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Honeymoon Venue: Matakauri Lodge


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.


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.

Everything a first-time bridesmaid needs to know

Image via 

Image via 

A wedding day can be just as nerve-racking for the bridesmaid as it is for the bride. To each bridesmaid the pressure of the role will vary, but if it’s your first time, making sure you do all the right things at the right times can be daunting. So for every first-time bridesmaid there are a handful of things to know ahead of the day:

Offer out your strengths

As we all know, planning a wedding can be time consuming and the bride will need her bridesmaids to help. So when it comes to offering up your skills, put your hand up for a task that you know you can nail. Whether it be planning bridal showers and hen’s parties, or helping select colour palettes for the bridesmaids dresses, know what you can do. Follow our suggestions to help make your bridesmaids duties on the day a breeze.

Follow the bride’s lead

You have been dreaming of the day when you would be a bridesmaid to your best friend, but it’s her special day. So if she chooses a dress, colour, or song that isn’t your cup of tea, bite your tongue because you’re there to support her through.

Prepare for wedding emergencies

Any type of wedding emergency is that last thing the bride or groom need to deal with on their big day. That’s where the bridesmaids step in. While you are there to support the bride, help with make-up and dry her happy tears, you don’t know what event may unfold that you will have to resolve -- guests could be causing havoc before the ceremony or the brides sister hasn’t arrived yet. So be prepared for the unexpected because the bride will turn to you for help.

All bridesmaids should be happy

A happy bunch of bridesmaids will make for a happy bride, so making sure that you all get along will be key.

Knowing the guests

You may not know all of the bride and groom’s friends and family, but making the effort will pay off on the day. There’s always that one family member that doesn’t get on with the other, so study up and be there to resolve any issues if they arise.

Keep a close eye

Having your wits about you may save the day. During the night, just keep an eye out in case something were to happen between guests or that dinner will be served late -- the last thing the bride and groom would want to deal with.

Favour Ideas For Your Wedding Day

Favour boxes by Bespoke by Harlow Garland. Image by  Adelina Photography

Favour boxes by Bespoke by Harlow Garland. Image by Adelina Photography

Many couples opt to give each of their guests a wedding favour as a memento of the special day. Here are some of our favourite wedding favour ideas that you can easily create.

Mini Potted Plant

Mini potted plants are a great choice for your wedding favours that can also double as a place card! When choosing a plant, succulents are perfect option because they are easy for your guests to care for once home. Opt for small pots that coordinate well with your wedding colours and tie around a ribbon to add a card with each guests name.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are the perfect favour option for a Spring wedding – and also double as a gorgeous piece of décor! Display bunches in metal buckets on a tiered stand next to your doorway. Once your wedding comes to an end, invite guests to take a bunch of the blooms as they are leaving.

Personalised Chocolate Bar

Personalised chocolate bars make for a wedding favour that everyone is sure to love. Choose your favourite store bought chocolate bars and personalise them by rewrapping them in paper that coordinates with your wedding theme and colours. Tie ribbon or twine around each one and add a piece of card with the bride and grooms name and the wedding date – here you could even also write a short message to each guest!


Candles are a thoughtful wedding favour that is sure to last well after your wedding. Choose one scent or a variety and if you are making your own, put them into containers that suit your theme – whether this is a mason jar or teacup.

Jar Condiments

If you and your partner are the foodie type, then jarred condiments are the perfect wedding favour idea. As they are simple to make in bulk, opt for your favourite jams, pickles and chutneys. Add labels with what is inside and personalise with each guests name!

Mini Wedding Cakes

For something slightly different than the traditional tiered wedding cake, opt for mini wedding cakes as your favour. Put the cakes into individual boxes and decorate them to coordinate with your wedding. This is also a great budget option.

Candy Station

Candy stations are becoming increasingly popular for wedding favours. Have a table with a variety of sweets where your guests can pick and choose their favourites and then put into bags to take home with them. For something extra, have your bags personalised with the bride and grooms names and the wedding date.

