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Kiwi wedding snapshot

22 September 2022
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Tom and Mikaela Vorias' Wedding. Photo: Charlotte Kiri Photography.

If there’s anyone paying close attention to what’s happening in weddings right now – literally and figuratively – it’s the photographers. We caught up with two of the South Island’s best, Luisa Apanui and Charlotte Kiri Cretney, for an update on the industry, and some expert advice. Interview Josie Steenhart

How has the South Island wedding industry changed since the pandemic started, and where is it sitting now?

Luisa: From what I’ve experienced, the South Island wedding industry went from crazy busy pre-Covid to ghost town and is now coming back with a big wedding boom for next season.

I’m getting a lot of enquiries and bookings from domestic and overseas couples, so the upcoming season is looking very busy with a touch of unpredictability.

Couples book with shorter notice now and often plan their wedding within months instead of years.

Finally, we can welcome back international visitors and we can celebrate the weddings that had been postponed for more than two years. It’s definitely going to be an interesting time for our industry and I can’t wait for my first big wedding of the season in mid-September.

What are a few things you would recommend couples getting married this coming season should be doing/ thinking about?

Luisa: Lock everything in way in advance to avoid disappointment.

Most vendors are already booked out for the season, so get in quickly.

Mid-week dates and intimate weddings are still booming and it’s a great alternative if you don’t want to celebrate with a whole bunch of people.

A smaller wedding can lead to a bigger honeymoon!

Focus on what’s important to you and plan accordingly. The sky’s the limit when it comes to weddings and the things you can do on your special day, it doesn’t need to be traditional if that’s not your vibe. Create your special day that looks and feels true to you.

Charlotte: Book all your vendors as soon as you pick a wedding date, don’t wait. A lot of vendors have limited availability heading into 2023/2024 because of the hold-ups of the past two years now everyone is wanting to get married, which is amazing but means choices may be more limited – start on your major nonnegotiable vendors and work backwards from there.

If you have a particular photographer in mind, check what dates they’re available before you book your venue date so you don’t miss out. 2024 seems like it will be a very popular/bumper year to get married with borders being opened to worldwide travel again.

What are some elements of the big day that are trending and/ or popular right now and through the coming summer season ahead?

Luisa: I’ve noticed some trends during the European wedding season this year. Chic, elegant and glam wedding themes are super popular. I saw a lot of brides ditching the bouquet for a stylish handbag or wearing a white suit instead of a big gown.

Also, short bridal dresses are trending as well as big sleeves and bold looks. In terms of locations, destination weddings (big or small) are booming post-Covid and lots of photographers like me love exploring new wedding venues around the world!

Charlotte: I’m predicting more colour this season In florals – they pop so beautifully in the landscape here – so I recommend lots of colour! I did a wedding this year where the florals really reminded me of the Bridgerton wedding and I hope to see more of this look as I love it!

I think the classic/modern look is popular for wedding dresses and silk organza sleeves I’m obsessed with. Brides having a second short custom dress for the reception, with in-vogue heels, so you can do some night flash photos is a favourite right now. Bridal parties with trendy matching sunglasses are also a hit! Boys are going for classic black James Bond-style tuxedos.

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