When our friends Nicola Wood and Norbert Koptisch planned their sophisticated European style wedding, they knew the perfect if unexpected venue: The Milk Station Otaki.

Over five years Nicola’s mother Lyndia Wood painstakingly transformed the dilapidated old building, "surplus to dairy industry needs but with good features and interesting possibilities” into a spectacular venue with a Tuscan feel. The high ceiling, large fireplaces and reception spaces on different levels. Nicola’s father Peter Wood hand crafted a spectacular chandelier with two large iron trays and original milk bottles from the dairy factory. Lyndia’s creation of Mediterranean-inspired gardens including a fig, olive and citrus orchard, offered endless choices for wedding photos. Even the cellar was put to good use, as a ‘cigar bar for the boys’ for the night.

Norbert and Nicola wanted "an evening party with red carpet being the dress theme”. An informal but elegant even t, followed with the chanc e for guests to mingle. A striking colour theme of red, black and gold set the style, including Nicola’s red silk dress from Chris Lyons.

We know the family well, so were delighted to cater for their sophisticated guest list of 150. Norbert is the Food Beverage & Events Sales Manager at the St James Theatre so had a professional as well as personal interest in the menu, which featured many traditional Austrian culinary delights in his honour. You can view Nicola and Norbert's menu here

Nicola is an accountant and has also been involved in interior design projects. She is Wellington based but had been in London for over 10 years, where her very European outlook and sense of style was evident in the arrangements, including an Easter wedding in the European tradition.

The ceremony was held outside in the garden, followed by Veuve Clicquot and a substantial range of passarounds served. Walking from the garden to the dining area guests were greeted by a spectacular champagne fountain: a guaranteed party-starter!

As the evening progressed, candles and expansive fireplaces were lit for additional atmosphere.

Guests were encouraged to enjoy mingling with others as they circumnavigated the dining areas where a series of food stations presented different tastes. Each station offered fine mainly Marlborough wines, matched to the food and selected by Norbert and Peter.

Guests appreciated the combination of elegant table seating and the opportunity to graze at the food stations and catch up with mutual friends during the evening. We thought it was a clever way of achieving the couple’s wishes for a friendly yet stylish wedding.

The crowning Austrian touch was a sumptuous Sachertorte celebration cake. Austria’s most famous cake originated from the Sacher Hotel in Vienna and is a rich extravaganza of chocolate: here it was served as a 5-tier cake doubling as dessert. A cheese board and petits fours rounded off the food service as the dancing started.


We love getting feedback from guests as well as family after weddings, and were delighted that Nicola and Norbert felt we had achieved their wishes for a stylish yet informal wedding perfectly. One of the guests said "the whole event was simply spectacular and we felt very honoured to be part of it”.

The Milk Station Otaki is a particularly attractive and versatile venue. For more details please contact Paul Pretty at paul@ruthpretty.co.nz

Photographs courtesy of Simon Woolf Photography.