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Post-Wedding Blues and Boredom? Here’s how to Beat it

It’s not the end, it’s only the beginning!

When the last bottle of leftover Champagne has been popped, the final guests have returned home, and you’ve found a home and written a thank you card for each of your thoughtful wedding gifts, it’s common for sadness to set in.

To begin with, you are SO not alone. Post-wedding blues are a real thing, with brides and grooms frequently feeling deflated, and even mildly “depressed” after the wedding.

For many newlywed couples, the change of pace (and excitement) from a year or more of wedding planning can be a significant one. After all the planning and anticipation, it all suddenly stops. Even if the day lived up to every dream you ever had, there seems a lot less to ‘look forward’ to. This can lead to disappointment and stress, and conflict can arise even where there isn’t really anything to fight over – you’re just a bit bored.

The good news is, it’s not marriage, or your new spouse that’s boring, you just need to get some excitement back into your lives. First, understand why you’re feeling like this…

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What are the Post-Wedding Blues?

Why do so many brides feel empty and sad after the wedding is over?

There are a few main reasons for the post-wedding blues. The first, and hardest, is where couples don’t feel as though their expectations were met. Being let down by guests, vendors or the day itself is less common, but it does happen.

If your expectations weren’t met

First, discuss your experience with your husband. Do you both feel the same? Has a vendor disappointed you, and if so, is there possible recourse in your contract? If the disappointment came from family or other guests, ask yourselves if the issue is big enough to warrant a discussion with them?

If the wedding wasn’t “perfect”

However, if the wedding just doesn’t feel like it went “perfectly” you may want to consider if you’re setting yourself up to feel like this. We have a cultural obsession with being perfect – the perfect body, perfect job, the perfect man, the perfect wedding, but perfect doesn’t truly exist in any of those things.

Instead of remembering on what didn’t go perfectly, shift your focus to recall all the best parts of the wedding – what made you really happy on the day, your favourite moments, the tears and the laughter. It may even help to write about your day. Take a notebook, your journal or begin I still do where there’s an entire chapter on your wedding memories. Write about what was good, what was beautiful, and the moments most memorable – for all the right reasons. By affirming positivity around those, you can effectively shift the focus away from the let-downs. Acknowledge them, and then let them go.

You’ve feel as though you have nothing to look forward to

The build up and anticipation of your wedding day isn’t only months or a year in the making – you may have been dreaming of this day since you were a little girl (or boy). So when it’s over, that dream, however it worked out, is gone, and you no longer have such a momentous occasion to look forward to. It may seem counterintuitive to be sad after the best day ever, but it’s also understandable – if that was ‘the best’ day then what is next?

If you think you may feel like this after your wedding (and you’re reading this in advance) consider booking your honeymoon a short time after, creating a buffer zone between the two, and a secondary occasion to look forward to.

Quite simply? You need a plan. Whether it’s a holiday in a year, a hot date next Friday, or the fitness/dancing/yoga/arts/theatre programme you’ve been wanting to enrol in, you need to get yourself back into something structured. You need to have something to look forward to, both week to week, and in the long term. Plan catch-ups with your guests and go over your wedding photos and their memories of the day too, and relive your favourite moments over and over again.

Talk to your husband – no, really talk. Talk about the future. What do you look forward to most – whether 5, 10, 15 or 50 years from now, where do you see your lives heading? Focus on the good, and the future – you’re likely to have more of your income to yourselves now too, enjoy that!

Real life is boring

You had SO MUCH TO DO. Parties, Budgetting, Planning, DIY, Dance lessons and more – every moment over the last few months was FULL, and now you’re sitting around with a cup of tea in the evenings and no wedding to plan. Believe me, I get it. Maybe you loved the attention that being engaged and planning a wedding entices, or maybe you were putting off a big life decision or stressful investment until after the wedding, and nothing else seems quite as fun any more.

You need to get yourself out of this rut – it’s not marriage that’s boring you, it’s lethargy and absence of excitement.

You need to bring the excitement back into the everyday. Make dinner at home special, or plan a weekend FULL of activities together, down to the hour if you have to: walk to cafe for coffee; drive to local vege markets and shop and eat til lunch; grab a sandwich and sit on the beach or a park for an hour; head to K Mart (!!); unpack all your fresh veges and make meal plans for the week; go to the movies/netflix & chill!… whatever it takes, just Get Busy!

Get Some Perspective

Even when you’re busy, have something to look forward to, and can look back on your wedding with total satisfaction, the reality is that marriage is different to wedding planning, but your marriage is much more important. Start talking about what’s happening next, what married life means to you and what your next life transitions might be. Focusing on what happens after the big day, and getting excited about your next steps will help significantly diminish any depressive or deflated feelings.

If your feelings continue, don’t be afraid to seek counselling.

Remember and Relive your Wedding Day

To be honest, I didn’t feel too deflated after our wedding. While the anticipation was the most exciting thing I’d ever been through, it was nothing compared to the warmth, security and happiness I felt at having accomplished a beautiful wedding, and marrying the person I loved most.

A wedding is a single day, a beautiful and exciting one, and one to look back on with love, but there is so much more beyond it. Write down your feelings, reflect on your photos, but remember why you couldn’t wait to marry your special person too – to spend the rest of your lives together.

Feelings like these inspired me to create I still do, the perfect life and marriage planner to take you from “I do” well into the future, while reflecting on your Big Day. 