Tips For Planning An Extended Wedding

Image by Kate Little Photography for Harlow Garland & Bride and Groom Magazine

Image by Kate Little Photography for Harlow Garland & Bride and Groom Magazine

Sometimes couples decide to plan an extended wedding to help the celebrations span over days rather than just a few hours. Whether your having a destination wedding or a wedding in your home town, you too can make it last the weekend or longer! To help you with the planning process, here are some of our top tips and ideas for planning an extended wedding.

Holiday Weekends

When planning when to have your extended wedding, don’t be afraid to take advantage of long holiday weekends. This will give you extra days to celebrate and provide your guests with a mini vacation.

Save The Dates

Whether your wedding is near or far away, keep in mind that for an extended wedding affair it is best to send out your save the date cards at least eight months prior to the wedding. This will give your guests enough time to plan for it - especially if it includes travel and accommodation.

The Welcoming

We recommend easing into your wedding celebrations with a casual welcoming party. You may want to opt for an informal cocktail party or dinner. This will encourage your guests to relax and will also give everyone a chance to meet each other in a comfortable environment prior to the main wedding.

Plan Activities

Over your extended wedding, you may want to arrange a couple of activities for your guests to take part in – especially if you are having a destination wedding. If you are somewhere tropical you may want to take your guests snorkelling. If you are having your weekend wedding from home, a good option is to have morning or afternoon games in your own backyard – croquet is the perfect game for this!

Allow For Down Time

While it is always fun to have activities, be sure to also allow for leisure time – not only for your guests, but for you too! We recommend keeping the day of the main wedding free of any other activities. This will give you and your guests time to relax and will ensure everyone has energy for your ceremony and reception.

Saying Goodbye

When it comes to saying goodbye to your guests, brunch is always a good option. It will give everyone a chance to recuperate and talk about the amazing time they have had celebrating your nuptials. You may want to keep this occasion informal and relaxed to allow for your guests to come and go as the please so that they have the opportunity to sleep in. Keep in mind that this is also the perfect option to thank your guests for attending your wedding.

Creating Your Wedding Reception Seating Plan

Image by Danielle Bohane for a Harlow Garland real wedding

Image by Danielle Bohane for a Harlow Garland real wedding

Arranging your friends and family into a seating plan for your wedding can be a tricky task – especially because it can only be done once you have received all your RSVPs and finalised the guest list. There are many different things to think about, should you have a table dedicated to children? Do certain family members not get along? To help you with the process, follow our basic guide to creating your seating plan.

Formal Seating Plans

Typically couples opt for a formal seating plan for their reception to create ease. Guests like to know where they will be sitting and it will take away their anxiety over everyone having to find a seat. A seating plan is also helpful for caterers. If you have guests with dietary requirements, having a seating plan will help to get their specific meal to them with ease.

Bridal Table

The bridal table is usually a long, rectangular head table that is situated at the focal point of the venue. The Bridal table seats the bridal party. Traditionally, the bride will sit to the groom’s right, the maid of honour on his left and the best man to the bride's right. The rest of the party follows, alternating male and female. Although, you can configure this table how you please. Quite often, couples opt to have the bride's party to the right and the groom's party to the left.

Parents Of The Bride And Groom

Traditionally the parents of the bride and groom are seated together at a table along with any grandparents. However, couples with divorced or separated parents would not be comfortable with this arrangement. Instead, you could seat each set of parents at different tables with their parents and any other close family or even friends.

Create A Mixture

For your remaining friends and family, it is always best to mix and match people around. Try to seat people with others they are comfortable around, as well as adding in people they may not know as well. If you have a few guests that don’t know anyone else attending the wedding, try seating them near people that might have similar interests to them.

Children’s Table

If you have a number of children attending your wedding you may want to seat them all together at a children’s table. If you have only a few children attending, it is best to seat them next to their parents.

Seating Chart and Place Cards

A seating chart is usually placed near the entrance of your reception. Here your guests will be able to see a list of all guests with their designated table. Place cards with everyone’s names are to be arranged on each table to show the guests designated seats at the table.