Tina and Nick – Wild Tropical Elopement Taveuni

“Marriage means that Nick and I are a true unit. Our commitment between us (and our daughter) is solidified and we’re there to take everything together–even the difficult moments. You have to take the bitter with the sweet!”

We’ve been dreaming of a wedding like this for a long long time, because nothing says OTBP more than a wild tropical elopement with lush green vegetation, ocean views finished off with an adventure to thundering waterfalls! Taveuni was always going to be a challenge for us to organise but we were so glad that we were able to team up once again with Natasha and our family from The Remote Resort (where Tina and Nick were staying) who not only connected us to the spokesperson from Lavena Village but also provided flowers and a headpiece including having the lovely ‘Vilisi’ accompany and assist us on the day!

It takes an adventurous and daring couple to break away from the idea of a “traditional wedding” and opt to elope instead, and for Tina and Nick (both software engineers from Southern California) one of the main reasons was the idea of a stress free wedding with the focus being about their intimacy which a big wedding often doesn’t allow. An elopement ensured the freedom and tranquility to live in the moment and Fiji fit the bill for them especially as neither Tina or Nick had been before.

For her dress, Tina says she was so undecided that she actually bought several dresses online from BHLDN and got one fitted last minute! She wanted something simple that felt a bit “beach-y” to match the rustic wedding venue.

Speaking of wedding venues, what stood out for us was that Tina and Nick wanted something Organic and Raw for their wild tropical elopement, this was a couple after our own hearts whose preference was for ‘Nature to provide’ so that nothing needed to be cut down or cleared out. So for the setup we collected driftwood bamboo and old palm tree fronds were used to line the walkway. This was keeping it real!

When we asked Tina and Nick what some of the fun and memorable moments from the day were, this was their reply..“Besides the actual ceremony? Haha.. I guess it would be the journey to the waterfall by boat – beautiful scenery and lots of bonus waterfalls to see on the way. Having to wait for the perfect moment to enter/exit the bottom of the falls via boat was a thrill too! Fun memories would have to be Right after we finished getting ready, we stepped out of our villa and started walking down the jetty to the boat, it started raining–as soon as we stepped onto the boat, the rain stopped! 2. After we both said “I do” and kissed, we heard clapping and turned around to see several locals sitting on the beach and enjoying the show.”

Their journey to arrive at this particular moment in time, we believe was expressed through the type of wedding they choose to have. To Elope away from it all, just them and the elements, making promises, celebrating the past, the present and their collective futures. The adventure to the waterfalls and then jumping off (keep scrolling) for us this was so symbolic of them, taking on whatever life throws at them and their daughter, pushing forwards come whatever as long they stood together x

Their advice for couples looking to elopement is “Make it easy! It’s the whole point. Our wedding day was effortless, adventurous, fun beautiful and unforgettable!”

If you are up for a wild tropical Elopement like this or if you’re interested in a couples Adventure session in Taveuni then get in touch via the contact page and we’ll hook you up.

Wedding Venue: Lavena Coastal Walk
Wedding Bands + Engagement Ring: Eliopulos jewelers
Dress: BHLDN
Accessories: Flowers crown provided by The Remote Resort
Hair & Makeup: Bride
Flowers: The Remote Resort

“California Wedding Photographer – Arrowhead Pine Rose cabins – Audrey & Eddie”

We first got to meet Audrey and Eddie here in Fiji last year when they were guests at Ally and Sid’s wedding that we captured at the intercontinental. Words can’t describe how grateful we are to Ally and Sid, as this brief encounter laid the foundations for friendships and memories that will last forever!

