Moving Feast at Anam Cara Gardens

“There was no question that Ruth and Paul would cater our wedding, with Cath as our function manager,” laugh Tim and Mia.

They met at Ruth Pretty Catering, 11 years ago. Mia was a function manager for five years and Tim a chef for nearly 10 years.

“We wanted to create a fun and relaxed day that was all about the food, drink, music and chill-out time,” they said. Here’s their story.

Because we’d worked with them for so long, and in different often challenging situations like Valencia for the America’s Cup and Shanghai for the New Zealand Expo, we trusted Ruth, Paul and their team absolutely to provide the best service, food and logistics.

They’ve taught us so much over the years it would have been weird to have someone else in charge of our big day!

Both our whanau are originally from Otaki, it’s special to us so it was important to be married here.

Our experience of catering for other people’s weddings was also useful. Although our first choice of venue was Tim’s Dad’s orchard, Paul Pretty’s training made us realise the logistics were going to outweigh the benefits!

We didn't want people getting bored being in just one place, so Anam Cara Gardens in Otaki was perfect for our “moving feast” wedding. With the large and beautiful site all to ourselves, we moved around the venue’s four locations at various times.

With 106 guests it wasn’t a small wedding, but it felt intimate. A golf cart helped with logistics and driving elderly guests around, not to mention being a lot of fun.

Fun was a word we used a lot. We wanted a fun wedding – there had to be laughter and it couldn't be stuffy.

I knew that if we'd planned it right, everything would be stress-free and it was. My only worry was the weather but following Paul's advice we chose the date as close as possible to a full moon.

We also wanted to make our celebration a big party. So we chose Friday for the ceremony and continued the feast on the Saturday. 

We absolutely knew that we wanted a champagne tower (why not?), a croquembouche (again, why not?), food stations for entree and our main course had to be family style with some form of slow cooked meat.  See the menu here.

We also knew that our friends and family loved to party, so we needed some late night Pickle & Pie pies to soak up the beer that Tim and friends brewed.

We opened our New York deli inspired Pickle & Pie restaurant in Wellington just over two years ago and it was nice to have something Pickle & Pie at our wedding. 

Working with Ruth and Paul was great. Because Tim and I knew how they operate, we showed up to our first meeting with our run sheet and thought starters for a menu, and then had fun collaborating on the final version.

We wanted a mixture of unique food that Ruth hadn't cooked before and some classic staples special to us – like Roast Chicken Sandwiches – which we’d made a lot together in our last summer at RPC before we moved to France. 

The Dress was understated and elegant, a Sottero & Midgley design from Astra Bridal in Wellington.  With a rather dramatic back!  Later I changed into a party dress so I could dance even more. 

My Mum Jane owns a florist (Budflorists, in Silverstream) and did a spectacular job with the flowers.  Her hydrangea arch was the most spectacular arch I’d ever seen, and it was fun to be able to have something unique and personal.  I wondered if there was a hydrangea left in the region.

Tim and I loved our wedding: it was everything we wanted it to be.  We had the people most important to us there, the food and drinks were excellent and Cath managed the whole thing as efficiently and enjoyably as we knew she would!

Photos: Brad Boniface