 

Wedding Budget Breakdown: How to Allocate and stick to your Wedding Budget

 Now available on YouTube: Your Wedding Budget Essentials: Average Cost of a Wedding, DIY & MORE!  Don’t forget to Subscribe for more Wedding Planning Videos

Welcome back my totally organised, financially savvy wedding planners – you’re at Part III of the Wedding Budget Guide. You’ve started your wedding budget, followed by setting and spending on your priorities, and now you want to get on with the rest of the Wedding Budget Breakdown.

Wedding Budget Breakdown: What Comes First? 

Once you’ve got an estimated budget, an initial guest list, and your priorities on lock-down, it’s time to look at how you can choose a wedding venue. Begin researching to find a venue which caters to your number of guests comfortably, within a cost you can afford. You can expect to spend anywhere from 50 to 70% of your budget on venues, depending on whether the price includes catering.
When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, one of your first big questions is going to be whether to go for a ‘dry-hire’ or ‘venue only’ location, or an all-inclusive, fully comprehensive and catered spot.
Many people assume that this is a cheaper way to do it, because you don’t have to pay restaurant rates for wine, and you’re not obliged to use in-house catering, theming and decorations.
However, if you’re aren’t well organised, good at budgeting, and into the idea of making all the arrangements yourself, a dry-hire venue may not be for you.


wedding-organiser-organizer-diary-planner-book-little-white-bookGet well organised with the little white book wedding organiser and diary.

To make a space completely your own though, and for a wedding that’s unlike any other, you can turn the empty shell of a dry-hire venue into a really special and completely personal space. It’s all up to you, but it’s also at your expense.

Breaking down of the Biggest Expense – Your Wedding Venue

Some fully catered wedding venues won’t have a hireage fee, but either way, you need to know exactly what is, and is not included: how much time? Exclusive use? Taxes, gratuity, cleaning? Staff for set-up, decoration, food service, packing up, planning assistance in the lead up? A sound system for music and speeches? Some venues may offer a wedding planner to assist.
Conversely, even the very basics, such as tables and chairs, won’t be included in a dry hire venue, so you’d better find out now. As an example of the costs involved with a dry-hire venue, with ours because we had to hire all the tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, glassware, linens and a little décor, the cost was an extra $100 per person – and that’s without the need to hire a marquee, which itself is thousands.
I also offer a venue questionnaire pack which will really help you with these questions.
Read more: How to choose your wedding venue – General
 Read more: How to choose your wedding venue – Auckland and surrounds

After the Venue (& After your Priorities) – What’s Next?

Your choice of wedding venue may also dictate many other aspects of your wedding, such as the general style and formality, and other details like catering and beverages. Beyond that, though, you are going to have tens, if not hundreds, of small decisions to make on every other little element.
As we’ve already talked about your priorities I’m going to assume that you’ve allocated resources towards those, and that now you are dealing with the balance. Reminder, you may wish to return to the sample wedding budgets too.
How you choose to spend the balance of your wedding budget is going to be very personal, it’s all going to come down to what’s important (and what will honestly make absolutely no difference to you). Each decision you make will have a bearing on how you allocate your wedding budget, and what will remain of your budget to spend on other things.
You’re probably going to have begin with a list of things you may book (i.e. have a look at the ‘budget’ pages of the little white book) but it’s important to consider that just because it’s included in a list, does not mean you need to have it.
As you look at these budget pages and begin thinking about estimates, you might see things you hadn’t even contemplated spending money on – such as transport, wedding favours, or a rehearsal dinner. My advice would be that if you haven’t contemplated those things yet, you needn’t. They obviously aren’t important to you, so strike them out!
To get married you need a bride, a groom (or sometimes two brides and two grooms in NZ), two witnesses, a celebrant and a marriage licence – everything else is negotiable.
Read more: Spark Joy in Wedding Planning

What, a Wedding without a Wedding Cake?!

Indeed, even going sans something which seems so “integral” (or just commonplace) as a wedding cake does not invalidate your wedding…
My wedding cake was smashed en route to the venue the day before the wedding, and I can tell you how much difference it made – absolutely none. It was just as delicious in bits, and I’d certainly encourage others to save $500 or $1000 and serve a cheaper, one tiered cake instead, if not forego it altogether and serve dessert.

What about the importance of having beautiful Centrepieces?

On the day of the wedding, it transpired that the platters of banquet style food we had were so large that they wouldn’t fit on the tables, unless we took off most of the centrepieces, flowers, candles and all the different glassware. Again, noone noticed. I could have saved thousands.

Should I just DIY?

When you feel like your budget isn’t meeting your expectations, and you realise you’re going to have to save money in some areas, I suggest that rather than think ‘What could I DIY to save money’ or ‘What could I get cheaply’ rather, return to What do I really want and need to have, and don’t go beyond that.
Don’t go along with something just because you’ve seen it in every Hollywood Rom-com, or at all your friends’ weddings. Challenge every assumption you make that you “must-have” something.
The easiest things to save on, I suggest, are on stationery (which can now be completely electronic or print at home – thanks Etsy!), flowers, centrepieces and much of the reception décor, signage, favours, transport, new shoes and jewellery, but the list really goes on, you don’t need to have any of those things, which makes allocating the remainder of your wedding budget much, much easier.

We have heaps of money remaining, we want to spend it!