The next thing we know we’re booking flights to California to shoot our first wedding in America. It was an absolutely INSANE adventure which included a road trip, where we got to capture this stunning couple in places like Joshua Tree National Park and Borrego Springs. But for now kickback and enjoy these high school sweethearts and their Twin Peaks Mountain wedding at Pine Rose Cabins.
Chapter One: A foundation called ‘US’

‘Marriage to us means an everlasting and life-long friendship and partnership that requires a great deal of communication, work, trust, support and sacrifice. Marriage to us means being able to swallow our pride and be able to always fight for the other person, and for US. It’s about making the big and little sacrifices for the other person, like saving the last slice of pizza to cooking a meal for that person even if you’re coming home from a long day of work to choosing to celebrate a special holiday with the other person’s side of the family versus yours. It’s about having fun and making each other laugh, and not being so serious all the time. It’s not just about celebrating and acknowledging each other’s accomplishments, but loving them all the more for their failures and shortcomings. It’s about respecting and loving one another mentally, physically, and emotionally throughout all obstacles. It’s about being spontaneous, embarking on new adventures and trying new things together. It’s providing guidance and counsel for each other and together as a whole to improve, grow and succeed. It’s about having a strong community and never forgetting to love, grow and spend time with family, friends and loved ones.’ How stunning is this location? When we asked Audrey and Eddie how they ended up choosing Pine Rose this was their response ‘It was an easy decision for us to get married at Pine Rose. We actually booked the venue and date before visiting the actual venue. We stumbled across many amazing photos of previous weddings held at this venue, and we instantly fell in love with it. This was the only venue we visited in person, that’s how sure we were about getting married at that venue.’

Audrey also put her creativity into action by DIY’ing the welcome sign, the table seating arrangement window pane sign, the bridal party sign, the party favors (olive oil bottles w/ a stem of rosemary), the bar menu mirror sign, and the wax paper funnel backdrop behind the altar and sweetheart table, with such a stunning outcome adding to the seamless flow of the style on the day.
Audrey wore the Tara Lauren’s Harlow gown dress with the ivory slip dress. The dress has a paisley Victorian lace pattern. The sleeves had a mesh material, which provided more contrast with the lace detailing. The overall style of the dress is a A-line fit and flare style. The neckline is V-neck, sleeves were slightly off the shoulder, and the back had a mid to low plunging open back style. The slip came in a ivory or nude color option. She decided to go for the ivory shade to make the dress look slightly more bridal.It took 2 months for Audrey to find and decide on the dress. Audrey had visited 5-6 bridal shops, but revisited 2 shops. Audrey had an overall good experience with dress shopping, encountering different styles and selections when she shopped at the orange county versus Los Angeles location, eventually finding her dream gown in a small bridal boutique shop in Los Angeles. 
Audrey walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol (rendition was by Vitamin string quartet; Snow Patrol’s album 2003 final straw album was Eddie’s first gift given to Audrey for Christmas. Our first dance song, “Yellow” by Coldplay, was performed by Eddie’s best man, Joseph Aceves (guitar and vocal). When we asked what their favourite moment of the day was for Audrey it was seeing Eddie while walking down the aisle; and for Eddie it was seeing Audrey walk down the aisle; reading and listening to each other’s vows!
Their advice couples who are about to get married is to enjoy the planning process! ‘It can be stressful at times, I mean, I’ve never heard of a couple not being stressed out while planning a wedding. However, it’s important to embrace and enjoy the process. The journey is just as important as the outcome or destination! It’s important to remind yourself what’s most important- you being wed to the person you love! It’s important to seize every opportunity that comes your way, and treat every day as if it were to be your last one. Carpe diem is something we always remind ourselves. Finally, don’t forget to stay positive and say positive comments to others who are part of your wedding! Typically it’s others who drown you with compliments and positivity, but don’t forget to reciprocate and be positive toward others, whether it’s your vendors, coordinator, friends, or family members.’

‘We are extremely grateful and pleased that we had the opportunity to spend quality time with our wedding photographers (Ropate and Gitte) the week leading up to our wedding. It’s rare for couples to take a little getaway trip a week before the big day, and we are so incredibly grateful that we experienced that! We both had the opportunity to visit several locations for our “Off the Beaten Path” photo sessions, which included Joshua Tree, Borrego Springs, and Laguna Beach. These were places that held a special place in our hearts, places where we fell more in love with each other. We appreciated the fact that we were able to get away from everything for awhile and just focus on spending quality time with each other without the outside pressures of work, wedding planning and other responsibilities.’ 

