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Choosing Your Wedding Season

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Your wedding day will probably be one of the most important days of your life and making sure you tie the knot in the perfect weather can be tricky. So to help make sure you pick a season, and venue to go with it, we have crafted together the go-to list:

New Zealand can offer some of the most stunning venues In the world. Depending on the season, landscape backdrops can include waterfalls and the beaches in the summer and snowy mountains in the winter. Different seasons can alter the menu, colour scheme, dresses, flowers and so much more.


If you have always dreamed of a beach wedding, New Zealand can be less temperamental throughout the summer. While the North Island beaches are typically warmer, some northern South Island beaches such as Golden Bay are picturesque at this time of year.

Some would argue that everywhere in New Zealand is beautiful in the summer and while this may be true, some places stand out more than others. For a warmer more humid climate, try the Bay of Islands, East Coast and Northland. For a hot, dry temperature where the afternoon sun leads well into the night, central Otago can be at the top of the list.


A typical New Zealand autumn day can be described as a clear blue sky with a touch of winter’s fresh crisp air. Imagine walking up the path of one of Wellington's idyllic historic churches amongst a backdrop of autumn's stunning natural colours. Or down the streets in Arrowtown with the array of orange and yellow leafed trees lining the paths.

Central Otago can be breathtaking in the autumn with its colour scheme from the trees’ leaves changing and the dry hills in the distance.


The cooler season can often be overlooked as the one to say ‘I do’ in, but if planned correctly, winter can offer so much. Venues can be less busy meaning higher chance of securing them, and if you’re after a snowy backdrop, this could be on the cards.

The winter months can be perfect for cosy, candlelit celebrations. Imagine the setting at one of Canterbury’s charming venues with a cosy log fire, creamy hot chocolates and fair lights. It's the time of year that suits warmer decorations and a hearty menu.


While the season can sometimes be unpredictable with fluctuating temperatures, and thehours of sunlight increase. It is also the month of greener growth and beautiful spring flowers, there can even still be snow capped mountains with the warmer air lingering. Spring offers the most amazing garden setting with perfect outdoor venues amongst native bush or country styled venues.

Whichever season you choose, consider that each one can influence the theme, colour and added extras for guests comfort. Some pastel shades complement a spring wedding, while an autumn celebration would suit a palette of gold and rustic tones.

And don’t forget to take the climate of your honeymoon destination into consideration, too.

Checklist for the Newly Engaged

Checklist For The Newly Engaged

If you’re newly engaged there is no doubt that you will be floating on cloud nine right about now. It is all so surreal and the days and weeks following the proposal are likely to be a whirlwind, there are so many things to do, think about and people to contact. This is why, to ensure these initial weeks or months aren’t too overwhelming, we have put together a basic checklist of what to do after you have said yes to kick-start the whole wedding planning process.

Tell Your Friends And Family

Personally tell your nearest and dearest the exciting news, your parents, siblings, grandparents and best friends. They will be especially happy you took the time to tell them personally in today’s social media crazed world – then you can show your ring off on Facebook!

Dream Up Your Wedding

Sit down with your partner and talk about what you envision your dream wedding day to look like and what kind of styles and vibes you want to create. This could be anything from a church ceremony to a barefoot beach wedding.

Either way, discussing what you are both wanting early on can help to eliminate any misunderstandings further down the road. Have a look at out Pinterest boards to get some wedding day inspiration!

Size And Insure Your Ring

If your engagement ring doesn’t perfectly fit your finger, you will want to get it sized as soon as possible – you would hate to lose it moments after saying yes!

While you are dealing with your ring, you may want to decide to insure it to give you piece of mind. This can easily be done by adding it as an extension to your existing homeowners or renters insurance.

Talk Budgets

Before starting the planning, sit down with your partner and other family members to discuss what your budget will be and what people are wanting to contribute. Having a budget is important because it will affect every decision that you make regarding your big day.

Draft A Guest List

Sit down with your partner and determine a guest list and the amount of people you want to invite. Keep in mind that the more people you invite, the more expensive it is going to be. It is also helpful to have an estimate amount of attendees in mind before deciding on a venue, as some venues accommodate to a maximum amount of people.

Think About Potential Dates

When thinking of potential dates to have your wedding on, keep in mind the time of year you would prefer, including the weather, work schedules and holidays.

To be safe, you may want to choose two or more different dates in case the venue you decide on is already booked out. This is especially important during peak wedding times as venues can be booked very far in advance. Read on our blog our top tips for deciding when to marry.

