“My love for you knows no limits; it is timeless, spaceless, formless and unbreakable.”
In one of the most wildly romantic and adventurous parts of the world, two intrepid souls savoured a wandering elopement atop Mount Coromandel, Queenstown. Outdoor adventure is at the absolute heart of Ashley and Reilly’s relationship, so roaming nuptials across a powerful, breathtaking mountainscape paid homage to their years together.
Love letters shared above mesmerising depths, Ashley’s dress of bold, dotted lace, sharpened against the tawny highlands. Reilly’s soft coal suit and finely floralled tie stood firmly alongside. Floral notes of rubied merlots tied the two together serenely. Flourishing peonies, petite roses and undulating greens by The Vasewere bountiful with life, suspended above the colossal blue depths.
How did you meet and how long have you been together?
We met while working at the local ski hill 7 years ago in Edmonton, Canada. We felt a connection immediately and it wasn’t long before we were inseparable.
How would you describe each other?
Reilly is quiet and reserved with a hint of cheekiness which you may only see if you spend some 1 on 1 time with him. He loves the outdoors and can usually be found at the local mountain bike trails or hucking backflips in the woods somewhere. He cares deeply about the important people in his life and pays attention to the little details that you may not catch. Ashley is a little more structured and organized but is always up for a good adventure. She gives a lot of herself to her nursing work and spends her free time looking for new mountains to climb or new goals to crush. She is also quiet but builds strong connections with those who reciprocate her values and doesn’t back down from a heated debate.
Tell us a little bit about the proposal and your engagement?
Reilly planned a snowshoe date for a monday in April back in 2017. We headed up to our local mountain resort, threw on some snowshoes and headed out into the woods. Ski season was over so we basically had the whole mountain to ourselves. It was a quiet overcast day and the temperature was just cold enough to make our noses turn red. We headed up to a public cabin at the top of a ridge and headed in for some warmth. Not long after we settled in, Reilly dropped to his knee and asked me to be his wife. I had hoped for this day for a long time but was still in shock that it was truly happening. I of course said yes and we just sat there together soaking in the moment. Reilly fired up the wood stove and we enjoyed our first cabin hangout as an engaged couple with some granola bars and a small bottle of champagne. It was simple, perfect, and reflected everything that our relationship is about.
Tell us about your wedding style. What influenced your planning for the day?
Simple, nature inspired tones and exploring the landscape. Once upon a time I thought I would have a huge wedding with lots of sparkle, black and red for colours and a big party. But that wasn’t true to who we were, so we decided to elope to a place where we solidified our relationship back in 2015. I’m a planner but not in regards to cutlery or napkins, so our day was really basic and inspired by the outdoors. We chose dark grey and white for our attire highlighted with ruby red and cranberry accessories and we let the backdrops of our ceremony and photo locations tell the rest of the story.
What does marriage mean to you?
To commit to supporting, loving, empowering and protecting one another. To highlight our strengths both as individuals and as a team in order to overcome hardships or falters along the way. For us, marriage isn’t about pleasing anyone else or fulfilling a religious requirement, it’s about celebrating our ability to complement each other both on the good days and the bad ones – and most importantly to always have fun together.
Why did you choose your destination?
We traveled to the Queenstown area in 2015 in search of work and play. Reilly grew up in the North Island of NZ, so he was excited to see more of his home country and I had only dreamed of traveling to this magnificent place. We spent 4 months working and exploring the nearby towns and we really fell in love with the environment and vibe in Wanaka. It has mountains, lakes, amazing bike/hike trails, and beautiful weather – it was the perfect place to say I do.
What was your favourite moment from the day?
This is a tough question. There are a few favorite moments and all because they evoked different emotions. Two in particular stand out to me. First it’s that moment that your celebrant has been building you up to the whole ceremony when she finally says those words “you may kiss”. It’s a magical feeling to accomplish everything you have so far together and it’s a perfect moment where you complete one chapter and open another. We felt relief, love, excitement, passion, unity, and serenity. The wind was lightly flowing, it was silent, the air was fresh and it was so perfect. We could relive that feeling over and over again. The other favourite moment was jumping in the car together after getting out of the helicopter and heading to explore the crown range. It was just like every other road trip we’ve ever had – except we just got married on the top of a mountain in one of the most beautiful places. It was familiar yet new & exciting all at the same time.
Who were your stand out vendors?
We were blessed with the best crew you could find. From excellent online communication, to teamwork between the vendors, to the kindest and friendliest people who genuinely love love and weddings – we really can’t pick just one or two that stood out. Would highly recommend every one of them, and their work and attention to detail was impeccable.
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Do what feels right for you. There’s always going to be some compromise but choose the right aspects to compromise on. In the end it’s about two people who are madly in love who just want to tell eachother how they really feel. It’s a once in a lifetime moment, so make it your stories not anyone else’s.
Photographer: Kate Roberge | Videographer: Woven Images | Florist: The Vase Flora & Foliage | Ceremony Venue: Coromandel Peak, Glendhu Bay | Bridal Gown: Laudae | Bridal Shoes: Timberland Boots| Rings: Michael Hill | Hair Stylist: Beautiful Bridal Hair | Makeup Artist: JET Makeup | Groom’s Suit: Calvin Klein | Groom’s Shoes: Johnston & Murphy | Celebrant: Philippa Thomas | Helicopter: Wanaka Helicopters
Looking for more Queenstown elopement inspiration? We think you’ll love with the beautiful wedding films by Emily at Woven Images, check out more on our Wild Hearts Vendor Collection here.