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Why We Eloped

As a New Zealand wedding photographer based in Queenstown, I have seen my fair share of elopement-style weddings – these are the kinds of weddings that truly tug at my heartstrings and I have fallen in love with being a part of elopement weddings here in Queenstown. With incredible natural wonders aplenty, I feel most comfortable at an outdoor wedding and am able to provide a smorgasbord of stunning locations for your photography journey.

Capturing an elopement wedding means being a part of something that is extra meaningful between two people and being able to provide a professional service while having the privilege to be a part of a beautiful intimacy makes elopement weddings the highlight of my photography career.

I cast my mind back to my own wedding and I wish that I had made the decision to elope with my now-husband – my Mum put paid for that with an offer of flights to Vietnam for our honeymoon! The amount we spent on the wedding could have covered the trip…so elopement weddings have always held a special place in my heart, as I truly do believe it’s the most romantic style of wedding –

But do elopement couples ever have any regrets?

Do your best friends feel ripped off and do your Mum ever talk to you again?

I asked 5 of my previous elopement couples what elopement meant for them and if they would do anything differently:

Amber & Nathan

Perth, Australia

1. Tell us about your elopement wedding – and was anyone really put out? 

Do you mean like the reveal of our elopement to our friends and family?

No actually! No one was really put out, we actually had heaps of love from everyone (I think the majority were expecting this outcome with how long we’d been engaged!) and lots of validation that we’d done the right thing and done what was right for us which I think I really needed to hear deep down inside. I’m very grateful for everyone that was there to share our joy.


2. Why did you choose to elope?

We never pictured ourselves having a big traditional wedding. I personally struggle with social anxiety when hosting in large numbers, I become flustered, I can’t think straight, nerves are heightened and memories become a blur. So we needed to strip away all the pressures, anxieties, expectations and obligations so that we could authentically soak up all the little details of the experience.

I think everyone is different. Everyone’s story is different, everyone’s experiences are different and everyone’s social battery life is different. And that’s okay. Our story is just that… It’s our story and it’s not to minimise the experiences of all those who had absolutely stunning weddings with all their loved ones around to share it with.

For us, we had to do it our way because it was that or we’d just spend another 3 years stewing on it. Our ceremony was small, it was intimate, just me and my bestie, on a mountain, in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I’d do it all over again if I could.


3. Is there anything you would do differently, or any words of advice for those contemplating elopement? 

Probably just to get out of your head about it. No time is ever going to feel like the right time. We so easily become yes men in life trying to please everyone else and rarely think of ourselves. You know who you are, listen to your intuition. If the thought of hosting a big traditional wedding gives you hives, don’t do it!

It’s completely possible to have the best of both worlds. We still value our relationships with family and friends so we didn’t want to completely leave them in the dark. Hiring a videographer along with the photographer was 100% the best way about it. We surprised everyone with our family so they could virtually feel like they were there and feel all the emotions we felt on the day!

I think the definition of a wedding is slowly evolving as our cultures evolve. 100 years ago traditional weddings looked entirely different to what they look like today and in another 100 years’ time, it will again look different. With every little elopement, we’re paving the way and opening the door to the idea that a wedding can be whatever you want it to be. We’re throwing out ‘tradition’ and normalising ‘choice’.

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Emma & Geoff

Auckland, New Zealand

1. Tell us about your elopement wedding – and was anyone really put out?

Geoff and I got ready at Milbrook where we met Kate for some early morning sunrise shots. We then choppered up to some gorgeous locations in the mountains including a snow landing, alpine lake and waterfall. Our friends have commented that these photos were the best wedding photos they’d ever seen – particularly the snow landing. Our ceremony was back down on the ground near the river in Arrowtown where my parents were able to be involved as our witnesses. 

We were done with the “formalities” by lunchtime and headed off to Amisfield to celebrate with bubbles and oysters. It honestly was the most relaxing, spontaneous day. We fell in love with the place so much we bought a house and have moved down here 😊

No one was put out at all. The wedding day was about us and everyone understood that so we didn’t have any drama there at all. Helped we had a party after the day though to celebrate with family and friends – and give us another excuse to put on our glad rags. Who doesn’t want an excuse to wear their wedding dress twice 😉


2. Why did you choose to elope?

Geoff and I knew we wanted to elope as our getting married was an intimate day we wanted it to be just about us. Geoff is an avid skier and his whole life has planned holidays around the snow. For me, it was about doing something that wasn’t necessarily “traditional” and a day we’d never forget.

To this day we look back on the photos and video and can’t think of anything that could have made the day more special. When our friends get engaged we are the first to tell them about our day. 


