Having grown up in the beautiful garden city, I always thought I’d have a Christchurch wedding. Ultimately, the Universe had other plans, and we married in Hot Water Beach in Coromandel, but Canterbury is still home in a sense, and I’ve been lucky enough to be invited back many times over the last few years for Christchurch weddings.
I’m returning to Christchurch for a weekend with friends this weekend, and celebrating the recent engagement of one, which will no doubt mean plenty of wedding planning discussion. What better time, then, to bring you my favourite Christchurch wedding venues and vendors. As I don’t offer wedding ‘directory’ advertising on my website, these are all completely unsponsored – just my favourites of what Christchurch weddings have to offer. See also How to find a Wedding Venue for even more inspiration.
A Garden Wedding in the Garden City
Home to some of the most beautiful gardens, Christchurch is the perfect setting for a garden wedding.
Get married in the Botanic Gardens
Instantly, Christchurch Botanic Gardens come to mind, where new wedding venue Ilex Cafe offers a stunning modern sanctuary, and Jonny Schwass’s famed local cuisine. After the Christchurch earthquakes, wedding venues were harder to come by, and Ilex’s arrival in the beautiful gardens was welcomed by friends of ours for their beautiful February wedding. Ilex offers exclusive events spaces which can accommodate up to 120 guest for a seated event or 150 guests for a cocktail party, at quite affordable wedding venue hire.
Also situated in the Botanic Gardens, the historic Curator’s House restaurant offers intimate dining rooms and a tranquil enclosed garden courtyard for your wedding, right by the Botanic Gardens and Avon River. At a minimum cost of $110pp, the Curator’s House makes a picturesque and elegant wedding venue that’s still affordable.
Flaxmere Garden Venue
A short detour en route to to Hanmer Springs or Kaikoura, Flaxmere has been selected by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a Garden of National Significance, and has been given a rating of five stars. You are spoilt for choice for a location within the garden, different areas offering wonderful opportunities to create your own exclusive garden wedding. There’s a gorgeous cottage available to get ready and relax in with your bridesmaids before the ceremony, or stay on after, and Flaxmere is also conveniently located to plenty of Hanmer Springs accommodation for your wedding guests too.
Historic House & Garden Weddings
Riccarton House & Bush is not only home to the beloved Christchurch Farmers Market (how I miss ‘Posh Porridge‘) but also makes for a beautiful garden Christchurch wedding venue. A unique heritage site consisting of two historic buildings, flanked by beautiful open parkland and ornate gardens, this tranquil 12 hectare reserve is located just 3.5 km from Christchurch city centre. Local at Riccarton House specialises in Winter weddings with a roaring fire and cosy spaces throughout the restored homestead (See Gallery).
The Most Elegant Christchurch Wedding Venues
Elegant Weddings by the River Avon
If your dream day involves a garden ceremony beside the River Avon, you can’t go past Mona Vale Homestead for a truly ‘Christchurch’ Wedding Venue – your guests can even punt the Avon between rounds of croquet, quoits and giant jenga. With a capacity for either a seated dinner for 150 guests, or cocktail function for up to 220, the beautiful residential gardens of Mona Vale Homestead provides a perfect wedding venue for a hire fee of $3,500.
An Absolutely Stunning Venue
Pemberton Gardens is an absolutely stunning Indian-style tea house pavilion set amidst beautiful gardens and trees, and is one of Christchurch’s most beautiful wedding venues. Couples are spoiled for choice for ceremony locations and the all important wedding photos. Situated just outside of Christchurch weddings at Pemberton are just perfect, rain or shine. Emma Newman Weddings – top Christchurch Weddings Planner says:
“With its stunning gardens and beautiful reception venue it ticks so many boxes. As a wedding planner I have to think about the logistical issues and Pemberton makes it so easy. Cost wise it compares very favourably to other options and this includes the larger guest lists. A special place I have no hesitation to recommending for a Christchurch Wedding Venue.”
Christchurch Weddings among the Vines
Just South of Christchurch, Trent’s Estate Vineyard is a romantic wedding venue amongst grapevines and gardens. I attended a beautiful wedding at Trent’s last year, as well as corporate events over the years, and the Mediterranean-style historic building makes a wonderful reception space. Fully catered and licensed, with BYO wine options, Trent’s has served as a Christchurch wedding venue for over 20 years with the same owners – and they’ve thought of everything for your special day. There’s a beautiful video on their website which showcases the venue.
