Natalia & Andy's nod to tradition at St Matthew's Church & Sileni Winery


These days thanks to the beautiful but relatively new tradition of getting hitched in the great outdoors, we don’t get to document many church weddings. That made Natalia and Andy’s day a real treat for us, as there is a sense of ceremony, history and spiritual significance that comes from exchanging vows in a church. With a cathedral-length veil, morning suits and a long row of little attendants to lead the way, the ceremony almost had the feel of a royal wedding…and who doesn’t like a bit of that?!

St Matthew’s Anglican Church on King Street is one of the oldest buildings in Hastings. A unique and confident mix of styles, the wooden nave was built in 1886 and a large concrete addition was completed in 1915. A major rebuild after the 1931 earthquake has seen it into the 21st century. Natalia has been a familiar face at the church since she was a little girl and moved here from Kazakstan, so the space held special personal significance. I especially loved that despite having two devoted step-dads, it was her extremely proud step-grandfather who had always been promised the role of giving her away when the time came.

Andrew and I really enjoyed documenting some of the traditional Kazakstan cultural elements woven into the day, including throwing rice and coins as the couple left the church and judging who would be the boss of the marriage by who could take the biggest bite from a home-baked loaf of bread. The melting pot of cultures is something we are all especially proud of here in New Zealand right now and weddings are often one of the few times we get to see a glimpse into a friend’s cultural history.

After a creative session in the dry, sun-bleached landscape of late summer in Hawke’s Bay, we joined Natalia and Andy’s friends and family at Sileni Estate Winery, located in the heart of Hawke’s Bay wine country.

Natalia’s dress from RSVP Couture, Hastings / Makeup by Steph Viatos / Flowers and hair by friends & family.