Welcome to our behind-the-scenes blog of our photoshoot! This year Bula Bride has set a goal to get creative and bring you some pretty images to inspire you for your own Fiji wedding. It’s also a great way for us to showcase what some of our fabulous vendors can do & can offer; and a chance for us to portray ideas that you might be able to incorporate into your own wedding in Fiji.
So when we learned that our Vendor Nanuku Auberge Resort were seeking some extra wedding images to showcase their bespoke weddings, we jumped at the chance to facilitate & collaborate a shoot there as a joint initiative. Known for creating unique and inspired wedding experiences, their stunning oceanfront setting is an ideal location for showcasing a dream destination wedding or elopement in Fiji. With this in mind, we headed down to Pacific Harbour for a couple of days to make magic happen!
Before a photoshoot can happen, there is a large amount of work to be done and a number of other companies engaged to pull everything together in order to make the shoot run smoothly.
Firstly, we had to get a photographer on board & this time, the job fell to NZ & Destination Photographers Swift & Click, who were put in charge behind the camera to see through our vision and that of Nanuku’s. We’ve known Rach & Jarrod for a while as they are Fiji regulars (Rach’s family is based there) and we have seem them at a number of Fiji weddings. We love their style of photography and we had been chatting for a while about a collaboration on one of their visits. We were excited to have them on board and finally work with them ourselves.
After the location & photographers are organised, we then work through all the other details to be arranged, such as finding suitable models (this is incredibly important), booking a hair & make up crew, arranging transport, thinking about props, accessories etc and then organise the logistics of the shoot. We were lucky to get NZ based models Christina & Tom, a real life engaged couple to do the shoot, and work with NZ based companies Brooke Tyson Ritual, Chaos & Harmony & Barkers for the wardrobe. Local hair and make up company Totoka Hair & Make Up were booked, and then we all eagerly awaited the shoot to roll around!
Being June, we all felt relatively safe the weather was going to be amazing, but low & behold we got thrown a curve ball and over the 2.5 days we were there, rain, rain and more rain was forecasted. This can be so frustrating, as whilst lighting for photos are actually much nicer when it is cloudy/softer light, we know that our clients want to see their photos with lots of blue sky & sunshine wherever possible.
With this in mind, and the weather being somewhat clear in the afternoon we arrived, even though we weren’t planning on shooting that evening we felt it may be the only chance of sunset shots over the next three days. So without wasting a minute, we dropped off our bags and launched straight into hair, make up and wardrobe in order to shoot our romantic honeymoon dinner on the point, and then quickly do a look change to shoot some sunset shots on the beach.
We were very, very lucky to capture these shots as the following two evenings it rained constantly. There is a lot to be said on photoshoots for having a back up plan, or taking the opportunity when the moment arises. Procrastination or inflexibility of anyone on the team could mean you miss your golden opportunity to capture something great. We were grateful to the whole crew for shooting solidly on the first night instead of the early night we were supposed to be having!
After we captured some great shots of our romantic dinner we really wanted to get some sunset wedding shots. This is usually very high up every couples list of images they want to take home. The weather gods weren’t exactly doing us any favours as we did have a lot of cloud plus the tide was out, which meant a lot of slippery rocks rather than the nice beach & flat water. However, as any good photographer can testify, you have to work with what you get & make the most of what is available. Despite difficult and low light conditions, we managed to get some great shots with some magnificent pinks, orange & purple tones and we love some of the beach shots.
While the sun was setting, a decision was made to keep shooting into the evening as we wanted to capture some of the cultural activities and performances we heard Nanuku were well known for. It was important to us to capture shots for Nanuku Auberge that were unique to their resort, and not necessarily your ‘typical’ wedding shots. We had already noticed what an incredible group of people the staff were, and how welcoming, and we wanted to try and capture that genuineness into our photo content.
The shots we captured in the evening are some of my personal favourites and it wasn’t surprising to me that some were chosen by Nanuku Auberge as their hero images. When we presented the photos to them for a first look, it was great to hear back from the GM that “Yep, this is ‘Nanuku’!” which is what we were trying to achieve.
We had a lot of fun capturing the bride & groom interacting with the staff, dancing under fairy lights, drinking kava and enjoying their evening, had it have been their wedding it could not have been any more special.
