New Zealand Adventure Wedding, Mt. Cook, Queenstown | Adventure Elopement Photographer

NEW ZEALAND ELOPEMENT PHOTOS
Mt. Cook Aoraki National park
Queenstown, New Zealand

Adventure Wedding Photographer
Charleton Churchill

Jason and Heather’s New Zealand Adventure Wedding in Mt. Cook, Queenstown, and Glenorchy.

top mount cook new zealand wedding photos in Aoraki national park with heather & jason | Adventure Elopement photographer charleton churchill

 

ADVENTURE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN NEW ZEALAND STORY

Jason and Heather contacted me last year originally for a wedding in my local area of California where they booked a popular wedding venue, a top wedding planner, and the whole bit. Some time later, they called me and told me they were canceling the wedding. I was saddened to hear the news. However, they did say they wanted to still use me and plan an adventure wedding. There was no hesitation. I was ready.

Heather and Jason ultimately planned on New Zealand for their destination wedding adventure. Jason had a love for the Lord of the Rings movies and they both wanted something epic. While they both wanted some beautiful landscape photos capturing them married together with the jaw-dropping views, they expressed they didn’t have a huge interest in hiking mountains like my Mt. Everest wedding or the sixteen mile elopement hike in Montana we did last year with another couple. I understood.

FIRST DAY

I had photographed two couples while in New Zealand. Jason and Heather were my second couple. And while my first couple hiked everywhere, Heather and Jason got their adventure. On the first day, it was pouring, cold, and windy while we were hanging out at Mt. Cook National Park. I had hiked the previous day and explored the Aoraki mountains while it was good weather. After the first day of rain, the next day was sprinkling and the mountains were somewhat visible, but there remained a slight chance for photos. So, we decided let’s do it. Let’s capture some images regardless of the weather and make it work.

What happened next after getting dressed up was a series of brief escapes out of our heated car and into the rain to capture glimpses of them. Jumping back into the car to reheat and dry off, we would wait until the rain would slow to a mist and we’d be back outside for more. Jason and Heather worked hard for their photos and fortunately they booked me for the two day package and then some. Because of poor visibility, we weren’t able to capture much of the Mount Cook mountains. However, in the next few days we would be given beautiful weather in Queenstown where we finished our photos.

NEW ADVENTURE

I had some ideas and asked my couple if they were up for a challenge. I always like to try something different for each couple. I talked to our helicopter pilot with his input and he was game. We dropped them off at a high point where there was a cliff with wind blowing on both sides while they hunkered down. From this vantage point, we got the most incredible images. Our heli pilot said that my couple was brave (actually he said crazy). Originally Jason and Heather told me they didn’t want any crazy hiking adventures. The hilarious part is they attempted and executed something most couples wouldn’t do according to our heli pilot of twenty plus years. We could only get a few images because the wind was difficult.

As a result of this wedding adventure, I have to share that New Zealand has some of the most beautiful mountains to photograph. The southern Alps go for days. I would love to return to climb Mt. Cook or at least some of the mountains around the National Park area. There’s so much to discover. Jason and Heather picked an awesome destination for wedding photos. Congratulations to the both of them.

 

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Kirkwood Hope Valley Wedding | Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer

Hope Valley Wedding, Kirkwood, California
Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer

Camping and Outdoor Wedding Celebration
Photographer Charleton Churchill

 

hope valley wedding couple california

 

Hope Valley Campout Wedding

Hope Valley. Aaron and Jennifer wanted a rustic wilderness wedding. They are an easy going great couple. They wanted a unique location that reflected their love for the outdoors. Thus, the idea of renting out the entire campgrounds for a campout wedding in Hope Valley for close friends and family was created. Brilliant. No doubt, if I were to redo my wedding, this would be my plan. Hope Valley is a beautiful place in the Lake Tahoe area if you ever get a chance to visit.

 

Their Outdoor Wedding Story

They began at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California, getting ready for the day. This resort is one of the best skiing/snowboarding resorts with 22 summer mountain biking trails. Aaron and some of his groomsmen had worked on staff at Kirkwood, so the location was symbolic. But it also provided that rustic element to their wedding day. It was only a short time there before we left and toured with the wedding party to capture some images along the journey. Aaron and Jennifer decided to see each other before the ceremony. It was their chance to capture some images together along the way to Hope Valley, stopping at different locations along hwy 88, that didn’t require any hiking before exchanging vows.

Once we arrived to Hope Valley, tents were setup, wooden signs were hanging, table decorations were in place, and the rugged ceremony location was surrounded by creative chopped logs. The guys had been hard at work designing wooden benches, wooden signs, and wooden steps to cross the stream. Then looking into the meadow off in the distance, you can view the Tahoe mountains. Certainly, a gorgeous location for any wedding or an adventure elopement.

After the short ceremony, they went back and played games, horseshoes, and casually hung in pockets of conversation, drinking to their hearts content. Dinner was served, speeches were shared, and there was a night hike later that evening that I wasn’t able to attend. Finally, the night ended with roasting s’mores together around campfire.

In all, they had a pretty amazing wedding. Congratulations to Jennifer and Aaron.

Lodging Preparations: Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Ceremony: Hope Valley Campgrounds
Reception: Hope Valley
Photographer: Charleton Churchill

 

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WEDDINGS | ADVENTURE ELOPEMENTS | BASED NEAR LAKE TAHOE & YOSEMITE

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