Gone are the days where we grew up in one house, in one town, before we ventured off to explore the world and returned a year or two later to marry our high school sweetheart and settle down.
Back then, selecting a wedding destination and guest list was just that little bit simpler. Nowadays, it is more common that we have travelled, lived, and worked in numerous locations prior to getting wed. As such, even if you and your fiancé are of the same nationality, it is likely that your friends and family are scattered across the globe.
All of which begs the question, where on earth do you tie the knot? Cue, a destination wedding in New Zealand. The perfect, picturesque, neutral ground on which to meet (and Wed).
A destination wedding in New Zealand is not just about getting married somewhere spectacular. Though New Zealand can most certainly provide that. It also allows you to simplify many of the elements that can make traditional wedding planning so complicated.
Choosing a unique destination can help reduce your guest list, navigate cultural or religious differences, or simply be in a location that allows your families to meet halfway. Perhaps you wish to provide your friends and family with a wonderful excuse for a holiday. Or hold your wedding in a location that holds significance for you. Or use your wedding as an opportunity to visit a place you have always wanted to go to. In any case, selecting a location for your wedding can be a daunting task.
So here are a few tips from Fantail Weddings that may just help you choose a location for your special day.
Tip One: Get to grips with your budget
While it may not be the most glamorous piece of advice, let us assure you that being clear on your budget from the outset will make every element of your wedding planning easier. It is one of the first questions we ask our clients. A budget defines how far afield you can look. A budget takes options off the table almost immediately. It helps ensure your expectations don’t get too far ahead of your reality. We know it’s not fun, but the earlier you get to grips with what you can afford, the more straightforward this entire wedding planning process is going to be.
And while you are at it, take the time to consider how deep the pockets of your friends and family might be. If you are dreaming of a destination wedding on an alpine glacier high in the New Zealand Southern Alps, it might not quite be the wedding of your dreams if you and your betrothed are the only ones who can afford to be there.
Tip Two: Get clear on your ‘must-haves’
Other than ensuring you are officially and legally married, what elements really matter to the two of you when it comes to selecting a location for your wedding day? We find that some people want to have an epic backdrop and stunning views. Others want to provide their guests with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some want to get married in a remote location that is totally unique, and for others it is the small details that really matter. For some couples it is a logistical choice – some countries legally allow you to marry where others don’t. A destination wedding can provide a halfway point for families travelling from either side of the world. Or it can be a chance for one of you to show your family-to-be the best of your homeland.
Be it luxury, adventure, simplicity, spectacular scenery, or a culinary feast – work through and decide on the things that really matter to you both.
Tip Three: Location, location, location.
Once you are both clear on the elements of your wedding that are truly important, jot down a list of destinations in New Zealand that might meet your requirements. Then take into consideration a few additional things:
- Climate: some destinations in New Zealand are more accessible, affordable or pleasant at different times of the year. There is no sense in planning a destination wedding with dreams of snow-capped mountains if you are planning to marry in early January! Remember that if you are changing hemispheres, you change seasons. So although the weather gods occasionally deliver unseasonable weather, it pays not to count on it. During some periods of the year the weather in New Zealand is more stable, so check the typical climatic conditions in the locations and for the dates, you are scouting.
- Accessibility: the logistics of getting to the location of your ceremony might need some consideration, particularly if you have guests flying in from around the world. You may need to consider whether there is an airport nearby. What public transport systems are available, or whether there is enough accommodation nearby to host the guests you wish to invite. Ceremony sites that are accessed via steep slopes may be difficult for some guests. Or using helicopters as part of your day may be an issue if someone in your wedding party is afraid of flying.
- Facilities: some venues are set up for weddings and have almost everything you need already on site. Other locations almost everything will need to be transported to your ceremony site. We have delivered some incredible weddings in varied, spectacular, and remote venues, and while almost anything can be achieved with enough planning, do keep in mind that the more remote the location, the greater the logistics (and cost) will be in setting up the site.
- Flexibility: if you are dreaming of an outdoor wedding in a remote location, you may also need to consider having a backup day. There is a reason we use the term ‘four-seasons-in-one-day’ around these parts. If you can’t be flexible on your dates, then dreaming up a destination wedding in a venue that is helicopter access only might not be a great idea. We hope you never need it, but you do need to consider what Plan B would be if the weather didn’t play ball.
Tip Four: Get a Wedding Planner.
There is a very good reason our industry exists and a wedding planner, particularly when it comes to a destination wedding, is one the best investments you can make. We have a wealth of knowledge in our highly organised brains that you will not find on Google. Location options for holding your wedding in New Zealand are almost limitless and while there are many gorgeous venues that are well set up to cater for weddings, some of the most spectacular weddings we have been involved with have been in truly unique locations. A good wedding planner will be able to guide and advise you on what can be achieved within the budget that you have. Because we know the area and the local suppliers, our knowledge can and will save you hours of leg work. So unless you plan on spending a lot of time on the ground or on the phone in the time preceding your nuptials, get a wedding planner involved to help ensure that your day goes off without a hitch (other than the getting hitched, of course).
As always, Fantail Weddings is here to help. If we can be of any assistance in helping you narrow down a location for your dream day, please get in touch! We have a wealth of experience and knowledge, and we love helping create unique, elegant and spectacular weddings. We hope these tips for planning a Destination Wedding in New Zealand (or anywhere else for that matter) will help you find the perfect location for your wedding day.
Send us an email to get the ball rolling