With your Wedding Venue (and food/drink) booked and a few key priorities secured, if your wedding budget allows and you feel like it, I suggest that you allocate your budget in a way which is going to make the biggest difference to both you and your guests’ enjoyment of the day.
Music: While you can absolutely organise your own playlists for music, there’s no denying the ambience created by a live singer or band, and the entertainment is always appreciated by the guests – especially if you are taking post-ceremony photos. You may also want to consider a DJ or band for the evening festivities. See Wedding Music.
Catering: Once you’ve taken care of the main catering choices and made sure your guests will have plenty to eat and drink, you may wish to consider having a late-night snack (we served pizza!) for your guests, or a wedding cake, if you’re a sweet tooth and have your eye on something beautiful. Not necessary, but enjoyable!
Photography: I realise that *most* of you will have a wedding photographer, but that’s not the case for everybody. I recently had the most amazing (and amazingly funny!) message sent to me by a follower – she said she’d chosen not to have a photographer – because she didn’t want to spend $4,000 on a new Facebook profile picture! So, while it may be important to you, everyone else is planning their weddings
If you do want and feel the need to have all of those things, the most effective way to trim the budget is by having a smaller wedding – the cost of food and drink for each guest adding a tremendous expense, not to mention per person cost for all the little things that add up.

Our Budget Doesn’t Allow us to have Everything

You may find yourself getting disappointed, you had all these huge ideas, this Pinterest perfect wedding, but you really needn’t. To start with, a note on Pinterest, please, be aware that much of what’s on Pinterest, and often on vendors’ websites, are styled shoots, which is the wedding industry’s way of advertising. They haven’t been replicated on a large scale, which would be at a huge expense.
Personally, I go to a lot of weddings, and none of them look like they do on Pinterest – in fact, my wedding is on Pinterest, but you can’t see the things all the things that went wrong (the cake is noticeably absent!)
It’s akin to Facebook, it’s everyone’s highlight reel, but don’t get caught up in what it’s all ‘supposed’ to look like. It will be beautiful, you will have an amazing day. And at the end of the day, you will be married – and it’s only the beginning!

If you’ve just started planning, head to the wedding planning index and take a look at the little white book wedding organiser and diary.

Wellington Weddings: Reception Venues, Gardens & Wedding Planners

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You’re engaged!
Congratulations!

If you’re looking for how to find a Wellington wedding venue – Wellington City, Lower Hutt, Wairarapa, Cape Palliser, Martinborough or Kapiti Coast – then you’re in the right place! (Not looking for a wedding venue in the Wellington region? see the wedding venue guide.)

Once you’ve started your wedding budget and guest list, it’s time to find the wedding venue for your dream day! If you haven’t looked at those two yet, I suggest you head back to first steps to plan a wedding. You can also make wedding planning easier right from the beginning with the little white book and wedding planning pack.

Find and choose a Wellington Wedding Venue

  • Where to begin searching for a wedding venue in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Wairarapa, Cape Palliser, Martinborough or Kapiti Coast;
  • Locating potential wedding venues and seeking inspiration via photographers;
  • How to choose between potential wedding venues;
  • What to consider before you sign a wedding venue contract; and
  • Suggestions for Wellington region wedding venues.

Getting married in Wellington

We are just so spoiled for choices of wedding venues in New Zealand, and Wellingtonians are some of the luckiest kiwis when it comes to choosing a spot to get hitched – the Capital is such a unique, creative and vibrant city.
Whether you’re looking for a wedding venue in Wellington city itself, further north towards Kapiti Coast or to Wairarapa, Martinborough or Cape Palliser, or somewhere in between, you have so many options in beautiful Wellington region. There is nothing better than Wellington on a sunny day, which is why it’s a stunning place to say “I Do” during wedding season.
The best thing about Wellington or the Wairarapa is that you are spoiled for choice. Whether you want a beach, church, garden, vineyard or an indoor wedding, there is definitely a venue for you, no matter the amount of guests or your style/theme. In all honesty, the hardest part about finding a venue here might be narrowing it down to only one.
Blair grew up in Wellington, and for a few years while we lived in Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty, we spent a lot of time in the region, so I’m fairly familiar with it and have even attended a couple of Wellington weddings myself.
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Find Wedding Venues in Wellington

To find a beautiful wedding venue, my favourite method is to browse local photographers’ websites and go from there. Browse google, facebook, instagram, magazines and other New Zealand wedding blogs) for Wellington wedding photographers, and have a look at their portfolio. This gives you the ability to not only find a beautiful location, but also helps you to work out what style of photography, and perhaps even style of wedding you like.
Naturally, wedding photographers will feature their most beautiful weddings on their site, and you’re likely to come across venues you’ve never seen before too. Not only that, but you’ll discover the best local photography spots and hideaways nearby those wedding venues – which can be huge drawcards too, and help you choose a venue.

Wellington Wedding Photographers to Browse

To name just a couple of local photographers and some of their Wellington and Wairarapa wedding venue inspiration:
Sharisse Eberlein Photography
Tarureka Estate, Wairarapa 
Brackenridge Country Retreat and Spa, Martinborough
The Landing at Home Bush, Masterton
Patina Photography
The Milk Station, Otaki 
Poppies, Martinborogh
Old St Paul 
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a photographers’ website you start with, you could browse a local wedding planner’s work or begin with your favourite florist’s recent photos on instagram.
Another way of finding Wellington wedding venues of course is to ‘google’, and you will also be able to find some ‘Wellington wedding venue directories’ – like those on Our Wedding, for example. Wedding directories can be a great source of information, BUT, like magazines, they only feature those venues and vendors which pay for their inclusion – so it’s not going to provide you with a complete picture.
New Zealand Wedding Directory, Weddings Wairarapa,  My Wedding Guide are other examples. For a few cheap wedding venue options, consider the council websites which also provide hireage of event and function centres: Wellington City Council has around 12.

