Planning the Perfect Garden Wedding

Thinking of having a garden wedding? You’ve got great taste!

The idea of exchanging vows amidst blooming flora, lush greenery, and the gentle rustle of leaves evokes a sense of magic, making it an enticing choice for couples seeking a naturally beautiful backdrop for their special day.

However, orchestrating the perfect garden wedding requires careful planning and consideration to ensure a seamless and memorable experience. From selecting the ideal season to styling the venue, here are six essential tips for crafting the perfect garden wedding.

One: Choose the Right Season for You

Each season offers its own unique ambiance and beauty, so it’s essential to select the one that aligns with your vision. Summer weddings exude warmth (when the weather plays ball) and vitality, with long daylight hours and vibrant blooms. Spring brings fresh greenery and a kaleidoscope of blossoms. Autumn’s golden hues paint a picturesque backdrop, perfect for romantic photographs. Winter weddings exude intimacy, with the opportunity to cozy up indoors beside a crackling fire while admiring the garden’s serene beauty under twinkling lights (not to mention easier to find your ideal date due to it being low season).

Two: Embrace Natural Florals

Let the garden be your muse when it comes to floral arrangements. Rather than overwhelming the space with elaborate displays, opt for subtle accents that complement the natural surroundings. Consider incorporating seasonal blooms into bouquets, aisle decorations, and centerpieces, allowing the garden’s beauty to shine through. Enhance existing features such as pergolas or arches with tasteful floral embellishments, creating a captivating focal point for your ceremony.

Three: Curate Thoughtful Styling

The charm of a garden wedding lies in its organic elegance, requiring minimal embellishment to create a captivating atmosphere. Utilise the natural elements of the venue to your advantage, incorporating simple yet effective styling elements such as draped fabric, twinkling lights, and rustic accents. Tabula Rasa provides many inviting lounge areas with plush seating and charming decor, encouraging guests to relax and immerse themselves in the enchanting surroundings.

Four: Harmonise with Nature

When selecting a colour scheme, draw inspiration from the garden’s palette to create a harmonious aesthetic. Opt for hues that complement the lush greenery and seasonal blooms, evoking a sense of unity with the natural surroundings. Whether you choose soft pastels, vibrant jewel tones, or earthy neutrals, aim for a cohesive look that enhances the beauty of your outdoor setting.

Five: Prepare for Inclement Weather

While garden weddings offer idyllic charm, they also come with the risk of unpredictable weather. Be sure to have a contingency plan in place, whether it’s an indoor backup venue or a sturdy marquee to shelter guests from rain or excessive heat. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast leading up to the big day, and be prepared to make adjustments as needed to ensure the comfort and safety of your guests. Tabula Rasa offers a range of indoor and outdoor spaces which you have full access to on the day.

Six: Illuminate the Night

As daylight fades, transform your garden venue into a magical wonderland with enchanting lighting. Adorn trees with fairy lights, hang lanterns overhead, and place flickering candles along pathways to create a romantic ambiance. Harness the natural beauty of the garden after dark, allowing guests to revel in its ethereal glow as they celebrate under the starlit sky.

    In addition to these essential tips, consider incorporating bonus touches such as eco-friendly confetti alternatives, ample shade and hydration stations, and meticulous garden maintenance in the days leading up to the event.

    By embracing the inherent charm of a garden wedding and paying careful attention to detail, you can create an unforgettable celebration that seamlessly merges with the timeless beauty of nature.

    I Do Diaries: Cassandra & Daniel

    Authentic Accounts of Real Brides Walking Us Through The Reality of Their Big Day

    We had the privilege of hosting the beautiful Bride & Groom: Cassandra and Daniel at Tabula Rasa in the summer of 2023. We caught up with her after the ceremony to hear all about her wedding process going from engaged, through to walking down the isle. This blog is for all recently engaged couples to gain an insight on the unforgettable journey of planning a dream wedding. From selecting the perfect venue to choosing your bridesmaids, Cassandra generously shares the highs, lows, and precious moments that defined her path to ‘I do.’ Join us as we delve into the intricate details, heartwarming anecdotes, and valuable lessons she learned along the way

    You got engaged! How exciting, what was the first step you took in starting to plan your wedding and why did you want to start there?

