Rarotongan Elopement | Cook Islands Wedding Photographer |

Steffi + Thomas adventures intrigue me so I asked some questions ... 

Why Rarotonga?  

It's a dream destination of ours and one of the few true paradises on this planet. We wanted to have a super relaxing and romantic private wedding day with pleasant weather and fantastic seafood. Also, Rarotonga is conveniently located for a stopover on a RTW trip.

Were you nervous choosing Raro as your wedding destination when you had never been here before?  We were not nervous at all. While planning our wedding out of Germany, we figured out just by exchanging emails that Raro's locals are very friendly, and that they have the wish to make our wedding day unforgettable. And that's how it was! 

How long had you been travelling before arriving on Raro carrying your wedding attire?  

We started our 6 months RTW trip on the 1st of April in Bolivia, followed by Peru, the US and Canada. After having travelled for 3.5 months we finally arrived at our wedding destination "Rarotonga". As Steffi celebrated her bachelorette party in Las Vegas, the girls brought the wedding attire from Germany. We only travelled with our wedding attire from Las Vegas to L.A. where we deposited it for a month. When we flew from Canada to Rarotonga, we had a stopover in L.A. and picked everything up. 

After our wedding, we continue our RTW trip for another 2.5 months. The question of how to get our wedding attire back to Germany was solved miraculously soon after we arrived on Rarotonga.

Did you worry about the weather being unpredictable?  Not at all, we thought it's the place with the highest probability of sunshine, especially around July.

What did you enjoy the most about Rarotonga?  What we love most is Raro's very relaxed and stress free atmosphere of a paradise island, while still providing the services that are required for a perfect wedding day. 

A funny story?  In the morning of our wedding day we went snorkelling in the lagoon and were so impressed by a spectacular underwater world that we totally forgot the time and almost were too late for having lunch. We had a quick burger at Vivi's and got ready for the wedding just in time.

An awkward moment?  While having lunch at Vivi's burger place Steffi was attacked by a very hungry hen who managed to conquer the top of the burger, which she then enjoyed with her chicks. That's probably a story which very few brides can say about their wedding day.. Haha. 

A romantic moment?  It was important to us to write our wedding vows individually. A very romantic moment for us was to read our vows to each other in front of the stunning Muri lagoon. 

Will you return for an anniversary?  Definitely! 

In particular, we would like to thank:

- John Whitta for being the most helpful and empathetic celebrant that we could have imagined

- Andrew Logan and his family of Little Oneroa villas.  The best location for an intimate wedding.

- Sarina Cummings for creating a bouquet which we could not have bought in Germany for no money in the world.

- Bianca Whittaker for making sure that Steffi's hair did not move in the wind. 

- Tim Tierney for creating a culinary journey through the Pacific Ocean, which by its own would already have made the wedding day unforgettable

- Wendy and Ash from New Zealand for helping with details and being our witnesses. 

And finally... we'd like to thank you Melanie, for taking beautiful pictures that will make sure that no details of this special day will ever fade away...

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Muri Beach Wedding | Rarotonga Photographer | Tracey + Ivan

"... I asked Ivan on our first "casual" date with friends and so it was only right that 8 years later I propose on leap day asking Ivan to marry me written in chocolate on a desert plate at dinner out in a small Italian restaurant. Ivan stared at the restaurant owner as if he was asking him the question until he said in an indignant tone "not me!! Her!!!".

We decided on a small intimate wedding that symbolised our relaxed approach to our relationship and lifestyle which was perfectly suited to Rarotonga. It was the most relaxed and fun family centred wedding day where we really didn't feel stressed at all being so well organised by our wedding planner Terina at Muri Beach Club Hotel. Caroline from The Salon made myself, Amber (daughter) and Tina (sister) look just beautiful! The food, surroundings and the staff were just fantastic and our very special guests were just so much fun! We loved our holiday and our special day...it just flew by!"

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Lake Tekapo Wedding | New Zealand Photographer | Rachael + Steve

Rachael + Steve’s love story is full of interesting twists and turns .. and then some more!  Let me launch straight into what is so hilariously ironic and another great story for Rachael + Steve to have a laugh over for many years to come … 

April 2014 Rachael + Steve flew over to Rarotonga to attend their friends wedding (Kia Orana Hayley and Dan) which I photographed.  At one point Rachael kindly offered to hold my flash, who would have thought a few years later I would be Rachael + Steve’s wedding photographer .. at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand - wOw.  

And then another WOW - a weather bomb hit the Canterbury region and it was recorded as the coldest New Zealand summer in 30 years.  Ouch. 

Steve’s family had travelled from a heat wave in Sydney so this was a real shock to their system. Despite the chill it was such a superb day ... the rain held off ... the wind not so much and there were lovely pockets of light and a hot cup of herbal tea to thaw Rachael out in one of the most breathtaking locations.  

THEN Rachael enters a “WORST SUMMER STORY” competition on the radio and ... they WIN … an ALL EXPENSES PAID TRIP TO RAROTONGA (where their wedding photographer lives - love it!).  Best of both worlds! 

Rachael : "Steve and I met after a year long set-up from our best friends before we eventually met in Vancouver, even though we were both living in London at the same time prior to this even going to the same house warming and we were both in South East Asia at the same time right before both of us moved to Canada but our paths never crossed!

After meeting at our friends birthday party, we were pretty much inseparable, and I moved into the Rugby Club House apartment not long after that! 

