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By Luke Ellery
So you're planning on having a Waiheke Island wedding. The beautiful vineyard-clad island feels like a magical far away land, but in reality it is a mere hop and a skip away from Auckland CBD via a 30 minute ferry. A word to the wise: Waiheke weddings aren't all rings and roses. Be prepared for a heroic amount of planning. Luckily for you, you have stumbled across this helpful Waihekepedia, pieced together by a handful of wedding experts, to make your planning that little bit easier.
Image by Perspectives Photo + Cinema
This blog will help you with your travel, accommodation, venue, entertainment hire, and a bit of Waiheke history. We've even thrown in a few Waiheke based chair hiring companies (bet you didn't think of that one). This is your all encompassing blog to Waiheke wedding planning, it's long but it's worth it if you want to ensure your dream wedding on New Zealand's most sought after island paradise.
Image by XOX Wiaheke
First things first, if you're not the kind of bride who wants to get her hands dirty and dive deep into the wedding planning void, then you might be interested in hiring a wedding planner. Wedding planners, more often than not, will make it easier for you - especially when it comes to the little nitty gritty details like stemware. It is valuable to note that most wedding planners located in Auckland will happily plan your Waiheke wedding, so it is not essential to hire a local wedding planner. But it doesn't hurt to hire a wedding planner who knows the island and its local vendors more personally. Wedding planners are great to reach out to in order to find out information about private venues. Sometimes they can be available for cheaper if organised through a local wedding planner. Here are a few links to some well-known Waiheke wedding planners:
A modern stylist/planner/florist, Coco Lily Events brings a personal touch to every wedding and is dedicated to transforming your dreams to reality. Each client receives an individual quote so contact them early and they would love to get you excited about your wedding.
Lauretta, who previously worked as Mudbrick's in-house event manager, has over a decade of experience with planning weddings. She has lived on Waiheke Island for six years and has a passion for the island's beauty.
Waiheke Island Weddings and Events love giving brides the opportunity to have a beautiful wedding on such a special island. They have exclusive access to a list of private venues including Waikopou, which is featured in more detail below. Check out the company's beautiful website with plenty of stunning images of wedings they have helped bring to life.
Waiheke has a rich culture of wine and art. It has even taken on the nickname, New Zealand's "Island of Wine". With almost 30 vineyards located at various areas around the 92 km² island, there is never a shortage of delicious wines and beautiful vineyards to visit. Here are a list of vineyards you are able to visit, or even book for your wedding!
The following are vineyards that can also serve as your wedding venue:
The remaining vineyards can be visited but do not host weddings:
Waiheke also has a great cultural background, with a number of private art galleries that can be found in any of the highly populated areas of the island. With such a rich cultural lifestyle everywhere you look, Waiheke never fails to keep its inhabitants and guests entertained.
Image from Waiheke Unlimited
Waiheke Unlimited is the source of all your accommodation needs in Waiheke. There are a variety of options for any budget and they can accommodate nearly any number of people. If you are planning to go the extra mile and house your wedding guests overnight, Waiheke Unlimited can give you the help you need to achieve that. Below are a just a few of the amazing options Waiheke Unlimited has on offer and an estimated price for each, depending on your dates and duration of stay. NB: peak period on Waiheke is December 20th to January 10th.
Smart Villas - $169 to $310 per night. Minimum 1 night stay, 2 nights stay over long weekends, and 4 nights during peak period. Collectively the villas can hold over 25 guests all in the same complex which is ideal for wedding bookers. Your guests can all stay together without needing to worry about organising their own accommodation.
Charming Cottages - $215 to $575 per night. Minimum 2 night stay, 3 nights stay over long weekends, and 7 nights during peak period.
Luxury Beach Houses - $1875 to $4000 per night. Minimum 2 nights stay, 3 nights over long weekends, and 7 nights during peak period.
All of the above options include linen, towels, etc. Beach towels need to be arranged separately. Pro tip: Waiheke Resort offers very affordable accommodation for large groups. This has been a popular option for many Waiheke brides who want to set their guests up for the duration of the wedding. They are also a well-used venue, so you can keep things simple and convenient if you have your ceremony there too!
Onetangi Beach Apartments offer great options for group bookings as well as a stress free wedding booking procedure. Upon booking your wedding accommodation with them you receive an account number. Your guests can use that account number to pay deposits and book their own choice of the available accommodation. Onetangi Beach Apartments are in a great location - seconds from the beach and minutes from cafes, restaurants, and the Waiheke Museum.
Waiheke.co.nz, Visit Waiheke, and Stay Waiheke list a number of other venues which are not listed on Waiheke Unlimited. It is definitely worth checking out all the options before dipping into your budget.
