The Complete Guide to NZ Wedding Seasons
— By Maria Yeonhee Ji
17 October 2018
The season in which you set your wedding date will influence a lot of the choices you make in the planning.
From the colour palette for your event, to venue selection, catering options, and floristry, not to mention all the small details that may impact how enjoyable the day is for your guests. There’s a lot to consider, especially if you’re hoping your wedding is as sustainable as possible. To help ensure you don’t miss anything in the planning and to streamline the decision-making process, here is a complete guide to the New Zealand wedding seasons.
Image by Greta Fassbender Fotografie
Summer is the perfect excuse to make colour the order of the day. A palette featuring multiple pops of colour - oranges, yellows, peaches, and blush tones - is sure to match the bright and sunny atmosphere.
Image by Kim Williams Weddings
The combination of orange and blue is a classic tone pairing that brings out the best of both hues. It was pivotal for the visual magic that is Van Gogh’s iconic The Starry Night, and could be the key to making your wedding aesthetic shimmer, too.
Image by Hollow & Co.
If you want a summer palette that is crisp and clean, you can’t go wrong with green and white. It’s a timeless pairing that could actually be used in any season.
Image sourced from Hurakia Lodge
There’s no better place to be in a New Zealand summer than by the sea. Venues like the luxury island getaway Hurakia Lodge give you and your loved ones a slice of paradise in which to celebrate a milestone in your life.
Image sourced from Bracu Weddings
At Bracu, you could get married in a venue that is nestled among the northern slopes of the Bombay Hills in the midst of tens of thousands of Mediterranean style olive trees.
Image by Diana V Photography
Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant is a stunning summer venue itself, but if you’re looking for something a little more intimate with a family feel, consider The Lodge. Situated on the grounds of the vineyard, it has breathtaking 360-degree views of Waiheke Island.
Love the Shade
Image sourced from Swips Frozen Cocktails
If your wedding ceremony or reception is going to be held outdoors, ensure that there are plenty of shaded areas where your guests can cool off (the last thing you want is for someone to get heatstroke). If your options with regards to areas of sun cover are limited, think about hiring outdoor fans so that you can at the very least maintain ventilation/provide some relief for those who are overheating. Make sure there’s a clearly visible supply of sunblock at all times, and remember to supply a large variety and quantity of drinks and icy treats. For more inspiration on how to make your summer wedding one to remember, have a read of this article.
Image sourced from LittleWolf Weddings
When it comes to New Zealand-grown produce, here’s what’s in season: apricots, avocado, beans, beetroot, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, boysenberries, buttercup squash, butternut, capsicum, cherries, courgette, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, nashi pears, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, raspberries, redcurrants, rockmelon, snow peas, strawberries, sweetcorn, taewa, and watermelon.
Image by Adam Popovic Photography
The most sustainable bouquets in summer will feature seasonal blooms like amaranthus, anthurium, cosmos, garden roses, hydrangea, scabiosa, tuberose, and tweedia.
Image by Samantha McFarlen Photography
The rich autumnal colour palettes alone should be enough to want to have your wedding in this season. Think russet, chestnut, burnt sienna, ochre, golds, olives... they’re warm tones that immediately create a sense of intimacy, romance, and togetherness.
Image by Marnie Cornell Photography
But no need to feel too restricted to a limited set of colours, either! Mismatched autumnal tones like in the stunning image above can make for a really cohesive yet vibrant fall look. If your colour palette is a bit more varied, keep your group looking unified by having something linking all of you together such as identical olive-coloured head wreaths or identical bouquets that are simple yet visually striking.
Image sourced from Allely Estate
As the months get colder and the slightly less predictable, choosing a venue that has both indoor and outdoor ceremony options becomes more important. Allely Estate, for example is a venue picturesque landscaped gardens giving you the option of an outdoor ceremony, but also has a historic villa and full-time marquee on site so that you’ll have an equally photogenic plan B should the weather not cooperate.
Image sourced from Orakei Bay
If you’d like to hold your ceremony and reception at the same venue (minimising transportation costs for both guests and vendors, and making your wedding day itinerary a little smoother), Orakei Bay is a fantastic venue option that has numerous elegant indoor and outdoor spaces each with its own distinct feel.
Image sourced from The Stables Matakana
A short drive away from the white sandy beaches of Omaha, located amidst the natural wonders of Matakana is The Stables. It’s an idyllic wedding venue with large glass doors that open onto a courtyard and expansive front lawn, a charming historic chapel on the grounds, and indoor venue options with heated floors, warm lighting, and grand fireplaces for the optimal cosiness of an intimate autumn wedding.
Keep it Toasty
Image by Hollow & Co.
Though having an autumn wedding doesn’t mean you can’t have your ceremony or reception outdoors, do be mindful of the colder temperatures particularly in the evenings. Supply blankets, consider hiring outdoor heaters if your venue doesn’t have adequate insulation/heating options. Think about heartier, hotter meal options for the reception and supply hot beverages for your guests to keep them warm throughout the night. A nice thoughtful detail for your bridal party is to get them matching shawls/faux-fur jackets/leather jackets of some kind - not only will this look great in photos, but they’ll definitely appreciate it if the wind picks up during the day and in the later hours of the evening.