California wedding photographer

Wedding Venue: Pine Rose Cabins in Twin Peaks (Lake Arrowhead, California)
Reception Venue: 
Pine Rose Cabins in Twin Peaks 
Wedding Coordinator:
Lynda Moudy provided by Pine Rose Cabins.
Wedding Stylist:
Lynda Moudy
Melody Campbell provided by Pine Rose Cabins
Wedding Bands + Engagement Ring:
Harry’s Jeweler
TARA LAUREN’S “Harlow Gown
Steve Madden’s lace-up low heels
earrings- Francesca’s; floral hair piece- baby’s breath with eucalyptus leaves provided by Dee Seals from Jasmine Rose
Hair & Makeup: 
Sharon Park
Dee Seals from Jasmine Rose (Ontario, California)

Accessories (watch, cufflinks, (bow)tie, socks, shoes, suspenders): 
tie- J. Crew; shoes- Banana Republic; Socks- J. Crew; Sunglasses- Woody’s; tie clip- The Tie Bar; watch- Invicta Collection (gift from a close friend)
Groomsmen’s and page boys attire: Green and blue plaid bowties from The Tie Bar, suspenders from The Tie Bar; white button down shirt, navy blue chino pants
Groomsmen gifts: Suspender, bowtie, customized tote bag, and pair of socks.
Cake + flavour of Cake: 
Niki’s Custom Cakes; vanilla cake with batter and frosting infused with strawberry and blueberry fruit; style of cake- barely frosted
DJ or outsourced entertainment:

“Shanghai Wedding Photographer – Bookstore Wedding – Lafite and Bo”

It’s kinda hard to put into words the whole experience of travelling to mainland China and capturing a couple who we initially got to meet in Fiji during their pre wedding OTBP session, which you can checkout here . As you may (or may not) already know, we are intrigued by different cultures and so when the opportunity arose to travel to see another part of the world through the eyes of locals about to tie the knot it was an irresistible draw, and one that has left a warm impression on our hearts. This is Lafite and Bo’s story: Together for 3 years, engaged for 10 months and with nothing but infectious love for each other in-between! These were such a cool and quirky couple who chose an non traditional setting in the form of a bookstore aptly called ‘Long time no read’ for their wedding ceremony location (another first for us) and had their cute fur baby Pug ‘Wasabi’ walk down the isle with Bo, not to mention a first dance that was ‘strictly come dancing’ worthy and an eye opener after party that took place in a Karaoke bar!! Leaving us pleasantly culture shocked. Enjoy

Chapter One: The evening before – introduction to rice wine

You ever get that feeling when you walk into a party and you have no idea where the night is going to lead you but it ends up being the best night ever? This was one of those moments. Pre wedding drinks the night before the wedding where the families got to meet one another to eat and drink and drink some more. We were introduced to both sides of the family and their Uni friends from S.Korea who had come over to celebrate this union. This was an education in rice wine, which is absolutely lethal ha ha But it never stopped coming. If someone wanted to ‘cheers’  the couple, then they would pour out the rice wine into tiny nip size glasses for everyone to drink and partake! With a cheer of “Gānbēi” you downed the shot, and so every guest there was a Gānbēi waiting to be called, and shot ready to be downed. It was a tradition that I could easily have done without but fully embraced it on the day!

Chapter Two: The Wedding day

We’d pre scouted the location the day before just to familiarise ourselves with the layout and its surroundings, although to be fair we had already fallen in love with the location just through it’s name :) Lafite was friends with the bookstore owner which made this story so much more special and they went out of their way to accommodate for Lafite’s dream wedding. Lafite chose a two piece Vera Wang outfit, but as she wasn’t too keen on the top she actually ended up designing the top herself from lace she bought from the local market and had a local tailor do the fitting, all in all it took about half a year to complete after a few refits. And the DIYing didn’t end there, as they did all the styling themselves with the help of their friends at the bookstore, Lafite saying that they didn’t want to leave anything to regret by getting outside vendors or “professionals” to runaway with their vision! And they absolutely killed it in style!

