Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View WPJA photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope | Choose love, not fear!

St. Christophers Church, Christchurch, New Zealand Elopement Photo Story Award

Christchurch, New Zealand wedding image of The bride still in the limo looking at the reflected groom

St. Christophers Church, Christchurch, New Zealand Elopement Photographer | The bride is still in the limo looking at the reflected groom

Leaving the church glowing with excitement to finally be married!

On March 23, 2020, at 1 pm, Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand would be moving into a level 4 lockdown situation to curb the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown was a strict shelter-in-place. No one was to leave their homes for any reason other than medical and food provisions. Driving out of the area was prohibited and set to continue for at least one month with extensions not only possible but likely.

Raoul and Ariana had their wedding date set for April 11 and had already changed plans multiple times to fit in with the changing COVID-19 regulations but this would make their wedding impossible. So, with less than 60 hours until the full lockdown came into effect, they decided to drop everything and just get married! The biggest hurdle was involving their extended family. Both the bride and groom's parents do not live locally and had to travel to Christchurch for the wedding. Raoul's parents and sister left in the middle of the night and drove for 7 hours overnight to arrive in Christchurch on the morning of March 24. 

Raoul and Ariana were married on March 24 at St. Christopher's Church in Christchurch with their wedding party, parents, and siblings in attendance. Ariana got ready at her bridesmaid's house and there wasn't a lot of time or space to prepare. The best light was in the laundry room! Regardless, we had a whole 'load' of fun.

Usually, they would have packed the church with guests but the mood was still joyful and emotional. With the bridal party standing at a one-meter distance from each other and hand sanitizer available for everyone it was a memorable occasion. They finished with a low key BBQ and plan to hold a larger celebration at a later date. Both extended families had to leave soon after for the long return trips to ensure that they would be able to reach their homes before the lockdown started on March 25.

The best part of this? Being able to spend the 2-month New Zealand lockdown together as husband and wife and a great story to tell any future grandkids. 

Burnside, Christchurch, New Zealand wedding day image showing the bride's makeup being done by a friend

Burnside, Christchurch, New Zealand Elopement Photography | bride's makeup was done by a close friend

With no time to make adequate preparations, we all made the best of the situation and got to work preparing the bride! Makeup was done by a close friend.

Christchurch, New Zealand wedding photography of the fastening of the bodice underneath the train

Christchurch, New Zealand Elopement Photos | This was part of fastening the bodice underneath the train

There wasn't a lot of available light and the room with the most light and space was the laundry room! I don't usually photograph the bride in a laundry room ;) But we had a lot of laughs. This was part of fastening the bodice underneath the train.

NZ Church Ceremony wedding photo of The bride and her father walking down the aisle to a beaming groom

St. Christophers Church Ceremony Image from Christchurch, New Zealand | The bride and her father walk down the aisle to a beaming groom

The bride and her father walk down the aisle to a beaming groom. The bridal party are spaced apart to attempt to keep social distancing guidelines in place.

St. Christophers Church wedding image from Christchurch, New Zealand showing that the lockdown can be legally celebrated together

St. Christophers Church Elopement Ceremony Photo at Christchurch, New Zealand | the New Zealand lockdown can be legally celebrated together as husband and wife

Finally married! Signing the marriage register so that the New Zealand lockdown can be legally celebrated together as husband and wife.

NZ Church wedding Ceremony image of the bride and groom walking out in Christchurch, New Zealand

Church Elopement Ceremony Picture from Christchurch, New Zealand | Leaving the church is strange with so many empty seats

Leaving the church is strange with so many empty seats. In normal circumstances, these two would have packed out the building!

New Zealand wedding image of the Father of the bride immensely proud of his radiant daughter

Christchurch, New Zealand Elopement Reception Photo | Father of the bride is immensely proud of his radiant daughter

Father of the bride is immensely proud of his radiant daughter as they share a moment together after the wedding ceremony.

Christchurch wedding rings Detail Image with hands and arms

Christchurch, NZ Elopement Detail Image | Rings, hands and arms detail photo

We can see the groom's details, his ring, and his bullet cufflinks, which are quite fun and appropriate being from a farming family, but the hands in this image speak of care and provision. Especially at a time when everyone is being told not to touch, to keep hands away and to withdraw, this image speaks of intentional connection that needs to be maintained, even during the difficult times.

NZ wedding image of three siblings that have shared a lot together over the years

NZ Elopement Photographer | These three have shared a lot together over the years

The sibling shennanigans. These three have shared a lot together over the years. They have moved around and lived in different countries maintaining a close sibling bond.