Real Weddings

Leah + Duls – Captured by Ana Galloway

The romantic & minimalistic styled wedding of Leah + Duls, magically captured by Ana Galloway.

Set in the rolling hills of Pigeon Bay, Christchurch, this windswept day was perfectly styled with white florals and hanging greenery to show off the natural beauty of this landscape and compliment the history of the 100 year old chapel & hall. A timeless bouquet of white florals, paired perfectly with a classic silk dress by Alexandra Grecco and was effortlessly completed by a veil adorned with hand-embroidered floral appliqué’s. Leah and Duls’ main focus for their special day was having a good time and sharing it with the people that meant the most – friends & family.

How did you meet and how long have you been together? We met in high school. When we look back, we were just kids when we starting seeing each other, and no-one, least of all us, imagined we would still be together all these years later. But we were just lucky enough to meet the right person at 18. More than seven years years later, we’ve been through university together, got our first jobs together, moved countries together, and started a whole life together. We grew up together in a lot of ways, and we feel pretty lucky that we get to grow old next to each other too.

Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement? We are living and working in Sydney, but came home last July to see family. We went on an overnight trip to Maruia Springs. After two days of sitting in the pools Duls insisted we stopped for a quick walk at St James Walkway in the Lewis Pass. He asked me to marry him right next to the lake, with snow-capped mountains in the background. It was so beautiful! I was so surprised! He proposed using a family engagement ring. It was pretty magical.

Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day? We wanted to keep it all very natural and easy. We’re both pretty easy going and try to keep life simple. We took the same approach to our wedding day. We wanted it to be all about family, friends, music and good food. Pigeon Bay itself is so beautiful, and the little church and hall where we got married are both more than 100 years old. We wanted the natural beauty of the place to be the focus, so tried to keep styling to a minimum. When you live somewhere as beautiful as New Zealand, you don’t have to overdo it.

Why did you choose your destination? We both spend a lot of our childhoods’ in Banks Peninsula, and it’s a place that’s special for both our families. We had a lot of friends coming over for the wedding from Sydney, and we wanted to show off how beautiful New Zealand is. Pigeon Bay is such a picture-perfect place! We also didn’t want to spend huge amounts of money on a venue, and getting married in a community hall meant we had more money to spend on other things. We don’t think it made the day any less special having it somewhere low-budget. And getting married in a 100-year old church was super meaningful for us.

What was your favourite detail from the day? The flowers were just so, so beautiful, and the flower arch in the church was beyond perfect. I am super lucky to have a florist as one of my best friends, and I am not sure if it was because she knows me so well already, but the flowers were just so special. Erin is from Sydney, and had never done a wedding in New Zealand before. She didn’t know anything about the flower markets here, and we inconveniently got married in between Christmas and New Year, when a lot of growers and sellers weren’t open. The flowers felt extra special because we knew her and her husband had spend so much time and energy driving around Canterbury to get them exactly right. So much love was poured into them. They were more than we could have dreamed of.

Did you have a stand out vendor from your Wedding? Everyone was amazing, but our photographer Ana Galloway was extra special. Neither of us love getting our photo taken, and we were both a little nervous about spending the day in front of a camera. Ana made us feel so comfortable. She felt more like a guest at the wedding than anything else. Everyone was friends with her by the end of the day! The day was really sunny, but also very windy, and in the evening Ana took us to the top of the hills and we took some pretty wild photos. It was freezing cold and we felt like we might get blown off the cliff, but it was definitely one of the funnest parts of the day. Ana definitely knows how to get you to have an adventure.  When we got the photos back we were just so, so happy. There are so many special photos of all the people we love the most. They were all so natural and real, which is just what we wanted. And then there are these amazing photos of just us. Even though we have been together for seven years, we don’t actually have that many nice photos of just the two of us. Now we have these dreamy photos that we can’t stop looking at.

What was your favourite moment from the day? Nothing can top the ceremony. Making those promises to each other in front of each other, all our family and friends and God was just so super special. It was definitely one of the most emotional moments of my life. It gives me goosebumps just remembering it!

But we also had this pretty amazing moment when we came back from our sunset photos. When we left everyone was finishing dinner inside, but by the time we got back everyone was sitting on the hall’s front steps watching the sunset. The band, The Eastern, had come outside and everyone was laughing and talking and listening to the music. It was the best.

What does marriage mean to you? We were so young when we got together, and in a lot of ways we just fell into a relationship. It was never a big or hard decision; we just loved being around each other. Getting married meant really intentionally choosing each other. That felt pretty special. For us, marriage is mostly about making sure you’re going through life together. People change, lives change and relationships change, and we really try to love each other and look after each other through that. For us, marriage is about putting the other person first, and listening to and loving them. We have to make a choice everyday to be each other’s best friend.

Advice for other couples planning a wedding? Try to focus on the things that really matter. Little details have a way of working themselves out. We both completely forgot to organise a playlist for the reception, but on the day of one of our friends just plugged in his phone and used one of his. We didn’t even hear about it until days later, after someone commented on how good the music was. I’m so glad we didn’t spend hours creating a playlist that probably wouldn’t have been as good as his anyway.

The main thing we would recommend is booking a honeymoon for right after the wedding. The day is so magical and amazing, but it’s also pretty intense (in a good way), and the lead-up, no matter how chill you are, is always going to be a little full on. We booked the most amazing Canopy Camping tiny house in Pigeon Bay for the night of the wedding and the night after, and we spent two days sitting in the hot tub, drinking wine and eating leftover cake. It was bliss! If we could do anything differently we would have made it a week longer. Getting to wind down, relax and soak in how amazing the day was together is so good.

|| Credits ||

Photography: Ana Galloway Photography| Flora: Erin Oste Flowers | Bride’s Dress: Alexandra Grecco from Hope X Page | Veil: Alexandra Grecco | Groom’s Suit: Ballantynes | Groom’s Shoes: Sperry Topsider | Ceremony Venue: Pigeon Bay Church | Reception Venue: Pigeon Bay Settlers’ Hall | Hair: Amy Cox Cahill | Makeup:  Simone Thurlow | Bridesmaids: ASOS | Flower girls: Tutu du Monde | Celebrant:  Garth Chin Poy at City Church | Rings: Patridge Jewellers | Catering: Country Feasts | Cake: The Cake Eating Company | Entertainment: The Eastern

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