Comparing your Favourite wedding Venues

For more information, read How to Choose Wedding Venues: All-Inclusive, BYO or DIY
Once you’ve compiled a list of your favourite Wellington wedding venues, or even If you find it hard to choose between various locations try making a list of everything you like about each of them.
Create a table with the potential wedding venues or locations across the top, and all of their various favourable attributes in a list, then mark an X on whichever of the two is the best in each category.  Not only will you have a table full of X marks (and hopefully more in one column than the other) but you’ll have given each venue a serious thought, and thought about all the elements that are important to you.
Wedding-Venue-comparison-table
You can also create a spreadsheet of the key attributes of each wedding venue you’re interested in, so that you can compare venues in terms of cost, available dates, restrictions, catering options, type, layout, and any other pros and cons which are relevant to you. If you are choosing between DIY/BYO or all inclusive venues, see the wedding venue guide.
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Visit your favourite Wellington Wedding Venues

Prepared with your wedding venue research spreadsheets, as well as lists of all the below questions and considerations, make an appointment to visit your favourite wedding venue or a couple of those which appeal to you.
Email their coordinator to enquire about package and pricing options. Set out an email with any preferred dates or at least the month and days of the week, and the approximate number of guests you intend to have, and then only make an appointment to view if you can afford it. This also avoids potential disappointment in visiting the venue only to find that your date is already booked. It also gives you an insight into how helpful they may be to communicate with over email – a valuable part of wedding planning.
Around 12 months prior to the wedding is the ideal time to do so, so that you can see how the venue will look on your wedding day, and it is also a key booking to have in place early, so that you can organise everything else.

Wedding Venue Considerations

This list is an excerpt from the wedding planning pack, which includes all the questions you need to know and ask of each of your wedding vendors.

  • Don’t book the first venue you see (your fiance isn’t the first man you ever met, is he?!), make sure to weigh up a couple and ensure you’re not just ‘getting it over with’!
  • Consider all the venue’s options for photography, and always look at real weddings at the venue;
  • Dates can book up quickly at popular venues, so call around to check on date availability before falling in love with a particular wedding venue only to find that the season is full;
  • Ask for minimum spend or per-head cost during the initial phone call or visit, to ensure it’s within your price bracket;
  • A more expensive venue but incredibly beautiful wedding venue might save you money on decor, flowers and lighting;
  • Your venue will play a huge roll in determining the theme and ambiance of your wedding;
  • An all-inclusive price will save you a lot of worry, but if that’s not possible, make sure you understand what is or is not included;
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount if you’re booking a weekday, last minute, etc.
  • Consider a spot where your guests can ‘getaway’ for the weekend and turn it into a real holiday;
  • Always have a contingency plan for weather, and if the only reason you like a venue is because it will be stunning on a perfect day, rethink this plan;
  • Find out if the venue offers a wedding planner or organisation service;
  • Ask if you’ll have exclusive use of the venue, and what time you can occupy it until;
  • Take care before you sign on the dotted line – a wedding venue contract should be entered into with the consideration you’d give any other contract (can you tell I’m a lawyer).  Read every line and clause, discuss anything you don’t understand with the vendor (or a lawyer), and don’t feel pressured to sign straight away.  Some questions to ask before signing include:
    • What are the noise restrictions?
    • Does the venue have an events manager?
    • Where can your guests stay nearby?
    • Can you bring in whatever outside vendors you want?
    • Are the kitchen facilities available for those vendors?
    • Is there tableware included?
    • How many tables fit into the room?
    • What is the sound system provided?
    • Is it a licensed venue? What time does the licence go until?
    • Is there enough lighting provided?
    • Are you allowed to light candles? Throw confetti? Have fireworks?
    • Where can guests park?
    • What is the weather contingency plan?
    • If it’s BYO wedding venue, what’s the corkage fee?
    • For the full list, see the wedding planning pack or bundle.

I’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for Auckland wedding venues, leave me a comment. Choosing your wedding venue is just one of the many decisions to make, do so with ease by purchasing the little white book & wedding planning pack in the discounted bundle.

All photos © The Official Photographers

The Life Changing Magic of… Wedding Planning

Excerpt from last month’s Bride Tribe – I had so much amazing feedback to this idea that I just had to share it with you all too!
A couple of years ago I read Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) and my mind was as transformed as my bathroom cupboards. Since then, I’ve waxed evangelical about the wondrous benefits of Marie Kondo’s approach to organising your life and home.
While the “KonMari” method offers practical guidance on cleaning out your home and organising our belongingings properly, it’s much more philosophical than that.
Today, while talking to a friend I realised that I’ve been so inspired by the life-changing magic that I now apply it to all my wedding planning advice. Interested in how discarding the majority of your wardrobe is analogous to planning your Big Day? It really all comes down to two little words.

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Spark Joy

A concise introduction to ‘Tidying Up’

How many times have you rifled through your wardrobe, picking out items to discard or give away, yet you never actually achieve a clutter-free cupboard or a closet full of clothes you’re dying to wear.
Promising that if you properly declutter your home once, you’ll never have to do it again, KonMari instead advises not to cull items you don’t want, but instead take every single thing out of your closet, and put back only those that “spark joy” – those that bring real happiness to you. If you place back into your wardrobe/bathroom/life only those joy-giving belongings, you reach the nirvana of housekeeping and never have to clean again.

