Charlotte Sowman and I met at a wedding fair in Nelson a couple of years ago, and very quickly realised we were meant to be pals. We connected instantly over our shared interest in photography, our obsession for beautiful art and design, and the realisation we had strangely similar partners (both tradie/hunter-gatherer types called Ben).
Last year, we spent a few days holidaying in the Marlborough Sounds, and during one of our many industry-related conversations (copious amounts of sunshine and a few gin & tonics included), came to the conclusion we wanted to host a collaborative event for female wedding photographers.
Initially, we really just wanted to bring a bunch of wonderful women together to take some time out and unwind – because heck, this crazy, fast-paced, girl-boss thing is tough – and more often than not we forget we need a chance to recharge. As the conversation flowed (and perhaps a few more G&T’s), we discovered there was so much more to this thing.
We discovered just how nice it was to be able to openly chat with each other about the struggles of running a business, having a person to bounce ideas from when you are feeling creatively stuck in a rut (or questioning your abilities), and being able to Q&A on all of those technical photographer things that you usually avoid #fakeittillyoumakeit.
Why not share this goodness with other like-minded ladies? We’re all in this together, after all.
And so – with this in mind we built the foundations of The Seekers Retreat.
On the 13th of September, 8 fabulous gal’s joined us in beautiful Wanaka for 2.5 days of learning, collaboration, and creativity.
Our first evening began with a divine 3-course menu by foodie magicians Kate and Elliot of Morsel Honest Food Co. We wined and dined the hour’s away, chatting non-stop and before long, feeling like we’d been friends for years.
The next day we were treated to a fantastic yoga class with Nicci from Hot Yoga Fusion – all-the-while soaking up the stillness of the morning and watching the rising sun drench the mountains in gold. HOW GOOD?
Following a good brekkie and a coffee or two (thank you to our very own barista QUEEN, Ana Galloway) – we enjoyed a mid-century floral workshop by a lady whom I absolutely love and adore – Karen, of The Wilde Florist. The ladies were all able to create a floral masterpiece of their own to take home – such a therapeutic and inspiring experience!
Still buzzing from our morning’s activities, we packed up our gear and adventured into the hills for our live couple shoot – and what a magical couple of hours this was! The collaboration game was strong – we were swapping lenses, talking tactics and making the most of that dreamy golden light. I remember stepping back for a moment to watch everyone just doing their amazing thing, and my heart was full.
Our final evening together included a Grazing Table spread like no other by The Platter Share, (I may or may not have overindulged a little at this point) and some of the best/most hilarious conversations yet. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.
Waking up on the last day was bittersweet. Although the experience was coming to a close (so heartbreaking!) I knew we were going home having created some wonderful, life-long friendships.
We spent the last few hours chatting, editing up a storm, and taking a little time to ask questions and appreciate just how much you can achieve when you work together. It was everything we’d hoped it would be.
I want to say a very special thank you to each and every one of our amazing attendees – I honestly feel like we couldn’t have had a nicer bunch of gals in one beautiful place. You’re all super duper wonderful and you made our first ever Seekers Retreat such a memorable experience. Let’s all hang out again asap ok? #SeekersRetreatRoundTwo
I’d also like to thank our AMAZING sponsors: Together Journal, The Wilde Florist, George & Edi, Sophie Store, Blush Gin, Morsel Honest Food Co, The Platter Share, Ethique, House of Chocolate, Hot Yoga Fusion, Studio Ninja, Plant & Share, Ink & Silk and Natalie Chan.
We count ourselves so lucky to have your support and you all exceeded our expectations on so many levels!
Lastly, but certainly not least. Charlotte – what a wonder woman you are. Thank you for your friendship, for inspiring me on the daily and for your dedication to this project.
Much love, here are a few snaps xx