BENEATH THE PEAK - SOPHIA & DOUGLAS
CRAGGY RANGE WINERY WEDDING
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
By Eva Bradley & Andrew Caldwell
A picture is said to tell a thousand words, and in so many ways I find this to be true when photographing people in love. But I still believe in the power of words to put love in context, generate emotion and record history in the same ways we do with our cameras. Douglas' speech after he married his childhood sweetheart, Sophia, was so honestly written that I asked if he would let me share it with you. This is their love story, told by our images...and his words...
"They say you don't marry someone you can live with, you marry the person you can't live without.
So here is where it all started. The beginning wasn’t easy. Let me explain the Asian culture for some of you. As a teenager, your parents will teach you that loyalty is not that important. It’s all about opportunities. They will make sure the only things you date in high school are physics, chemistry, biology, statistics and calculus. On the odd occasion you might get away with having an affair with the chess club. And of course, your parents tell you that you won't find true love until you are in your 20s, and that's with accountants, doctors, pharmacists and engineers. Sorry, Fiona, [Sophia's mum], I’m not Chemistry, Physics or Biology, and I’m also not in the chess club...but I will make sure I look after your daughter."
"We met back in High School...2002 to be exact. It was just that stage in life where you need to have a girlfriend to be cool. So where better to look than the internet? Yes, I met Sophia via MSN, and we were dating online before we even met. I can honestly say the first day we met was truly not magical. I wagged the last class and made sure I had enough time to get ready and be that awesome stud. So she turns up, and awkwardly enough turns out to be taller than what she said and somehow never stopped growing. I think she grew another few inches before the wedding. After a first kiss that nearly gave me a mild concussion, we both got home and asked ourselves 'what the hell have we got ourselves in to? Should we just call it off? Lets just give it a few weeks for the responsibility's sake. And this responsibility bought us here today.
Just about every single person who gathered around Sophia and Douglas as they exchanged their vows beside the lake at Craggy Range Winery in Hawke's Bay was from Auckland. Although to us locals, it's a no-brainer to ditch the city and head to Wine Country for a wedding in the region's sunniest country, not everyone understood their decision and so Douglas explained:
"A few years back we were on a road trip to Hawke's Bay and visited Craggy Range. As soon as we drove through the gate, Sophia said 'we are getting married here' and so immediately it went through my head 'crap, what have I got myself into and how will I ever be able to pull this one off?'. Now, being here you can understand the reason she chose this place but the real reason I agreed to have our special day here is that one of Craggy Range's prestige collection wines is named 'Sophia'.
Sophia...to me you are the most prestige thing I could ever have in my life."
It can sometimes be a little scary to put your faith in strangers to bring together your dream wedding, especially coming from the Big Smoke to a smaller place like Hawke's Bay. But Sophia and Douglas tapped into the local grapevine and were stoked with the result.
"I loved how everyone was so helpful and just as excited about our wedding as we were. That gave me the confidence to trust them and let them do what they were good at and everything worked out perfectly," recalls Sophia.
Sophia and Douglas were a little nervous about the process of having their photos taken and warned me they weren't the sort to be 'romantic' and in fact thought they'd have "the world's most awkward looking photos". We love a challenge and it was brilliant to hear we got them over their fears.
"Eva and Andrew were AMAZING. They made it so easy and natural, and seeing Eva on the peak skipping from rock to rock...that fitness level is impressive!," said Sophia.
The couple went from dreading the photos to telling us that investing in them (and video) was the best advice they could give to other couples planning a wedding.
"Now the wedding is over, those memories are all we have to remind us of the day."
And just in case there was any doubt at all about how awesome Sophia and Douglas were to spend the day with, here's photo proof...something you'll almost never see...a picture of Andrew and I holding our bobble-headed dopplegangers, thoughtfully left beside our plate along with 100 other replicas of their guests!