venue visits

/ rose /

we started our day at te awa winery in the frosty 4 degrees - brrrr! it was cute, but nothing that blew us away. just an adorable winery cat named rose :)

/ breakfast in hawkes bay /

we stopped for breakfast in front of a marina before going to our next venue. to be honest, it was so sunny that it took most of the chill out of the air by the afternoon - beautiful!

/ just reuben looking cool in the sunshine /

/ lounge and bar area of old church restaurant /

next stop was the old church restaurant, which looked really amazing on the website and even on the outside. and then we went inside. the best word to describe it is just GAUDY. it looks great in the photographs, but kind of in the same way that you can put on a layer of foundation, bright lipstick and fake eyelashes and the over the top look ends up making you great on film. there were plastic crystal chandeliers, mirrored tables and candle holders, and enormous chalices in every inch of the place. WHEW!

/ villa at the old church restaurant /

the place did have a few redeeming factors, like a self-contained villa with four bedrooms, lounge and kitchen right next door to the restaurant which could be rented in conjunction with the ceremony/reception. unfortunately, there was a minimum $14000 spend, which we can't quite justify for the number of people we're likely to have attending.

/ reception area of church road winery /

next on the agenda was church road winery, which i realised was one of the wineries that mom, dad, AD and i visited when we were in the bay in 2006. from the front it doesn't look like much, but in the back it opens up into a big lawn and a hill with grapes and a set of big white stone steps up to a set up wooden doors into the reception area.

the space just happened to be set up for a function, which was really convenient for picturing a setup of about the same size. i even liked the black tables! about half the room is taken up by wine barrels so it gives a great rustic feeling. they also have a wine museum which is built into the old wine vats under the building which they can set up/have open during the cocktail and canape time to help keep people entertained while photos are taken.

/ wine barrels in reception room /

needless to say, we were pretty impressed :)

/ reuben and his chocolate dessert /

we rounded off the day with lunch at mission estate winery before our visit. food and drinks were great, but the events planner wasn't there and failed to set up a replacement to show us around so one of the waitstaff had to fill in for her and she didn't really get us very excited about the venue. and reuben hated the blue carpet, haha. it certainly didn't have the same kind of charm that it did when we visited in 2006.


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