BYO Christchurch Wedding Venues
Waipuna has two picture-perfect locations for outdoor weddings. Our covered terrace is surrounded by rustic gardens, and has sweeping views of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains – which can be used for your ceremony in either fine or wet conditions. Waipuna Estate offer BYO on all beverages, and don’t charge any corkage, making it a relatively cheap wedding venue in greater Christchurch – just in the hills above Tai Tapu. They also specialise in Winter weddings, with a large open plan function areas inside the villa. With a capacity of up to 85 for seated, or 120 for a cocktail style wedding reception, Waipuna is a stunning choice for your BYO Christchurch wedding.
A little further out of Christchurch, Westhaven Gardens provides a beautiful wedding venue in the idyllic rural surroundings of West Melton. If you’re looking for a cheap wedding venue in Christchurch, Westhaven Gardens might just fit your wedding budget too – they’re a BYO wedding venue for beverages and food – no corkage charges apply.
A new Canterbury wedding venue and one that’s incredibly romantic is Darjon Vineyard, another BYO wedding option just out of Christchurch in neighbouring Kaiapoi. An intimate garden setting surrounded by 8 acres of vines, that is only a short drive from the city center, Darjon Vineyard seats up to 120 for dinner with a venue hire fee of just $2500 incl. GST which makes it very affordable.
Unique Christchurch Wedding Venues
You can shop til you drop, and marry there too!
The Tannery possibly doesn’t spring to mind as a wedding venue, but the boutique Christchurch shopping centre actually also hires out the space for unique weddings. The exquisite architectural features of The Tannery‘s arcades and cathedral-like arch of the glass roof make it a spectacular backdrop. The Tannery offers in-house catering for a wedding feast expertly matched with genuine Cassels & Sons craft beers and excellent wines.
Lions & Tigers & Bears, oh my!
Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch makes a great setting for a very brave and unique couple. Orana’s expansive grounds can accommodate group sizes ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. If private use of the zoo after hours and exclusive animal encounters appeal to the animal lover in you, this incrediby unique Christchurch wedding venue might be just the adventure you’re after.
View from the top!
Christchurch Gondola’s mountain-top function rooms are a sight to behold, offering spectacular scenic views across Christchurch and the Southern Alps. One of my favourite scenes of Christchurch is from above at night – the magic of all the twinkling lights makes for the most romantic setting, and the Gondola Function Venue has the very best view from above. Whisk your guests a kilometre above Christchurch by Gondola to the summit of Mt Cavendish, where their combined event space seats up to 200 guests to be taken care of by the excellent Continental Event Team.
The new Christchurch Cathedral
While nothing will replace the Christ Church Cathedral, the Transitional Cardboard Cathedral offers a stunning replacement, and one unique to Cantabrians. This incredible cardboard structure has a beautiful lightness to it and has hosted lovely weddings for Christchurch couples since 2013. The Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral was erected after Christ Church Cathedral in Cathedral Square was badly damaged in the 2011 quake, and is a nod to Christchurch’s heritage. Any couple seeking marriage may apply to be married in the Cathedral and the same conditions that apply to other Anglican churches are followed, that is that one partner should be baptised in a Christian church and both partners are expected to undertake two sessions of preparation and planning for marriage, so this won’t be available for same-sex partners unfortunately, though recently the New Zealand Anglican Church began considering a proposal allowing the blessing of same-sex marriages.
Christchurch Wedding Planners
With over 16 years’ experience planning Christchurch weddings, Emma Newman has already thought of, and planned everything. “For a little or a lot of planning”, Emma provides co-ordination of weddings including Same Sex weddings, renewal of vows and civil unions throughout New Zealand but primarily in the South Island. Emma’s testimonials speak for themselves, and I’ve personally heard recommendations for her too.
Boutique planning and styling business Revelry Event Design are qualified wedding and event planners and stylists, passionate about design, love stories and all things pretty. With services ranging from full-service, partial planning, day of event coordination and design & styling for weddings, Revelry Event Designs are a beautiful choice.
I’d love to hear about any Christchurch weddings you have attended, or what you’re planning for your own – is there anything particularly special I’ve missed?
Whether you’re planning your own wedding in Christchurch or anywhere else, take a look at the wedding planning index and get your hands on the little white book to keep you organised all the way down the aisle.