A spectacular Hawkes Bay setting added rural peace and beauty for Gretchen and Sam’s wedding in March.

"We wanted a relaxed, friendly, easy-going wedding, celebrating with family and friends. We certainly achieved that, and we were delighted guests told us it was exquisite as well,” they smiled.

The Cape Estate homestead and farm overlooks vineyards and the sweeping coastline to Cape Kidnappers. It was a unique country-stylish venue for the late afternoon wedding, accommodating the bridal couple overnight before they welcomed guests back for a convivial brunch the next morning.

There were 150 at the wedding and 130 for brunch, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out and catch up with each other. The venue has accommodation for 12 so families and the wedding party could stay on site. 

 "We had drinks and quite substantial  passarounds on the homestead lawn, and  the reception and dancing in a lovely big  marquee,” explained Gretchen.

 "We all enjoy good food and wine, so we  chose to have the entree and main course  served at the tables, and then encourage  guests to get up and mingle with a  tempting dessert buffet. With 10 guests needing a gluten free, vegetarian or vegan meal Ruth simply created a separate menu for them without any fuss.

See the menu

"For late Sunday morning brunch we opened up the marquee sides and spilled out over the lawns, and our guests enjoyed being able to see Ruth and her chefs prepare our food under big umbrellas.

"Keeping it casual, we started with absolutely fabulous Vegemite and Cheese Toasties, before a barbecue buffet lunch including Moroccan lamb burgers, hot glazed ham and barbecued halloumi with eggplant, lentils and salsa verde.

"The wedding cake was a story in itself. With many different ideas and personal preference to consider, in the spirit of friendly compromise we ended up with three different tiers.

  "A traditional    fruit cake with    white fondant  icing was the  base,  chocolate and  almond cake  smothered in  shiny ganache in the middle and then a tangy moist  lemon curd cake with white chocolate frosting on top.  Decorated simply with ivy and lemon flowers, it was a  real hit at both the reception and brunch”.

 Although Gretchen’s father Geoff is a family friend of Ruth’s, the choice of caterer was actually made after they attended a Martinborough wedding where Gretchen was a bridesmaid. Her mother Michele said "everything flowed beautifully and was so well managed we wanted the same for Gretchen’s big day.

"We left everything to Ruth and Paul. They are only 2.5 hours away, so distance was no difficulty. 

"I was especially impressed by the beautifully presented and efficient front of house staff: nothing was too much trouble and they were so pleasant to deal with. We were thrilled and can’t fault a thing with Ruth, Paul and their team. There was no stress in our family about any of it, we could just enjoy a weekend of happiness,” Michele reported.