippa Cook was saying. Being the awesome person she is, she patiently waited five minutes until the motorized sandflies, as we say here in NZ, buggered off.
After the fabulous ceremony, we jumped in a heli and flew up to Double Cone. Even at 2319 metres, the weather was literally perfect! It’s not often we get up that high without a breath of wind, especially as we had only an average summer here in Queenstown. Weather-wise, Skye and Mitch lucked out with the most amazing New Zealand wedding weather you could ask for.
It was a super busy day with a packed timeline, but thanks to Skye’s fabulous planning efforts, we managed to get so many incredible photos in the time we had available to us. A special thanks to Darren Simmonds of Ever After Wedding Photography and Videography, for hanging out with us and capturing some fine footage to complement the epic photos we were able to get.
A great wedding doesn’t happen without the help of lots of great people. The gang at Sasso (since permanently closed unfortunately) set up an amazing mini bar at Thurlby for the guests and then pulled out all the stops for an amazing reception back at their restaurant on Church Street. Charmaine Kerr and Hair To Wed, worked their magic on the bridal party, making them all look even more gorgeous, and all the flowers were put together by the bride and her family and friends!