Applying the KonMari Method to Wedding Planning

An organised approach to prioritising and planning

This process applies fittingly to Wedding Planning in so many ways. In both life and wedding planning, many of us spend money on things we feel like we’re “supposed” to have, even if those things don’t really bring us happiness (spark joy).
I know I’ve said this before, but your wedding is not just the sum of its parts, it’s not merely a combination of spending money on all the right wedding vendors, i.e. Celebrant + Expensive Dress + White Shoes  + Bridesmaids + Flowers + Decor + Music + Food + Wine + Favours = Wedding.
I so frequently hear from brides who feel like they are making decisions based on what they believe is expected of them, whether that’s due to pressures from other people or traditions, rather than what they really want.
I have previously suggested that brides begin wedding planning by focussing on a few key priorities and getting those elements exactly as you want them, before moving on and organising “the remainder”, and even going sans much of the remainder, if those elements are not really, meaningfully important to you.
I went on the AM show a few months ago about the Kiwi wedding, and how we’re willing to do things differently, and not necessarily having everything. At the end, Mark asked me for an example of something couples can do without, but this is the exact opposite of what I’m saying. It’s not really about asking what you can do without, but about starting with what you really want and need – everything else is just “gravy”.

How would Marie Kondo plan a wedding?

Wedding planning with “Spark Joy” in mind

Applying the KonMari method to wedding planning means planning a wedding that’s simple and meaningful. It means you can save money, save on guest numbers and save on stress. Here’s how:

Kondo Your Guest List

I’ve written at length about starting your guest list, and this echoes what I said there, but only invite to your wedding those guests who will really ‘Spark Joy’ on your wedding day, and continue to be part of your future lives too.
Distant family members, ex-boyfriends, old colleagues (/current colleagues?), parents’ friends, friends’ parents – do each of them really spark joy, or are you asking them out of obligation?

Kondo your Wedding Priorities

What would Kondo do, prioritising at all the various elements a wedding could have? She wouldn’t have things just for the sake of it, because they’re on-trend, or because she saw them on Pinterest. Nope, Marie Kondo would plan, and budget for, only those elements which would really bring her joy on the day – those that will bring real meaning to your celebration. How much meaning and joy each element will bring to you is very personal, and each wedding will be different – that’s the beauty of it. Read more: Prioritising

Book the Wedding Vendors who Spark Joy!

Do each of your professional vendors spark joy – do you really love talking to them, do you want to spend time with them on the day, or in the lead up? Are you excited to stand with not just your fiance, but also your celebrant, for those all important moments? Have you chosen people who connect with your personality and vision, or are you booking those with the best reputation, or the cheapest?

Do your Bridal Party Spark Joy?

Before you even ask the all important “Will you be my bridesmaid” – read the bridesmaids guide and think about which of your gals is really going to spark joy for you – throughout the wedding planning process, in the immediate lead up, planning your bridal shower and hens do, and on the wedding day itself.
Does Spending Money Spark Joy? Spending money can be a happy experience – hello shopping! Budgeting for and then spending money on your wedding should feel GOOD, not bad, not guilty, you should be excited to experience what you’re investing in, not worried about your depleting accounts.

Does Wedding Planning Spark Joy?

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PAINFUL! Okay, no need to shout, but wedding planning can actually be enjoyable. Celebrate your engagement, make it special?
Write about the proposal and doodle your wedding day dreams in your little white book, eat cake with your fiance (every damn day until you find the wedding cake that will spark joy, or ditch the wedding cake and have a tower of donuts or a chocolate fountain or a margarita slushy machine instead of all of them!) and have fun. If wedding planning gets stressful, bring it back a notch, focus on only what you love, not what you feel like you need. Talk to your bridesmaids – the ones you chose cause you knew they’d bring you joy when you needed it, talk to me, talk to your Mum, take a load off, get cosy, tell your fiance you need his help, you want to elope, or that he’s in charge of planning from now on.
Whatever it takes to ensure that wedding planning is really freaking awesome, do that. Keep Calm, have FUN and Spark Joy, babes xx
Ready to spark joy in wedding planning? Head to the index of planning posts, or check out the little white book in my online shop.

Top 10 New Zealand Wedding Venues & Destinations

Looking for a New Zealand Wedding Venue? You are SO Lucky!

We are absolutely spoiled for choice for Wedding Venues in Aotearoa (New Zealand) – it almost makes me want to get married again!
Whether you’re planning a destination wedding in NZ or planning your wedding close to home, Aotearoa really makes the most picture-perfect backdrop for your wedding day. Discover the best we have on offer with the top 10 locations of New Zealand Wedding Venues for all the inspiration you need to complete your dream day!
In New Zealand you are never far from the sea or the mountains, as well as the best of everything beautiful in between – vineyards, gardens and hilltop weddings are our specialty, as Nicole Warne’s beautiful Wanaka wedding recently was testament to!
If you’re searching for one of the best wedding venues in New Zealand, you’ll undoubtedly also want the best wedding planner, so have a look at the little white book to make planning your wedding stress-free and memorable.

Above/featured photo: Lake Tekapo Wedding
New Zealand Wedding Venues NZ Wanaka
New Zealand Wedding Venues Wanaka
New Zealand Wedding Venues Wanaka Weddings

Top 10 New Zealand Wedding Venues & Destinations

In all honesty, you are probably going to struggle to choose just one of New Zealand’s best destinations… but that is a good problem to have, right?

Hawkes Bay Weddings

Where better to get married than in New Zealand’s oldest wine region?
Napier, Hastings and Havelock North are home to some of the most wonderful wedding venues in NZ, not to mention award winning wine! There will definitely be a venue that will live up to your wedding dreams, with indoor and outdoor venues, wineries, vineyards or even stunning old art-deco buildings.
Hawkes Bay is known for its beautiful sunny weather during wedding season, making an outdoor wedding all the more achievable. There are no shortage of photographers, make up artists and wedding planners to make your Hawkes Bay wedding become a reality. Having lived in Napier and later Taradale, I’d love to go back for a Hawkes Bay wedding!
Here are some venues to choose from in the Hawkes Bay.

