It was a treat for us to take our creative show on the road to Oreti Village in the tiny lakeside settlement of Pukawa, on the western shores of Lake Taupo. A wilderness of native New Zealand bush and early Maori and Colonial history, the area promised us some exciting opportunities to play in a very different landscape from our normal haunts as Hawke's Bay wedding photographers. A really unseasonal wet spell threatened to spoil much of this, with a 100% chance of rain (and thunder!) forecast to last right through Bailey and James' mid-summer wedding.

But a little weather miracle arrived just in time and as the skies cleared this gorgeous young couple celebrated their marriage in a highly emotional ceremony where tears more than made up for the lack of rain from above!

Originally from Hawke's Bay, James and Bailey chose Oreti Village as their wedding venue because they wanted a destination that was unique, reflected their love of native New Zealand and yet was still central, being just 40 minutes from Taupo, right in the middle of the North Island.

"The venue itself was absolutely gorgeous, but it was great too that we could have reception, ceremony, and accommodation all in one spot so we had all of our friends and family with us for the full three days," explains Bailey.

Andrew and I had full creative license to take the newlyweds wherever we wanted for our creative session, which is how we most love to shoot. The historic 120-year-old Tokaanu Wharf (the longest freshwater wharf in New Zealand at 260m long) was a white-out only an hour before we got there, but it miraculously cleared leaving still waters to reflect the moody skies above. Pukawa village is tucked away not far from the wharf and has a beautiful little beach, fringed by lush native New Zealand bush. Oh my, what a treat, and with the gorgeous Bailey and James centre-stage we were just so happy to be there enjoying it with them.

"The creative session was a great time to just be with our best friends and relax for a bit in between ceremony and reception and the perfect way to have some alone time with James to discuss the day and how much we loved it. We both absolutely loved the places we got taken to, especially the bush as that will remind us of home the most," says Bailey.

Bailey says the most special part of the day was sharing with their guests five things they love about each other during the ceremony.

"The fact neither of us had any idea what the other had written made it so much more special, and to see that a lot of the things we each wrote was the same as the other really showed how much we love each other and why we were getting married."

From The Murphy's to us: "Thank you so much for an amazing day! James and I had so much fun with you and Andrew, and all of our bridal party and guests have gone on about how good you both were!"

From us to The Murphys: Right back atcha with the thanks. You guys made it so easy for us to shoot candidly by forgetting we were there and remembering our 'little love talk' about being in the moment with each other and talking only about things that really make you smile.


Photographers: Eva Bradley & Andrew Caldwell

Venue: Oreti Village Resort, Pukawa, Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Dress: Justin Alexander, from Hobnob Bridal, Perth

Suits: Hallensteins

Bridesmaids dresses: Twobirds Bridesmaids

Hair & Makeup: Cremebrulee Hair and Beauty, Taupo

Flowers: XOX Floral, Taupo

Cake: Shelley Murphy (James’ clever mum)

Celebrant: Christina Venville