As a Wedding Planner & Event Manager organising your own wedding could be seen as a simple task; even second nature. This may be true, but only until the anticipation (and nerves!) of being the bride set it. The realisation that guests have huge expectations of how fabulous your wedding day will be, always seems to be front of mind!
Having played a part in planning well over 80 weddings throughout my career to date, you may think that by now I would know exactly what I wanted for my big day when the time came. Not so! I did however, have a starting point. I knew what I didn’t want. Jason and I are social people so we decided early on that a sit down wedding would not be for us, as we wanted to be able to mix with all our guests throughout the evening; especially those we didn’t see often or had traveled a long distance. We also wanted the focus of the day to be a showcase of local food, beverage and entertainment. All this of course, without forgetting about why we were all coming together in the first place – the romance of our wedding.
So now we had a starting point, along with a budget, we could really start to focus on the look and feel of our wedding in a little more detail. I have always loved the bold colours of autumn and it turned out Jason did too, so we decided to feature this element from the outset, starting with our save the dates cards. We decided on a swatch style save the date, invitation, and thank you card set, with a burnt orange calla lily image that set the colour palette for the wedding. The custom designed ‘Kate & Jason’ monogram was used on all our wedding stationery including venue and food station signage, and beverage menus on the day.
Wedding Planning Food, Drinks and Entertainment for my big day
Once we had decided on the venue we researched and booked the food, beverage and entertainment. We wanted all these elements to feature as entertainment in their own right and provide our guests with a real experience.
Nectar Cafe provided the catering, comprising of four food stations; antipasto, seafood, meats & salads, and dessert. The dessert station included two chocolate fountains and a cupcake tower designed by upcoming cake artist Ashley Adams from Cuppacakes Northland. Our bartenders, Matt & Sebastian, were a complete hit! They entertained our guests with their personalities, fabulous cocktail making abilities and absolute next level bar service.
The final part of the formula was the entertainment. Following the ceremony Northland solo artist Dann Pinkney set the tone with his acoustic guitar and vocal set, as guests enjoyed drinks, canapes, and the scenery while we went off for photos. We had our speeches as soon as we arrived back to the reception venue from photos and before Dann teamed up with a very good friend of ours, Mack Tane, to provide the sounds as guest moved around the food stations. The mix of well known music played with the combination of electric and acoustic guitars had guests on the dance floor before the food stations even opened! Our first dance was the introduction to the band – The Dozen. First up they played a beautiful version of U2’s ‘All I want is you’ for Jason and I to share our first dance. Then the party started! The Dozen played live covers from 70’s through to Top 40 and had the dance floor packed with guests of all ages, all night. Along with our planned entertainment, we are very fortunate to have a few very talented singers as friends – Beau Adams, Kate Taitimu & Paulette (Claude) Bates. This trio of siblings (and seasoned entertainers) jumped on stage in the band’s break to continue the party atmosphere.
Planning the right wedding venue
The venue was set up as a lounge bar complete with couch settings from Raj Tent Club NZ in Auckland, bar leaners, and a few round tables through the centre of the centre of the venue to provide additional seating. The bar was the real feature in the room and the food stations spread throughout for easy access and movement around the venue for guests. The seafood station was situated on the deck with chefs cooking to order – needless to say this was a busy place to be for most of the night! Black organza ceiling draping with orange, white and black lanterns of various sizes featured through the room and Amy from Keepsake Bouquets added the beautiful floral styling that tied in our autumn colour palatte. The two floor to ceiling floral features were amazing showpieces and gave the venue a really romantic feel. Guests entered the venue to soft white and orange up-lighting, provided by The Soundcave, before the the addition of dance floor lighting effects when the band started later in the evening.
To add further interaction to the night and create a visual diary of the evening for us to treasure, a photo booth was available so guests could take home a memento from the wedding. The photo strips printed in duplicate so guests could leave us a note in our guest book with a photo of themselves. This effort was rewarded with a trip to the extremely well utilised candy bar!
Like any well planned wedding, the real wow factor was created when all the stars aligned; the food, beverage, service, venue and entertainment all complimented each other and our guests’ expectations (and ours) were surpassed.
As the new Mrs Kate Blundell (no longer Kate Claydon), I can truly say that as a nervous bride filled with anticipation, as well as an experienced Wedding Planner, my experience of our wedding day was beyond my wildest dreams. Once again the importance of working with suppliers who are experts in their field was the difference between a GOOD wedding and a GREAT wedding, that has left a lasting impression on the minds of all those who helped us to celebrate our special day.
Perfect Wedding Planning
As individuals, we all have our own ideas of how we wish to express our love for our soul mate in front of our friends and family. We all approach traditions differently and alter them to suit our own special day. Weddings are the epitome of romance and I have learned that whether it is my own wedding or that of a client, it is impossible to resist the the contagious happiness and anticipation for what the future holds, as two people are joined together by their words of love.
If you would like to talk to me about being your wedding planner, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.
The photos in the gallery below are courtesy of our guests and professional photographer, Kerry Vernon Photography.