  • Black Barn Vineyard
  • Incredible Havelock North Vineyard Black Barn has 6 different spaces on offer to host all of your wedding aspirations – it’s quite simply a perfect wedding venue.
  • The Dome
  • The Dome is located in central Napier, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from the great room. There is also luxury lodge accomodation, making it even easier for you and your guests.
  • The Old Church
  • This venue can accomodate around 175 guests for your big day. The Old Church also has great options for winter weddings for those of you wanted to do something in the off-season.
  • Mission Estate
  • With beautiful views and incredible surroundings, how could you say no to the Mission Estate winery, the oldest in New Zealand – since 1851?

Bay of Islands Weddings

Just a short drive out of Auckland, the Bay of Islands is a gorgeous place to say “I do” and a perfect New Zealand Wedding Venue Destination. Packed with fascinating New Zealand history including the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as plenty of beaches, the Bay of Islands is the perfect place for a romantic summer wedding, with lots of activities for your guests to take part in while they are there. There are many options for both an intimate ceremony or a big wedding, with both indoor and outdoor venues. Who wouldn’t want a wedding outside in the Bay of Islands’ surreal scenery.
Here are some wedding venues to choose from in the Bay of Islands.

  • Treghan Lodge
  • Located in KeriKeri, Treghan Lodge is a beautiful space to tie the knot and stay for the weekend after – its luxury accommodation is the ideal venue to relax (get in touch for room offers as you can book the entire property). If you’re planning a garden wedding, there’s really little other décor you need to create a beautiful space and you will have spectacular photos to remember your special day.
  • The Duke of Marlborough
  • In another piece of interesting history from the Bay of Islands, The Duke of Marlborough was New Zealand’s first licensed hotel, bar and restaurant, and now its the most beautiful wedding venue in the Bay of Islands, overlooking the clear waters of Russell.
  • Puketotara Lodge
  • If you are after a private and tranquil venue to exchange vows, this is the wedding venue for you. Have your wedding ceremony at the Lodge itself or next to the Puketotara river with a surrounding vineyard and show off to your guests what unmatched beauty New Zealand has to offer.
  • Eagles Nest
  • To cater to a guest list of up to 80 people, Eagles Nest is an elegant choice for your dream wedding, with luxury accommodation on the property with panoramic views of the Bay of Islands. One of the most picturesque wedding venues in NZ, its designed with an eclectic, contemporary vibe, with a garden blending into the natural foliage and topography. It is only a short walk into the beautiful Russell.
  • Alongside
  • Situated right over the water, have a stress free beach wedding at Alongside. You can have both your ceremony and reception at this impeccable wedding venue, meaning you and your guests can relax all day. Is there anything more romantic than being able to watch the sunset over a beautiful Bay of Islands beach on your big day?

Waiheke Weddings

Only a short ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke is one of New Zealand’s most picture perfect locations for your wedding. Whether you wanted a beach wedding or a wedding at a vineyard, there are plentiful options for everyone.

  • Cable Bay
  • With incredible views, food and wine, you and your guests will certainly have a day to remember at this stunning Waiheke wedding venue. A winner for an outdoor wedding, you can say your vows on the lush green lawn or in the vines with the ocean and a view of Auckland behind you. Your guests will be talking about it and sharing photos for years to come.
  • Tantalus Estate
  • This relative newcomer to the Waiheke wedding venue scene offers everything you could possibly dream of in one magical location. This is a vineyard has two settings to choose from, depending on if you want a floral or wetlands backdrop. The venue is flexible to meet your requirements for your big day – this was also the venue that Bride Tribe’s Wilhelmina chose.
  • The Venue
  • The Venue, Waiheke Island will certainly meet all your aspirations of a beach wedding, moving up to the deck for your drinks at sunset and inside dining room for the reception. The options at The Venue are never ending, with even a secret garden for your ceremony, and the team can style your wedding to your dreams.

Queenstown Weddings

Queenstown hosts what are arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful weddings all year round, so perfect for those who favour Winter nuptials too. Queenstown is packed with adventure and activities for you and your guests, so definitely worth the travel if need be.
There are so many stunning Queenstown wedding venues to choose from; vineyards, lakes, gardens, private estates and churches are only a few. You can only imagine your wedding photos…
Some of Queenstown’s best venues:

  • Skyline Queenstown
  • Overlooking lake Wakatipu, Skyline offers an incredible view for picture perfect Queenstown wedding photos. With access by Gondola, this will create something really unique for your day that your guests are sure to love. The team at Skyline make the planning process easy, with many wedding packages available.
  • Stoneridge Estate
  • With a background of Lake Hayes, mountain ranges and a vineyard, this wedding venue really shows the unique beauty of New Zealand. Stoneridge has its own water gardens, a vineyard and art gallery, as well as a 5 star bed and breakfast with rustic vibes provided by the infrastructure from an old church.
  • NZ High Country
  • This spectacular Queenstown wedding venue is situated on a 200 hectare property 800m above sea level. NZ High Country has breathtaking views of country and also of Queenstown. It has only recently been opened to the public for functions and has four locations to choose from for your wedding – definitely has something for everyone.
  • Fiordland Lodge
  • If you’re looking for a luxurious, private and intimate wedding ceremony and reception venue around Queenstown, Fiordland Lodge is perfect. The bridal lawn has spectacular lake and mountain views and acts as a glorious backdrop with the blue lapping waters of Lake Te Anau. This is a magnificent and unique location to exchange vows. Inside the Lodge the Great Room also has stunning, unobstructed views. Flanked by huge 30 feet stone fireplaces this is an ideal room for the ceremony and acts as an excellent alternative should the weather be chilly.

