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A Stewart Island wedding with incredible community spirit

April 22, 2021
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We left footsteps in the sand alongside kiwi tracks, on a beach that few people will ever have the privilege of walking on. And honestly every moment of this day was as incredible as that.

When I first met Mat and Glenda they told me their wedding would be all about community, and their most precious people sharing a place that is so important to them. It felt like every one of the island’s 400 residents had a part to play. From accommodation, to catering, decor to transport, this was a day of people coming together to play their part and contribute to Glenda and Mat’s marriage.

As we flew over the mountains I offered to take a video on my phone for the Darlings and they accepted, but then reminded me to take a moment to enjoy the helicopter ride as well. And this sums these two up so well – they are generous, giving, kind and wonderful humans. I’ve never seen a groom look at his bride the way Mat did when he first saw Glenda in her dress. It was a moment of pure overwhelming joy and my gosh it was special to witness.

There are too many moments to mention them all – whizzing across the water to the sanctuary of Ulva Island, running through the sand while wekas tried to eat my shoes and Glenda’s dress, the stunning kaimoana – blue cod, mussels, chowder and salmon – and an epic party to finish the day.

So brace yourself for a blog that’ll show you how much love these two shared on the most relaxed day in the most incredible location.

Celebrant: The amazing Megan McKenzie – Celebrant
Dress: Love Me Do Bridal

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Every part of this wedding was personalised. These rings were etched with the landscape of Rakiura Stewart Island.

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The most emotional first look I’ve been part of; the way they looked at each other was amazing.

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Are you badass enough to get an engraved Leatherman on your wedding day? Glenda is!

Before the ceremony we took a 15-minute flight across to an area called “The Gutter”. It’s a remote area not easily accessed, and the beach was criss-crossed with kiwi tracks. What a spot for a picnic.

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Little people, huge landscape.

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If you’re wondering whether you need a flower man for your ceremony, I think we all know the answer.

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Then it was time for a boat ride over to ecosanctuary Ulva Island, where the wildlife runs around your feet and nibbles on your shoes.

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Back on the main island, Glenda and Mat had the community coming together to put on an incredible meal. We dined on fresh, beautifully cooked kaimoana – blue cod, mussels, salmon and so much more!

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Glenda and Mat – thank you for sharing your wonderful day with me. It’s one I’ll remember for a long time!

I am a Christchurch wedding photographer but travel throughout the South Island, mainly to photograph Clyde, Wanaka, Queenstown, Nelson and Invercargill weddings. Let’s chat about your dream photos!