The Wedding: Part Deux

9 Nov

Sooo…. it’s been over a year now since the actual wedding but, as John Lennon said, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Or making babies.

I finally found a few snippets of time here and there (while baby is napping, for example) to put fingers to keypad and get this post done. In The Wedding Part One, I promised that Part Two would dish the deets on “the suppliers, the highlights of the day, the honeymoon, and, most importantly, THE FOOD!” So, here we go.

Since this is (mostly) a food blog, that’s what I’m spending the most time on. However, as the venue were the suppliers of said food, they deserve a mention first.

The venue
Gracehill Vineyard Estate is not only a beautiful setting, it was simply a beautiful experience altogether. From the minute we sat down with Warren Roodt to discuss what he could offer, we felt at ease. Unlike some other venues we visited, Warren spent time going over the options and making us feel like we were important, whether we chose to use their venue for our wedding or not. At Gracehill, Warren and his wife Linda not only presented some lovely options as to how we could use their venue, they did so with a high level of professionalism as well as kindness and humour. We weren’t rushed or pressured and they offered a very competitive winter wedding special. Despite the season, we still wanted the ceremony to take place outdoors. Warren assured us that they could set everything up outside but, at a moment’s notice, could rearrange everything indoors if the weather didn’t hold (fortunately it did). They were open to whatever level of decoration we wanted for the reception and were flexible with the meal selections, which was perfect given that I and several of our guests required vegetarian or gluten free options. They even cooked a special meal just for the BFG-husband-to-be, as he decided he’d like something special for such a festive occasion. The BFG is, decidedly, NOT vegetarian, so they prepared a Beef Wellington for him and even let us have an extra dessert to share :).

We were really impressed with the wait and bar staff and how everything ran seamlessly, including the music (for both the ceremony and the dancing) and the all-important monitoring of the bar tab :). We were also pleasantly surprised by the special touches, such as presenting our Best Man and Maid of Honour (Oh Chief of the Brideslaves) with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the fact that they had got married at the very same venue, in the same month, but four years earlier.

We can’t say enough good things about this venue and would recommend it to any couple looking to get married somewhere really special.

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The food
The food was divine! We had bubbles just after the ceremony along with some delightful canapes: mini BBQ pulled pork burgers with crispy purple slaw; pan seared prawns with garlic, lemon and dill mayonnaise; and mozzarella arancini with tomato and basil coulis for the vegetarians.

For the meat eaters, the entree selections were smoked ham hock rillette with warm mustard veloute and crisp; and grilled thyme and rosemary chicken on a haricot bean and pancetta cassoulet. The vegetarians were lucky enough to enjoy a caramelised shallot Tarte Tatin with roasted peppers and rocket.

The main meal choices for the carnivores were sticky beef short ribs with potato gratin, honey glazed carrots and braised leeks or Marlborough Salmon with a lemon and parsley crumb accompanied by crushed potato and green pea sauce. The vegos supped on potato, leek & mushroom filo pie with baby spinach salad.

Finally, the desserts! Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and crème fraiche ice-cream or warm chocolate fudge cake with chocolate semifreddo and salted caramel sauce. There was also a spiced apple crumble for the vegan and gluten free guests.


Of course, I didn’t try the meaty meals, but the shallot Tarte Tatin was a perfect balance of sweet caramelised shallots and rich roasted peppers with some very tasty pastry.  I was too nervous about my speech to finish the main course but it was cooked to perfection. Having had the chance to try the first two desserts, I can state with great satisfaction that they were decadent and delicious!

The photographer
Megan Blackwell of Blackroom Photography was absolutely wonderful. We chose her not only because she is a friend of ours but because she does beautiful work. And, as it turns out, she is also a pleasure to work with. We were really pleased with how easy she made the whole process: from discussing possible shots before the event, to helping us to compose great photos on the day, to finally putting it all together into albums and onto canvas, Megan was organised, professional, friendly and just plain delightful. It can be a risk engaging a friend in what is essentially a business relationship but, fortunately, Megan did not disappoint. I have since recommended her to many people for their weddings or other special occasion photography and would not hesitate to do so again. She managed to capture some very special moments. All of the photos in these two wedding posts are from Blackroom Photography. Megan’s blog post on our wedding can be found here.


Hair and make-up
Elizabeth and her assistant from Face Me Make-up did a smashing job on my hair and make-up and really did help me to feel like I was the most beautiful bride ever. A special mention here goes to my Maid of Honour, who did the bridesmaids’ make-up and one of my other bridesmaids who did the bridesmaids’ hair. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality work done! Our budget only allowed for professional hair and make-up work for me, so I am just very lucky to have two very talented friends whose hair and make-up skills were second to none (even the professional!).

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The wedding night
We didn’t immediately set off on honeymoon as we wanted to spend the day after the wedding with family at our place. But we did stay somewhere special on our wedding night. Rosebud Cottage was tastefully decorated, warm and cosy. A highlight was the outdoor bath under the stars! Our hosts were lovely and even posted back the tie that the BFG accidentally left behind.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we were not able to have our honeymoon in Thailand, as planned. But we were lucky enough to have two local honeymoons instead: the first in Rotorua just after the wedding, and the second in Wellington a few months later. Highlights of the first included visiting Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, staying in a suite and getting massages. The best bits of the second were the Zest Food Tour, the Weta Workshop tour, and Wellington Zoo, where we experienced a Cheetah encounter.

All in all, we had a perfect day and a lovely pair of honeymoons. What a very lucky girl I am :). And now, we also have a beautiful baby boy. More on this at my other blog The Pudding Club… when he gives me some time to write!

I would love for you to share the best bits of your wedding and any recommendations you might have for those planning their special days below :). Till next time…


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