Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Wedding Catering Ideas

Dream Maker Catering Options
All photographs are true examples of our events. 

The Dream Maker Weddings & Events Service evolved from our charter boat business in The Abel Tasman which we have since sold to pursue and specialize in weddings and events across the top of the South Island of  New Zealand.  We manage and organize absolutely everything to do with weddings and events but one of our top management requests is catering. Over the past 9 years we have learn't allot about catering, what it involves and seen a variety of successful events and sadly a few not such good events.  The reason The Dream Maker Management service is so popular is that we work with a team of professionals in their own field and allow them to create and design what they are good at and support the team when required, as we certainly can not be all hats for all occasions ourselves. However our service compliments all three angles, the customer who wants a great event with a wow factor, the provider who wants to have clear direction and to save time on communication and the Dream Management Team who work well by covering all eventuality and making sure everything arrives on time and as it should on the day.

When we first discuss options with our customers we talk about the obvious, budget, style, theme and diet needs but what ever the answer to these questions might be we do our best to provide, fresh local produce, which is in season all of which adds, flavor, vibrant colour and tempting smells.

The Dream Maker works with a selection of tried and tested caterers within our locations. We have built an understanding of how we work together and the expectations of The Dream Maker on behalf of our customer.  These catering companies vary from a single lady working in a hired catering standard kitchen to a full on well established catering company with all their own facilities and we will make suggestions to our customers to who we recommend on each booking to suit the customer's needs and budget.

Some of our most fun and successful events pick the below examples for their catering options.  Of course in all instance we have to make sure we cater for everyone's needs and we believe that the minority are as important as the majority and make every effort to cater for all dietary needs what ever they might be.

The hardest thing with our kind of off the beaten track venue is the transportation of the catering and often the cake too. It needs to find itself on location as beautiful as it was when it left the kitchen. Keeping food cool and fresh in our climate is a big challenge but again why people chose our services is that we've been doing this for many years and have the equipment and know how to please and keep people safe.

Picnics: Picnics can cover all budgets but obviously for an event it wants to be colourful, tasty and fun but over all easy to eat.  The Dream Maker is a boutique wedding specialist with most of our customers are international visitors with small groups comprising from 2 to 20 guests; we also specials in  locations off the beaten track with Department of Conservation concessions and permits to manage events in three national parks ( The Abel Tasman, Kahurangi  & Nelson Lakes )and many more variations including Farewell spit in Golden Bay. and a picnic lends itself well to this kind of event.

Examples of picnic styles

Snap Wedding Photography

Nelson Wedding Photography

Dream Maker picnics cater for two to 100+ guests.

High & Cream Tea: This style lends itself wonderfully to a relaxed garden wedding or special occasion event like a Golden Wedding Anniversary The catering and all the complimentary crockery can easily be set-up by our expert team in your own private garden or your chosen venue.  The high tea offers a selection of tantalizing savories and finely cut sandwiches and a selection of cakes and sweet treats to your taste, where as a cream tea, really is all about the cream cakes but both options are delicately accompanied by specialty teas in beautiful fine tea cups and saucers with silver spoons. We can also offer a refreshing fruit punch.

Buffet Style: Buffet style has it place in some settings but I often see that those who get to go first are at the top of the pecking order with eyes bigger than their tummy where as those who go last can be disappointed in what is left and it can often be cold.  If the kitchen is right next door the temperature shouldn't be a problem but quite often our events are out in the open with make shift kitchens, so a cold buffet would be advisable with maybe a option of hot Bar BQ with cold salads.  Another popular idea which is one of The Mudcastle specialty is the French Style Buffet or may be the Old English Farm house style; where the dishes are bought to the tables for the guests to share, giving everyone equal selection.


Spit Roast: A spit Roast is quite a big under taking and the price is often in the hire costs, transportation and obviously the meat and time it takes to tend to it but if you are prepared to deal with all of that its a great and fun way to celebrate.

Sandra Johnson Photography

Other Refreshments: As weddings and events in public places like public gardens and national parks becomes popular so has the need to be more inventive when proving the bubbles and refreshments.  The Dream Maker can only organize non alcoholic bubbles and refreshments. Below are some great examples available.  We always suggest that there is plenty of water available for guests on the day at both the ceremony and reception.  We like to recommend local varieties such as Pete's Lemonade, which also promote natural ingredient for a healthier option.