    For some odd reason, the first step I took was proposing to my bridesmaids. I knew immediately who I wanted there by my side and it was wonderful to be able to share the excitement and the journey of getting married with all with them. The next step however, was going out to look at venues!

    What was your process for organising the rest of your wedding? Did you and your partner have any help to make big decisions?

    In all honesty I did struggle a lot with the wedding planning as I am a huge procrastinator. It was quite overwhelming at first and it was so hard to know where to start, so I started by writing lists on things that needed to be organised/discussed, and when my husband and I had time, we would try to tackle what was on the list. We decided on majority of things, however his mum came with us to our venue viewing and she fell in love with the first venue, so she helped make that decision.  

    What was the biggest determining factor when choosing your wedding venue?

    The atmosphere,  and food!

    What was the biggest thing you learnt during the wedding process?

    Time management! I learnt that you can’t really afford to procrastinate as it would have been a lot less stressful if I had started earlier. My advice to future brides – start planning as soon as you can, because time creeps up on you!

    If you were to go back and do the whole thing again, what’s one thing you would do differently and why?

    Not to overthink and sweat the small things, at the end of the day, you are planning a day for you and your spouse to enjoy together.

    What was the highlight of your big day and why?

    The whole day was a highlight to be honest! However, once the first dance was over, it meant that the formalities were done and we could party it up and enjoy our night!

    Cassandra’s Testimonial:
    “I highly recommend Tabula Rasa as a wedding venue. Their gardens are absolutely stunning and there is so much variety for photos, and even just to go out and explore. Their food was incredible, my guests had high standards for food and kept mentioning it was the best they’d had at any wedding, especially the canapes! Caryn and Trevor were wonderful and very easy to deal with. Our enquiries were answered quickly and they were so accommodating. Even though it rained on our day, plans were set in place and everything went smoothly. Truly the best wedding venue, I cannot thank them and their staff enough for all the effort they put in for us ❤️” – Cassandra

    7 Common Wedding Ceremony Mishaps

    7 Common Wedding Ceremony Mishaps and How to Fix Them

    A wedding ceremony is a momentous occasion filled with love, joy, and the promise of a lifetime together. However, like any significant event, weddings are not immune to unexpected challenges.  

    From wardrobe malfunctions to unforeseen weather conditions, various things can go wrong during a wedding ceremony. In this article, we’ll explore seven common mishaps that can occur and provide practical solutions to ensure that your special day runs smoothly.

    WARDROBE EMERGENCIES: 

    One of the most common issues during a wedding ceremony is wardrobe malfunctions. Whether it’s a broken zipper, a torn dress, or a misplaced button, unexpected clothing mishaps can cause stress and anxiety for the couple. To avoid such issues, consider having a wedding day emergency kit that includes safety pins, white chalk, sewing needles, and a stain remover. Additionally, having a trusted friend or family member on standby can be a lifesaver in case quick fixes are needed. 

    LOTS OF RAIN

    Outdoor weddings are romantic, but they come with the risk of unpredictable weather. Rain, wind, or extreme temperatures can put a damper on your ceremony. Have a backup plan in place, such as renting a tent or ensuring your venue offers a contingency plan. Keep guests informed about the contingency plan through invitations or wedding websites to ensure everyone is prepared for any weather-related changes. 

    LOTS OF SUN

    As picturesque as a sunny day may seem, it can pose challenges during a wedding ceremony. Guests can become uncomfortable, distracted, or even sunburned if not prepared. To counter this, carefully check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If your ceremony falls during the hottest part of the day, arrange for shaded seating, provide water & sunscreen, and, if possible, consider having fans available. This way, you can ensure that everyone stays focused on the ceremony rather than the heat. 

    WHEN THE TECH WON’T PLAY NICE

    Modern weddings often involve technology, such as microphones, sound systems, and audiovisual presentations. Technical glitches, such as a microphone malfunction or a projector failure, can disrupt the ceremony. To avoid this, conduct thorough testing before the event, and have a technician on standby during the ceremony. Make sure someone is familiar with troubleshooting and can quickly address any technical issues that may arise. 

