Here are some of my favourite outdoor wedding venues in the Wairarapa, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Some are well established, some are new and some are hidden forest reserves waiting for you to be married there!
All are magical.
I hope you find some inspiration for your own outdoor wedding in the gorgeous Wairarapa.
I am a Wairarapa wedding photographer for outdoorsy, adverterous couples. I'm lucky enough to live locally. These are my kind of venues! If you agree, please feel free to check out more of my Lucalia Photography wedding photography.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
Pūkaha is a 942 hectare wildlife sanctuary that breeds native birds to release back into the wild. The other part to this not-for-profit organisation is ensuring the wild is a safe place for birds to live by controlling predators.
All proceeds from wedding fees paid by couples getting married at Pūkaha contribute to conservation and restoration projects including the hatching and raising of chicks for release in reserves around Aotearoa New Zealand.
Pūkaha is an intimate, boutique venue that maintains the safety and welfare of the wildlife in the reserve. There is a maximum capacity of 60 people (including wedding party).
Couples can have their wedding ceremony in the forest Redwood Grove, surrounded by bird song and native trees. There is a wet-weather indoor alternative to alleviate any wedding day stress.
Wedding couple portraits are taken in the reserve, where natural light filters most beautifully through the canopy. During photos, guests can explore the reserve and meet some of the local wildlife including Manukura the white kiwi; and Kahurangi the Kōkako.
Wedding receptions are held indoors overlooking the takahē enclosure and kiwi creche. During evening receptions couples and their guests can hear kiwi calling which is a truly magical experience.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is a two hour drive north of Wellington on the border of the Wairarapa and Tararua regions.
Wairarapa wedding venue Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre: epic wedding ceremony location in the forest
Wairarapa wedding venue Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre: the native forest makes for a stunning backdrop for love
Wairarapa wedding venue Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre: indoor reception area overlooking native bird habitat
Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau
Are you relaxed and elegant; connected to nature and appreciate authentic, local food and wine?
As a wedding destination, Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau offers a truly memorable experience with its vintage styling and historic ambiance. The combined ceremony and reception venue is part of the Tauherenikau racecourse, which recently celebrated 150 years of racing.
You enter the grand entrance, winding down the tree-lined driveway. The venue sits amongst the lushness of both native bush and heritage old-world trees.
The main hall with its open architecture, reminiscent of a barn or stables, offers a spacious light-filled area; suitable for intimate gatherings or weddings of up to 200 guests. Meanwhile, among the trees, the garden provides an idyllic spot for the ceremony. Food is locally sourced by renowned chef Dale Keith and is paired with Wairarapa wine, craft beer and bubbly.
Just off SH 2 in Featherston, Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau garden wedding venue is an hour's drive from Wellington.
Wairarapa wedding venue Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau: indoor and outdoor spaces
Wairarapa wedding venue Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau: garden ceremony space
Wairarapa wedding venue Rose & Smith at Tauherenikau: light filled classically converted vintage charm
Private Property (Family House, Garden or Farm)
As a Wairarapa wedding photographer I'm seeing more and more couples choosing to hold their wedding at a private property instead of a Wairarapa wedding venue. There are certainly great reasons for both types of location, but I'm loving the personalisation of choosing a familiar garden, backyard or farm.
There are a number of reasons to choose to be married at home or the home of a family member. The main reason is because it's personal and meaningful to you. You may have fond childhood memories climbing the trees that line the driveway. You may have built the house yourselves and created your dream home.
Two family weddings had been held at this Martinborough farm including the bride's mum and dad. It's an extremely special place with lots of significant memories.
Wairarapa wedding venue private property: choose an outdoor location that means the world to you
Wairarapa wedding venue in the garden: get married at home surrounded by your nearest and dearest
Wairarapa wedding venue forest mini-festival: plop down a blanket in the clearing and enjoy gourmet grazing tables and champagne
This magical location, part of the Tararua Forest Park, is a well kept local secret.