Alcohol: Drinking in public locations is prohibited and The Dream Maker can not get involved unless a licensed supplying is employed. We can however pick up the alcohol the customer has purchased directly and deliver to a suitable location that has obtained any permits required. What we have been known to do at small events is combine the day with a stop at The Hop Federation or Riwaka River Wines where our couples and their guests can taste their preferred beverage and purchase it direct. This is great for a hen or bucks party idea too.  The Dream Maker have a close relationship with the two producers and communicate direct to arrange for the beverages to arrive at the location at the perfect temperature.

Catering Tableware: The Dream Maker is endorsed by the New Zealand national quality seal Qualmark  and was awarded the Enviro Bronze award for our efforts in protecting the environment. In most catering situations we try to use china crockery and stainless steel cutlery but if the location requires disposable we have carefully secured a high grade biodegradable alternative.  We also have biodegradable Balloons, so no more fear of harming wild life.

If you would like further advise please feel free to contact us either by completing our request form of giving us a call 0275268771

Terri ready to serve


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Destination New Zealand Wedding Photography

An introduction by Saundra Johnson 

It seems like "story telling through photography" it has always been part of my life. However, it wasn't until 2002 that I had the opportunity to begin to grow my hobby into a now thriving business. It was at that time that, though word of mouth, I was  regularly being contacted to photograph weddings. I have since completed a Diploma of Digital Photography to complement my self-taught skills.

I love what I do, and I always feel incredibly privileged when someone asks me into their world to create and capture the memories of their significant life moments.

A discussion with Terri, owner of The Dream Maker and a Registered New Zealand-Nelson Celebrant and Sandra Johnson a professional Nelson Wedding Photographer October 2015.

Saundra Johnson from Boutique Photography  is one of Nelson's in New Zealand’s most acclaimed and experienced photographer I know and I always enjoy working with her and her team when planning weddings & events for several reason.  I am always appreciative of quick and clear communication during the planning stage and on the day the level of precision and professionalism, balanced with some fun while integrating with the rest of the team. As we both work extensively in the international market we often find ourselves discussing the differences of expectations from different cultures and we thought it would be a good idea to share them with you.
I asked Sandra’s in her photography experience; do couples from different countries demand different styles of wedding photography.    Her answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’  She has been privileged to shoot weddings for well over a decade, with many couples arriving in Tasman and Nelson from foreign shores.  Of course Sandra is loathed to take these generalizations too far, but she has definitely noticed some photography trends among different cultures.  
For example, whereas Kiwi’s tend to prefer a photo-journalistic style, as-it-happens sort of approach to their wedding photography, couples with an Asian origin tend to prefer a more formal pre-paired and less spontaneous approach.


Americans are typically more apt to larger displays of affection than our friends from Europe, who tend to enjoy the simplicity of walking hand in hand on our beautiful Abel Tasman Golden sands beaches.  Sandra describes the former as liking romantically-intimate images, while the latter go for playfully-intimate, the difference is subtle but critical.  It would be the difference between lying together on a sandy beach in a serious embrace, versus chasing one another along that same beach, squealing with laughter.  Both are intimate shots, but very different in nature.
American’s are inclined to be more confident and outgoing than their Asian counterparts, who tend to show more reservation.  Consequently, the former are more likely to enjoy playfully staged images such as dancing in the sand, while the latter prefer to look directly into the camera with their arms gently around each other’s waists.


Both Asians and Americans are likely to choose images with a close-up perspective, while Europeans like the photographer to ensure there is plenty of the stunning Nelson and Tasman native and natural environment in shot or even enjoy bringing in the wild life.



Mainland Europeans definitely opt for natural light while the British often prefer the glamorous effect attained with flash lighting.  Maybe it’s all those magazine-styled advertising images on social Media that influence the British’ with preference for the Top Model look.


Those from Eastern Europe tend to require long, formal, church-based ceremonies and are largely uncomfortable with the idea of kicking off ones shoes to walk along the beach.

