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5 essentials for your Wairarapa wedding (hint: some aren't 'things')

Congratulations you're engaged it's so exciting isn't it?! You and your incredible partner will be spending the rest of your lives together. But where do you start planning a wedding? Chances are you're never done that before!

First things first: you've decided together that you are getting married in the stunning Wairarapa region. You may live here (like me, how lucky are we?!), have grown up here, holidayed here as a child or on romantic weekends away from Wellington, or you may have become engaged here!

I love to share my experience (along with my fabulous husband Ben) planning our wedding; as well as tips and tricks I've picked up through photographing weddings since 2001.

So here are my 5 essentials for your Wairarapa wedding. Hint: some aren't 'things'.

1. Be true to you

groom and groomsmen with Land Rover Defender wedding car, Wairarapa wedding photographer

The number one thing that is essential for your wedding, no matter where you get married, is to remember who you are. Both as individuals and as a couple. When making decisions to do with your wedding, make sure they truly reflect you. This value can be applied to big decisions (do we have lots of guests or elope to the country?); and small decisions (what colour should our napkins be?). You can create the wedding that you want.

Nick and Sarah arrived in their prized four wheel drive Land Rover Defenders because they spend most weekends exploring the great outdoors.

2. Venue

backyard bush wedding venue with dam and bridge, Wairarapa wedding photographer

Obviously you need somewhere to hold your wedding. Keeping "you" in mind, choosing where to be married is completely personal. Ideally, you should have a connection to the place. Perhaps you have childhood memories there, you enjoyed an intimate weekend away early in your relationship, or the mountains in the background you enjoy hiking.

One type of venue doesn't suit everyone. There are many types of wedding venue in the Wairarapa such as: yummy vineyards, lush gardens, extensive events centres, historic churches, forest clearings, remote beaches, fields and family backyards.

Dani and Adam chose to be married in their extensive, forest surrounded back garden. The family tennis court played host to a wedding marquee strewn with fairy lights and hay bales!

Some of my favourite Wairarapa wedding venues are Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau and any forest clearing in the Tararua Ranges!

3. Photographer

photographer on the bow of a ship with icebergs in Antarctica, Wairarapa wedding photographer

Photo: Shona Manning It's essential to have a professional photographer document, record and preserve your wedding. It's also essential to get on with personally, the wedding photographer you choose. For most couples, they will actually spend more time with their photographer than their new spouse on the day! You want to make sure you share the same values, aesthetics and vision for your wedding.

As you can see above, I love to get out and be active exploring nature! If this is "me too!" I'd love to hear from you!

4. Celebrant

Wendy Morrison wedding celebrant at Pukaha National Wildlife Centre wedding venue, Wairarapa wedding photographer

As with a venue, you literally can't be married without a celebrant (or officiant). They will be responsible for writing your ceremony and guiding you through your vows to each other. Ideally they will also match your personalities and truly "get you" as a couple.

I absolutely love working with Wendy Morrison who is engaging, adaptable and professional. That smile says it all really! I can also recommend Rachel Clarke who speaks Te Reo Māori is warm and friendly (and is based in Featherston too!).

5. Favourite people

bride hugging guests with groom, Wairarapa wedding photographer

Surround yourself with your absolute favourite people in the world. That may be 10 friends and family; or 100 people you can't live without. It could just be the two of you on a mountain top. It's entirely up to you. But your favourite people are essential to have at your Wairarapa wedding. Moreover, it is essential to exclude people who are damaging, drama-causing or you just don't like!

Stay tuned for an article about creating your guest list, coming soon!

Claire and Ben said a personal thank you to each and every single guest outside their ceremony.

If you enjoy my Wairarapa wedding photography (and the thought of exploring Antarctica on a tall ship!) I'd love to have a chat about your wedding plans.

Lots of love, Sarah x


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