J&M Lakehouse Joela Queenstown wedding

You can’t get much more romantic than these to ski lovers, who literally met on the ski slopes so it was only fitting to have a week wedfest featuring an Onsen’s pre-wedding pamper sesh a ceremony at Lakehouse Joela by Relax It’s Done Queenstown, reception at my favourite Botswana Butchery, seriously one of my favourite restaurants out and finish off with hitting the slopes with all their guests!


Kate, even though we didn’t talk that much through the day and only met you in QT the couple of days before, we really do feel like we have a previous friend in you. Thank you for the beautiful work you have created and for taking such precious care of us and our memories.

What you have given us through your photography, will stay with us for a very long time. We are truly happy and eternally grateful. We hope somehow we will find an excuse or perhaps a random opportunity to see you again!

xx Lots of love from Jess & Marty

How did you two meet/ fall in love?

Marty and I met skiing in Hakuba, Japan. He had been working the ski season and was allocated to instruct my ski lesson – it was actually a “make up” lesson after a previous instructor had done a really horrible job. The next ski season I return to Hakuba on Holidays with my Family and Marty was still there. That’s when the “sparks” flew. We skied together most afternoons after he hand-finished lessons and I guess love just blossomed on the chairlift. After that season Marty actually went on to summit Mt. Everest, where he kept in contact and even phoned me from Base Camp. After 10 months of long-distance, he decided to move out to Australia and give our relationship a real chance in earnest. The rest is history. 

What made you choose to trust me to capture this special day/ time?

Ultimately for us it was about the way that you were able to capture the beauty of places and the irreplaceable moments of love between people. We could see this so beautifully and clearly in your photos – which in themselves were always beautiful. After speaking with you on the phone and feeling so effortlessly comfortable and like you had a similar mindset about the things we loved; we really knew you were the right person for the job. We are absolutely 100% sure we couldn’t have chosen better. 

We found your month by month blog post really helpful, reminded us of some of the practical details we hadn’t thought of and gave useful suggestions on how to approach different situations. We used them and read them quite a lot. Of our vendors we found your blogs the most useful. One Fine Day provided us with their suppliers list – we found that useful, particularly planning from afar. 

Were there any standout vendors?

Mariana Hardwick – I am a person who is self-conscious of my body image and these ladies made me feel absolutely beautiful from the moment I stepped into their shop. Frieda looked after me with such warmth and motherly guidance. I remember her so clearly telling me I did not need to be worried about being cold in NZ for I would be “hot on love” … it became a little bit of a mantra through all my planning. Charlotte from YBD – for stepping in last minute and absolutely perfectly encompassing Marty & I in the ceremony that she delivered.

Mode & Affaire – these ladies made sure I was covered if in fact being “hot on love” was not quite enough. My fur coat actually came from Perth. It was sent back and forth until the sizing was absolutely perfect on me, always reassuring me that it would be ready on time. 

Botswana Butchery – OMG, Wow! That food is aaahmazing! We loved it. And no-one had an empty glass of wine all night long. The owner’s room was such a cozy “hygge” spot. 

Little Blackwood & Danny Atkinson- we really loved our dance floor for the night! They made it so easy and stress-free to organise. Promised us we’d love their regular musician, which we did! And he ended up playing until 1.30am (was due to finish at midnight). Yummy Japanese inspired cocktail was a hit too! 

In2Food – for the delicious canapés (duck pancakes, salmon profiteroles) and awesome bar set up at Lakehouse Joela! The purple  Ink Gin & Tonics were soooo good! 

Daisy Clover Films – we initially enquired but then declined to book Dani but really loved when she reached out to us to come over to Queenstown. Felt like she had such a warm easy-going nature and we certainly didn’t feel like we were getting filmed all night.

One Fine Day – Amy created florals and styling which perfectly complimented the spaces both at Joela and Botswana. Somehow without ever meeting in person she managed to also understand the balance of elegance and cosiness that we were after. I absolutely loved my bouquet. And to walk in and see that cascading flower arrangement over the bar – that just took my breath away! 