Of course, not every overseas couple will fit these generalizations and quite often our international couples have decided to make the investment and the long journey to our New Zealand shores to pledge their love on New Zealand 100% pure soil to escape those traditions and constraints, and expectations will be different, so both Terri, your wedding planner and Saundra your photographer are experienced to get to know each couple and find out what kind of event and photographic memory you want.  Because Sandra has so much experience couples feel confident in allowing her to take control and they are always pleased to be presented with a beautiful collection of wedding photographs that covers all bases and brings in some surprises.


The point of this blog is to encourage you to question the style of photography being offered to you and we don’t blindly assume that you will appreciate the same photographic style as Kiwi’s do. Also remember that there are many wedding planners and photographers out there. So check their credentials, experience and ability to be value for money and give you the results you dream of.
Also make sure the providers you chose have all the necessary paperwork when providing commercial services in National Parks, Iwi and Council property or private property. It’s important to make sure that any impact of your wedding will be considered, from cultural, wild life, vegetation and safety for your guests and the public.  We understand budget can be a deciding factor but professional companies charge what they do because they will look out for you and make sure that every possible situation is covered in advance which is priceless in the whole picture and could save disappointment.

For further advice contact us

Watch Sandra and her team at work while photographing a wedding we did together in 2014 in the beautiful Tasman woodland used in the Lord of the Rings movie

We will insure that your event will truly will be the topping on your wedding cake!

Friday, 9 October 2015

15 Budgeting tips for a Dream Wedding - New Zealand

  Angela                                               Terri

Introduction to Angela from Vision Coach

Budgeting for a Dream Wedding – A conversation with Terri the Dream Maker and Angela

I first met Angela from Vision Coach at a Business Networking International meeting some years ago and our paths keep crossing from one networking event to another.  We’ve chatted on occasion about how difficult it is for some couples to keep to a budget when planning their wedding and I felt Angela could help some of my couples with a little bit of wedding budgeting advice.

Angela offers a professional service and helps people reach their dream goals and achieve financial independence. Angela’s help can avoid couples becoming frustrated, overwhelmed or feeling stuck. Sometimes you need a third person to help you gain clarity and control so you can achieve your goals and keep control of your wedding vision.
Angela and I have seen how much stress financial worries have on individuals when planning their wedding and it’s at the beginning that you need to sit down and write a plan and a budget to help guide you through the danger of desire taking control, with the heart ruling the head in decision making.  It might be that one of you keeps a close eye on finances, while the other is far more slap happy, so it’s important to follow the agreed plan, with the help of an event planner who can also save you costs and time through experience and tried and tested products and services.

Angela knows that with education, guidelines and new systems in place and coaching, knowledge can be learnt if there is a desire to stick to a budget and she has successfully helped many people through her combined prior work in a bank, the budget world and now as a qualified Coach.
Angela and Terri can work together in creating a plan and budget that you can manage yet still pulling a beautiful day together without breaking the bank.
Our cost saving starts here with Angela’s complimentary 30 minute “discovery session” and The Dream Makers complementary consultation which will take place after your meeting with Angela, once the budget has been discussed. why not contact Angela and mention the Dream Maker Blog for some real Dream advice

Where do we start?

Congratulations on your up and coming big day! what ever the stage or time ahead for your planning there are of course so many things to think about and organize and it all costs money. What can you afford and how much will you need? This undoubtedly is personal to each couple and every situation is different. It does not have to be over the top and lavish. You can have a fabulous wedding without breaking the budget and keeping it simple. If you plan wisely. It shouldn’t be something you are going to be paying off over the next few years but neither should it be picking your wedding flowers from a run down garden and getting the guy next door to play do the video (unless he has some real talent than that’s excellent!) Considering your options within the dream you have possibly carried your whole life can be possible with careful consideration.

Things to be aware of and consider.

Questions such as "Who is paying for what"? Be clear on this so you know exactly what you will be required to pay for yourself and ticking off boxes can feel very satisfying. Talk with both families and check if they are able to contribute, get specific on the dollar amount, then add up all the contributions to create your budget. Or maybe ask them to take care of a particular aspect of the wedding (such as honeymoon, flowers, or transport) then decide what the two of you need to contribute and organize a saving plan between now and the wedding day, paying deposits to secure your products and services but also paying off a portion of the event. Some event planners or providers are happy to arrange a special payment plan, so the event can be paid of in stages.  Get serious about saving extra money for your wedding, it’s a big deal and worth some sacrifice in the short term. Eliminate excess spending, buying lunches, meals out or even stop a bad habit, like smoking can have multiple advantages and a great incentive.

