A wedding recently held at Matheson Bay Reserve.
More couples are heading to parks, beaches and community halls to get hitched.
Mahurangi celebrant Erin Sullivan says she has found ceremonies have become smaller and more couples are trying to cut down on costs, while having the ceremony in a place that is important to them.
“I recently was at a wedding at Cotterell Street Esplanade Reserve in Leigh which was just beautiful,” Erin says. “The beaches at Mangawhai, Omaha and Tawharanui are also popular.
“The average size is about 30 or 40 people, but I also have weddings of just a handful of people.”
The informal setting doesn’t mean people dress down.
“Flowers, hairdressers, and attire all still very important.”
But alfresco weddings also have their challenges.
“People don’t realise wearing four inch heels on grass puts stress on their legs. All I can do is watch as they sink into the grass during the ceremony.”
Puhoi Centennial Hall has had a rise in wedding bookings, with an average of two a month and people are booking a year in advance to secure a spot.
Hall bookings manager Maria Williams says couples often have the ceremony at the nearby regional parks at Wenderholm and Mahurangi West and even Puhoi Domain, and hold the reception and dance at the hall. The historic features of the hall are a drawcard.
“The vintage-look is becoming popular, with lanterns and candles, dried flowers and pearls, which works great with the matai and kauri interior,” Maria says.
It costs $700 to rent the hall for a wedding, which has enabled the hall committee to do significant maintenance work in the community-run facility – the roof of the hall was repaired last year, costing tens of thousands of dollars.
The Whangateau Hall is almost booked up during the summer months. Hall committee member Lynette Penney says they are fundraising to help extend the hall boundary so the hall can cater for more people more comfortably.
“People aren’t allowed to drink in Whangateau Domain, so we need to extend the hall to give more room for celebrations.”
It costs $100 a day to hire the Auckland Council-owned hall, but the hall committee has to fundraise to complete any work.
Rodney Local Board has allocated $2000 towards the work, which will be finished by June.