Bay of Plenty Weddings

There is a venue for everyone in the Bay of Plenty, from an intimate garden ceremony to a large wedding. Bay of Plenty is accommodating, with both high and low budget options, but still having luxury and romance wherever you choose. Bay of Plenty is a popular place to get married, being relaxing, warm in summer and has incredible beaches and scenery.
Here are some to choose from;

  • Te Runanga Tea House & Rotunda
  • This is a beautiful venue in the heart of Rotorua, with a lot of history, built in 1903. It is in the historic Government Gardens, filled with character and romance, perfect for your wedding. This is a venue for a relatively small wedding, with a veranda overlooking the property. Your guests will enjoy their time in Rotorua, with many relaxing and fun romantic activities.
  • Old Forest School
  • Since the doors of Old Forest School opened in 2013, its been a popular wedding venue, and you’ll see why. Private and secluded from the city, it has beautiful rustic buildings, tall trees and gardens – you can choose to get married inside or under the giant trees. With a barn for a rustic reception, it’s sure to meet all your Pinterest goals, and there is also accommodation on site for your wedding party. It is a perfect location for your wedding photos, with many different backgrounds and settings, meaning you do not have to leave your guests for too long by going offsite.
  • Eagle Ridge 
  • Situated in Tauranga is the stunning, luxurious Eagle Ridge. With rustic indoor and outdoor options, insane views, and a immaculate property with colourful landscaped gardens with fireplaces. There are event managers at the venue, dedicated in making sure that no detail is missed. If you want a luxury wedding experience, this venue is for you.

Auckland Weddings

New Zealand most populated city, it’s also home to the most weddings. With Auckland being so wide and varied, there is definitely a venue for everyone, and I’ve previously written on article on just how to choose your wedding venue in Auckland and surrounds. From the beach to the countryside and even modern event centres, you can find a wedding venue in Auckland that meets your guest list and budget.

  • Kauri Bay Boomrock
  • This venue holds up to 250 guests and located in Clevedon, not far out of the heart of Auckland. With views of the Hauraki Gulf, your guests will never be bored with options of golf and other outdoor games while you are getting your picture taken as the new Mr and Mrs. Photography locations are available on the property.
  • Mantells
  • Located in Mount Eden or on the waterfront, guests will not have to travel far for this venue overlooking the waterfront. It is Italian styled, with a courtyard that overlooks the Harbour Bridge. This is definitely a venue for couples set on a big city wedding with an elegant and luxurious feel. With a maximum of 60 guests, this will be the perfect venue for a small and intimate wedding with the one you love.
  • Boutique Barn
  • Boutique Barn is a short drive from Auckland city, located in Puhoi. Puhoi is rural Auckland, giving a country setting for your wedding. It is becoming a popular venue for small and rustic weddings, holding up to fifty guests. There are both indoor and outdoor areas, so no matter the weather, your special day will still be perfect. It creates a luxurious setting with chandeliers, vintage furniture and barns. There is also accommodation for the bride and groom on site.

Christchurch Weddings

Don’t let the earthquake put you off considering a Christchurch wedding. Wedding venues in Christchurch are as beautiful as ever, in both Summer and Winter. Home to some of the most beautiful gardens, historic homes and vineyards Christchurch wedding venues are as varied and unique as they are beautiful. See the complete Christchurch weddings article, as well as these few top picks:

  • Waipuna Estate
  • Waipuna has two picture-perfect locations for outdoor weddings. Our covered terrace is surrounded by rustic gardens, and has sweeping views of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains – which can be used for your ceremony in either fine or wet conditions. Waipuna Estate offer BYO on all beverages, and don’t charge any corkage, making it a relatively cheap wedding venue in greater Christchurch – just in the hills above Tai Tapu. They also specialise in Winter weddings, with a large open plan function areas inside the villa. With a capacity of up to 85 for seated, or 120 for a cocktail style wedding reception, Waipuna is a stunning choice for your BYO Christchurch wedding.
  • Ilex Cafe
  • Instantly, Christchurch Botanic Gardens come to mind, where new wedding venue Ilex Cafe offers a stunning modern sanctuary, and Jonny Schwass’s famed local cuisine. After the Christchurch earthquakes, wedding venues were harder to come by, and Ilex’s arrival in the beautiful gardens was welcomed by friends of ours for their beautiful February wedding. Ilex offers exclusive events spaces which can accommodate up to 120 guest for a seated event or 150 guests for a cocktail party, at quite affordable wedding venue hire.
  • Mona Vale Homestead
  • If your dream day involves a garden ceremony beside the River Avon, you can’t go past Mona Vale Homestead for a truly ‘Christchurch’ Wedding Venue – your guests can even punt the Avon between rounds of croquet, quoits and giant jenga. With a capacity for either a seated dinner for 150 guests, or cocktail function for up to 220, the beautiful residential gardens of Mona Vale Homestead provides a perfect wedding venue for a hire fee of $3,500.

Waikato Weddings

Hamilton has some incredible wedding venues. Located only an hour and a half out of Auckland, it is not far of a drive, especially if you are looking for a venue and all of your dates are booked up in Auckland. The Waikato shows off rural New Zealand, while also being close to the city with more modern venues. There is definitely something for everyone in the Waikato.

