wedding photographer

 

Soulmate. It’s a concept that divides. A concept of sweet serendipity. A meant-to-be, love-of-your-life recognisable connection with another. The concept that there is a person out there, who is meant just for you; that each individual is meant just for that one other someone; it’s the epitome of romantic notions and one that has inspired the most famous of love stories and it’s my job as a wedding photographer to capture that.

Some claim there is no such thing. Choosing instead a more pragmatic approach to love… We are all individuals looking for connection and there are many viable partners with whom we could build happy and loving lives given the right set of circumstances.

And I must admit, I sit somewhere in the middle on this one. Or at least I used to. I challenge anyone, even the most skeptic of skeptics, to maintain their disbelief after seeing the connection between these two individuals.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then as a wedding photographer, on this day, I was privileged to write a truly beautiful love story. Allow me to introduce you to my beautiful friends…

Chris. A kind, generous and authentic guy with a musician’s soul.

Maddie: A strong and spirited stunner with the heart of a yoga-loving gypsy.

Together they are unlike anything I’ve witnessed or photographed before. It’s impossible to describe, and downright uncanny how much these two really do fit. They are best friends; they balance; they challenge; and they definitely, definitely belong together.

“Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other” (-Paulo Coelho). You see, whether they knew it or not, Maddie and Chris were preparing for one another long before either of them realised. That’s the thing about soulmates, it’s not just physical… it’s a connection of a deeper, more intangible nature.

Maddie believes in the power of thought. She believes in the power of intention. Long before she met Chris, she set her intentions and they were clear: A nature loving guy who enjoyed the outdoors as much as she did; a surfer; musician; adventurer; a blonde and sexy as all hell too… (you get the picture).

And one night, not long after setting these intentions, she walked into a bar and there he was. Him. Chris. Good looks, guitar and all. And as he sat there playing that Radiohead cover like on so many inconsequential nights before, he was perfectly (albeit unwittingly) ticking a LOT of boxes.

Maddie grew increasingly uncomfortable with what she had to do next. After all, there’s only one thing for a girl to do in that situation: Write your number on a napkin and give it to a mutual friend to deliver. Then… leave.

Chris, as any humble and intelligent gentleman would, suspected foul play. This was clearly a joke. But… just in case… he dialed the number. The fact is, he was suspicious and disbelieving until the day he laid eyes on her. But once he did, that was that.

It was an average night several weeks later when it happened. They sat there, on Chris’ apartment floor, eating sushi and listening to the Stereophonics:

“When you open up your tired eyes
And take a look at what’s inside
The mirror on your wall tells you the truth
You’re exactly where you wanna be
There is no room for streams of tears
The sun is shining down, the clouds have cleared
Could you be the one for me?”

They both burst into tears as the realisation washed over each of them simultaneously: they were in love. Game over.

Fast forward 2 years later and Chris found himself down on one knee, far more nervous than he’d ever felt performing in any pub. This time, Chris made the move and proposed with a custom ring he’d designed just for her. As he slid the pink stone onto her finger, they cried once again as they realised just how lucky they were.

A winter wedding in the mountains was exactly as atmospheric and dramatic as you’d expect. Mt. Warning (AKA the ‘Cloud Catcher’) was the perfect backdrop for this adventurous pair and as their wedding photographer I couldn’t have asked for a more ideal location.

The Cloud Catcher truly lived up to its name and the morning of the ceremony was off to a rather damp start. Before long however, the clouds gave way to patches of blue sky and rainbows just hours after the news about the U.S. marriage equality ruling reached Australia. Being huge supporters of equal rights, this was incredibly meaningful and poignant timing for both of them.

Maddie looked stunning in her Grandmother’s vintage wedding gown (also worn by her mother) and Chris carried an old pocket watch with a photo from his childhood with his beloved mother in it. Chris and Maddie’s day was a far cry from the typical wedding style I so often see, and yet so perfectly matched. So perfectly suited. Every detail on point.

For the post ceremony wedding photography we stole the couple away to some picturesque locations which included a river, a dam wall and, thanks to an unsuspecting farm owner, one very magical hill in a paddock totally worth the somewhat steep and cow-pie-riddled climb. It was an incredibly special time and an absolute privilege to be able to capture the love and connection between these two dear friends. The way these two look at each other… is just… pure love.