Image by Tourism New Zealand
As an island Waiheke is, by definition, surrounded by water. Waiheke does not have any roads leading to it from the mainland. Therefore, your only option for traveling between is by boat. Unless you are looking at getting your own chartered boat or maybe even a squad of jetskis, you will need to start looking into ferry transportation. Below are the tickets and fares information for the two ferry services that can take you from Auckland city to Waiheke Island.
Single Adult - $36.00 return
Family - (2 adults and up to 4 children) $98.00 return
Family - (1 adult and up to 5 children) $98.00 return
Adult Group (10) - $144.00
Single Adult - $36.00 return
Family - $98.00 return
Single Adult - $36.50 return
Car - $168.00 return
Motorcycle - $63.00 return
Family (1 adult, 3 children) - $74.00
Family (2 adult, 3 children) - $100.00
All above fares for Sealink also apply to travel from Half Moon Bay.
It is clear that Fullers is the cheaper option. However, if you want to transport a car or motorcycle, or if you simply need to catch the ferry from Half Moon Bay, then Sealink is the one you want.
Fullers also has some very affordable options for wedding bookings. If you pre-book and pay for all of your guests ferry tickets you will receive a 15% discount, so each ticket will be approximately $30.60. Alternatively, you can register your wedding with Fullers, send them a copy of your invite, and your guests can present their wedding invitation at the ferry terminal and purchase a ticket for $31.50.
If you only intend to be on Waiheke for one day, it is probably not worth it to take your own car. There are plenty of buses and taxis that can get you where you need to go. Not to mention it would only take you 5 hours to walk the maximum length of the island. Cars are worth thinking about if you plan on staying for a few days, purely for convenience and flexibility while on the island. Having said that, cars actually hinder your flexibility when it comes to the ferry trip, since car ferries are scheduled less often. All day bus passes can be purchased with Fullers: $10 per adult, $6 per child, and $26 for a family pass. These prices can be discounted if you buy them simultaneously with your ferry ticket.
Waiheke Executive Transport offers wedding transport services, which is a great option for large numbers of guests. They have a great relationship with Waiheke's finest venues and their experience in the industry has left them with a great understanding of how to make sure the wedding runs smoothly. Prices are subject to a number of factors, so if you want a quote you can contact them through this link.
Waiheke wedding venues are simply stunning; there is so much elegance across the island. Below are a handful of Waiheke's most popular wedding venues.
Image by Qiane Photography
Award-winning wine and spectacular ocean views are just a few of the things on offer at Cable Bay Winery. Cable bay can host up to 120 guests, and provides on-site event managers to help you plan and run your special day. They are suitable for any season with stunning indoor and outdoor spaces.
Image by Michelle Hepburn
Famed for their incredible dining options, Casita Miro vineyard specialises in Spanish cuisine as well as flavours from the wider Mediterranean rim. It has beautiful views, both of the vineyard outside and the romantic European interior decor. The food at Casita Miro cannot be praised enough. If you want your guests to have an unforgettable experience, Casita Miro can make that happen.
Image by Emma Hughes
Magnificent views, spectacular architecture, wine, and the ability to host a great number of guests has earned Delamore Lodge a prestigious reputation among wedding venues in Waiheke. Delamore Lodge has won Trip Advisor's hall of fame award and was listed in Trip Advisors "12 Most Extraordinary Hotel Pools." It is also highly regarded among same-sex couples as one of the best venues for a gay wedding. Not only are the staff experienced, supportive, and friendly, but the whole venue has a very open-minded view and do their best to bring any couple's dream wedding to life.
Image by Perspectives Photo + Cinema
Goldie Estate features a private beach, rolling hills lined with beautiful vineyards, and of course the iconic Pohutukawa tree. Many weddings have been performed in front of this beautiful ancient tree. If you love nature and want to incorporate it into your wedding day, Goldie Estate is the perfect venue with its numerous natural backdrops. Goldie Estate made it onto Auckland Weddings' "Top 10 Most Photogenic Venues In Auckland". It definitely lives up to its reputation.
Image by Perry Trotter Photography
Mudbrick is appropriately named for its beautifully constructed hand-hewn mudbrick buildings, which provide a timeless and upmarket setting. They have been considered one of the top venues on Waiheke Island for years, and have thus made very strong relationships with the local vendors. Mudbrick can recommend and/or provide all additional wedding requirements from florists to music. They have an in-house wedding co-ordinator who will work with you throughout your wedding planning process to ensure that your big day is a complete success. Mudbrick also made it onto Auckland Weddings "Top 10 Most Photogenic Venues In Auckland".
Image by Heather Liddell
A beautiful Italian restaurant, vineyard, and function venue. Poderi Crisci sets a peaceful Mediterranean tone to your big day. The main restaurant can seat up to 60 guests, you can also add marquees to increase the capacity to 100. Beautifully arranged gardens, courtyards, and flourishing vineyards look great in your wedding photos. They also serve award winning food so having them cater for your wedding as well as being the venue is a real treat!
