Who doesn’t love a wedding in the vineyards, let alone the beauty of the Hunter Valley countryside? The wine, the food and the down to earth nature of its people make it the ideal setting for a wedding. But don’t be fooled! Even though it’s only a few hours from Sydney, planning your Hunter Valley wedding can become quite the task, especially if you’re a bride that likes to keep things simple. Check out our tips to make your Hunter Valley wedding planning a breeze.
The local vendor network
Don’t just limit your vendor search to folks listed in local Hunter Valley Wedding guides. By extending your search to places like Newcastle and the Central Coast, you may find vendors who will still service the area, and may not charge you as much as a Sydney vendor.
Take it with you
The charm of the area really does shine through when you use local suppliers. But if you really can’t find what you need in the Hunter Valley, Sydney vendors often do service this area – though they will charge you for the privilege. If you feel brave enough to transport your own goods you can always book items like your wedding cake from a Sydney supplier and ask them to pack it for travel. If you need to book any hard to find hire equipment from Sydney, make sure you request weekend hire rates and you have suitable transport to carry things backwards and forwards. Some hire venues will not release equipment to you, if it’s not secured properly in your vehicle.
Give yourself enough time to plan the extras
If you are expecting most of your guests from Sydney, the most humble gesture would be to assist your guests with local amenities. Yes welcome packs waiting for them at their hotel are thoughtful but can add up. At the very least, provide them with the names of local babysitting agencies, a transport service (if one is not being provided by you) and hotels located nearby. The Hunter Valley in general does seem to offer two night minimum stays at most lodgings. Keep in mind that after the expense of travel, babysitting, wedding gifts and accommodation, a two night minimum stay is a considerable expense. Find a hotel that is happy to host your guests for 1 night, and distribute these details to your guests.
A weekend affair
If you’re concerned that you won’t have enough time with your guests on the day of your wedding, consider a variety of activities to entertain them before and after. A few casual beers and bbq at local establishments is always very affordable, fuss free and fun.
WARNING! Note your timing.
The great thing about the Hunter Valley is that it plays host to more and more festivals. Everything from music to food and wine. It’s great for the local business community, but not so great if you’re a guest trying to book accommodation for a wedding. Not only will it make it difficult for your guests to find accommodation at the last minute, but there is nothing worse than paying double the usual per night rate, and having a two night minimum stay enforced. It’s an additional expense that most guests really won’t enjoy being lumped with. When you’re booking your date – check the local Hunter Valley Wine Country guide for any large events planned around your proposed wedding date.
Be careful for all-inclusive venue packages
Many venues these days offer inclusive packages, where things like florist, décor and DJ components are included in the price of your reception package. Before you are tempted to sign up for these sorts of deals, make sure you know the vendor who will be supplying you with the goods on the day, and have checked/seen their work. Although it may seem easier to book an inclusive package, it can really fall flat on the day, when someone like the DJ on the day does their best work with a crowd 40 years senior to the average age of your guests.
Many of these problems can be avoided when you hire a wedding planner to take the guess work out for you. But if you decide to go it alone, it pays to be thorough and thoughtful. Whatever the time of year the Hunter Valley is an amazing and close-to-Sydney destination. Plan ahead so you can enjoy the most from this wonderful destination.