The Shank Tank is made up of a hubby and wife team: Wes and Stacey Cruickshanks.
Lovers of all things nature, and parents to two adorable little ones; they are a power duo in the wedding industry.
Stace sat down with us and told us just how these two do life as a family of four, her dream wedding destination and the funniest story about a bride and her rescue bull terrier.
Read on to find out more…
Hooray: Hey Stace! Tell us about you guys!
ST: Hey guys! We’re the Shank Tank, Wes & Stace Cruickshanks. We both do this full time and love everything about this crazy adventure that we call life. Most of our weekends are spent capturing love stories and during the week we specialise in creating unique and creative content for brands.
Hooray: Tell us about yourself
ST: Wes and I (Stace) were married in Mozambique in 2012. We both have a deep love for the outdoors, the ocean and our planet. Wes is absolutely crazy about fishing… like mental about it. When not behind the camera you can find him on his trusty kayak fishing for our dinner. He’s like our very own hunter gatherer 🙂
I (Stace) spend most of my spare time enjoying the mom life, my favourite thing to do is spend time with friends and family. I love being social and my family is the most important thing in the world to me. We have a 2 year old daughter named Joyce. She is just the best thing in the world and we often find ourselves just sitting staring at her in awe. She is named after both our amazing Grannies. Aren’t grannies just the best!
**Hooray side note: Another bundle of joy has since been added to this amazing family, Hooray! Welcome Kingsley!
Hooray: How do you feel about adding another little human to your shank tribe?
ST: Part pooping myself nervous… part unbelievably excited… and part very happy to have my body back to myself. Being our own bosses and having a 2-year-old means that life just keeps carrying on (even when you really need a little rest at 38 weeks pregnant). We know we’re in for a big change but we’re also very optimistic and excited to merge into a new version of family life as 4. Change is as good as a holiday and we can’t wait for this next step in our family adventure. Our little girl, Joyce, is just the best thing in the world and we feel privileged and so so blessed to be able to bring another new positive light into this world.
Hooray: How did you get into the wedding industry?
ST: Wes and I have shared a love for being behind the lens for years. There’s something very special to us about capturing moments. Not creating them, but capturing them. That is what we strive for; the natural moments, those geeky looks and squinty nose kisses. We first met over 12 years ago at a buy one get one free drinks special at Tiger Tiger by Greyville Race Course. Wes seduced me with a Jet Fuel shooter and the rest is history. Wes studied Sound Engineering and I have a BCom Marketing degree. We got hitched in 2012 in Mozambique with a small group of our nearest and dearest. At the time Wes was working as a producer at East Coast Radio and I was working as a marketing manager for an FMCG beverage company. But we both still had that burning passion and love for photography and video. We decided to take the leap of faith and opened The Shank Tank shortly after our wedding. We both just fell in love with the wedding industry. We love meeting new people and we love adventure. The last 5 years have taken us to some amazing places and we have made some incredible lifelong friends along the way.
Hooray: Your dream wedding destination?
ST: We got married in Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique so we’re a bit biased on this one. It’s not the Ritz, it’s relaxed, it’s rustic and it’s us. It’s our favourite place in the world and we couldn’t think of anywhere else that we would say I Do, barefoot on the beach.
Hooray: What inspires you?
ST: We are constantly inspired by the beautiful souls we meet along the way. The love stories that we get to capture are what makes us tick. Each couple is unique with their own unique story, and it is our goal to capture a piece of that magic in our work. We also get inspiration from our wedding friends. We are blessed to be part of the Hooray network of wedding providers and it is truly a remarkable group of talent. Wedding industry friends really do become like family. We spend most weekends “working” at weddings together so it is so wonderful to be surrounded by these like-minded humans.
Hooray: Running your own business can be hard, do you have a daily routine?
ST: Our weekdays are usually spent in front of our computers editing or doing admin (not so glamorous I know!). When we aren’t editing or catching up on emails, we also do some video and photo work for a few corporate companies. From tourism and conservation videos, to recipes and training videos, you name it and we shoot it.
