Lake Tekapo, South Island of New Zealand Elopement Photo Story Award

Bride and groom have first kiss during adventure wedding ceremony by a lake near lupine flowers

Bride and groom sharing first kiss in front of a lake near blue and purple lupine flowers

The couple shares their first kiss as husband and wife in front of Lake Tekapo, surrounded by blue and purple lupine flowers.

Renae and Paul's adventure elopement in New Zealand started off on the wrong foot - with a missed flight and then when they arrived, their luggage didn't.  Despite only having their elopement clothes with them, they forged ahead with their elopement plans. They got ready in their campervan on the shore of Lake Tekapo; only one of the most beautiful turquoise lakes in the world. Together they walked along the shoreline of Lake Tekapo to find the perfect elopement ceremony spot in the Lupines. The intimacy of their elopement ceremony was very special to them. Each of them wiping away a few tears as they declared their love for each other and exchanged rings.

After they sealed their marraige with a kiss, we headed to the nearby town of Mt. Cook to begin a half day hike up Hooker Valley. It was foggy and rainy, but this didn't dampen any spirits. The umbrellas helped, and then Renae bunched her dress up under her sweater like a Pillsbury dough boy and hilarity ensued. They created a secret handshake in the rain. Playing a song on a phone, they held each other close for a romantic first dance in front of the iceberg-filled glacial lake. And then they absolutely just goofed off! Putting their fingers in each other’s noses, climbing up rock piles, and Renae picked up Paul like it was nothing. We also braved the thundering Stirling Falls, a huge waterfall that tumbles directly into Milford Sound, a fjord on the west coast of South Island. We returned to Lake Tekapo after dinner for some stargazing, which the region is famous for.

At Fiordland National Park, a wedding detail image of bride and groom rings on forest floor in New Zealand

Fiordland National Park wedding detail image of rings on wooden box

The couple's rings and ring box on the green mossy forest floor with the shadow of a fern over the top. The silver fern is the symbol of New Zealand, where the elopement took place.

During an outdoor wedding ceremony at Lake Tekapo, the bride and groom vow exchange

The bride is emotional while reading vows to groom - she wrote them that morning

Renae becomes emotional while declaring her vows to Paul that she wrote that morning. on the shore of Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. They chose to elope at this lake because of its gorgeous turquoise color.

At New Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt. Aoraki, the bride and groom hike a bridge in the rain

Bride and groom hike a bridge in foggy conditions at base of New Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt. Aoraki

The couple braves the foggy and rainy conditions to hike to the base of New Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt. Aoraki. Umbrellas came in handy as they crossed this large swing bridge over the glacial river.

Bride and groom picture from Mt. Cook, New Zealand, of wedding dress packing for a mountain hike

In NZ, the groom holds umbrellas over bride and laughs

The bride stuffs her wedding dress up into her sweater to keep it from dragging on the ground in the rain. The groom holds their umbrellas over her while they both laugh.

In Milford Sound, New Zealand, wedding couple is crossing icy river in the mountains

In NZ, the couple holds each other and the dress up while crossing river

The couple holds each other and the dress up as they cross an icy river to get to the field of flowers on the far side.

At Milford Sound, NZ, bride and groom fight off sandflies with bug spray

At their NZ wedding, the groom puts bug spray on the bride

The groom liberally applies bug spray to the bride's waiting feet. The sandflies in this area of New Zealand are aggressive and bloodthirsty.

Image from a boat at Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, New Zealand, showing spray blowing wedding couples hair

Bride and groom on board a sightseeing tour boat at the waterfalls

On board a sightseeing tour boat, the newlyweds get up close to a the thundering Stirling Falls. Stirling falls plummets 495 feet from the valley above into the ocean fjord and the spray is blowing both their hair around.

Wedding ceremony image in NZ, Milford Sound, of bride and groom opening gifts from family and friends

The couple got married in New Zealand because they love mountains

The couple unwrapped a gift from their family and friends - a collection of well wishes and congratulations all bound together in a book. They chose to elope in New Zealand because they loved the idea of being surrounded by mountains.

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand wedding image of couple watching stars at night

Lake Tekapo has stargazing opportunities for couples getting married there

The couple wanted to watch the stars and look for meteors that night. Lake Tekapo is known for its stargazing opportunities since it is so remote.