    Run through the music set up too. Entrance and exit music play a pivotal role in setting the tone for a wedding ceremony. Entrusting a friend or family member with the role of controlling the music can lead to timing issues if not well-rehearsed. Conduct a thorough rehearsal before the ceremony to discuss cues and timings. This will help the designated music coordinator feel confident and ensure a smooth, well-coordinated soundtrack for your walk down the aisle and other key moments

    LATENESS 

    Fashionably late does not apply to weddings. Delays due to late arrivals can throw off the entire schedule of a wedding ceremony. To minimize the risk of tardiness, provide detailed information about the timeline in advance, emphasizing the importance of punctuality. Consider having a buffer time built into the schedule to accommodate unforeseen delays. If someone does arrive late, remain flexible and make adjustments when possible, to ensure a smooth transition. 

    UNRULY GUESTS 

    While everyone hopes for well-behaved guests, there’s always the possibility of disruptive behaviour. Whether it’s excessive drinking, loud conversations, or overenthusiastic photo-taking, unruly guests can detract from the solemnity of the ceremony. Make sure you communicate to guests if you do not want any phone photography or videos — or you could even make the entire event phone-free.  Assign a responsible friend or family member as a point of contact to address any issues discreetly. If necessary, venue staff can also assist in managing unruly guests. 

    UNRULY CELLPHONES 

    Unexpected interruptions, such as a loud phone ringing can really disrupt a beautiful moment. Ensure you request everyone to put their phones to silent or to flight mode. If an interruption does occur, stay composed, and continue with the ceremony. A well-prepared officiant can gracefully handle such situations and keep the focus on the couple. 

    FORGOTTEN PROP PREDICAMENT  

    Forgetting vows or wedding rings can be a nerve-wracking experience. To prevent this, create a checklist and designate someone responsible for ensuring that all essential items are present. Consider having a backup set of vows and rings, just in case. If something is forgotten, keep calm, and use the backup items. The sincerity and love expressed in the moment are what truly matter. 

    While no one wants to dwell on potential wedding day mishaps, being prepared for the unexpected can make a significant difference in how smoothly your ceremony unfolds. By addressing potential challenges proactively, you’ll be better equipped to handle any common wedding ceremony mishaps that may come your way. Remember, the most important thing is the love you’re celebrating, and with a well-thought-out plan, you can navigate any hiccups and enjoy a beautiful and memorable wedding day. 

    Freya & Daniel’s Wedding

    As soon as we arrived at Tabula Rasa for our first viewing, my husband and I knew that this was the venue for us. We were met by a welcoming and friendly team who were incredibly helpful. Caryn, Trevor and Wendy took the stress out of what can be a really stressful time and made us feel at ease. Caryn talked us through the big and small details, and in our final planning meeting, she discussed and created a schedule to ensure the wedding day ran smoothly.

    My husband and I really felt listened to, and valued as people, and the relationship did not feel like a transaction which was huge to us. The venue is absolutely stunning, with delicious food (we still get compliments), and many great options in their expansive garden for your wedding photos. We can’t thank the team at Tabula Rasa enough for making our wedding day so special, and we would recommend it to anyone looking for a beautiful outdoor garden venue.

    The newlyweds enjoying a stroll through our gorgeous gardens.

    You can read more stories like this over on our Real Events page.

    Unlocking the Perfect Venue

    Unlocking the Perfect Venue: A Budget-Savvy Wedding Guide

    Planning a wedding is an exciting journey filled with choices, and perhaps one of the most significant decisions you’ll make is selecting the perfect venue. Your wedding venue sets the tone for the entire celebration, so it’s crucial to find one that not only aligns with your vision but also fits within your budget.

    This budget-savvy wedding guide will explore tips on how to choose the ideal wedding venue without breaking the bank and provide a list of essential questions to consider and ask potential vendors.

