How to Find a Wedding Venue: Auckland, Bay of Islands, Coromandel and surrounds – She Said Yes

How to Find a Wedding Venue: Auckland, Bay of Islands, Coromandel and surrounds

wedding-venues-auckland

You’re engaged!
Congratulations!
If you’re looking for how to find a wedding venue in Auckland, Bay of Islands or Coromandel you’re in the right place! (If not, see the more general wedding venue guide.)

Having established a budget and compiled a guest list, now you’re looking for a wedding venue. If you haven’t accomplished attempted those yet, I suggest you head back to my article on first steps to plan a wedding and work your way through the list in order. I’m not saying this just to be bossy, truly, it’s just that without a little direction, it can be really hard to gauge whether a wedding venue is going to be appropriate at all.

If you just want to dive straight into how to find a wedding venue in Auckland, I won’t stop you!

This article sets out:

  • Where to begin searching for a wedding venue in Auckland (and greater Auckland/surrounds);
  • Browsing wedding venues via photographers;
  • Choosing between wedding venues;
  • What to consider before you sign a wedding venue contract; and
  • Suggestions for Auckland wedding venues (e.g. BYO, budget, unique, large venue, auckland vineyards)

Getting married in Auckland? You lucky thing!

We are just so spoiled for choices of wedding venues in New Zealand, and Aucklanders are some of the luckiest kiwis when it comes to picking a spot.  Whether you’re looking for a spot in Auckland city itself, a little further afield in the Auckland region, or even a destination wedding a little outside of Auckland, say Coromandel or Bay of Islands, you’re inundated with options here!

wedding-venues-auckland

If you’re looking for a wedding venue in or around Auckland
Your first stop should be to The Wedding Map (in fact, it’s a good first-stop for any New Zealand wedding venue).  The Wedding Map is a website that operates like Air B’n’B or Book a Bach except instead of accommodation, you’re searching for your wedding venue! You can browse by region or other categories and filters, or if you’re just looking for any beautiful spot in New Zealand to get married, browse all venues.

If you have no idea where (literally) to start…
If you have total flexibility as to the location of your wedding venue, you have the luxury of choosing your photographer first and going from there.  In that case, begin browsing (Facebook, Instagram, Wedding Magazines and other New Zealand wedding blogs) and wait until you fall in love with a photographer’s style, rather than venue. Once you’ve found a suitable photographer, you may also find your perfect wedding venue within their portfoilio, and you could even work with them to find the wedding venue for you. If they’re a Coromandel based photographer for example, they probably know all the best local beaches and hideaways for photos, or might have the inside word on a brand new wedding venue to share with you.

If you’re looking in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Islands or Coromandel I’d suggest starting with The Official Photographers  or Nadia Buist – two photographers I’ve personally worked with and can vouch for. Their photography is sure to inspire your choice of venue! Each of the photos in this article are The Official Photographers’ work, as was our wedding.

How do you choose between two great locations or venues?
If you find it hard to choose between various locations, e.g. a great Auckland city venue and a great Bay of Islands venue, you need to put pen to paper.  The same applies if you’re choosing between two great venues in the same location.

Create a table with the potential wedding venues or locations across the top, and all of their various favourable attributes in a list, then mark an X on whichever of the two is the best in each category.  Not only will you have a table full of X marks (and hopefully more in one column than the other) but you’ll have given each venue a serious thought, and thought about all the elements that are important to you.

Wedding-Venue-comparison-table

 

wedding-venues-auckland

Take a road trip
Still struggling? Plan a weekend getaway and explore!  Take a road trip over to Bethells Beach Cottages, or a longer drive to Kauri Bay Boomrock (one of Auckland’s newest, and most incredible wedding venues).  You could do a vineyard tour through one of the many wine regions near Auckland, stopping at each venue for a look around, (and a wine for the passenger), head out for a weekend away, and take your time to see where you fall in love with.

Waiheke Island is only 30 minutes’ ferry from Auckland and is one of the most beautiful spots in the country. To identify all the best Waiheke wedding venues, head on over to The Wedding Map: Waiheke and scroll through all the stunning options according to other requirements (such as size, or style).  Mudbrick and Cable Bay are two of the most popular vineyard wedding venues, Lavender Hill is a stunning house available for hire, and Delamore Lodge is worth a look too.  My Waiheke is another great place to start to begin planning your Waiheke Island dream day once you’ve found a wedding venue too

Also a short distance from Auckland are the vineyards and wedding venues of Kumeu, where you’ll find Gracehill Vineyard Estate, among others.  There’s lovely accommodation nearby at Rosebud Cottage too, where Blair and I stayed last year, and the best cake-bakers in the business – PaulaJane Cakes – are nearby. Further north is Matakana (see Ascension Wine Estate), and beyond that, Bay of  Islands.

I recently took a weekend away to Bay of Islands with two girlfriends, staying in the picture perfect vista of Treghan Luxury Lodge,  ideal for couples celebrating their wedding nearby, the bridal party to spend a few days, or a local honeymoon.

N.B. Don’t just turn up at wedding venues on a Friday or Saturday afternoon in the heat of wedding season, you might crash a wedding!

wedding-venues-auckland

Once you’ve chosen a general location, but haven’t chosen the specific wedding venue, browse wedding photography of various venues in the area
Whether you’re looking at various venues on the internet, their websites or The Wedding Map, it can be hard to get a general feel for the wedding, without seeing actual wedding photos at the venue.  If you know the general location but you haven’t come across the venue yet, this technique is also effective, in which case pick another venue’s name, also try this…

For example, I was looking for a Bay of Islands wedding venue, and knew of the BOI wedding  venue Eagles Nest, so I searched “Eagles Nest Wedding Photography” and found a wedding shot by Jess Burges.  From there, I was able to explore Jess’s other weddings, and find other venues in her location, such as Kerikeri, Whangarei and Mangawhai.

