Samantha Donaldson Photography
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Stories | Wedding & Portrait Photographer Auckland

I photograph weddings, engagements, families, maternity, newborns and commercial. My style is natural and organic, focusing on telling a story.

stella & michael | elephant hill wedding, hawke's bay


I remember meeting Stella and Michael what seems like many moons ago now, at a bar in Auckland. I was pretty excited as they had told me their wedding was at Elephant Hill in Hawke’s Bay and it happens to be a winery me and my husband always frequent when we visit as we love their wine! I was pretty keen for them to like me and book me, so when they emailed me to say that I was ‘the one’ I was so happy!

Fast forward to their wedding on a very hot sunny Hawke’s Bay summers day and boy these two had created such an elegant, modern event. They said their I do’s in a church in Havelock North where Michaels Dad walked Stella down the aisle in the absence of her beloved father. An absolute highlight of this ceremony, apart from Stella and Michael marrying each other of course, was the choir whose singing gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes.

Post ceremony we spent some photo time on the beach with the spectacular Cape Kidnappers in the background then headed to their reception amongst the vineyards of Elephant Hill. One of my favourite parts of the day was shooting in the amazing golden light at sunset on the driveway and vineyards of the venue. Oh and their first dance to Rita Ora’s For You was pretty epic!

Huge thanks to my incredible sidekick for this wedding, Jessica Lee Photography who travelled from Taupo to second shoot for me.

Scroll to the bottom for the full list of amazing vendors.


Ceremony venue: Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Elephant Hill | Celebrant: Fr Nathaniel Brazil | Dress: Felicity Bridal | Suits: Devonche | Bridesmaids Dresses: Shona Joy | Flowers: Botanical Lane | Hair: Hair by Danielle | Makeup: Steph Viatos | Rings: Culet | Earrings: Meadowlark | Shoes: Charlotte Olympia | Cake: Pretty Little Details Co | Stationary: Minted | Videographer: Mayer Broadcast & Media | DJ: Matt Naylor from Addictive DJs