Hooray: Tell us about your work/family balance
ST: Erryday I’m shuffling…. We always chuckle when people tell us that we don’t work during the week. There’s a lot that goes into wedding photography and video. From email enquiries and admin to editing, we always have something on our screens. We also have a few wonderful corporate clients who keep us very busy during the week. We are very lucky to have an amazing support system of family and friends. Granny and Grandpa are Numero Uno weekend babysitters and we honestly wouldn’t have gotten this far without them. We do always try and dedicate a few afternoons a week to family time. We miss out on a lot on weekends… birthday parties, celebrations, and wine on tap festivals (haha). Sometimes this can be hard but we would still not want it any other way. We are honestly living the life we love and loving the life we live!
Hooray: What is it like working with your husband?
ST: It’s the SHIZZ! From the beginning, Wes and I have made sure that we always clearly define our roles so we don’t clash. We both understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses really well. We also communicate… A LOT. I’m a talker, and Wes is a listener so that really helps. We love that we get to spend so much time together and we are also able to adapt our family schedule accordingly. It sounds so clichéd but we honestly are best friends and we really enjoy each other’s company. We laugh, we drink coffee, we argue but most of all we have lots and lots of fun!
Hooray: What do you love most about your job?
ST: We call each wedding that we shoot an ‘adventure’. Whether it is a local or destination wedding, each wedding is unique and each couple has a story to tell. We love getting to know our clients and capturing their unique story. We love the fast pace environment of weddings and we really just soak up all the soppy sentimental aspects of the day. We love being surrounded by that sense of family and community. Despite shooting over 200 weddings, we still often shed a tear in those special moments (Dad gets me errytime!). We also love that we get to work together, Wes and I are best friends and we have so much fun together at weddings. We often tell our clients that it doesn’t feel like work for us and we really do mean that.
Hooray: The “must have” in your camera kit
ST: Our Zhiyung Crane aka “Jackie Chang” is the secret behind our smooth sailing video shots. We also have a drone aka “Patrick Swayze” who is always a hit at weddings. We shoot on mirror less Fuji gear which is quite unusual, but we absolutely LOVE our gear (like a lot). We heard a funny quote the other day which is so true… “Teach your child photography, so they will never have enough money to buy drugs.” In our house a new lens or tech purchase tends to take priority over pots and pans…
Hooray: Can you describe your style?
ST: We encourage a more natural, documentary style in our work. Although we do assist with giving some direction and natural posing.
Hooray: If there was one thing you could change about the wedding industry, what would it be?
ST: Gosh, this is a tough one. I would say that the one thing I would change would be tell the couple that their wedding is just that; THEIR wedding. It’s not a show for everyone else, or an excuse to compare tablecloths and napkins. It’s the day that you say ‘I Do’ to the person you love more than anyone else in the world. Stay true to yourself, and stick to the wedding that you want. It’s those off plan and quirky moments that make the day even more memorable. Be unique, be real, be you… and everything else will fall into place.
Hooray: One piece of advice you would give yourself if you could go back in time (to when you started the wedding supplier journey)
ST: Not everyone will love your style and that’s ok… Everyone has different tastes. Don’t try win everyone over, if you are impressing everyone then you will lose your own unique style and point of difference. Be true to yourself. If you love your work and love what you do then you will attract the same likeminded clients. You simply can’t win them all!
Hooray: And lastly, tell us the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on the job
ST: Oh gosh, we have a few stories… We’ve had a bride faint in the ceremony, a groom who forgot his bride’s name during his speech, a few inappropriate gas releases from the bridal party and a few other memorable moments… but one we will never forget happened at one of the very first weddings we shot. The Bride was a vet and she had Bull Terrier that she had rescued and was literally like her bestie. Pooch even walked her down the aisle, was involved in the photo shoot and had a spot at the main table. When it came time for the first dance, the smoke came on, cue romantic song and off they started shuffling. Trusty pooch wasn’t happy about not being in the spotlight so he ran onto the dance floor and proceeded to hump the bride’s leg. She kept trying to shake him off and he just kept going for it… it was absolutely hilarious!
Stace, thank you so much for sharing with us! We absolutely loved getting an inside peek into what goes on behind the scenes at the Shank Tank HQ! You and Wes are serious magic makers and we just love having you on our Hooray Directory!
If you would like to get in touch with The Shank Tank, you can email them on:
or click on one of the links below