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Honeymoon Destination: Geejam Hotel, Jamaica

When considering an overseas honeymoon, the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. In this post, we've profiled a truly amazing location to inspire your wanderlust. This week’s venue is the breath-taking Geejam Hotel in Jamaica.

The Geejam Hotel is nestled in the heart of the Jamaican bush but boasts world-class views of the Caribbean.The hotel is only a 10 minute drive west from the historic town of Port Antonio, located on the northeast coast of Jamaicåa.

A honeymoon at the Geejam is like no other with its mix of native bush and tropical waters, and close location to town, so much is to be done. The perfect honeymoon suite is the Mento. The luxurious escape is surrounded by rainforest which can be seen from all windows. The deluxe cabin features an indoor-outdoor bathroom with a steam, which leads on to the patio. The patio is perfect for a late night jacuzzi looking out of the waters, or a morning relax in the hammock while reading a book. Its is its own private niche with high ceilings, hardwood floors and white linen, the atmosphere is relaxing.

A driver can drop you off at any of the white sandy beaches of Frenchman’s cove, Blue Lagoon, Pellew Island, San San Beach, Winnifred Beach, Boston Bay or Long Bay where you can swim or snorkel with the tropical fish. Rafting down the Rio Grande is another option, and a popular favorite - complimented by a home-cooked on-site river lunch of local fare, bringing you so close to nature you can almost taste the landscape.

By day, Port Antonio is bustling with local culture with gift shops and restaurants to sample local food. By night, Port Antonio prides itself on its history, culture and the natural beauty of its environment. Thanks to its off-the-beaten-path location and word-of-mouth recommendation, the town is a welcome diversion from the traditional tourist destination.

The tropical Geejam Hotel offers a relaxing, and casual stay in one of Jamaica’s most spectacular locations. Whether it be relaxing on a beach, or in a hammock overlooking the rainforest, the Geejam can only be the best choice for a Jamaican honeymoon getaway.

Honeymoon Venue: Matakauri Lodge

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When considering an overseas honeymoon, the venue selection can be rather harrowing with an entire world to consider. In this post, we've profiled a truly amazing location to inspire your wanderlust. This week’s venue is the breath-taking Matakauri Lodge in Glenorchy, a short drive from Queenstown. The lodge’s view overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains will make you never want to leave this beautiful alpine retreat.

The Matakauri Lodge is nestled in the hillside looking out over 6 Queenstown’s best assets, the lake and mountains. The lodge is less than a 10 minute drive from Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s top tourist destinations. The beauty of this lodge is that it hides away from the hustle and bustle but is close enough to it to enjoy at your own pace.

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The lodge experience is like no other with its world-class dining experience and luxurious accommodation. The main lodge boasts a large stylish lounge, dining and living to relax in. Privacy on a honeymoon is what a couple seeks in a romantic getaway. The lodge offers a private balcony to watch the day turn to dusk in your own room.

The suite comes with a generous bed and sitting area, couple with a fireplace for the wintery cool nights. If you’d prefer to stay in, you can indulge in the over-sized bath in the spacious bathroom. Staying at the lodge, you have everything at your fingertips. Why not book in for a luxurious spa on sunset after warming up in the onsite sauna. On those hot summer days, taking a dip in the infinity swimming can make you feel like you’re on the edge of the world.

Head chef Jonathan Rogers serves seasonal meals with fresh and local produce which can be served in any of the dining areas. Have your choice from homemade pastries or cereals for breakfast, order a packed picnic lunch for your day’s exploring, and make sure to put an order in for a dinner served with local wine.

Matakauri Lodge is only 20 minutes from Queenstown’s international airport. But its proximity to the airport is only one positive of its location. Central Queenstown is a bustling hive of bars, restaurants and shops. Glenorchy is a small town in a remote area at the head of the lake. The area offers fantastic day walks across the plains and valleys.
Other closeby towns include Wanaka, Arrowtown and Bannockburn where more of Central Otago can be explored.

The alpine nestled Matakauri Lodge is the most spectacular and romantic honeymoon destination making it the ideal getaway for couples who want to relax and enjoy the views from the honeymoons suite, to those who want to come home to a luxurious room after a day of exploring.

Wedding venue: Criffel Station Woolshed, Wanaka

Selecting a venue for your wedding can sometimes be the most difficult decision in the whole the wedding planning process. So, to make your decision that little bit simpler, we present one of our favourite new wedding venues, the rustically beautiful Criffel Station Woolshed.

The Criffel Station Woolshed venue is a romantically relaxed setting among Wanaka’s rolling landscape. The 2000 hectare high country deer farm is only seven kilometres from Wanaka town, but feels like you’re on another world.

The venue offers three idyllic rural venues; Criffel Station Woolshed, Stone Hut Terrace and the 100-year-old Homestead. The Station’s rural charm is the perfect backdrop for a stunningly, memorable wedding. The Woolshed boasts natural charm creating the warmth of a rural, rustic wedding in the heart of Central Otago. The history of the Woolshed has been retained using materials from around the station.

