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How to actually find wedding venues

How to find your Dream New Zealand Wedding Venue

When trying to find New Zealand wedding venues suitable for your wedding budget, guest list and the style of celebration you have in mind, where do you begin? Below, you will find a few resources that you can use to locate unique wedding venues that work for your theme and budget. 

Before you begin looking for your wedding venue, ensure you’ve made a good start to your wedding budget. Knowing your budget limits and capacities will greatly narrow your search for a wedding venue, saving you tons of time. Deciding if you want a larger-capacity wedding venue, or would rather have a smaller, more intimate one is the first step in narrowing down your choice of wedding venue. Finding a venue is going to be one of the biggest milestones of your wedding planning, determining your dates and location, and impacting many other decisions about planning your wedding.

While we also have articles on how to choose a wedding venue, or all the questions to ask of a wedding venue before you book, this will help you to come up with a list of options first.

Consider your Preferred Wedding Venue Style

By identifying your wedding style before you begin looking at venues, you will really narrow your search down and make it easier. You will want to start by thinking about the place where you would like to be married in the first place–your home state, a remote beach, a large city with a convenient airport for all of your guests–and then begin to hone in on the options for a wedding reception venue in that place.

Wedding venues in New Zealand can range from rustic farm locations (which may require a lot of work to decorate) to luxurious vineyard estates which need little to no adornment – prices will vary accordingly, but so will the time and effort required of you – are you willing to spend the time making the space your own.

New Zealand is known for its stunning natural scenery, so think about whether you want to have an indoor or outdoor wedding. The country’s diverse landscapes offer a range of options, from beachfront venues to vineyards and mountain lodges. Keep in mind that the location you choose will also affect the accessibility for your guests.

In addition to finding out whether a indoor wedding venue is available on the dates you are looking for, you will want to consider whether it is in an easy-access spot for your guests. If you are planning on short notice, or if your date range is more flexible, your venues availability will be a crucial factor when setting a wedding date.

How to find potential wedding venues in New Zealand

Utilise your Best local Wedding Vendors’ Websites and Social Media

To find a beautiful wedding venue in New Zealand that’s right for you, there’s a few ways to start, and my favourite is to browse the best local wedding vendors’ 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 wedding blogs for wedding vendors such as photographers, wedding planners, florists, etc, and have a look at their portfolio. Look at photos and videos of the venue, and check if it has the style and ambiance that you’re looking for.

Wedding photographers especially 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 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 wedding venue. The best vendors that can help you find more venues include photographers, event rentals companies, wedding planners, and catering companies.

Social Media Stalking…

P.S. Get stalker-ish: Scroll through photos to see if there are any pictures showing a wedding hashtag that you can creep on via instagram (couples often put it onto a sign that ends up in the wedding photos). This way, you’ll get a more personal look at the venue through the eyes of a guest, as well as seeing the professional photos.
This is also a great way to see an honest view of the wedding venue, or another vendor’s work. When researching your wedding venue or any other vendor, have a look at photos tagged on instagram both at the venue (location tagging) and also tagging the profile. I even included this as a tip to avoiding wedding scams.

For a DIY/BYO Wedding Venue

If you’re willing to do a bit more organising yourself, creating your wedding venue from scratch can be hugely rewarding, and it also gives you a huge availability of venues you potentially hadn’t thought of.

Depending on the size of your wedding, you may be able to hire a family home or farm, from where to DIY your wedding. For DIY New Zealand wedding venues there are a couple of Wedding Vendor Directory websites specifically for this including Backyard Weddings, but otherwise look on Air BnB, Book a Bach, and/or whatever your local Rental Home website is. Even if you can’t rent an entire house for the wedding, you may be able to find a piece of land to put a marquee on, or access all kinds of creative spaces without spending a fortune (and while giving back to the local community).

Read more at How to choose between an all inclusive or Dry Hire/BYO Wedding Venue.

For a Cheap Wedding Venue

If you’re on a small budget, the DIY/BYO wedding venue option above may suit, but you also might want to consider local Council websites to find public and council-owned spaces. If you’re getting married in New Zealand, you have the luxury of being able to get married literally anywhere (other countries don’t have this privilege). Many beaches do not require a special permit for small informal weddings, though of course you should organise a back-up venue too. Just be aware that you do have to specify the location on your marriage licence.

Consider a Destination Wedding

Lots of couples are opting to have destination weddings, which can (surprisingly) be easier. Most couples having destination weddings have a smaller guest list, and thus can save lots of money on the budget, and often have a wedding planner in the destination to take care of the majority of planning too.
It may surprise you that an all-inclusive destination wedding can actually be a cheaper option too, depending on where you go of course – Rarotonga has some great options.
Just remember, the more remote the wedding venue you choose, in Samoa for example, the smaller the pool of local wedding vendors (celebrants, bands, florists, etc.) to choose from. Check on tourism websites for any major events that might mean there’s a shortage of beds for visitors, and check the WHO and CDC for warnings against risks like Zika virus if you expect pregnant family and friends to attend.

Ask Married Friends for their Favourite Wedding Vendors (and ask them for help)

While you may not want to marry at the same wedding venue as a close friend, especially if your weddings are only a season apart, you may be able to ask their favourite wedding vendors for recommendations, or find out which other venues they considered.
Wedding planners, stylists and florists for example will work closely with many wedding venues, and may even work on styled shoots at brand new wedding venues, and can help you discover something special. It was really important to us to have a unique wedding venue at which we hadn’t attended a wedding, or seen many weddings at, and we were able to find one through our wedding photographers.

Be Flexible and Open-Minded when Finding a New Zealand Wedding Venue

While you shouldn’t settle for something you don’t absolutely love, if you can be flexible and open minded when finding, and visiting your potential wedding venues, you may just surprise yourself with something really unique. There are so many things which can be done to transform most spaces from bare to breathtaking, if you’re willing to look with an open mind.

Once you have found a few potentials, choose your wedding venue carefully, do your homework and ask all the right questions, and don’t rush into making a booking before you’re certain of all the little details.

Ultimately, finding a wedding venue is a personal decision that should reflect your unique style and preferences. We are so lucky to have thousands of New Zealand Wedding Venues to suit all kinds of different celebrations, so take the time to explore your options and find a venue that feels like the perfect fit for you and your partner.

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