3 August 2020

Getting hitched in Tauranga or the Bay of Plenty? Keen for some inspiration of where you might consider for the ceremony or reception or both?  While there are so many options for where you can get married / party - restaurants, community halls,  backyards, churches, public buildings and gardens - it can be handy to have a list all in one place of the major venues. I've picked out some of my favourites and given you a mini photo tour just for fun...


Central Tauranga

Hotel Armitage

Trinity Wharf

The Elms

Tauranga Yachting Club

Tauranga Club

The Charthouse

Daniels in the Park

Mills Reef

Mount Maunganui / Papamoa area

Mt Maunganui Surf Club

Blue Biyou

Club Mt Maunganui

Outside of the City

Spring Tree Cottage

Waterlily Gardens

Black Walnut


Old Forest School

Persimmon Lane

Charlemagne Lodge

Summer House Weddings

Eagle Ridge

Ataahua Gardens

Olive Tree Cottage

Waverley on Wairoa

Fountain Gardens

Matakana Islands Retreat

#1 - The Black Walnut 

One of the Bay of Plenty's more recent additions to its wedding venue line up, the Black Walnut is a charming and elegant venue set just between Omokoroa and Kaitikati. The Black Walnut has everything you need from the reception room, to the glass chapel, to a few expanses of lawn to choose from for outdoor ceremonies, and is just so lovely and elegant you won't need to do much else to it. The glass chapel is particularly gorgeous, but I really love how the whole place is so well laid out for flow, and has so many lovely nooks and crannies, woodlands, kitchen gardens, river walks, for guests to explore and wander around with a drink.

#2 - The Elms Te Papa Tauranga

A bit of a classic, this heritage spot hidden away above Tauranga’s major traffic arteries (and yet surprisingly tranquil) links back to the city’s early settler days. It has its own chapel, a lovely old Georgian house, and multiple lawns for outdoor ceremonies.

#3 - Robbins Park

A bit of an outlier on the list - a lot of locals wouldn't even be able to tell you its name, but if you're looking for something a bit different, and you've got some imagination to pull together something outside of the box, then Robbins Park could be a contender! You'll find Robbins Park just a bit further on from The Elms, set high above the northern edge of Tauranga CBD, looking back over the railway and harbor bridge. It has its own bowls/vintage car club to the north, a rose garden, tropical display house and maybe I'm biased as I had my own wedding photos taken here (a looong time ago!) but I think its elevation and quirkiness gives it a really unique vibe. See Tauranga Council’s webpage for more details. 



  7 March 2020

It's not exactly the easiest time to be planning a wedding! But you don't necessarily want to put it off for another few years, so what can you do? I thought I'd put together some thoughts on tying the knot here in New Zealand that might help you navigate how you plan your wedding, and maybe consider a few benefits to planning during the pandemic!

This is your chance to do things how you'd really like to!

There are a lot of competing expectations put on a couple during wedding planning - families and friends all have their ideas about how things should be, or could be, done. Your average wedding costs A LOT of money and they take a lot of planning and energy and are definitely an event, where you need to manage a number of different elements on the day, even with a planner involved. But they didn't used to be such elaborate events, and they don't have to put you into debt - a marriage license, a celebrant and two witnesses are the bare bones really. (And of course I believe that wedding photography is really worthwhile investment, in that you have some physical memories of the day, and ones you can share with family and friends!) So now is your chance to use this pandemic as an excuse to really think about what you guys value and want to invest time and money into - it's given you a certain amount of freedom to say - well, we would have done this, that or the other thing, but it's just how it is and nothing is going to quite work how it has before, so this is what we'd love to do. Would eloping, an intimate ceremony with just a few people, with much less pressure, just about the two of you and the significance of what you're doing, suit you guys better? 

What is eloping exactly?

Well if you want to get technical, it's running away secretly to get married. Now, it's become more of a term in the wedding industry for small ceremonies with just the couple and a few witnesses. They're intimate and personal, and perfect for lock down weddings with 10 or less people. If you're interested in thinking more about what this could look like, see my 'Elopement Package' here

But we want all our family and friends there to celebrate with us - what are some alternatives?

So a number of couples have gone for live streaming their ceremony, (be sure to check that you've got good reception where you're planning on getting hitched and are familiar with the ins and outs of an app like Zoom) others have opted for the marry now with two witnesses, party later, set up, others have gotten even more creative, like having their family and friends join in the celebrations via a car parade.  There are a number of ways of connecting people in, and they can be as personal and creative as the two of you can dream up! Think a chilled bbq on the beach, hitting up your favourite family restaurant for a nostalgic moment, taking a last minute weekend away en mass (there will be alot of empty hotels waiting for last minute bookings so this is suddenly feasible!). I love the outdoors, and I love eating, so if I was getting married now I'd probably make all my friends and family trek somewhere epic and wild, with hampers of gorgeous deli food and champagne, and they'd hate me on the hike, but then they'd love me once they were out there, and it would be crazy and probably freezing cold (cause it's Taranaki) but there would be some epic memories.

Just remember that flexibility is your biggest friend at the moment - can you keep numbers down, so that you could just all book your own tables at a restaurant without needing to book out the entire thing and sign up with a contract that lock you into a certain date? Think about what would happen if someone got sick the week before. Could you just pull the pin?  Also consider planning the celebrations for an off peak, non-Saturday option which will give you more lee-way to negotiate with vendors around their requirements for locking you in. For instance, my elopement package allows your to cancel with only a few days notice - which I can offer because they're not available on Saturdays, which are my key income generator during the wedding season. I can take the risk that the event will be cancelled at the last minute (when I won't have a chance to replace the wedding date), because I don't have a lot of demand for non-Saturday weddings so I'm happy to try to generate extra business by taking the risk that it may be cancelled at late notice. Talk to your vendor about what might entice them to late notice cancellation, and your ability to have your booking fee refunded.