The buzz surrounding the first same-sex weddings to happen in New Zealand (in 2013) may have lessened – but international same-sex couples continue to show real interest in New Zealand as a wedding and honeymoon destination.
New Zealand is known to be a forward-thinking country with progressive views and the country’s unique landscapes and luxurious honeymoon spots have seen it become a sought-after wedding destination for international visitors.
The same-sex wedding boom prompted the creation of the first ever Gay Wedding Show in 2013, featuring some of New Zealand’s top designers, including Anna Stretton, whose recent showing at New Zealand Fashion Week saw a same-sex couple from Australia marry live on her catwalk.
From the sub-tropical paradise of the Bay of Islands in Northland, to the spectacular alpine regions of the South Island, New Zealand has the majestic or intimate location to match each couple’s special day.
One company looking to the future is Queer Eye Weddings - a gay owned and operated business based in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
Wellington is known to be a bustling hive of arts, culture, enterprise and creativity so it is appropriate that Queer Eye Weddings has become one of the first wedding companies to solely specialise in gay weddings in New Zealand.
Queer Eye Weddings - the brain-child of partners Francesca and Elisa - was created to eliminate the stress from wedding planning for both local and international same-sex couples.
With past experience in traditional weddings, Queer Eye Weddings offer services that include video, photography and planning for the big day. They promote and use gay operated and friendly services around New Zealand and are reaching out to couples in Australia who are interested in a destination wedding.
This is one of the primary reasons behind the company’s planning service, which couples can tailor to suit their requirements.
"We recognised a gap in the wedding market for the growing need for LGBT couples to come for wedding planning. Somewhere they knew they would not be judged or turned away," Francesca said.
Auckland-based Lavish Events is another wedding service that supports and specialises in same-sex weddings. Owner Nicky Luis is a wedding and event specialist with 14 years’ experience in the industry who offers a service based on attention to detail and individual needs. Luis also promotes gay-friendly wedding venues, experienced marriage celebrants and photographers. Luis has planned everything from private weddings for two to extravagant heli-weddings in some of New Zealand’s most sublime destinations.
Bliss in the Bay
The Bay of Islands in sub-tropical Northland is one of New Zealand’s best known seaside holiday destinations - a marine playground of endless beaches, sheltered bays and hundreds of secret off-shore islands.
The extensive Northland coastline and ancient inland native forests provide a tranquil environment in which to experience nature and unique wildlife, rest and relax; the region also has some of the New Zealand’s most picture perfect wedding venues and honeymoon destinations.
Moon Gate Villa - a luxury B&B accommodation near the town of Kerikeri - takes inspiration from the shape of Cupid’s bow. Set within 1.5 acres of lush, secluded gardens with tranquil waterfalls and reflective pools, Moon Gate offers ‘rainbow weddings’ that can be officiated in the grounds.
This romantic and intimate venue is perfect for elegant weddings and honeymoons. The owners work closely with local gay specialists who can produce everything from a wedding cake to makeup and photography.