I think it’s time I shut up and let these very special wedding photos do some talking. Maybe it’s because I know them and love them they are so special to me; or maybe it’s because I was there that they hold such significance; but maybe it’s because their souls had planned this important encounter and I was just a witness to it.

I’d like to think there’s only one word that describes whatever ‘it’ is that these two are, and that my friends, is soulmates.

– Written by Jennifer Young

– “Could You Be The One” – Stereophonics

jb026

 

As a wedding photographer in Newcastle, I’m always amazed and grateful for the incredible locations on my doorstep. For over 10 years I’ve been a wedding photographer in and around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and still, I’m blown away by the beauty of this place.

From the miles of empty Newcastle beaches, to the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley vineyards. From the windswept sand dunes to the pine-tree forests. From the cozy corners of Newcastle’s cafes to the expansive farmlands and lakes… NSW is a visual happy hunting ground of world class wedding photography locations (AKA my office and playground).

Enough ranting though… the location speaks for itself! let’s talk about that time I photographed Kate Hudson’s doppleganger named Rhea and her rather romantic other half Brodie…

High school sweethearts Brodie and Rhea started out like so many modern love stories do: Boy meets girl…, boy likes girl…, boy adds girl on (insert relevant social media platform here)…, the rest is history right?

Well, regardless of how it started, it was definitely meant to be and in 2005, Brodie finally graduated from the friend zone to boyfriend material and they quickly proceeded to fall in love. They survived a year of long distance while Brodie did a stint in the UK and Rhea set her sights on finishing her degree.

Fast forward 9 years later to a warm summers night in Paris… It’s Bastille day, and our high school sweethearts have just returned from a romantic dinner. As Rhea caught up to Brodie at the hotel room door, there he stood: A smile and roses everywhere…

“You know how I’ve been having those work meetings every Monday night for a while? Well, I haven’t. I’ve been taking singing lessons.” Brodie confesses as he pulls a guitar out from under the bed. They’d been traveling around Europe for 3 weeks. “Where on earth did he get a guitar?!” she wondered. Apparently, if you want to pull off the ultimate romantic gesture, the French are a willing bunch!

Talk about playing the long game… 9 years of dating, 18 months of secret singing lessons, plus 3 weeks trekking around Europe with a ring burning a hole in your pocket?!

So Brodie sang his heart out (‘Greeneyes’ by Coldplay) and asked the one question that was 9 years in the making. Rhea of course said ‘yes’, and so they sat on the balcony of their Parisian hotel overlooking the Eiffel tower, complete with Bastille Day fireworks, feeling like the entire country of France was celebrating just for them.

Their wedding was as beautiful and authentic as their story, and in those last quiet moments before the ceremony, the love was palpable as Rhea’s family hugged her close and her father prepared to walk her down the aisle. I’ll admit, there was a sizable lump in my throat despite witnessing countless similar moments in my years as a wedding photographer.

The rain was well behaved, pausing for the wedding ceremony and photos, continuing only during the drive between location shoots. The sky was sufficiently dark and dramatic, providing a spectacular backdrop against the pale sand dunes helping to create some truly stunning scenes.

And the party… oh the PARTY! There was a LOT of dancing, a lot of laughter and tears and a whole lotta love. When I spoke to Rhea in preparation for this blog post, she laughed… “my face was so sore the next day from laughing so much”!

And from what I can gather, that’s Rhea in a nut shell. Laughing, smiling, sweet, sweet Rhea. And Brodie… Whilst you’ve succeeded in setting the bar WAY too high for the rest of us… I am so happy you are committed to the long game buddy cause you two are perfectly cast as Mr. & Mrs. Stephens!

Thank you for the absolute honour of choosing Jen (my incredible second shooting ally) and myself as your wedding photographers for your special day.

– “Green Eyes” – Coldplay

2nd wedding photographer: Jennifer Young || Stylist & Coordinator: Joni from Chasing Arrows || Dress: Melanie Ford Designs || MUA: Ashley Cashman Makeup || Hair: Hair We Are || Florist: Gillian @ Autumn Kisses ||  Antique furniture hire: This Old Love || Lighting & marquee: Beavis