Image by Chris & Ruth Photography
Don’t forget that this is the beginning of the New Zealand oyster season making a seafood bar a strong catering option. The homegrown produce that’s in season includes: apples, avocado, beans, beetroot, blueberries, buttercup squash, butternut, capsicum, chili, courgette, eggplant, feijoas, fennel, kiwiberries, kiwifruit, leeks, lime, mango, nashi pears, parsnip, passionfruit, pears, swedes, sweetcorn, and turnips.
Image by Ramboa Estrada
Seasonal autumnal bouquets can feature a range of berries, dahlia, echinacea, micromyrtus, protea, sedum, and/or yarrow/achillea. As the months get colder, floral arrangements should make more use of the foliage that’s around. You can see with the bouquets in the image above, foliage adds so much dimension and visual interest to an arrangement.
Image by Alex de Freitas
The cooler temperatures of winter weddings mean that the men can suit up without suffering from the heat during the ceremony. This makes winter weddings the perfect season for keeping things classy with a black and white theme. But if you want to go for some colour, palettes featuring jewel tones like emerald and berry/burgundy will help create the most incredibly romantic and luxurious atmospheres.
Image sourced from Settlers Country Manor
The Manor banquet room at Settlers Country Manor couldn’t be more perfect for a winter wedding. With exquisite wood panelling with an exceptional finish and a large fireplace, it is the perfect setting with a classic atmosphere and can accommodate well over 200 guests. And should the New Zealand weather exceed expectations and you want to have some of your celebrations outside, you and your guests can also enjoy two large gazebos, wood burning outdoor fireplaces, and over 6 acres of majestic palms, landscaped lawns, and arched bridges amongst willow-lined waterways.
Image sourced from Rydges Auckland
If you don’t want to leave anything to chance and are looking for a magical urban wedding venue that doesn’t compromise on views or atmosphere, the Rooftop Terrace at the Rydges may be the site for you. Surrounded by the glistening waters of the Waitemata Harbour and with magnificent views of the harbour bridge, this venue brings the best of Auckland’s scenery to an indoor venue with all the facilities you could ever need.
Image by Hollow & Co.
One of the biggest perks of having a winter wedding is that this is the wedding offseason. All the venue hire and vendor services are likely to be much lower compared to in summer. Make the most of this, and if possible try to negotiate for the best contracts possible by asking if businesses would charge less on different days of the week.
As with autumn weddings, make sure to consider your guests’ comfort with regards to the temperature. A thoughtful thing to organise is a coat rack/closet/system so that your guests have somewhere to leave their heavier layers.
Image sourced from Luxe Events
Winter meals don’t have to be boring; sit down and discuss with your caterer how you might be able to use what’s seasonal to make dishes that are inspired and personalised to your tastes. You’ll get the best of New Zealand’s: artichokes, avocado, brussel sprouts, fennel, figs, grapefruit, kiwiberries, kiwifruit, kohlrabi, leeks, lemons, limes, mandarins, mango, oranges, parsnip, passionfruit, rhubarb, swedes, tamarillo, turnips, watercress, witloof, and yams.
Image by Twig + Twine Floral Artistry
In this time of year, your go-to blooms should be anemones, flowering pieris, hellebores, king protea, magnolia, ranunculus, and stephanotis.
Image sourced via Silk & Willow
Muted pastel tones make for a mesmerising spring palette. Think pinks, peaches, marigolds… Champagne-sage-slate is a good palette if you want something a little bit timeless and more down-to-earth. Or if you aren’t afraid to go for a bolder palette, embrace the bright yellow and offset it with some jewel tones for a sophisticated touch.
Image sourced from Hus Art Farm
HU’s Farm is an idyllic venue in the countryside perfect for those with more creative spirits - there’s even a large gallery on site, and when not used for weddings this is a residence and event space for international performing and visual artists to collaborate on and showcase their work. With majestic views, expansive grounds, and four different ponds on site, there are so many natural features to enjoy (and plenty of backdrops for artistic photographs).
Image by Allister Freeman Photography
If you’re making the most of the fresh spring air and the beautiful outdoors, think about organising some activities for your guests. This can be a good way for everyone to relax and let their hair down a little at the reception before the night of dancing starts. just remember that mosquitoes are most active in the late afternoon/dusk, so if you and your guests will be spending a significant amount of time outdoors, you should definitely prepare some bug spray for your guests.
Image sourced from Shine Dining Catering
Fresh NZ produce in spring includes artichokes, asparagus, avocado, brussel sprouts, courgette, grapefruit, kiwiberries, kiwifruit, leeks, oranges, parsnip, rhubarb, swedes, tangelos, watercress, and yams.
Image by Fleur Inc.
Some of the most beautiful flowers come into season in spring, including aquilegia, clematis, cornflower, lilac, manuka, nigella, peonies, poppies, and sweet pea.