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Mount Holdsworth wedding, Wairarapa


bride and groom kiss in the forest, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

Since arriving in the Wairarapa in 2018, I have wanted to photograph a wedding at Mount Holdsworth.


I just love the deep, dark Lord of the Rings forest. The high suspension bridge over the often rushing water. River stones and ice cold water. Plus I have meaningful memories tramping Holdsworth. Like the time my husband "encouraged" me to do the Jumbo Circuit in a day (by not telling me where we were going). To the first time we introduced our three week old son to the forest and it blew a gale and he cried the entire time. The Ranger came to investigate what the noise was... To enjoying hiking with him getting further and further up each time.

I thought it would be just magical to be married surrounded by this ancient ngahere.


There are so many delightful nooks to hold an intimate ceremony surrounded by only the closest of friends and whānau. The trees enveloping the couple in a leafy hug. Receptions could take any fun form: a picnic on the lawns; a BBQ with guests bringing a plate; food trucks in the carpark; grazing tables; cocktails in hiking boots and more. Instead of a first dance you could have a first swim or hike. The wedding party and guests can stay in relative luxury at the lodge; camp; hike to a DOC hut or park up in campervans, motorhomes or (our personal favourite) house buses.

Well I finally made it happen! Big thanks to my dear friends John and Sarah for being my models for this shoot.

John and Sarah are a real-life married couple, whose wedding was in 2015 in Masterton. They grew up tramping at Holdsworth with family and on school trips. So they were super keen to don their wedding attire again in their favourite place.


Here is a list of some of the vendors whose work appears in the photos:

Wedding photographer Lucalia Photography

Wedding dress Custom made, online retailer

Wedding flowers Foraged by photographer

Bride's hiking boots Back Country

Bride's sandals Warehouse

Bride's hair and makeup DIY

Groom's suit Hallensteins

Groom's shoes Hallensteins

Groom's belt buckle Buckles n Tees

I'm Sarah and I provide outdoorsy couples who hate awkward poses, getting married in the Wairarapa and Tararua regions, with documentary-style photography by a new best friend, so you will feel relaxed, and your photos will be an authentic memory of your day.

If you're planning your wedding at Mount Holdsworth, I'd love to document it for you. You can email me: sarah@lucaliaphotography.com.


Bride walking by the river at sunset, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom exchange vows, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue
married couple kiss on the suspension bridge, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom at lodge accommodation, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom kiss in the river bed, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

close up of a married couple on the river edge, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue
wedding rings detail by the river, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom walking along the river stones, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom walking up the hill from the river amongst ferns, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue


bride in her wedding dress puts on hiking boots, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom in bare feet on riverbank, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom kissing in the sunset, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

bride and groom in the valley blue sky, Mount Holdsworth, Tararua Forest Park, Wairarapa wedding venue

I'm Sarah and I provide outdoorsy couples who hate awkward poses, getting married in the Wairarapa and Tararua regions, with documentary-style photography by a new best friend, so you will feel relaxed, and your photos will be an authentic memory of your day.

If you're planning your wedding at Mount Holdsworth, I'd love to document it for you. You can email me: sarah@lucaliaphotography.com.


Lots of love, Sarah xx

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