As far as celebrations go, they don't get much bigger than a wedding and here in Auckland, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to finding that special somewhere to say 'I do'. From urban gems to island escapes and everything in between, here are a few of our fave spots to tie the knot.
Mantells MT EDEN (MOUNT EDEN)
Located at the heart of Mount Eden village inside a building once used by the Auckland telephone exchange, Mantells really is something spesh. The interior, with its high ceilings and chandeliers, is just one of the many talking-points here—there's also a stunning outdoor courtyard, reminiscent of an Italian villa with its sweeping verandas, lush greenery and beautiful fireplace. Taste the food, and you'll only fall more in love with this magical spot. Given the thumbs-up by owner Annette Mantell (who ran the acclaimed French Café for 16 years), it's as good as any fine-dining restaurants'.
Escape for your big day to this unique city-fringe sanctuary, which—as you may have guessed from the name—looks a lot like a glasshouse (albeit a giant and extremely elegant one). Found inside the stylish Morningside Precinct, the Glasshouse is beautifully decorated with hanging foliage and other fitting touches that bring new meaning to the term 'indoor-outdoor flow'; and can cater for weddings of all styles and sizes. To make the most of this breathtaking space, we recommend having your nuptials at night—that roof was MADE for stargazing.
You might also like: PILKINGTONS (CBD); The white room (Parnell).
Boutique Barn (Puhoi)
There's something especially charming about a country wedding, and this is what the Boutique Barn does best. Its rustic, wooden exterior and surrounding farmland are a popular drawcard for brides and grooms-to-be, complemented by chandeliers, polished wooden floors and other charming touches. This is a great spot for smaller weddings, and gets extra brownie points for its on-trend catering options (which include food trucks) and on-site accommodation (should you and your betrothed wish to stay a while longer).
For an Italian escape that oozes 'amore', wed your love amongst the olive groves at Bracu. This tranquil venue located on the fringes of Auckland has long been a favourite spot for couples tying the knot; and offers a range of picture-perfect options to do just that, from an impressive indoor pavilion through to a purpose-built 'island' surrounded by a fresh water stream. Plus, you'll get to sample some of the beautiful cuisine for which Bracu is also famous.
The Tasting Shed (Kumeu)
The Tasting Shed makes for an equally romantic setting to exchange your vows. Found deep in the heart of rural West Auckland, this pretty spot combines award-winning food and wine with sprawling green paddocks and plenty of rustic, country-style aesthetics. Take your rural celebration to the next level with the help of their experienced team, who can organise everything from photographers and transport through to the finer details like decorations.
You might also like: Bridgewater Country Estate (Kaukapakapa); Jonkers Farm (Henderson); Kumeu Valley Estate (Kumeu).
Okay, so Ascension isn't technically in Auckland, but it's such a pretty spot (and near enough, if we're honest) that we couldn't help but include it. Featuring a large, Tuscan-style villa surrounded by rolling, grape-rich hills, this beautiful venue is about as close to an Italian vineyard as you'll get—and really, what could be more romantic than that. Add some top-notch food and wine to the mix, and you have yourselves the making of a truly memorable wedding day.
Weddings at Mudbrick are in hot in demand, and for good reason. Perched atop Waiheke Island and boasting spectacular sea views, this impressive site (featuring a beautiful, hand-hewn mudbrick building—hence the name) is one of the cream of the crop as far as Auckland wedding venues are concerned. Being a vineyard, you can of course expect plenty of amazing wine (and food); which you and your guests can enjoy in a host of locations ranging from a cosy indoor area complete with roaring fireplace, through to the mature gardens outside.
You might also like: Tantalus Estate (waiheke); The Hunting Lodge (Waimauku); Goldie Estate (Waiheke); VILLA MARIA (MANUKAU).
Castaways is exactly the kind of place you'd see The Bachelor handing out the final rose—or the love of your life, marrying you. The star here is without doubt the ocean, spreading out in all its rugged, west coast beauty beneath a breathtaking clifftop that's become the venue's go-to for wedding ceremonies. We also love how there's a wet weather option that doesn't compromise on the view. Calm your nerves before you walk up the aisle by visiting the day spa that's located on-site, or extend the celebrations by staying for a few nights in the accommodation that's also on offer.
You might also like: Mantells Tamaki Drive (ORAKEI); The Boat House (Riverhead); Kauri Bay Boomrock (Clevedon).
Alberton (Mount Albert)
If old-world glamour is more your thing, consider tying the knot at Alberton. Located on the slopes of Mount Albert, this grand two-storey mansion was once the home of a wealthy colonial family and a popular spot for balls, garden parties and other occassions attended by the city's elite. With its impressive architecture, picturesque gardens and exquisitely-decorated interior, it's not hard to see why. Fortunately for us modern-day folk, those Gatsby vibes are still going strong with a range of spaces available for hosting your nuptials including our favourite—a ballroom.
You might also like: Highwic House (Newmarket); Hopetoun alpha (CBD); Pah Homestead (Hillsborough).
Kelliher Estate (Mangere)
If you fancy the idea of an island wedding but can't quite afford the airfare, Kelliher Estate is a pretty good substitute. Situated on a legit, privately-owned island—Puketu in Mangere—it may not have the white sands and blue oceans synonymous with other destination weddings, but what it does have is a magnificent, Spanish-style homestead and sprawling lawns complete with sub-tropical gardens. A one-way ticket to wedded bliss, we reckon.
Keep the loving vibes strong with a visit to one of Auckland's most romantic restaurants.
Image credit: Celeste Chaplin for Bracu, The Tasting Shed, Mudbrick Vineyard, Kelliher Estate