Amelia & Sam’s Wedding, Cordis Auckland

This stunning wedding was a real melding of a traditional church wedding and vibrant Tongan culture.

Amelia and Sam are a sweet couple, both with super tough jobs; Amelia is a doctor of Internal Medicine at Middlemore Hospital, and Sam is a prison officer. After meeting with Amelia and chatting with her about her NZ-Tongan fusion wedding, where they were expecting over 300 guests, I was excited. 

This was the first Tongan style wedding I have ever photographed, and it was a real melding of a traditional Kiwi wedding and Tongan culture. Amelia wore a white gown and veil, and I loved their choice of deep red for their accent color, especially Sam’s red velvet jacket!

Amelia was particularly keen on having some park images, even though their wedding reception was held at the Cordis in central Auckland. I scouted around the week before and found Craigavon Park in Green Bay. It has massive mature trees, loads of paths and tracks, and a real feeling of being out of the city. They hired a party bus to take the bridal party from the church to our photo location and then on to the reception. This gave them time to chill out together, have a drink and something to eat before their photos, and meant no one got lost, had to drive or stress about finding a park. 

Later in the day I was lucky enough to be part of a reception like none I’ve ever experienced before. The many different ceremonies, colors, dancing and even the smells (the traditional Tongan oils they use for dancing) were fun and different to any other wedding I’ve ever been involved with. It’s a wedding I’ll never forget and I’m so happy I was a part of it! 

Photographing Amelia and Sam at their engagement session several months before, really helped me to be able to direct and work well with them on their jam-packed, fast-paced wedding day! I chose the ruins of the old cement works in Warkworth as a contrast to their city wedding. As is often the case, the groom was a bit reluctant to be photographed, but as we walked around, laughing and joking, we all relaxed and Amelia and Sam’s love and affection for each other was undeniable. I made a point to feature Sam’s tattoos as I knew they would be covered for the wedding.

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