We traveled around Canada and America in our van chasing festivals and the summer! Then back packed around Central and South America for 8 months before living in Australia, and now finally settling and buying our own home in Auckland.

Our wedding was in the beautiful South Island at Lake Tekapo, a place we travelled to on Steve’s first trip travelling around New Zealand. We were both amazed at the beautiful scenery and how much it looked like Canada that when we got engaged we knew we had to get married there and although we chose a very safe summer January date unfortunately it was the worst summer in 30 years with a Weather Bomb lasting for a couple of weeks!

After 2 minor car accidents, sheer exhaustion, torrential rain with the marquee flooding twice, and 2 ambulances called our actual wedding day went as smooth as possible, though freezing temperatures! The rain held off until the evening and the Ceremony was quite magical with the snow clouds and snow capped mountains in the back ground.

The weather and events leading up to the wedding were so crazy that when I heard a radio completion for the worst summer story, I had to enter and a week later got the call and went on air to receive an all expenses paid trip to Rarotonga for 5 nights so that we can have a warm and sunny honeymoon and extend our summer!"  

Thank you for trusting in me … much appreciation. Happy Days, Melanie. 

 

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Mr+Mrs Weddings Rarotonga | Melanie Cooper Photography | KSENIA+MARCO

 

Talk about nervous.... so I get this email confirmation to plan and photograph a wedding - YAY, YET the Bride to be signed off as Ksenia Belova Photography http://www.kseniabelova.com/ so naturally I viewed her portfolio which includes Milan fashion runway, extensive editorials in New York, London, Australia and I’m thinking WOW her work rocks, will I deliver the goods ?  .. you know quiet little freak out moments.

Meeting Ksenia and Marco over their month stay I was fortunate to have an insight to their richly interwoven story between countries, languages, travel, adventure, their love for life and of each other. 

Black Rock (Turoa) was decided as Ksenia and Marco's ceremony venue once they felt the energy; the mana.  No formalities.  Just feeling.  Barefoot on the beach. 

Vow introduction by John Whitta : 

"Ksenia Belova and Marco Alessandro Palmieri, you have come here today to be joined in marriage. 

The location you have chosen is a significant one and its place in Cook Islands tradition is not lost on you. 

Other Polynesian peoples have locations where it is said souls depart for our legendary homeland of Avaiki.

 It is a strong Polynesian trait to travel to a place where one feels they belong, even if in truth you have never been there before. 

These special places, like Tuoro, are however places that are passed through. It is in no way the ultimate destination in a spiritual journey, but a portal to somewhere better".

Thank you for being you.  Enjoy .. the journey .. xox 

Wedding Planner : Mr+Mrs Weddings Rarotonga 

Celebrant : John Whitta 

Photographer : Melanie Cooper 

Videographer : Varo Media

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Sunset Quay | Wedding Photographer Rarotonga | RAWINIA + GIDDY

It all began in Raro…

Giddy and I first met in the summer of 2012 on the dance floor at Staircase bar.  I had been working at a local resort and he was on a one month holiday with his Rarotongan family.  This was just the beginning of our adventure together.

On my birthday last year, Giddy surprised me in the most romantic way by proposing over fish n chips on the beach in front of my childhood home in Urenui, Taranaki.  

When discussing where to get married it didn't take long for us to decide on the location…. it has to be Rarotonga.  After all that is where it all began.. 

Our wedding couldn't have been more perfect. Over 70 friends and family flew in from different parts of the world to celebrate with us, along with our whanau already living in the Cook Islands. What we loved the most was rather than just one - wedding day we had a weeklong wedding celebration. As you can imagine we had a blast!

On our wedding day, we followed tradition by getting ready separately. Mum, my five bridesmaids and I got ready at Ikurangi; a gorgeous eco glamping retreat.  We drank champagne, laughed and danced salsa. Giddy got ready at his family home in Turangi; a sentimental place for him.

To get the most out of our day - we decided to get our photos taken as a couple prior to the wedding. This was the best decision as that way we could get into the festivities with our guests following the ceremony.

Melanie Cooper ensured the day ran seamlessly and we had a great time. From our ‘first look’ moment on Avana pier, to organising a boat trip out to an uninhibited island, to driving us around our island home to capture different locations that were particularly meaningful to us. 

Our ceremony and reception took place at Sunset Quay, a gorgeous private beachfront home in Arorangi. Decorated with love by friends and family; the setting was magical.  Tiki torches, fresh flowers, candles and a marquee made out of only fairy lights, I was blown away with how incredibly beautiful the whole setting was. Walking down the aisle with views of the magnificent mountains one side, the sparkling lagoon the other and surrounded by all our favourite people beaming back at us, it was the perfect place to say ‘I do’.

Second Photographer : Heinz Matysik 

Hair + Make-up : The Salon 

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Rarotonga Wedding Photographer | Papa Tikas | Erin + Chris

Erin + Chris know how to party so when they hit the rock to wed they chose what I believe to be one of the most gorgeous settings to marry on Rarotonga - Papa Tika's.  

Tequila shots and icy beer on a brilliantly balmy day .. oh and of course the spectacular sunset that never ended ... bottoms up .... teeeeeeequilllllllaaaaaaaaaa ....... 

Second Photographer : Heinz Matysik

Wedding hosted by Trish - Wedding Planner Rarotonga      

Hair + Make-up : Bianca Whittaker + Sherri Ratahi