The newly landscaped Stone Hut Terraces is another location option. It’s an area exclusively fenced off - for a marquee - from the working farm that looks out to Mt Barker and across the Wanaka basin. While it is a site purpose built, it keeps in with the natural landscape but includes tended lawns, a gravelled fire pit with outdoor seating. As part of a wedding package, this venue offers a one-night stay at the shearers cottage for the bridal and groom.

When it comes to photography you’ll be spoilt for choice of backdrop. Whether it be in the woolshed among memorabilia or out near the yards. This combined with Wanaka’s renowned dry landscape in the summer or snow-capped mountains in the winter, there will always be the perfect background. Or if you love the rural surroundings but wanting more summer feelings, Lake Wanaka is close by for stunning lakeside photos.

Guests will have the options of various rural-style accommodation. The Gardener’s Cottage are for those we love an authentic experience and to be surrounded by fields where deer roam. Or for those summer wedding, guests can be treated to glamping, tipi-like-bell tents that are reminiscent of vintage safari and summer time.

The end of the wedding day will continue outside on the makeshift dance floor with the live band, or continue indoors. With its rustic country setting, Criffel Station Woolshed is a unique venue for your wedding day. Its various ceremony location and accommodation options, as well as their extra packages, it will ensure a perfect day beyond compare for any couple.

Making Your Guests Feel Comfortable

Your wedding day will probably be one of the most important days of your life and most couples want their day to stand out from the rest. Adding details to your wedding day that are customised to you and your partner is the perfect way to make your day more special and unique. To help make your wedding as unique as you are, we have crafted together our top tips for customising your wedding day.

There are a handful of things to keep in mind when thinking about guests’ comfort on your wedding day. While it is the bride and grooms day, making sure guests are treated like royalty while they celebrate is important.

Tips for outdoor weddings:

Outdoor weddings provide a beautiful backdrop and a fun atmosphere, but they can also bring unpredictable weather. Summer weddings have the blessing of warmer evenings but the heat can be overwhelming if guests are seated outside, so offering a hand fans for guests is an easy solution. Another way to protect guests in the heat is offering sunscreen or sunglasses. Winter weddings can bring similar changes in weather, so having umbrellas and throws for those outside can be an easy way to make sure guests are comfortable.

Tips for guest activities:

Some brides can be worried if their guests are really having a good time at their wedding. Offering activities for guests of all ages can put a bride’s mind at ease. For those who plan to have children at the wedding, a craft table or simple games are a popular trend, such as activity or colouring books. Even the older guests would get involved in these. Outdoor weddings are perfect to offer lawn bowls or croquet as an easy way to keep guests involved.

Tips for the reception:

Involving guests in certain phases of the reception is a nice way to end the day. Song requests cards can be a great way to make sure everyone can hear their favourite.

Hen’s venue: Martinborough, Wairarapa

When considering a weekend away with the girls in lieu of a raucous hen's night, the destination selection can be yet another item on the wedding planning list. As part of our Destinations series, we bring you a variety of venue profiles, honeymoon styles, getaway locations and tips every Monday to help you narrow your options down to somewhere truly amazing.

This venue is located in the Wairarapa’s wine capital, the boutique country town of Martinborough. The Martinborough village can offer a hens group any style of weekend getaway whether is be wine and pampering, or adventures. The town, only 65 kilometres from Wellington, is known for its 20-odd vineyards many of which boast international recognition. The small town has many thriving fine-dining restaurants based around the town square.

When staying in Martinborough, the options are endless with accommodation including spa resorts dotted across the town and rural area. For a girls only trip such as this, hiring a house will likely be the most convenient option.

The Martinborough Villa is a luxury private home offering the ideal setting for a ladies weekend. The villa is an architecturally-designed luxury retreat located in Martinborough Estate, adjacent to the Martinborough Golf Course - a full 18 hole golf course with beautiful mature trees. The purpose-built holiday accommodation is modern with underfloor heating. The house sleeps eight people and is complete with two bathrooms. The lounge, dining and kitchen areas are open plan, with floor to ceiling glass to make the most of the outlook over the golf course and countryside, and provide indoor/outdoor flow to the BBQ area and heated swimming pool. The house is situated on the outskirts of the town and is only a short walk for dinner and shopping.

Martinborough is not short of resturants for dining out. Just off the main square is Pinocchio Martinborough, a family-owned fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant has recently been named in the country’s top 100 restaurants by Cuisine magazine for 2017. Or try Circus Cinema, Bar and Restaurant before treating yourselves to a movie.

Stopping by one of the many wineries to try some exclusive and award winning wines is a must. For a lunch out, Poppies Martinborough is a locally owned winery where their platters are good, and their wine is even better. Afterwards, relax at one of the villages renowned spas, Brackenridge Country and Spa. The Day Spa offers a complete range of therapeutic beauty treatments and massages.

The areas surrounding Martinborough provide easy day trips for picnics and exploring. The coastal villages of Lake Ferry and Ngawi are the epitome of classic New Zealand small towns. Walks to the Cape Palliser lighthouse or a horse-riding adventure on Patuna Farm could suit for daytime excursion as could the opportunity to discover one of the region's most spectular limestone chasms.

Martinborough: so close to Wellington city and yet overwhelms with the feeling you've transported to Napa Valley, if only for weekend.