Sarah Kelly Co – my most gorgeous dear friend, who I believed made me feel so beautiful with my hair and make-up on the wedding day. She also put up with sooo many questions about bride styling and design throughout the whole process. … it’s actually funny how 3x of our favourite vendors (you included) are from Perth of all places! Couldn’t get further away from us! I don’t know if I’m just in a total “love bubble” but I feel like I could go on and on about the people who were involved in creating our special day. We loved building connections with you all and truly felt like we had a bunch of trusted old friends taking such beautiful care of us on the day. 

What main piece of advice would you give a newly engaged bride/ couple going through the wedding planning process?

– Really try to enjoy the process with your Special person, you will bond so much during this process and once it’s over you will be sad it’s done (but proud of yourselves too!) 

– Spend some time together to help you decide on what is important to you as a couple and choose to really invest in those things

– Only do the traditions that mean something to you and don’t worry about the others

– Budget, and work out what sort of timeline you need to be able to save to achieve your budget. We looked at how much we could put away in a separate wedding account each pay cycle and when we wanted to get married and then worked it out from there. If you can, try to build a little buffer in there too – for emergencies.

Did you purchase an album?

Yes we are! Because we want to look at these photos in hard copy ALL THE TIME. We want to show and share with our friends and family and have them as treasures for our future together. They are beautiful photos. 

What were your favourite memories of the wedding day?

Walking up those Joela stairs and seeing Marty’s face (..he just said the same thing about me – oooooh!) Reading our vows, or trying to get those words out, I was so surprised how emotional we both were.

The fun we had with our first dance! And the time practising in the months beforehand.

 Everything about our helicopter trip – its like Double Cone belongs to us now, I loved looking up at the spot all week in QT. We also loved the way our Pilot flew off the edge of the Remarks at the end. 

Our delicious food at Botswana. Having so many little details that really meant something to us but probably went unnoticed to others – the Aisle song being from a Danish Artist, the candles at Joela were Australia but the scent was “Kyoto” for Japan, the Ink Gin being from a local distillery to our home on the Gold Coast, the wine at Botswana being the first winery Marty and I visited together, our wedding presents to each other were wrapped in the same paper (totally unplanned). Dancing and dancing at Little Blackwood, and the way this party was embraced. We walked into that bar and the D-floor just happened. And truly having our most special people travel from all over the world to celebrate our marriage with us. That meant the most. 

I love every single one of Jess and Marty’s images! Being such beautiful souls my job is so effortless, instead of taking pictures of people posing I get to capture their personalities, their kind and gentle spirits and the happiness during this day that they will remember forever. Better yet they will soon have a physical album of images to bring back all the feels not only for them but those they show who were there and even those that weren’t.

DREAM TEAM //

Bridal Gown Designer | Mariana Hardwick
Event Planner / Stylist | One Fine Day NZ
Ceremony Venue | Lakehouse Joela (Relax Its Done)
Reception Venue | Botswana Butchery
Florist | One Fine Day
Makeup | Sarah Kelly Co
Hair | Sarah Kelly Co (Bride) / Hair to Wed by Tina Andrews (Bridesmaid)
Celebrant | Your Big Day QT
Veil | Mariana Hardwick
Stationery / Invitations | Elle Nixon (That Paper Girl)
Signage | BelleBoard Design / Sketch & Etch Creative (wishing well)
Entertainment | Matt Stone Musician
Rings | Renee Hudson – LeGassick Master Jeweller (Pacific Fair) (Custom Design)
Catering | In2Food
Cake / Dessert | Cakes by Kim
Robes | Neue Blvd
Accessories | Earrings = Amelie George Bridal / Shoes = Chaos & Harmony / Bridal Jacket = Mode and Affaire
Grooms Suit | Hugo Boss
Car | Queenstown Transport Charters
Helicopter | Heliworks

Video | Daisy Clover (Perth)
Beanies | (Bomboniere ) = MOHRThanAShop

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