The official blog for Harlow Garland Weddings and Events. To search for posts or view all posts, head over to our library which is searchable and categorised! 

Choosing your Wedding Theme

A wedding theme as we've previously discussed, is not a necessity, the only thing you need to factor in is 'Rhonnie's rule of cohesion' (a rule our director speaks passionately about.) but if you will opt for a theme or you need help working to that rule of cohesion, we have put together a list to make sure you both choose the perfect theme that reflects you both. Right from the start, it is good to have an idea of what your wedding vision is. This can help with planning from the beginning and avoid any finer details issues.

The season

Knowing what season you want to be married in can help with the colour palettes, flowers and venue. If you have always dreamed of being married in the summer where guests can use umbrellas to shade from the sun, or in the winter where a large fire can warm the reception area for guests. Choosing the right season can have an effect on many things such as venue bookings and weather. Just like any part of the wedding, but organised is key.

The couple

Because the wedding is celebrating both the bride and groom, drawing on something that you both share can make your day even more special and individual. This could be anything from something simple like a favourite colour you both share, to your favourite restaurant or a hobby that you both love. Whatever it is, it can be incorporated through the table settings, props for photos, colours and even dresses and outfit.

The wedding venue

Venues can be seen as inspiration for other details of the wedding. Sometimes it is best to have the wedding venue decided before taking the next steps, it is easier to work with it rather than not. Similar to choosing a season, once a venue is chosen, the colours and additional features fall into place so they can compliment the venue.

Personal connection

Having a culture that is close to both your hearts, whether is be a religion, tradition, or even a language, drawing on that can be a powerful addition to the wedding. This can be drawn on anywhere, from the ceremony style and vows, to the type of food or outfits. Culture can be a visual impact such as colours and flowers too.


Once you have chosen, or even just thought of, a theme, research. Making sure you have the right food for the right theme, or the correct phrase from a religious reading can be vital on the day. You don’t want to look foolish for using the wrong details within the theme of your perfect day.

Questions to Ask Your Venue

Former Wedding Venue, Lavender Hill on Waiheke - Photo by the extremely talented Danelle Bohane from this wedding

When it comes time to choose your venue, you're undoubtedly going to forget to ask a question or two in the flurry of information you're given during your visit. 

To help make it a little easier, we've compiled a list of 38 questions for you to pick and choose from to be most relevant to your choice of venue!

Remember to make sure you're comfortable with everything in the contract before you sign, that includes ensuring that the contract includes things like: Company name and contact details, date and hours booked for, hireage fee, dressing cost (if you are using their inhouse planner/stylist),  rules and additional costs like cleaning or security. 

Questions to Ask:

1. How many guests can you comfortably accommodate? 

2. How many hours does the hire cost cover? 

3. Does this time period include set up and clean up? 

4. What are the overtime charges? What happens if guests stay overtime? 

5. Do you have an in-house caterer, a list of approved caterers, or can I bring my own? 

6. If we bring our own caterer, are there any cooking restrictions? - Confirm with your caterer that the facilities will be adequate. 

7. Are you licensed to serve alcohol? 

8. Is there a dance floor? – How big is it? 

9. Is the dance floor a separate area or do they set up tables on top of it? - If it’s not a separate area how do they handle moving the tables/ guests before the dancing starts? 

10. Can we have live music? 

11. When can our DJ / Band set up? 

12. How late can we play music? 

13. Do you have a sound system for background music, microphones for the toasts etc.? 

14. What else will be happening the day of our wedding? (If there are several function rooms, you won’t want a noisy group next door or a quiet group complaining about your noise.) 

15. If there is more than one function room, which one will we be using? 

16. What’s the lighting like? Does it have a nice ambience? 

17. Is there a minimum fee? 

18. If there is a package on offer, what is included? Are there any extra charges? 

19. Is the price quoted guaranteed for our date? 


20. Do you require a deposit?

21. What is the minimum deposit?

22. What is your refund / cancellation policy?

23. What happens to our deposit if you sell or close down the business?

24. When do we need to pay the balance?

25. When do we need to advise numbers?

26. Can we see photos of previous wedding set-ups?

27. Can we come and see the room set up for a wedding? (When you do, look carefully at the traffic flow for buffets, dancing etc.)

28. What are the tables like? How many can sit comfortably at each one?

29.Does it look like it will hold the group comfortably, or is it cramped?

30.What parking is available?

31. Do you offer valet parking? - What is the cost?

32. Will there be enough parking if another function is running concurrently?

33. Tell us about a wedding you did where something went wrong – how did you handle it?

34. Who will be there on the day making sure everything runs smoothly?

35. Are there any restrictions? - e.g. numbers, noise, curfew

36. Are tables, chairs, plates, cutlery, table linens etc

37.(If you’re decorating yourselves) – When can we get access? When does it have to be cleaned up by? And are there any restrictions on what we can use?

38. Is there a room where we can change into our reception / going away outfits?