Milford Sound Elopement Wedding, Alice + Adam
Although it’s very difficult to cross every finger and toe for luck I definitely gave it a go for Adam and Alice. They told me that they had left a snow storm back home in the States so when I saw the first rays of sunlight dance across the mountain tops in Manapouri I knew we were in for a perfect day. I finished my mug of hot tea and listened as the dawn woke the birds, natures alarm clock signalling to me that it was time to go.
I shut the door of the little cabin in Manapouri and made my way to the car, the crisp chill in the early morning Spring air shook the last of the sleep from me and I turned the car towards Te Anau. I was meeting Alice and Adam at 7am and we were heading in to one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, Milford Sound.
The spring weather had been wet and rainy for the past few days but today was calm and clear. Alice told me that they had been chasing waterfalls throughout New Zealand and I couldn’t wait to see their faces when we got to our last photography destination, I hoped the recent bad weather would have fed the already massive waterfall.
I pulled up to their Airbnb and Adams big smile immediately greeted me. I love chatting with my couples in the car usually but today we were driving separately so that Alice and Adam could stay on in Milford and enjoy a cruise into the Sound after the shoot. Adam stepped aside and after weeks of instagram messaging I finally met Alice. Her vibrant hair was as stunning as her dress and I could not wait to start photographing her. She had finished off her look with a flower crown, very fitting for the beautiful nature setting that we were heading towards.
Our mini convoy set off and I tried to remember what it felt like to be seeing the gorgeous Milford scenery for the first time. Adam told me that where they lived in the States was all flat land so they would travel to Colorado to hike and to just be in the mountains. I knew they must be loving the New Zealand mountains all around, lush greenery on every side and hidden waterfalls high up for those with a keen eye. The truth is that it doesn’t matter how many times you drive this road, it blows you away with its beauty every single time.
Our first stop was Eglinton Valley. Our early morning start meant that we had the place to ourselves. Time seemed to be frozen here, the sun was on the mountains in the distance but the frost still clung to the grass and Adam and Alice looked almost ethereal, caught in that magical moment between night and day.
Our next stop was higher up at a view point just off the road. Some tourists were just pulling out and they had huge smiles on their faces when they saw Alice in her wedding dress, congratulations were given and the New Zealand hospitality put even bigger smiles on all of our faces.
After parking in the main Milford car park we all immediately took part in the age old ritual of putting on sandfly spray. The Milford sandflies are pesky little bugs that you do not want to underestimate! Sufficiently covered in spray we chatted as we walked to the boat terminal. Once again our early start paid off and we had the boat, and therefore the waterfall, all to ourselves.
A quick trip over the water was all it took and we stepped off the boat into a lush green forest. Huge ferns towered over us and a koru the size of a fist caught my eye. The sound of the waterfall got louder and louder as we made our way along the forest path. We emerged from the trees and immediately tilted our heads backwards to take in the full height of the majestic Bowen falls 162 metres above us. The water cascaded down over the mountain so perfectly that it resembled a delicate white silk curtain, the wind blowing it here and there and sending the refreshing spray our way while making rainbows in the air as the sun reached for it.
Alice and Adam had already had their wedding ceremony at home in Illinois but they had saved their vows to read to each other under a waterfall in New Zealand. I stepped back to give them some privacy for this special moment. I captured their love from afar, a delicate kiss at the end letting me know that their vows were done and I could rejoin my new friends. We took more photos with the famous Mitre Peak in the background and then it was time to go.
Adam held Alice’s hand and helped her over the uneven ground as we made our way back to the path and to the real world again. Thanks to the waterfall, we were all a little bit damper and a lot smilier on our walk back. The energy of the water had invigorated us all and Adam and Alice were excited for their cruise while I felt more energised than if I had had 5 coffees. The skipper wasn’t in a rush to get the boat back and we enjoyed the view of the waterfall from further back now.
Congratulations again Adam and Alice, the waterfall really was the perfect place to capture your love for each other. Powerful, eternal and yet delicate and beautiful at the same time.