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How to choose your Canterbury Wedding Venue - Christchurch, Akaroa, Kaikoura and Surrounds

How to choose your Canterbury Wedding Venue – Christchurch, Akaroa, Kaikoura and Surrounds


You’re engaged!

If you’re looking for how to find a Canterbury wedding venue – Christchurch, Kaipoi, Akaroa, Kaikoura, Ashburton, Timaru and surrounds – then you’re in the right place! (If you’re looking for a wedding venue outside Cantebury, see the wedding venue guide.)

How to choose your Canterbury Wedding Venue

Once you’ve established a budget and compiled a guest list, it’s time to choose your wedding venue for your big day. If you haven’t accomplished those two yet, I suggest you head back to my article on first steps to plan a wedding and work your way through the list in order. Without a little structure from having your guest list and wedding budget started, it will be more difficult to know whether a wedding venue is going to be appropriate. Whatever you do, make wedding planning easier with the little white book and wedding planning pack. 😉

  • Where to begin searching for a venue for your wedding in Christchurch and greater Canterbury;
  • Locating potential wedding venues and seeking inspiration via photographers;
  • How to choose between wedding venues;
  • What to consider before you sign a wedding venue contract; and
  • Suggestions for Canterbury and Christchurch wedding venues.

Getting married in Canterbury

We are just so spoiled for choices of wedding venues in New Zealand, and Cantabrians are some of the luckiest kiwis when it comes to picking a spot to get hitched.
Whether you’re looking for a wedding venue in Christchurch, under the majestic Southern Alps at Terrace Downs resort, further North in Kaipoi, overlooking stunning Banks Peninsula, among the natural wonders of Kaikoura, or somewhere in between, you have so many options in picturesque Canterbury.
I always thought we’d get married in the South Island, where Blair and I met. For years I was always on the lookout for the best Christchurch wedding venues for our special day, and while we ultimately moved North and got married in Coromandel, I’m still love Canterbury and know it well.

Find a Canterbury Wedding Venue

To find a beautiful Cantebury wedding venue, my favourite method is to browse local photographers’ websites and go from there. 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. Browse google, facebook, instagram, magazines and other New Zealand wedding blogs) for Christchurch and Canterbury wedding photographers, and have a look at their portfolio.
Wedding photographers will feature their most beautiful weddings on their site, and you’re likely to come across wedding venues you’ve never seen before too. Not only will you able to see the best of each venue’s indoor and outdoor spaces through the lens, but you’ll discover the best local photography spots and hideaways nearby those wedding venues.

Canterbury Wedding Photographers to Browse

To name just a couple of local photographers and some of their Canterbury and Christchurch wedding venue inspiration:
Lovelight Photography & Videography
Mount Vernon Lodge, Akaroa
– Flaxmere Gardens, Canterbury
– The Woolshed at Tipapa
Larcomb Estate
Mandy Caldwell Photography
Premberton, Canterbury
Christchurch Botanical Gardens
Stoneridge Estate
Trents Vineyard
Hotel Ashburton
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a photographers’ website you start with, You can do the same with wedding planners or florists websites for example. Emma Newman is one of the best wedding planners in Christchurch. I’ve also written a separate article on Christchurch wedding venues organised by type of venue – which you might like to read too. A few of my favourites are Mona Vale Homestead and Iris Lawn on the Avon river, Cossars Wineshead, and Peppers Clearwater just 7 minutes from Christchurch Airport.

Another way of finding Christchurch wedding venues of course is to ‘google’, and you will also be able to find some ‘Christchurch wedding venue directories’ – like those on Christchurch weddings blog, Paper + Lace, and Wild Hearts, for example. Wedding directories can be a great source of information, BUT, like magazines, they usuallt only feature those venues and vendors which pay for their inclusion – so it’s not going to provide you with a complete picture.

Perfect Venue has 98 Christchurch wedding venues listed, My Wedding Guide has 53, and NZ Wedding Venue guide has 20 Canterbury wedding venues, for example. For a few cheap wedding venue options, consider the council websites which also provide hireage of event and function centres: Christchurch City Council has around 20.

Comparing your Favourite wedding Venues

For more information on choosing between venues and what else to consider, read How to Choose Wedding Venues: All-Inclusive, BYO or DIY. Once you’ve compiled a list of your favourite Canterbury wedding venues, or even If you find it hard to choose between various locations try putting pen to paper.
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.
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.

Visit your favourite Canterbury Wedding Venues

Prepared with your wedding venue questions (part of the wedding planning pack), 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, with any preferred dates or at least the month and days of the week, and the approximate number of guests you intend to have for the wedding reception. 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 planning 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, 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 Christchurch 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.


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