Research Venues

The venue for your wedding day will become the backdrop for all your photographs and can heavily influence your budget and the all round atmosphere of the day. Do research online, visit and call different venues and get information on pricing and availability.

Hire A Wedding Planner

Many couples decide to hire a wedding planner to take unnecessary stress off their shoulders. By hiring a wedding planner they can take care of the details, liaise with vendors and have everything ready for you on your special day, not to mention take care of those last minute vendor mistakes - or better yet, ensure they don't happen in the first place!

Here at Harlow Garland have a range of packages available to help you with your planning. These range from assisting with just one select part of your wedding planning process to taking on the entire event in our full service packages. Click here for a full view of our services. Having been in the business for over 16 years, we have unparalleled experience that many of the latest 'pop-up' wedding planners simply do not have - this means we've seen it all, we know how to handle it and we have the knowledge and expertise to manage all aspects of your wedding.
Read our post on how to choose a wedding planner over at Auckland Weddings.

Honeymoon Venue: Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa, Rarotonga

When considering an overseas honeymoon (or even a destination wedding), the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. As part of our #honeymoonhumpday series, we're going to be bringing you a variety of venue profiles, honeymoon styles and tips every Wednesday to help you narrow your options down to somewhere truly amazing.

This weeks honeymoon venue is Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa, in the beautiful Pacific Island of Rarotonga. Situated overlooking the white sand of Muri Beach, these villas are the perfect five star relaxing accommodation. Fringed in palm trees, Te Manava is an impeccable option for the couple that wishes for a getaway slightly closer to home.

These villas are the ultimate sanctuary, offering privacy as well as luxury with expansive garden and beach views. With one, two or three bedroom villas available, there is something to suit everybody. All villas are decorated in an exquisite manner, with contemporary touches mixed with traditional Cook Island designs, luscious foliage and tropical flowers.

Glass bifolding doors create an ease of flow and streams of natural light between your own private pool and villa with your own sunbeds, spacious kitchen and barbeque for ultimate honeymoon comfort. Te Manava allows you to recuperate and rest in peace while having the undivided attention from the staff, should you need it.

To ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible, guests have an array of services and facilities available to them. If you wish, enjoy a secluded and romantic dining experience from your own personal chef. This service brings the luxury of fine dining into your own villa. Or, if you are after something more casual, opt for a grocery service. Guests can provide a grocery list and these groceries will then be ready and waiting for you on your arrival. During the day, enjoy free use of the resorts kayaks, paddleboards and snorkelling gear in the crystal clear waters of the Muri lagoon.

For those that are more adventurous, experience a free scuba diving session. Or, be pampered and relaxed at the Te Manava Spa. Surrounded by the peaceful water garden, the spa offers an array of beauty treatments, with a line of organic products available made from local Cook Island ingredients.

If you find yourself wanting to venture from the comfort of the resort, Te Manava is just a fifteen-minute walk to Muri Village where you can find restaurants, markets and cafes. Daylong snorkelling cruises in glass bottom boats are also available around the beauty that is the pristine lagoons, allowing you to explore the protected marine and coral life. We recommend walking the length of Muri Beach at sunrise, the golden sky is definitely a sight not to miss.

Highly rated for the best value in Rarotonga, Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa is an idyllic honeymoon retreat and getaway for those wanting to relax in luxury surrounds.

Honeymoon Venue: Bellevue Syrene, Sorrento

When considering an overseas honeymoon (or even a destination wedding), the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. As part of our #honeymoonhumpday series, we're going to be bringing you a variety of venue profiles, honeymoon styles and tips every Wednesday to help you narrow your options down to somewhere truly amazing.

This week’s venue is Bellevue Syrene, in the charming and unspoilt town of Sorrento, Italy.

Perched upon the cliffs and overlooking the gorgeous Gulf of Naples, Bellevue Syrene is the perfect destination for an incredibly romantic honeymoon. Built upon the ruins of a Roman villa, from the moment you walk through the grand doors, you can sense that it is entrenched in history. Although it has been renovated to an exceptionally high luxury standard, much of its fascinating ancient detail still exists.

Being welcomed on arrival with a bottle of Prosecco gives you a glimpse into the ultimate perfection that is carried out by the hotel and its staff, in which Bellevue Syrene takes so much pride. With each room having its own unique touch, they are all designed in an elegant way that mixes contemporary elements and more traditional pieces. Antiques, chandeliers, fresh cut flowers and hues of rose, violet and mint, make for ultimate Italian sophistication. With each room facing the sea and the Gulf of Naples, every guest is provided with one of the most magnificent views you could imagine.