    Price and Services

    Knowing your budget is the first step to finding your perfect venue. Being clear on how much you intend to spend will make the entire wedding planning and research process easier.

    Once a budget is clarified, the first major thing to think about is the price of the venue and services.

    Being clear on what exactly the venue offers is essential, and it’s best to be upfront about your needs to see where they can best accommodate.

    Having a range of venue options to compare is advised, to give you a clear picture of how each vendor’s offerings align with the goals of your wedding visions and budget.

    Some things to consider when comparing are:

    Venue Availability

    • What time of the year are you wanting to get married?
    • How do the prices vary between the different seasons?
    • How far in advance do you have to book?

    Capacity

    • How many guests do you want in attendance?
    • Does the venue accommodate your guest list

    Packages

    • What does the total price include? Is it just the venue, or do they have additional services added within the price? (such as the inclusion of chairs and tables, a PA system)
    • What additional services do they offer to help you limit spending more on other vendors?

    Additional services could include catering, sound system, tables and chairs, bar, lighting, accommodation on-site, rehearsal dinner spaces etc.

    Set-up Time

    Set-up time is a crucial aspect to consider when budgeting for a wedding. The duration of time a venue provides for setting up can significantly impact your overall budget and planning timeline.

    While some venues generously offer full-day access — allowing ample time for decorations, arrangements, and last-minute adjustments — others may have more restrictive schedules. It’s essential to carefully assess how long you’ll realistically need to set up the venue and coordinate with your vendors.

    Understanding and maximising the set-up time provided can contribute to a smoother, stress-free wedding day, as well as avoiding any unexpected expenses.

    Questions to ask:

    • How much set-up time does the venue provide?
    • Is the set-up time sufficient for my decoration and coordination needs?

    Wet Weather options

    Wet weather options are a crucial consideration when selecting a wedding venue, especially if you’re planning an outdoor celebration. It’s essential to inquire about the contingency plans in case the weather doesn’t cooperate on your big day. Ask the venue if they provide indoor alternatives that can be easily utilised on the day.

    Understanding these options in advance can alleviate stress and uncertainty, allowing you to enjoy your special day without worrying about the dampening effects of unpredictable weather. Prioritise venues that offer seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, providing flexibility to adapt to changing weather conditions and ensuring your wedding day remains a memorable and joyous occasion, come rain or shine.

    Questions to ask:

    • What are the wet weather options in case of unfavourable weather conditions?
    • Does the venue provide indoor alternatives for outdoor celebrations?

    Photography Environment

    The photography environment plays a pivotal role in capturing the essence of your special day. Your chosen venue serves as the primary backdrop for your wedding imagery, shaping the memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Clearly defining the type of venue that aligns with your wedding vision is key, whether it be a charming church, a rustic barn, or lush garden surroundings. If a church wedding is on your wishlist, seeking a venue with a captivating chapel becomes essential.

    To ensure your visual expectations are met, it’s highly recommended to physically visit prospective venues. Walking through the space allows you to assess the environment, envision potential photo opportunities, and confirm that the venue aligns with your desired aesthetic.

    By carefully selecting a venue that complements your wedding vision, you set the stage for stunning and meaningful photographs that will forever capture the magic of your special day.

    Questions to ask:

    • Does the venue align with the aesthetic and vision for my wedding?
    • Have I physically visited prospective venues to assess the environment and potential photo opportunities?
    • Is exclusive use of the venue for photo sessions included in the price?

    Entertainment


    Wedding days are lengthy affairs, bustling with activities, and it’s crucial to ensure that your guests are well looked after throughout the day. Keep in mind that while you’re busy capturing photographs with the wedding party, your guests will be at the venue, awaiting the next stage of the event.

    Be sure to inquire about the entertainment options the venue provides to keep your guests engaged. Music is undoubtedly essential but also ask about additional offerings, such as a relaxing lounge area or games. The right entertainment ensures that your wedding day is not merely a celebration but a delightful, well-rounded experience for everyone.

    Questions to ask:

    • What entertainment options does the venue offer during key moments, such as photo sessions or when children are present?
    • How does the venue contribute to a well-rounded and enjoyable experience for all guests?