As Lafite was getting ready in the bookstore, somewhere on the other side of town Bo and his entourage were having lunch (dang these guys can eat), leaving enough time for a little nap in-between, the effects of the rice wine I presumed kicking in, unless it was just another wise old Chinese tradition…the quiet before the chaos! ha ha

Needless to say the boys made it to the ceremony in good time.  I suppose our surprise at how amazing the bookstore was styled really showed our ignorance and how little we knew about how advanced and aware the Chinese are. Which is the beauty about traveling, seeing, meeting and tasting the culture first hand. We were blown away.

Chapter Three: Urban OTBP

We took them to the Bund for their post ceremony portraits. It’s always a bit tricky when it comes to different cultures and different places as you never really know what is and what isn’t permissible…for example ‘taking photos of military personnel’ a definite no no ha ha And we found out the hard way that going to the bund for photos was trending and has been since like forever, so we counted about up to 10 other wedding / pre weddings / post wedding sessions taking place, not to mention it was a weekend so the bund was rammed with people from all over which we think made for really interesting photos in showcasing the real essence of urban Shanghai and it’s draw.

Chapter Four: The Reception & Afterparty

The Reception venue much like the Bookstore was such a cool spot. Kathleen’s Waitan Restaurant is one of those places that you’d easily walk straight past, like you would only know ‘if you knew’ that beyond the understated basic entrance and wheelie bins positioned to the left of the building that a few flights up that it would open on to one of the most spectacular views of the Huangpu River looking onto the spectacular skyline of Pudong which has featured in blockbusters like James bond ‘Skyfall’ and even ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ amongst many others, so being the movie buffs that we are we were in awe!

This was a great party involving loads more Rice wine and food…Not that we were complaining!

The afterparty concluded at KTV Karaoke bar by which time everyone had entered beast mode ha ha.

If you’re getting married in Mainland China, let us know we’re already looking froward to going back :)

Thank you Lafite and Bo for having us and we wish you all the best in your adventures together as a married couple x

Shanghai wedding photographer

Wedding Venue: Long Time No Read– A book store in Shanghai

Wedding Bands + Engagement Ring: Chaumet + tailor-made

Dress: White by Vera Wang (Dress) + Self designed and tailor-made lace top

Veil/headpiece: Shinemoda – Chinese tailor-made brand

Lingerie: Gift from aunt

Shoes: Sophia Webster

Accessories: Pearl necklace and earring gifts from Mum and friend

Hair & Makeup: Moco in Shanghai

Flowers: Made by the bookstore events team

Suit: Tailor-made by Labarca Bespoke Suit

Accessories: watch by Glashuette, shoe by Labarca

Reception Venue: Kathleens Waitan 

Tropical Wedding Fiji – Esther and Iliesa

This has been a long time coming, 9 years in total…plus everything in between. We’ve known Esther for a number of years and we remember those days when we’d ‘joke’ about her future husband (like..where was he already) and what their lives together would look like! And so to arrive at a point where the dream was now a reality and not only that but to be able to capture that moment (as well as spectacular OTBP session at Iliesa’s village on the Island of Naqara, that included a shipwreck) filled us with an overwhelming sense of ‘heck yeah, this is happening!’

As you can imagine, 9 years gives a girl a lot of time to plan and pour her dreams into her wedding day :) And Esther, who has such a keen eye for detail, pulled out all the stops! From designing their own save the date cards, invites, and ceremony programs, to pulling together a talented crew lead by Ela and Tui Ledua to style their reception.

When we asked them what marriage meant to them, they quoted from Wendy Treat, “Marriage is not a noun, it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your spouse everyday!”…’It’s so true as humans we can get selfish at times but when you’re married, you’ve got to put that aside, look out for each other and cheer each other on, no matter what life throws at you. That’s what marriage means to us.’

We fell head over heels in love with Esther’s dress, gosh who wouldn’t! So we couldn’t wait to hear more about it: ‘To be honest, the dress experience was a bit hectic at first because I was a very indecisive bride-to-be. By August I had no idea what I wanted, and I was getting married in 4 months time!