Guests have at their disposal an array of hotel facilities. As newlyweds, enjoy a couple’s massage in Bellevue Syrene’s own Wellness Centre. Or, opt for the scent of the sea, and make use of the tanning beds with access to the hotels private solarium via lift or foot, through the cave-like passageway, carved by ancient Romans. For a romantic dinner, enjoy the taste of Italy’s finest food and wines from the Sorrentine Peninsula at La Pergola, the hotels restaurant, situated on the impressive panoramic terrace.

Sorrento is a place of art, culture food and wine, so there is always something new and interesting to discover. Should you decide to venture from the beauty that is Bellevue Syrene, we recommend taking a stroll through Old Sorrento. Getting lost in the cobble stone streets and alleyways is a sure way to take in the true essence of Sorrento. If your are wanting to venture out of Sorrento, hire a car and wind your way through the vibrant fishing villages, terraced vineyards and lemon orchards to the Amalfi Coast, or if you find yourself wanting to explore Italy a little further, with ferries available from the Marina Grande, a day trip to the turquoise waters of the isle of Capri is a must where the glamorous queen of Italian cinema herself, Ms Sofia Loren called home.

Coming in third place for Trip Advisor's Top Hotels in the World (2016), Bellevue Syrene is an incomparable and perfect Italian getaway for your honeymoon.

Venue Spotlight: The Rippon Hall

The Rippon Hall- an impeccable location overlooking its own vineyards, Lake Wanaka and the mountains beyond, what more could you ask for?

Its endless styling possibilities are just one reason The Rippon Hall such an appealing venue. After 30 years of planning it was wisely built from the land, the walls made from compacted earth dug from the hillside and trusses built from the land’s own forest.

The surroundings of The Rippon Hall, offer a natural amphitheatre, gift in prospective brides an array of options for stunning outdoor weddings.. The majestic atmosphere created by the backdrop of the vineyards, Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps are an ever popular location to hold your nuptials. For an even more private option, opt for the nursery site, nestled intimately between the vines.

Choose to share your vows in this romantic setting, followed by continuing the celebration on the expansive terrace or in the grand hall. The main hall can also be the perfect option for an incredible winter wedding. With its native rimu flooring, it is a blank canvas to really let your unique touches and imagination shine.
Imagine opulent white draping, a sparkling night sky of fairy lights overhead,, or floral garlands woven among the rafters, all framing the stunning picture window which looks out to that inimitable view. All with the roar of the lavish log burner which works quietly to keep the room cosy and intimate.

If you prefer something slightly more exclusive for your special occasion, The Rippon Hall also offers a smaller loft space. Should you opt to simply spend your ceremony at Rippon, there are options to suit you also, with the various extraordinary outdoor spaces and The Rippon Hall allowing for smaller or larger gatherings.

The extensive caterers’ kitchen opens onto the hall’s terrace, surrounded in lush evergreen, it is the perfect location for post ceremony drinks and canapés while the guests watch as the newlyweds are photographed among the vines.

As Rippon is one of Otago’s oldest vineyards, they are pleased to serve their own wines at all of the venues weddings. With the well-deserved worldwide reputation that Central Otago has for its Pinot Noir, Rippon has various popular and delectable Pinots. Not to mention the other varieties that Rippon’s vineyard has on offer. To select your favourite of Rippon’s wines, it is suggested you attend a wine tasting in the venues own wine tasting room in the weeks prior to your wedding.

With access to The Rippon Hall from the day prior, you have extensive time to hold your rehearsal dinner as well as prepare your decor for the big day, with proficient staff to work alongside you. This ensures your special day will run as smoothly as possible, giving you time to truly enjoy and take in the exciting and memorable experience that it is.

With its spectacular backdrop, there are many photography locations to choose from, the likes of the verge of Lake Wanaka, intertwined in the vineyards or in front of the main hall’s warm firelight during the winter months. Whichever you may decide upon, you can be certain that your wedding will result in exquisite photography.

With its fantastic facilities and remarkable setting, The Rippon Hall is a timeless and opulent venue beyond compare ready and waiting to impress you and your guests for your wedding or next event.

Harlow Garland is the exclusive wedding planner for The Rippon Hall.