Mountain high romance in Queenstown, New Zealand
A breathtaking New Zealand location elevated this sweet escape to romantic new heights.
When planning their incredible mountaintop elopement, Catie and Ben say they “wanted something with ‘wow’ factor.” No question, they aced it!
“Our families live quite far from us,” explains Catie. “We knew we wanted to do a separate ceremony down the line for everyone else, but first we wanted something extra special just for us.”
The remote mountain peaks of New Zealand proved the perfect setting. “We also love the outdoors and nature, so a helicopter trip to the top of Bayonet Peak overlooking Lake Wakatipu ticked all those boxes,” says Catie.
Designing their elopement proved relatively stress-free for the Australian-based couple, thanks in large part to planner and photographer Kate from Lost in Love. “Organising from afar always adds a little bit of an extra challenge” say Catie. “But Kate made the process really smooth. We didn’t want to plan or think about much — just show up and enjoy. And we got to do just that.”
This ‘go with the flow’ attitude was tested the day before the ceremony, when the couple arrived to inclement weather. “We didn’t mind rain, but we were concerned about fog (it defeats the whole purpose of a mountain outlook and booking a helicopter),” says Catie. “We just had to roll with it and hope for the best. It was nice to let go and just enjoy whatever happened.”
Luckily, fortune was on their side. “We somehow managed to have fresh snowfall from the day before, but also a beautifully sunny afternoon.”
“However, with the snow and sun came a lot of slipping and sliding on melting ice. The setting was already beautiful and romantic, so the added silliness made it all the better.”
The newlyweds then headed to Bunker in Queenstown to celebrate the moment … with a feast! “They do an amazing Taste of the South (Island) tasting,” says Catie. “Plus, of course, we never say no to cocktails and dessert!”
While the dazzling ceremony was an obvious high point, the day’s most precious memory actually dropped earlier. “I’ve always wanted a ‘first look’ and it was everything I imagined it to be,” says Catie. “We had it just outside our hotel in a beautiful little park next to Lake Wakatipu. It was the first moment we were able to really take it all in, see each other in our dress and suit, and be like, wow this is really happening.”
With the dream now a precious memory, the newlyweds can reflect on their experience. “I really recommend it!” says Catie. “It was a beautiful ceremony, tied with a little getaway — and it was nice to do something different.”
They’re also still sharing the moment back home. The couple’s parents and closest friends were in on the secret, but their elopement came as a delightful surprise to many. “The day we left Queenstown, we spilled the beans to our extended family, who couldn’t believe how amazing the photos were,” says Catie. And for their next adventure? The couple is off to America to celebrate an ‘official’ honeymoon — though we suspect it will be hard to top this sweet escape.
Photography and organiser: Lost in Love