Most couples do not have a dispensable income so suggesting to your guests that a cash contribution would be preferable to a gift you might not need when sending your invitations out and include a bank account number. All excess proceeds can go towards your honeymoon.

There are free wedding websites, which can also be used as an invitation, saving on mailing and printing costs, which includes all relevant information and your bank account details, or even a list of wishes that guests can pick to purchase for you. The other advantage is to add google maps for each location.

Once you have a general figure in mind and you’ve sorted out who is paying for what, then you can look at creating a realistic budget so you don’t end up running out of money. Having a plan is vital to keep control of your spending.

Other ways to save money is to follow face book pages that are dedicated to brides and grooms or keep an eye out on trade-me. Its a place you can purchase bargains from other brides but also sell on your over purchased items or props after your wedding to re-gain some of your investment.  

Using a local planner means they have tried and tested providers of all the items below and this could almost be priceless to the couples sanity.  Planning an event is a massive undertaking with an average of 18 hours work which covers meetings, travel, negotiation, budgeting and itinerary building with time lines and risk assessments to name just a few of their responsibilities. Other considerations are permits with the local council, DOC or even Iwi your Planner should have all these permits and accreditation to add confidence or at least the protocol to requiring them.

Below is a guide Angela discovered while researching this topic and it looks pretty realistic to her.

Budget Guide
Reception 48%
Ceremony 2%
Gown & Attire 8%
Flowers 8%
Entertainment/Music 8%
Photography/Video 10%
Stationary 2%
Wedding Rings 2%
Transportation 2%
Gifts 2%
Miscellaneous 8% 

We have put 15 points together for your consideration
1.       Keep diligent by tracking off what you are spending on your budget plan. Put all your wedding money into one account and pay for things from there.
2.       Ensure you shop around and bargain down prices if you can, your planner will be used to working with a budget and sourcing the price results for your buck.
3.       Is there an item you can borrow from a past bride or a family member? Not everything needs to be bought “Something Borrowed”.
4.       Call on talented friends. Singer, musician, florist or graphic designer and negotiate a useful wedding gift.
5.       Wait for sales. So the earlier you start to plan, the more deals you are likely to come across
6.       Pay attention to the fine print in contracts. Take them away and read them carefully. Don’t feel rushed to have it signed there and then. Your planner will help with this and working with a team means they know the contracts and can advise.
7.       Do you have any reward points for hotels of flight travel you can cash in on to contribute towards your Honeymoon?
8.       Skip a Saturday wedding if it’s going to cost extra, or hold a discussion to negotiate a week day or out of season event, you are in the best court as most business will be keen to hook a wedding during these less popular times.
9.       Hold your ceremony and reception in one spot as it will cut the travel time if you are paying certain people by the hour. We can recommend The Mudcastle as a great one stop shop.
10.   Cut the guest list- Terri suggest you write a guests list but then seriously pick it to bits; are people on the list because you feel you have to invite them or are they on the list because you want them there.
11.   Look closely at ways to save on printing costs. (make your own menu cards, will two shades of ink cost more on your invitations)
12.   Choose flowers that are in season and locally grown. Stick to just one or two kinds of flowers and have more greenery.
13.   Keep your menu simple but fabulous. Stick with the specialties of the season and the local providers, negotiate to let them use the professional photographs of their produce in return for a discount.
14.   When choosing a photographer make sure you own the photos 100%, so you are not caught out having to pay more money for more copies.
15.   Offer a fruit punch or mulled wine even a signature cocktail on arrival instead of a full bar. Keeping the fancy Dom Perignon for the toast only and then hold a cash bar.

The Mudcastle

Remember everything is negotiable. Don’t be afraid to discuss prices and shop around. You don’t want to be stressing about finances after the wedding because you overspent - not a good way to start your new life together as a married couple. Get advice from other couples who have recently married and see what tips you can glean from them as to what worked well.
"Happy Planning!" 
and by all means contact Angela or Terri to discuss things further.