As predicted, the following day we woke up to a gloomy morning after a whole night of rain; but thankfully with the feeling we had already captured some magic! Rather than our early start we had breakfast and waited for a break in the weather.
Now is a great time to mention the food at Nanuku Auberge is incredible, our dinner the night before was fabulous, and the breakfast amazing also. In two meals they had won their way to the top of my food leaderboard in Fiji, it was very impressive! We must have ordered a million bread rolls just so we could keep ordering the burned butter. Possibly the simplest thing around, but it was like caramel perfection on your warm bread roll. Yummmm!
Around 10am we spotted a break in the weather and it was all hands on deck immediately springing into action to get our wedding arch up (handmade by Nanuku on site) and our lawn ceremony photos captured. In came our personable celebrant for full authenticity and we shot a few rounds of I Do’s. You’ll see these photos out and about here and there on Bula Bride material – we absolutely love them. Everything from the colourful mat, to the modern circle arch, to the simple look created by Totoka showcases an elopement in paradise, unfussy & unique.
As we still had a break in the weather after the arch shots we decided to get the boat organised and head out to Nanuku’s private island where we were keen to capture some images, including some drone shots if possible.
The private island (“Nanuku Island”) was incredible with a white sandy beach, swaying coconut palms and clear blue water. Typically, private day trips or even overnighters are organised with activities such as snorkelling tour followed by picnic refreshments. Other activities offered on the island are snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing with the casting rod or just lie back on the hammock and enjoy the island life – but we were there for one purpose – wedding photos!
With heavy rainclouds the whole way there and back, we chose to embrace the moodiness of the day and focus on the beautiful almost ‘survivor-esque’ nature of the island. With no facilities there it had a real desert island feel, and the beach and the water was pristine.
We had taken the giant round arch over on the boat, but once there, I felt the best shots we captured were simply our couple hand in hand on the beach. The concept of sky, land, ocean was all we needed to deliver a real sense of ‘just the two of us’ and I feel this style of photos would be a dream to have for any couple that had eloped to Fiji and would look amazing blown up on the wall of your bedroom as a reminder of the intimate wedding and significant wedding experiences you had shared at the resort.
And thankfully, the weather did hold out a little longer in order for us to get some gorgeous drone shots of the island. Take a look at the stunning reefs and white sand, and if you look carefully you can spot a tiny Christina & Tom on the beach as well as the rest of the crew (about 7 of us!) hiding under the tiny thatched bure.
On our return, the weather totally packed in and then it was rain, rain and lots more rain. Thankfully Nanuku Auberge is perfectly set up for wet weather, we had another fabulous meal under cover in the restaurant (including several more rounds of burnt butter!), and as the accommodation is so large, there is plenty of space to chill & read a book, or take advantage of the popcorn maker and the movie room, which is exactly what Stylist Lydia and I did, even though we fell asleep half way through!
On our final day at Nanuku Auberge we were once again at the mercy of the wet weather, but we were pretty lucky that the sun half came out for a couple of hours so we could complete our lifestyle shots.
We wanted to capture more of the cultural activities, staff, food and the property to document our stay and for Nanuku Auberge to gain pictures showcasing the luxury, culture and adventure that epitomises the resort.
With our shoot complete, it was time to pack up and leave but I think it is fair to say that none of us wanted to! Our expectations had been high – we were all familiar with Nanuku Auberge’s image being one of natural surroundings combined with luxury and award-winning service – and they had not disappointed. The authenticity and hospitality we had experienced there was second to none, we were treated as family from the moment we arrived to the moment we left the resort.
But all good things must come to an end, and it was time to head back to the office to start going through the 3000 (!) images taken from the day. The ones you see here are a combination of our favourite images & our behind the scenes footage – but there are dozens of other gorgeous shots we look forward to rolling out over coming weeks.
Stay tuned for more!
Bula Bride Photoshoot @ Nanuku Auberge team & vendors:
Photography: Swift & Click
Location: Nanuku Resort
Hair & Make Up: Totoka Hair & Makeup
Dress: Brooke Tyson Ritual
Shoes: Chaos & Harmony
Christina Macpherson (bride) @christinamacpherson
Tom Paterson (groom) @tompaterson_nz