Jesse from GOLDEN HOUR STUDIOS splits his time between New York and New Zealand and earlier this year was down in the Hawkes Bay for Fiona & Karl's wedding celebration. I love his account of his first introduciton to them, After my near 30 hours of straight travel, Fiona & Karl picked me up from the airport. We immediately set out to tour around the Hawkes Bay area in search of locations to do photos on their wedding day. As we drove closer to their venue, I spotted an incredible mountain backdrop called Craggy Range and knew immediately I had to take some photos there with them. We quickly realized there was one problem. The land I wanted to shoot on was owned by a family of sheep farmers. I thought that was the end of the plan until Karl insisted we drive up to the family's home to ask if it was possible to shoot some photos during their wedding. In classic Kiwi fashion, not only did the family welcome us onto their property, but they drove us around in their own truck so that I could pick out the perfect spot. What I loved most about this what that we would be able to make truly one-of-a-kind pictures where no one else has. And when the time came to shoot during their wedding, we had some of the most incredible light I have ever seen.

Working with Fiona & Karl was a dream for me as a photographer. They left every decision regarding photos up to me and what I thought would be best. Fiona wound up wearing sneakers most of the day because of all the climbing I had them do on Te Mata Peak. Highly recommended to future adventurous brides! They even let me decide where exactly they should hold their ceremony at the Black Barn River Room which turned out to be another amazing decision because we had a breathtaking sunset as they became man and wife.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: We were in Europe for a holiday - Karl arranged a surprise trip to Monaco and proposed on the Rock of Monaco overlooking the harbour, with a poem he had written himself. He had booked a room at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo and we were lucky enough to get upgraded! That night, we had an amazing dinner at their Michelin-starred restaurant, with plenty of champagne! We finished the night off by going to the casino and listening to some jazz in a bar we found on the way back to the hotel.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WEDDING? Our inspiration started with thinking about the champagne we drank the night we got engaged (Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque) - which comes in a beautiful bottle hand painted with white flowers. That gave us our colour scheme (green, white and gold), inspiration for the decorations and choice of champagne for the reception. Along with that we wanted a relatively classic wedding (and photos) so we decided to make it black tie. We already knew that we wanted a small wedding, so it was then a matter of finding a venue that we liked that was suitable for around 40 people and allowed a lot of the guests to stay on site. Black Barn turned out to be the perfect choice.

DESCRIBE YOUR FLOWERS: Amazing - our florist took our vision and made it even better! We had flowers running down the middle of the tables, which was my favourite part of all the floristry. Apparently they took a ridiculously long time to make, but we appreciate all the effort that went in!

WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? There are so many decisions to make - decide which particular details are important to you and don't stress too much about the rest. Make sure the wedding reflects who you are as a couple in some way. Delegate some tasks at the time of the wedding itself to family and friends - you can't do it all on your own.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? There were so many memorable moments that it is hard to pick one! The atmosphere when we walked into the reception and sat down for dinner - the warmth and cheer that seemed to radiate in the room and being surrounded by our friends and family on our special day.

ANY OTHER DETAILS THAT HELP TELL THE STORY OF YOUR DAY: We had a cigar and whisky bar, which was a big hit with the guys (and some of the girls). We had couple portraits before the ceremony on Te Mata Peak, then bridal party photos at a nearby farm (the farmer had kindly granted permission when we knocked on their door the day before). We used two Toyota Hilux utes as the wedding cars, which came into their own for the photos!

Photographer GOLDEN HOUR STUDIOS / Cake MJS CAKES / Florist BARB HAWKENS / Stationery PURE INVITES / Venue & catering BLACK BARN / Dress Designer JENNIFER REGAN / Shoes JIMMY CHOO / Hair ABBY SCHOFIELD / Make-up CUSHLA BAKER