Imagine walking from the campground carpark, through the native forest, over the stream, up the natural aisle in between the towering Redwood trees to marry your best friend.
The clearing in the forest is perfect for a natural, intimate wedding ceremony followed by drinks and canapes in the open air. Kiriwhakapapa would suit wedding couples who want to be close to nature; marry in a low key way and organise everything themselves.
Chairs, tables, glasses, portable microphone and anything else you need will need to be brought to the site yourself. I can highly recommend Festival Hire for anything you may need to hire. There are toilet facilities at the camp ground. The reserve is managed by DOC whom you would need to contact to hold your wedding in the reserve.
Guests can camp at the Kiriwhakapapa campground or stay at the delightful nearby Mount Bruce Lodge.
Kiriwhakapapa Campground is 7km down the 2 wheel drive accessible gravel Kiriwhakapapa Road; about 16 km north of Masterton on SH2; just under two hour's drive from Wellington.
Wairarapa wedding venue Kiriwhakapapa: natures aisle
Wairarapa wedding venue Kiriwhakapapa: cross the stream on the way to your wedding ceremony
Wairarapa wedding venue Kiriwhakapapa: forest wedding photo opportunities on the easy loop track
Summer Lodge, Martinborough
Summer Lodge is a hidden gem in the historic wine village of Martinborough. It is an intimate, boutique venue suitable for small weddings with family and close friends. It can be utlised in many ways including getting ready venue; garden wedding ceremony; al fresco, marquee or indoor reception; and accommodation for the couple, wedding party and guests.
The Lodge sleeps up to 9 people and can be booked in conjunction with the Summer Cottage down the driveway to sleep a total of 14 people.
Summer Lodge has the wow factor with a breezy architectual design flowing into relaxed gardens and views over fields to the horizon beyond. It would suit couples looking for a small all inclusive venue with style; where they can spend quality time with their guests.
Catering can be brought in: a wedding I photographed here booked a catering company who did a superb job catering for the group of 19 people from the kitchen at the Lodge.
Wairarapa wedding venue Summer Lodge: alfresco luxury of the main house and lawns.
Wairarapa wedding venue Summer Lodge: imagine gliding down the steps into your garden wedding ceremony with fields of olives in the background.
Wairarapa wedding venue Summer Lodge: get ready inside or stay the night before and after your wedding.
Lake Ferry Hotel
The Lake Ferry Hotel is a super chilled, stunning combined wedding ceremony and reception. It provides the best of all landscapes: views of the sea, lake and mountains.
The garden wedding ceremony arbour overlooks Lake Onoke to the Orongorongo Ranges and Palliser Bay. There is plenty of room for guests to witness your marriage on the grassy lawn. Another option is to marry at the quaint and historic Burnside Church and have your reception at the hotel.
Wedding receptions of various sizes are held in the hotel over a series of interconnected rooms and outdoor verandah areas. In house catering can be tailored to your tastes with seafood being their specialty. Martinborough beers and wines feature heavily on the drinks list.
Wedding photos can be taken in the grounds and on the striking black sand Lake Ferry Beach.
Onsite accommodation for up to 32 guests at Lake Ferry Hotel. There are plenty of additional accommodation options within walking distance.
Lake Ferry Hotel is an easy one and a half hour's drive from Wellington.
Wairarapa wedding venue Lake Ferry Hotel: marry under the arbour with lake, mountain and sea views
Wairarapa wedding venue Lake Ferry Hotel: ceremony, reception and accommodation
Wairarapa wedding venue Lake Ferry Hotel: imagine creating epic wedding photos on the black sand beach
I am a Wairarapa wedding photographer for outdoorsy, adverterous couples, based in the cute little town of Featherston. These are my kind of venues! If you agree, please feel free to check out more of my Lucalia Photography wedding photography.
Lots of love, Sarah x