For wedding photography of the specific venue, I’d head to both the venue’s Facebook page, and also type into Google “Wedding Photography [Venue Name]” to browse.

In Matakana, a popular wedding venue is Ascension Wine Estate, so I would search “Ascension Wine Estate Wedding Photography” and find a photographer’s website to browse, and see if there were any other nearby wedding venues that appealed.

After using these tools, I’m certain you’ll have identified plenty of wedding venues in Auckland and nearby!

Once you’ve found your dream Wedding Venue
Just as you breathe a sigh of relief that you’ve found the one, I suggest you take a step back and check through the below list of considerations.  Once you know everything you need to about the venue, revisit the budget and double-check that the wedding venue fits all your requirements.  You might be willing to go slightly above the budget for your dream location, but you need to know exactly how much above the budget that will be.

What else to consider:

This list is an excerpt from the wedding planning pack, which includes all the questions you need to know and ask of each of your wedding vendors.

  • Don’t book the first venue you see (your fiance isn’t the first man you ever met, is he?!), make sure to weigh up a couple and ensure you’re not just ‘getting it over with’!
  • Consider all the venue’s options for photography, and always look at real weddings at the venue;
  • Dates can book up quickly at popular venues, so call around to check on date availability before falling in love with a particular wedding venue only to find that the season is full;
  • Ask for minimum spend or per-head cost during the initial phone call or visit, to ensure it’s within your price bracket;
  • A more expensive venue but incredibly beautiful wedding venue might save you money on decor, flowers and lighting;
  • Your venue will play a huge roll in determining the theme and ambiance of your wedding;
  • An all-inclusive price will save you a lot of worry, but if that’s not possible, make sure you understand what is or is not included;
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount if you’re booking a weekday, last minute, etc.
  • Consider a spot where your guests can ‘getaway’ for the weekend and turn it into a real holiday;
  • Always have a contingency plan for weather, and if the only reason you like a venue is because it will be stunning on a perfect day, rethink this plan;
  • Find out if the venue offers a wedding planning or organisation service;
  • Ask if you’ll have exclusive use of the venue, and what time you can occupy it until;
  • Take care before you sign on the dotted line – a wedding venue contract should be entered into with the consideration you’d give any other contract (can you tell I’m a lawyer).  Read every line and clause, discuss anything you don’t understand with the vendor (or a lawyer), and don’t feel pressured to sign straight away.  Some questions to ask before signing include:
    • What are the noise restrictions?
    • Does the venue have an events manager?
    • Where can your guests stay nearby?
    • Can you bring in whatever outside vendors you want?
    • Are the kitchen facilities available for those vendors?
    • Is there tableware included?
    • How many tables fit into the room?
    • What is the sound system provided?
    • Is it a licensed venue? What time does the licence go until?
    • Is there enough lighting provided?
    • Are you allowed to light candles? Throw confetti? Have fireworks?
    • Where can guests park?
    • What is the weather contingency plan?
    • If it’s BYO, what’s the corkage fee?
    • For the full list, see the wedding planning pack or bundle.

Unique Auckland Wedding Venues for inspiration!

  • Kelly Tarlton’s – 120 seated guests (250 for a cocktail event)
  • Auckland Zoo
  • Bethells Beach Cottages
  • Hauraki Blue Cruises
  • Art Gallery (Gus Fisher is great!)
  • Auckland Museum (overlooking the beautiful domain)
  • Law Society Rooftop Terrace
  • Chateau Tongariro (a little further out of Auckland)
  • Stardome Observatory
  • The Redwoods Treehouse
  • Orams Marine Boat Park

BYO Auckland Wedding Venues

  • Okahu Waterfront Venue ($20 per bottle corkage)
  • Maritime Room
  • Mantells, Mt Eden
  • Hustmere Gardens
  • Stardome Observatory
  • Flaxmere House
  • Honeysuckle Boutique
  • Ponsonby Central Sapphire Room
  • French Bay Yacht Club
  • Belsaas

Large Auckland Wedding Venues

  • Ascension
  • The Langham
  • Auckland Museum
  • Kauri Bay Boomrock
  • Mantells
  • Alexandra Park Events Centre
  • Manukau Events Centre
  • Stamford Plaza Auckland Hotel

Budget Auckland Wedding Venues

  • Gracehill Vineyard Estate (great off-season deals)
  • Skinny Love Weddings
  • French Bay Yacht Club
  • The Bluestone Room
  • Five Knots
  • Other Community Halls

Auckland Vineyard Wedding Venues

  • Villa Maria Estate (South Auckland)
  • Gracehill Vineyard Estate (Kumeu)
  • Markovina Vineyard Estate (Kumeu)
  • Soljans Vineyard (Kumeu)
  • Ascension Wine Estate (Matakana)
  • Plume Vineyard (Matakana)
  • Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant (Waiheke)
  • Cable Bay (Waiheke)
  • Casita Miro (Waiheke)

I’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for Auckland wedding venues, leave me a comment. Choosing your wedding venue is just one of the many decisions to make, do so with ease by purchasing the little white book & wedding planning pack in the discounted bundle.

wedding-venues-auckland

All photos © The Official Photographers

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