Pukehou Church – Craggy Range Winery – Hawkes Bay Wedding
Sylvia & Richard were married at Pukehou Church on a crisp, sunny autumn day in May. Originally born in Poland, Sylvia never expected she’d meet the man of her dreams in a small mining town in the South Australian outback. But that’s what happened! And the man of her dreams, Richard, turned out to be a proud kiwi bloke, born and bred here in Hawkes Bay! While the couple lives in Adelaide, they chose Hawkes Bay as their wedding destination. They couldn’t think of a more beautiful region to celebrate their marriage and I totally agree!
Because Sylvia is a seriously organised planner, I had the luxury of two years before the big day to get to know them and learn more about their story. This included loads of emails, a few meetups, and a fun and laid-back engagement session at Richard’s family home. Sylvia carefully planned every little detail for a relaxed, elegant wedding that embraced the beauty of Hawkes Bay. A picturesque church filled with close family and friends. Wedding portraits at Te Mata Peak. A reception at the exquisite Craggy Range Winery. All in all, a dream wedding day.
Once in awhile, right in the middle of a fairy tale, life can blindside you. You have no choice but to let go of what you thought would happen and live in the moments that are actually happening. For Sylvia & Richard, coming to terms with a family tragedy, made this day bittersweet. After Richard’s Mum Pam was diagnosed with terminal cancer just months before the wedding day, their focus changed to what was truly important. Holding loved ones close as long as you can. On the day, seeing people come together to celebrate, particularly in a time of such sorrow, was incredibly moving. It was not sadness and grief, however, that defined this day. It was joy and gratitude. A deep sense of gratitude that Pam could actually be there to watch her son marry his beautiful bride, share this special time with loved ones, and be reunited with all 3 of her brothers for the first time in 20 years.
From the moment I laid eyes on Sylvia’s dress with the stunning lace detail, I knew she was going to WOW everyone! Adding to that, she’d chosen the lovely Candice Dear as her Makeup Artist so a flawless finish was guaranteed. Hair stylist, Kim Satchwell created a swoon-worthy updo, adorned with a gorgeous hairpiece that showcased the luxurious lace of Sylvia’s wedding dress. Along with her sister Jessica, Matron of Honour, and her best friend and bridesmaid Caite, all the girls looked incredible! I’m pretty sure there were some gaping jaws when the bridal party made a quick stop at the Te Aute Hotel on State Highway 2 for some vodka shots and a quick round of pool!
While the girls were giving the locals something to talk about, friends and family were gathering at the little church in Pukehou. Inside, our handsome groom Richard, nervously awaited the arrival of his future wife. Outside, an emotional father-of-the-bride waited to greet the daughter he was about to give away. As he walked her down the aisle and throughout the entire ceremony you could tell he was struggling to contain his emotions. As Richard watched them enter the church, however, his smile could not have been bigger! On his face an expression of pure love. The ceremony was heartfelt, honest and full of emotionally charged moments. I doubt there was a dry eye in the church as the couple shared their vows and a first kiss as husband and wife.
Sylvia had scheduled the day to allow plenty of time between the ceremony and the reception. Not just for photos, but to be able to take everything in. I was so grateful I didn’t have to rush the family portraits because I knew how important these would be. It was equally important for the couple to have some romantic portraits together and some fun and relaxed time with the bridal party. It was an epic day for wedding photos at Te Mata Peak and we were spoilt for choice with all the gorgeous options around Craggy Range.
At the heart of this wedding were friends and family. They all pitched in to make sure everything ran smoothly. From setting up the reception venue, to making the wedding cake, to an emergency last minute mission to source Grey Goose Vodka they were on to it. The MCs, Anna & Andrew did a great job entertaining the guests and encouraging them to save the vodka shots for the appropriate time. The newlyweds were welcomed into the reception by the bride’s parents who greeted them with bread, salt and two shot glasses, a customary Polish tradition. The bread symbolises that the couple will always have enough to eat while the salt represents life’s difficulties and a reminder of the importance to cope.
Sylvia and Richard, I’m so grateful I had the pleasure to get to know you and your loved ones and share this special time in your lives. Thank you for trusting me with your very precious memories.