Thankfully my sister suggested re-using our mum’s wedding dress, an off-white French lace dress she wore 30 years ago. It was perfect because for one, I am a very sentimental person and secondly, it gave me an idea to go with a vintage style.

I got in contact with Hupfeld Hoerder around mid August. Once I sat down and discussed the design with Huppy I felt at ease and a bonus was that we both love vintage designs.

The top part of my dress particularly the sleeve was a design I had seen on Kama Catch Me’s Pinterest page. Huppy incorporated a piece of the lace from mum’s dress for the top half and the bottom part was Huppy’s hand-printed designs. The end result exceeded my expectations and overall it was a lovely experience!’

Iliesa recalls his favourite moment seeing Esther walk down the aisle, memories flashing before him and knowing that this moment had finally arrived. For Esther, her ‘stand out’ moment was during their first dance…’Every time I hear our song “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke, it brings back good memories.’

‘The Best is yet to come’ x

A few days after…

Any mentions you’s like to make: ‘We would like to thank Kama Catch Me Photography (your team made us feel at ease during the photo sessions and the bouquets and headpieces by Gitte were absolutely beautiful). Tui & Ela Ledua, this couple are our very dear friends and only style weddings for close family and friends, they did an amazing job styling our reception venue and definitely went above and beyond, as you’ll see from the pictures.’


Wedding Venue: Wesley City Mission Church

Reception Venue: Lagoon Resort, Pacific Harbour 

Wedding Coordinator: Esther & Iliesa

Wedding Stylist: Ceremony- Neomai Katonivualiku / Reception – Tui & Ela Ledua

Celebrant: Reverend Immanuel Reuben

Wedding Bands + Engagement Ring: Mansukh Jewellers (Wedding bands) / Jewels Fiji (Engagement ring)

Dress/s: Hupfeld Hoerder

Veil/headpiece: Veil- Grace Loves Lace / Flower crowns- Gitte Kama (Kama Catch Me)

Shoes: NOVO

Accessories: Lovisa

Hair & Makeup: Alipate Ubitau (Hair) / Katarina Uluibau (Makeup)

Flowers: Gitte Kama (Kama Catch Me)

Bridesmaids:  Hupfeld Hoerder

Accessories (shoes, jewellery, …):

-Bridesmaids wore their own/borrowed shoes as long as it was red heels.

-Earrings: Lovisa, Australia

Bridesmaids gifts:

-Lavalava(sulu’s) & frangipani’s – Pacific Jewell, Samoa

-Fans (iri) – Asenaca Lesu of Daku Village, Tailevu.

Robes: Lavalava (sulu’s) – Pacific Jewell, Samoa

Groom and Groomsmen: Shirt – Jacks, Fiji / Pants – S. Nagindas, Fiji.


Page boy shirt & pants – JenHen, Fiji.

Page boy’s suspenders – Kmart. JenHen, customised by sewing Hupfeld Hoerder’s material onto suspenders to match the bridesmaids dresses.

-Page boy’s shoes- Deluxe kids, Fiji

Groomsmen gifts:

-Lavalava (sulu’s) – Pacific Jewell, Samoa

-Fans (iri) – Asenaca Lesu of Daku Village, Tailevu.

Cake: Taste Fiji

DJ or outsourced entertainment: Police Band & DJ Sekove Tukana

“Highlights 2016”

We don’t know about you but 2016 has been an amazing and eventful year for us! Although the year started off rough with Gitte fracturing her elbow in April (and sidelining her for the rest of the year), the injury however gave way to the induction of ‘Faith Yolanta’ into our lives sparking the start of a new chapter and friendship of which we’re so grateful for :)

This is the year that was 2016! There’s so much more that we would have liked to include in our highlights and it was always going to be a difficult task to select our favourite moments.

So this collection is a mash up of Weddings, ‘Off The Beaten Path’ adventures, location scouts, countries, cultures, couples, memories and all the good vibes in-between that have brought us fully fired up into 2017.

We are so grateful and truly honoured at the opportunity to capture so many amazing and adventurous couples, without you none of this would be possible so thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Now come celebrate with us.

Here’s to you guys.

From Ropate, Gitte and Faith

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