  • Red Barn
  • This location is perfect for both your ceremony and reception, as well as your rehearsal dinner. The barn can accomodate up to 140 guests, with the option of a buffet or plated meals. There is an outstanding view of Hinuera Valley and Lake Karapiro. Being in the country gives a sense of isolation so the day is all about you and your loved ones. There are large fireplaces to make the venue feel comfortable and cosy and makes a winter wedding realistic. There are stunning backdrops for your wedding photos.
  • The Boatshed
  • Lake Karapiro makes The Boatshed an incredible place to have your wedding. Having both indoor and outdoor areas, allows you to plan out your wedding any way you like. The gardens and lakefront creates a gorgeous and romantic setting to say your vows. There is rooms available for the bride and groom to get ready on site. Meals are vibrant and fresh and use local produce, as well as being BYO.
  • Windy Ridge
  • If you want a intimate and romantic wedding in Hamilton, this venue is for you. There are several locations on the property for you to say your “I Do’s” and also for your reception. Windy Ridge are flexible and open to ideas, catering for all wedding dreams. Their secret garden is the perfect exclusive place.

Wanaka Weddings

If you’re lucky enough to have been to Wanaka, you’ll know what I mean when I say it is STUNNING, and home to arguably the most beautiful of all New Zealand wedding venues, as Nicole Warne’s wedding photos (at Rippon Hall in Lake Wanaka) above attest. Very popular during Winter, but just as amazing in Summer, Wanaka has quite simply everything you could look for in a New Zealand wedding venue

  • The Lookout Lodge
  • This beautiful Wanaka wedding venue seatss up to 124 guests, as well as having accomodation for 18 guests, perhaps perfect for your bridal party or close family. Isolated and rural, with fantastic country views of Wanaka’s amazing mountains and gardens, the Lookout Lodge is definitely what it’s name suggests.
  • Criffel Woolshed
  • The Woolshed offers a rustic setting for your wedding in Wanaka. There is a historic feel to the venue, creating character that your guests will enjoy. The venue is unique to others around the country, looking out to the mountains through Poplar and Pine Oaks. There are options in case the weather is wet, still with the rustic surrounding. This is definitely a venue for all you Pinterest lovers.
  • Stone Hut Terrace
  • Offers you and your guests a elevated setting with views of Wanaka. You can choose a tipi or a marquee that for your ceremony, which can be designed to any theme or style of your choice. This is a venue which allows you to have total control of the styling and theme. The venue looks out to Mt. Baker and Wanaka Basin for your ceremony . They offer a gravelled fire pit area, outdoor seating, and spaces crafted to create an ideal area for guests to mingle.
  • Rippon Hall
  • Where better to conclude this guide to the most beautiful New Zealand wedding venue locations than with the one chosen by Australian social media superstar, fashion blogger and stylista Nicole Warne. Warne recently married her photographer husband Luke Shadbolt at Lake Wanaka’s Rippon Hall, looking out over Rippon’s vines, Lake Wanaka, Ruby Island, and the Southern Alps beyond. With access right down to the lake itself, The Rippon Hall offers the very best of Central Otago: vineyards, lake and mountains…
  • You can find all of Nicole & Luke’s wonderful Wanaka wedding photos on Vogue.com (and then probably want to book Rippon now…).

Wellington Weddings

Whether you’re looking for a wedding venue in Wellington city itself, further north towards Kapiti Coast or to Wairarapa, Mar tinborough or Cape Palliser, or somewhere in between, you have so many options in beautiful Wellington region. There is nothing better than ‘Wellington on a good day’, which is why Wellington is a stunning place to say “I Do”.
The best thing about choosing Wellington or the Wairarapa is that you are spoiled for choice. Whether you want a beach, church, garden, vineyard or an indoor wedding, there is definitely a venue for you, no matter the amount of guests or your style/theme. In all honesty, the hardest part about finding a venue in Wellington or the Wairarapa will be narrowing it down to only one.
Blair grew up in Wellington, and for a few years while we lived in Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty, we spent a lot of time in the region, so I’m fairly familiar with it and have even attended a couple of Wellington weddings myself.

  • The Milk Station
  • Located on the Kapiti Coast, this stunning venue hosts up to 200 guests with both indoor and outdoor settings. There is onsite accommodation, including a five-star bridal suite. You do not need to leave the location, being able to have your ceremony, reception and photos in this gorgeous location. The Milk Station was built in 1919, but still has its rustic charm intact. Some amazing features include influences of Italian architecture, four acres of gardens and a big black iron chandelier.
  • Tarureka Estate
  • Accomadating 120 guests, Tarureka Estate is a restored barn that has been voted in the top 10 barn wedding venues in the world.  This venue is perfect for country styled weddings and allows you to have your reception and ceremony at the same place, perfect for you and your guests. This venue is also perfect for winter weddings with wood-fired heating, creating a warm and cosy vibe to your special day. There are on-site caterers, but also BYO which is a perfect way to save some money.
  • Old St Paul’s
  • Located in Wellington central, this is perfect if you do not want to travel out of Wellington. This is a historic and beautiful church, with stained glass windows and glowing wooden interior, as well as incredible architecture for those of you after a more traditional wedding. This church allows everyone personalise your wedding, allowing a religious service or a more modern service. Old St Paul’s welcomes everybody, including same sex couples. Old St Paul’s also allows you to have the bells rung, which signals the arrival of the bride to the church and again once the newly weds leave.

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Once you have chosen where you are going to get married, check out our posts on how to plan a wedding in AucklandWellington and Christchurch.