Image by Perspectives Photo + Cinema
A little bit off the radar, Waikopou Bay is a secret gem hidden away on the eastern side of the island. This venue was built to accentuate the stunning views of the nearby islands. It also hosts one of Auckland's most impressive infinity pools, which seems to disappear into the ocean off in the distance. This venue is modern, minimalistic and dreamy. It offers a myriad of natural backdrops for both the wedding photos and the ceremony itself. Watch this space because sooner or later the secret will be out and Waikapou will shoot up to the top of the list and be counted among Waiheke's most iconic venues.
Image by Poppy Moss Photography
Many brides have dreamed of getting married on glistening white island sand, few brides know how to go about booking a public space for a wedding. If you intend to have a large number of guests or any kind of set up with marquees or chairs, you will need an event permit to use public space. Auckland Council has a very usefull website that can help you decide whether or not you will need a permit for your event. If you do, there is a form to fill out which must be submitted at least 8 weeks before the event. Here is the link to Auckland Council's event permit page.
Image by XOX Waiheke
A sweet little travelling caravan bar. You provide the drinks and they supply the staff, the glasses, the bar, and a few other bits and bobs that will give your wedding that adorable little something extra. The Cute Caravan Company is located on Waiheke, the team know the area well so travelling to your venue will not be a problem.
Image by Zahn Trotter
The Amazing Traveling Photo Booth is a fun addition to any wedding. Your guests will have loads of fun making memories in the quirky wooden handmade photo booth. They are located all around Auckland, one on Waiheke, so there is no ferry cost!
It is also worth considering local vendors for your floristry, catering, etc. Although most Auckland vendors will happily work on Waiheke for a small increased fee, it can sometimes be cheaper to look at what is available locally. Don't settle. If you want a particular vendor to contribute to your wedding, reach out to them and inquire about what it takes for them to work on Waiheke before assuming that it will be too expensive.
Image of Casita Miro
Waiheke has a rich variety of fine dining and delicious casual eateries. We have scoured a few of the modern food lovers' most valuable sources, Metro Eats, TripAdvisor, and word of mouth to bring you seven of the absolute best restaurants on Waiheke. All of the following restaurants have been awarded Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence and/or have appeared in the Metro Eats Top 50. You can't go wrong with any of these delectable eateries.
Fine DiningCasita Miro
Te Whau Vineyard
The Shed at Te Motu
Casual DiningCable Bay Bar
The Oyster Inn
A unique multi-activity venue where you can eat, drink, and play - carnival games, garden games, archery, clay-shooting, the list goes on and on. Wild on Waiheke is a great place to have a hens night/ stag do with endless activities as well as delicious craft beers and casual eats. It's also worth considering putting it on your itinerary for your guests, it is a fun way for everyone to catch up before or after the big day.
Most bands are more than happy to travel over to Waiheke to perform at your wedding. The cost for this varies depending on the band. Ensure you include about $200 in your budget to put towards a return car ferry for two band members, and $100 per band member for overnight accommodation. Find A Band has an excellent list of some of Auckland's best cover bands. We highly recommend checking out the site. A live music performance at the island wedding of your dreams - what could top that? If you are still undecided as to whether you are going to choose a dj, live band, or a simple Spotify playlist, then check out this blog that weighs the pros and cons of the aforementioned options.
Image by Perspectives Photo + Cinema
This is something you probably haven't thought about - hiring. Lucky you took the time to read this article, because we have thought of everything and you needn't look any further to check off the last item on your wedding list. Make sure you have booked your venue before you think about hiring, many venues will have you covered when it comes to chairs, marquees etc. However, if they don't have enough to cater to your number of guests, or they don't provide any amenities, then you should be looking into some local hiring companies.
My Waiheke are one of the leading hiring companies on the island. The team know the island and it's venues very well so they can help you find suitable items handpicked for your wedding. With stylists on the team they can also help you get the perfect look. They provide items for your drink stations, decorations, tables, chairs and more. Check out their site to browse through their extensive bespoke range.
A few other Hiring companies on the island include Waiheke Hire Centre, Pacific Linen, Waiheke Event Hire which all provide items unique to each other. Make sure you have considered all the availbale options before you make the final decision for the big day.
Image by Perry Trotter Photography
That is your Waiheke bible. Everything essential has been given to you. If you haven't decided on having the "island of wine" host your wedding, we hope this article helped you weigh up the pros and pros of having your wedding on Waiheke (we have yet to come across any cons). Happy planning and we absolutely hope you get to experience that magical island wedding you have been dreaming of!