3. Is there anything you would do differently, or any words of advice for those contemplating elopement? 

Nothing we would do differently. Our biggest advice is to find a local photographer who you connect with (we obviously can’t recommend Kate highly enough). Their local knowledge in terms of locations, and local vendors (hair, make-up, florist, restaurants etc.) means you really can have a stress-free experience and can just get lost in the excitement of the day. We managed to plan our whole day over a weekend as Kate had recommendations for every element we wanted to incorporate into our day. 

Jessica & Callum

Brisbane, Australia

1. Tell us about your elopement wedding – and was anyone really put out? 

Our elopement wedding was an amazing experience! We wanted to be pretty hands-off with planning, and basically just asked Kate to surprise us with locations. We had a long brunch morning and then spent time getting ready together whilst awaiting our deliveries of cake and flowers. Got picked up about lunchtime and whisked off to our ceremony and amazing photo locations. We went out afterwards for 3-course Italian in our full outfits which were super fun. Definitely recommend compliments on how well-dressed you are or free drinks from kind strangers.

We chose not to tell anyone until after the event and when we had all the photos to share. Most of the responses from family and friends were overwhelmingly positive. Lots of people said they wished that’s what they’d done themselves, or that it was very “us” – which showed how well they knew our personalities. There were a few people that were put out but honestly, that confirmed the decision to elope in the first place. If someone is going to cause drama or make someone else’s wedding about them – then the platform of a wedding could only amplify that. You shouldn’t feel miserable on your big day!


2. Why did you choose to elope?

There were lots of different factors – but number one is that it always just felt right. We wanted our ceremony to be personal and intimate, and not feel restrained or self-conscious in front of an audience. Getting to spend time with each other and out in nature. Not feeling rushed or like we didn’t get to spend time together. Less stress, planning and unsolicited opinions. Having big families that would have meant inviting a financially crippling amount of people. More money to spend on the Honeymoon. 


3. Is there anything you would do differently, or any words of advice for those contemplating elopement? 

If the idea of a traditional wedding makes you feel like an anxious mess, eloping is for you. Splurge on things that will make for great photos. Florals and pockets are good if you don’t know what to do with your hands. ​Wear comfortable shoes. 

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Sophie and Robbie

Queenstown, New Zealand

1: Tell us about your elopement wedding – and was anyone really put out? 

Our elopement was everything we dreamed of. From the moment I met Robbie I knew I wanted to marry him. I could just feel it and I don’t know if you believe in love at first sight but before this guy even opened his mouth, I knew he was the one for me, it’s weird, I can’t explain it. I just knew. 

We quietly decided that we would elope, wed alone, and then travel back to the UK to celebrate with our nearest and dearest. BAM. Covid 2020 and the whole world shut down, throwing our initial dates and plans out the window. Luckily for us, we didn’t have anything booked or planned. We just knew that at some point this year when it was safe to do so we wanted to get married. During our New Zealand four-week lockdown we floated the idea and thought about some dates. It wasn’t until we visited the high-country cabin straight after lockdown that we jumped straight back on air BnB and booked the first three consecutive nights.

The 17th-20th of October 2020, meaning the 16th of October would be our legal ceremony in Queenstown. We now had two dates, one to get legally married and one to elope to Mount Cook to say our vows to each other. Our family and friends were very, VERY supportive of our decision to Elope.


2: Why did you choose to elope?

We eloped for many reasons but the main reason for us was us. We have always lived a life of adventure and we wanted to incorporate this into the happiest day of our lives. We wanted the day to be about us two and no other distractions, we both wanted to soak up every second and not let the day disappear in a blur. Eloping was a beautiful thing. Our wedding day(s) were the happiest, most wonderful days of my life.

I remember walking in and seeing Robbie’s face and just wanting to hug him. I remember staring into his eyes and not letting go of his hands for the whole day. I remember every single second of our wedding day and it will be a memory that stays with me forever.


3: Is there anything you would do differently, or any words of advice for those contemplating elopement? 

Absolutely nothing, it was so perfect. Getting ready separately made it feel like a ‘traditional’ wedding. it was really nice to arrive at the venue separately and have Robbie see my walk down the aisle. My biggest piece of advice would be to allow some time in the morning or evening to check in with your loved ones, a quick facetime call will make them feel included and they can celebrate your love albeit from afar with you. Second and probably the best piece of advice is to GET GOOD VENDORS. These people will help bring your big day to life so having people you trust is key.

Don’t hesitate to elope. Your close ones will support your wishes and choices. Your marriage and love story should be one of unity and two people, don’t ever forget that.


Elopement Weddings are the ultimate adventure with your loved one – it can be an incredible way to start your life together with memories you will both treasure forever. If you still have some questions about elopement weddings and whether they are right for you, then check out this post for more inspiration.


Love, Kate xx