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! 

Must Haves for your Garden Wedding

Image by Samantha Donaldson for our Auckland Weddings Styled Shoot  via:

Image by Samantha Donaldson for our Auckland Weddings Styled Shoot via:

Your wedding day will probably be one of the most important days of your life and making sure you tie the knot at the perfectly planned wedding that represents you both is important. Having a garden wedding go smoothly can depend on whether you have the essentials for the guests. With gorgeous flowers and lush gardens, added extras can make all the difference in the running of the wedding. We have chosen the top items to have on offer at the outdoor wedding to make sure it goes smoothly.

A venue with it all Of course if you’re planning a garden wedding, the venue of choice will be stunning with colourful gardens and sprawling lawns. If the perfect venue is chosen, then choosing extra outdoor accessories and planning of the ceremony location will come naturally. If a venue is experience with hosting garden weddings, they will know what is best for a sunny or windy day. It would be handy of the venue had near trees to act as shade if the day gets warmer for example.

Garden games As we have mentioned before, outdoor weddings need to have a handful of extras to keep guests occupied. Hiring outdoor games such as lawn bowls, or old-fashioned petanque can make all the difference. Being able to offer these in shades areas will give guests more of a reason to play. These can also be fun for kids during photos or maybe the ceremony.

Beat the heat It may sound like the obvious, but having shade alternatives rather than just trees can often be forgotten. Offering some pretty umbrellas for the bridesmaids and other guests can be a great idea, especially if they look nice in the photos. Other shade options can include large outdoor umbrellas and gorgeous sunshades can also offer summery aesthetic for photos too.

Hydrations and sustenance The heat can do a lot of things to people, and dehydration and hunger can be it. Going with the garden theme, yummy fruits and fresh flavoured treats can keep guests going while playing garden games. Offering jugs of water and juice for them to self-serve can sometimes be better than having to leave the area for a drink.

Summer garden weddings are always stunning days when the sun is out and the warm air heats up the day. But making sure you have enough water, games and shade for all guests to recover with can be almost as important as the ceremony. Happy guests can make the day so much more amazing.

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.

Engagement Party Interactive with Wedding Paper Divas


Getting engaged should be a happy time in your life. But if you’re like most newly engaged couples, you can easily become overwhelmed by taking on too much too soon. What you should focus on instead is enjoying the moment.

You can do this by capturing your excitement as a couple with an engagement party! Traditionally, the groom’s parents plan this event but times are changing and this something couples are taking on.

If you and your fiancé are planning your celebration, check out this engagement party interactive by wedding stationery company, Wedding Paper Divas. It includes 50 amazing ideas with everything from fun party themes to irresistible menu options your guests will love.

Below we also made a list of to-dos to make sure you don’t miss a thing when planning your engagement party!

Ten to Eight Weeks before the Party

Agree on a Host Traditionally, the Bride's family throws the engagement party, but often the Groom's family likes to share in the festivities by co-hosting the affair. Part of the fun of an engagement party, is letting your two families get to know each other, as well as friends or extended family you don’t often see.

Pick a Date Generally, the engagement party is held three to four months after the proposal.

Compile a Guest List Make sure your invitees are also on the guest list for the wedding ceremony and reception.

Register... or not. Decide if you want to register (preferably for gifts in the low to middle range of prices – don't forget, the wedding is still to come), or include a note in the invitation kindly requesting no gifts. If guests do bring presents, wait until after the party to open them so as to not obligate or offend the other guests.

Four to Six Weeks before the Party

Send Invitations The tone of the party should be in keeping with that of your upcoming wedding. These can be as formal as you like but the engagement party is usually a more relaxed, playful occasion.

Decide on Decorations and Centrepieces If you wish, choose a theme that reflects you as a couple or something that reflects your two families. No need to go overboard though, the point is to celebrate your engagement. If you’ve already decided on your wedding stationery / theme motif, including it in the engagement party lends a welcome element of cohesion.

Plan a Menu Whether your party will be held at a restaurant or a private home, you should be mindful of any allergies or food specifications of your guests.

The Week Before

Go Shopping, if Necessary If the party will be in a home, give yourself a comfortable margin of time to buy the food, drinks, party goods or anything else you may be contributing.

Prepare the Venue Make sure there are plenty of places for guests to sit and eat as well as an area to store gifts. For a party at someone's home, arrange to have the lawn cut and the house cleaned and be sure the air conditioning/ heat works. Let the neighbours know you will be having a party so as to preempt any complaints of disruption.

Lineup your Help Need some extra hands to get everything done? Involve the members of your wedding party if you've already chosen them, or ask for help from willing friends and family members.

Decorate Just because it's not the main event, doesn't mean you can't go a little overboard on the decor. Especially if you're using a house, this is your chance to turn an ordinary flat or home into an opulent reception venue for your engagement party for the evening, and if it's a family home, you'll always have the memory of how beautiful it looked! Look what we did to a Remuera flat (home to 6 boys!!) in just the space of a few hours!

We'd love to help you style your home or venue for your engagement party!

For further advice on planning your engagement, why not check out our Engagement Party Etiquette guide and once you're ready, our guide to Choosing your Wedding Planner!