Erin + Sam by Ryan Domenico

There was such a strong connection between us, and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is what love actually feels like!”

Erin: Sam is a Kiwi who has been living in Australia for 15+ years while I’m Australian and grew up on the Central Coast. We now live on the Gold Coast with our beloved animals, Zumi & Miso. I run my own brand consultancy business specialising in marketing and events while Sam is a creative director of his own label, PYRA. I met Sam when I had recently parted ways with my ex and was frantically searching for a roommate in Sydney. I ended up sharing a place with a girl who happened to be dating Sam’s roommate.

Word got around to Sam, and he eventually reached out to me via Instagram. We met at a party that same night, where we found a quiet corner and talked for hours. We spent the entire next day together by the ocean – our infatuation for each other was undeniable! I often reflect on how fate brought us together during such an unexpected time. I found him without searching, and I fell in love effortlessly. There was such a strong connection between us, and I remember thinking, “Wow, this is what love actually feels like!”

We had travelled back to NZ for a friend’s wedding and did a road trip from Auckland to Hawke’s Bay. Along the way, we stopped at his family’s lakehouse in Taupo and spent hours swimming in the lake. Later, we continued our journey to Hawke’s Bay, arriving at his mother’s house. To my confusion, he hurried me out the door after dropping our bags, insisting we head to Ocean Beach for a swim. I couldn’t understand why, given that we had just driven over seven hours and had access to his mother’s pool. When we reached Ocean Beach, we strolled along the sand, and that’s when he proposed. It was just the two of us on the beach with no one else in sight.

As the wedding was only for immediate family and friends, we aimed to create a sense of a big family vacation, so we allocated the smallest portion of our budget to the wedding ceremony itself. Instead, we opted to splurge on a stunning five-bedroom house in Queenstown. It was the most magical location for both the pre and post wedding celebrations and a great base for the rest of the family. I didn’t expect to be such an untraditional bride, to be honest! I wanted to feel like myself, minimal with a touch of fun.

I came across the Anna October gown via a friend who actually wore it as a bridesmaid’s dress. I knew instantly, after months of looking, that this was the one. I also knew I didn’t want to spend a crazy amount on my dress for our small family wedding, so I was so happy with how each piece came together. Sam, on the other hand, went all out with a Saint Laurent suit! He always said he was going to wear Saint Laurent to his wedding, and I’m so glad he did.

PHOTOGRAPHER Ryan Domenico, @ryan_domenico CEREMONY LOCATION Deer Park Heights, @deerparkheights RECEPTION LOCATION Sherwood, Queenstown, @sherwood_queenstown PLANNER Queenstown Elopements, @queenstownelopementsnz BRIDE’S GOWN Anna October, @anna_october_ GROOM’S SUIT & SHOES Saint Laurent, @ysl BRIDE’S RING McClurgs, @mcclurgsjewellers GROOM’S RING Tobias Wistisen, @tobias_wistisen BRIDE’S SHOES Aeyde, @aeyde BRIDE’S EARRINGS Completedworks, @completedworks MAKEUP & HAIR Georgie Henderson, @georgie_hair_makeup FRAGRANCE Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum, @maisonfranciskurkdjian