Hawke's Bay Country Wedding - Nikky & Sam.

A real New Zealand wedding at


By Hawke's Bay Photographers, Eva Bradley & Andrew Caldwell

new zealand destination wedding photographers

Hawke's Bay weddings pose a bit of a conundrum: coast or country? There is so much of both that it can often be hard to decide, so Nikky and Sam found a little off-the-beaten-track place where they could combine both. Clifton Cafe is authentically Kiwi. From the red corrugated iron through to the simple number-8 fencing wire separating the paddock from the wide expanse of the South Pacific Ocean. Under a home-made floral arch in front of their friends and family, this is Nikky and Sam's love story. We hope you enjoy it!

We all know it's a hard road finding the perfect woman, but when she must share a passion for...eherm...trucks...well, good luck, right? But Sam and Nikky prove there is someone for everyone and amid the grease and grime of a truck show, the stars aligned. Nikky's dad had spent his whole life educating his daughter on the finer points of trucking life so it went without saying he would play matchmaker and introduce her to perfect son-in-law candidate, Sam. 

Nikky and Sam didn't want a fussy, over-the-top wedding. They wanted rustic, uncontrived simplicity and a focus on people, not props. Right on the edge of the ocean but somehow still heartland New Zealand, Clifton Cafe was a space Nikky remembered going to now and again as a treat with grandparents, so it was already imbued with very special memories. How to take those memories further was a challenge I took seriously, and so Nikky and I went off-roading in the most horrific weather to find a location that really showcased the Hawke's Bay landscape that as local girls we both adore. As so often happens, the forecast rain never arrived on the day and we were treated instead to the soft backlighting, blue skies and warm winds of a typical early-autumn Hawke's Bay day.

When I asked Nikky what the best part of the wedding was for her, she was speecheless, and eventually just gushed: 'All of it!'. For her, the day turned out exactly as she had dreamed it. It was perfect in every way and arriving at the top of the aisle and seeing Sam waiting along with everyone in the world she loved stands out as a highlight.

We'd talked a lot before the day about the importance of forgetting about the camera, being in the moment, focusing on each other, and turning down the 'noise' that dominates our busy lives and often a wedding day too. Nikky says making time to get away with me and Andrew and nobody else was one of the best decisions they made. 'Alone time' is something we always try and set up for our couples, even if it's just a few minutes at sunset to reflect on the day while we shoot with a long lens.

Nikky's advice now she's a seasoned bride is simply to not overthink it. Stay relaxed, don't sweat the small stuff and only worry about the things you can control. It's good advice for a wedding day...and for the long life together that comes after it.


Photographers: Eva Bradley & Andrew Caldwell

Venue: Clifton Cafe, Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Florals: Jane Scragg

Hair & Makeup: Kayleigh Purvis / Erika Edney

Celebrant: Megan Banks

Dress: The Bridal Studio (Stella York)

Cake: Cindy's Cakes

Suits: Thomson's Suits

Big thanks to: Angus & Dinah at Clifton Station