    By addressing these considerations and asking the right questions, you can confidently choose a wedding venue that not only aligns with your vision but also stays within your budget. Remember when comparing different venues, ensure that you’re comparing apples with apples by factoring the additional costs for setup time, sound systems, table & chairs/ glassware hire, entertainment and lighting extras etc, it’s important not to assume these are included without specifying.

    If you’re ready to plan an affordable wedding of your dreams, contact us to chat more about how we can bring your plans to life.

    Wedding Showcase 2023

    The Wedding Showcase, hosted at our venue near the end of September, was a tremendous success. It was a day filled with love, laughter, and invaluable insights for couples looking to make their wedding day truly special.

    We partnered with a curated selection of trusted wedding vendors, some of whom we’ve collaborated with before, to create a comprehensive and informative experience for our guests. Let’s take a closer look at what some of the attending couples had to say about their Wedding Showcase experience.

    What did you enjoy about the Tabula Rasa Wedding Showcase?

    Trent and Joyce: “We loved seeing and interacting with the different wedding vendors. It was very helpful to be able to visualize the different aspects we need to consider and see the different options available for our wedding.”

    It’s heartwarming to know that the couples found the array of vendors and their offerings to be such a valuable resource. The opportunity to not only see but also interact with vendors in person is something that many couples find immensely beneficial. Being able to visualise various wedding elements, from floral arrangements to cake designs, certainly takes some of the guesswork out of wedding planning.

    Laurel and John: “We’d never been to one, so it was lovely to be able to experience it. It was great to have everything we needed to consider for a wedding all in one place – from photographers, wedding bakers, and wedding decorators, which helped us with our wedding planning. They all provided insightful information.”

    For Laurel and John, the Wedding Showcase served as their introduction to the world of wedding expos. They emphasised the convenience of having everything they needed for their wedding planning in one place. The insights and information provided by the vendors undoubtedly gave them a clearer vision of their wedding day. This experience is exactly what we aimed to offer – a one-stop shop for wedding planning guidance.

    What insights did you gain from the talented wedding vendors?

    Trent and Joyce: “We got a tip from Nicole Paton, the photographer, about considering bringing a second shirt, especially for the summertime – we found that tip quite helpful.”

    Nicole Paton, one of our featured photographers, offered a practical tip that might not immediately come to mind during wedding planning. It’s these little, yet significant, pieces of advice that make attending events like the Wedding Showcase so worthwhile. Couples leave not only with inspiration but with actionable tips to enhance their wedding experience.

    Laurel and John: “We found it helpful having different wedding ideas and details that we hadn’t considered before, such as photo booths, gift boxes, table layouts. Further confirmed our wedding planning.”

    Discovering new ideas and details that hadn’t previously crossed their minds is a testament to the diversity of vendors and services available at the Wedding Showcase. The event is not just about confirming your existing plans; it’s about expanding your horizons and making your wedding day uniquely yours.

    Our first-ever Wedding Showcase was a success, thanks to the wonderful couples who attended and the dedicated wedding vendors who shared their expertise. The event not only simplified the wedding planning process but also provided an enriching experience for all involved. We look forward to hosting more Wedding Showcases in the future, where love, inspiration, and invaluable insights continue to flourish.

    Photography by: Lionel Tan Photography @lioneltanphotography

    Photographer Series: Lionel Tan

    Lionel Tan (Lionel Tan Photography)

    What are 3 things you love about photographing weddings at Tabula Rasa?

    First and foremost, there are a number of cool spots around the venue for photos! The variety of photo locations is great because it allows the bride and groom (and wedding party) to get all the photos they want without having to travel off-site, which in turn gives them more time to spend catching up with guests.

    The light! Not every wedding venue allows us to take advantage of the beautiful golden hour light near sunset, be it because of its location or orientation, but Tabula Rasa is great in this regard. It’s always nice to explore the grounds with the couple during this time, as it’s such an awesome opportunity to capture stunning garden wedding photos for them.

    There is a lovely, boutique area for the bride and groom to mingle with guests during the cocktail hour, which is right across from the ceremony spot. This means that the transition from the ceremony is seamless, and photographers get to capture beautiful candid moments without missing a beat!

    Bonus point! You are in great hands with the team at Tabula Rasa taking care of you, and their attention to detail from preparation to hosting the wedding is amazing.

    What makes a great photoshoot location? Does the Tabula Rasa garden wedding venue fulfill those requirements?

    The range of looks that can be achieved at the location is very important, and that’s the first thing I noticed when scouting out locations at Tabula Rasa. Besides being able to capture beautiful couple photos without having to travel off-site, this also adds more variety when it comes to wedding party photos, which is always welcome.

    Contact Lionel Tan Photography via: https://lioneltan.co.nz/

    Follow Lionel Tan Photography: @lioneltanphotography

    Photographer Series: K2Image

    Kelvin Hu Photography (K2Image)

    Your wedding photographs serve as a timeless portal, allowing you to revisit the treasured moments that made your wedding day truly exceptional. Here at Tabula Rasa, we have the opportunity to collaborate with amazing photographers to capture your special day.

    This month we will be highlighting Kelvin Hu from K2Image

    What are 3 things you love about photographing weddings at Tabula Rasa?

    “Scenic Location: Tabula Rasa offers a picturesque setting that can enhance the beauty of wedding photographs. Its got great landscapes, elegant architecture, or unique features that may provide a fantastic backdrop for capturing memorable moments.”

    What makes a great photoshoot location? Does Tabula Rasa fulfill those requirements?

    “A great location offers a variety of backgrounds or setting within close proximity. This versatility allows for different looks and moods, giving photographers the freedom to capture diverse shots without needing to relocate frequently, and also photographer can find somewhere to shoot either on a sunny day or rainy day.”

    “Tabula Rasa is a great venue for weddings, and it fulfills all the requirements I mentioned above! I’d love to shoot at this venue again.”

    Find K2Image Photography below:

    https://www.k2image.co.nz/

    Photographer Series: Kiri Marsters Photography

    Kiri Marsters Photography

    Picking a venue that photographs well (and a great photographer) will guarantee you lots of beautiful images from your wedding day.

    What are 3 things you love about photographing weddings at Tabula Rasa?

    The ceremony location is absolutely stunning. It provides excellent shade for the guests and from a photographer’s point of view – great lighting!  Along with that, the team is amazing. You’re well looked after and the food is delicious every time. My favourite location is the canape area as you can play games, have a drink and enjoy the day

    What makes a great photoshoot location? Does Tabula Rasa fulfill those requirements?

    Tabula Rasa is a great wedding venue for photos. You can capture all the photos on-site as there are plenty of different locations. It also allows the couple to just relax by themselves as the day can go by very quickly.

    Find Kiri Marsters Photography below:

    https://www.kmarstersphotography.com/

    Photographer Series: Nicole Paton

    Nicole Paton Photography

    A big part of weddings at Tabula Rasa are the incredible photographers who help to capture your special day. We’ve been asking some of our favourite photographers who have shot beautiful weddings here at Tabula Rasa what they love about our venue.

    First up is Nicole Paton Photography.

    Lacey & Devan’s gorgeous wedding

    What are 3 things you love about photographing weddings at Tabula Rasa?

    I love photographing weddings at Tabula Rasa because of the diverse photo location options, the ceremony spaces are divine, and the staff are so friendly and helpful! 

    What makes a great photoshoot location? Does Tabula Rasa fulfill those requirements?

    I am a lover of light! I love a photo shoot location that is diverse in its offerings where I can create unique images for my couples every time. I love that I can shoot many weddings at Tabula Rasa, but no two will be the same because I’m led by the couple’s vision for the day; always producing unique and creative images. Tabula Rasa allows me to be creative, play with light differently, and show off my couples in their gorgeous gardens. I love to sneak out for sunset in the driveway to capture my couples in the soft light that Tabula Rasa has at dusk. Tabula Rasa is a great wedding venue that offers timeless photography locations. 

    Find Nicole Paton Photography below:

    https://www.nicolepatonphotography.com/