Winter wedding

Things to consider when planning a winter wedding

Winter weddings are often overlooked in favour of warmer summer weddings. But we think there are lots of reasons why a winter wedding is a great idea.

Wedding bookings in summer are often booked solid, it’s more likely that you will be able to secure the date you want in the winter. Photographers, florists and entertainers should also be easier to coordinate. This is ideal if you have a short planning time.

Holding both the ceremony and reception at the same venue is a good idea in winter, this means that guests don’t have to travel and can stay warm and dry. Silverstream Retreat is an ideal location with our two venue options, onsite catering team and plenty of accommodation options.

Winter provides the perfect canvas for unique wedding styling. With the subdued tones of a winter backdrop, any colour goes. Rustic pastels to rich deep hues. Embrace the early darkness and incorporate some lovely soft lighting. Flickering tea lights in jars, lanterns, maybe even a cosy rustic fire place. Not only do they look spectacular they’ll keep your guests warm.

Winter sets the stage for some amazing wedding photos. Winter weather creates perfect lighting for portrait photos with flattering ambient light without the hot sun and harsh shadows. Be prepared for bad weather, coloured umbrellas, textured blankets and gumboots can be make for some fun props.

Clothing options for a winter wedding are endless. Layers of luxurious fabric, long sleeved dresses, winter coats, shrugs and faux fur wraps. The men won’t need to worry about wearing a three piece suit and melting in the sweltering summer heat.

Winter weddings at Silverstream are cosy and unique. Check out our wedding packages and try our new wedding calculator to get you started.


Business networking is about developing valuable relationships. Gaining a good network of contacts is important for both personal and business growth. Whether you’re looking for job referrals, client referrals, business connections or exposing your brand.

We host a number of networking events at Silverstream Retreat, we see a lot of happy people leaving with business cards in hand. Here are a few tips for successful business networking:

  • Relax and be yourself. People often feel nervous at networking events especially going by yourself, but don’t be afraid to go up to someone and introduce yourself, smile and say hello.
  • Think about what you want to gain from the event. Plan a short pitch about yourself and your business or service, work out what your strengths are and what skills you can offer. You don’t want to be pushy or overwhelm people with an aggressive sales pitch, you want to build trust and relationships.
  • Some networking events aren’t about making business contacts but about learning and sharing, so always make sure you give back, whether that’s sharing your knowledge or sharing an inspiring story. It’s a good way to gain trust and build rapport.
  • Have some questions ready before you arrive. Ask open ended questions because they require more than a simple yes or no answer “What made you decide to go into business”, “What do you enjoy about your job?”
  • Make sure you follow up on any referrals as soon as possible after the event. Find ways to stay in touch, whether it’s sending an email every few months or connecting online with social media.


Tips for organising your wedding gift registry

You’ve decided to open a wedding registry but aren’t quite sure where to begin. To help we’ve put together some tips from our own experiences and from talking to some of our clients.

Make sure you organise your gift registry early, six to nine months before the wedding allows guests plenty of time to purchase gifts, some guest may want to purchase engagement party and bridal shower gifts also.

Don’t limit your gift registry to one shop, two or three is ideal. Make sure at least one shop has an online registry for out-of-town or overseas guests and that at least one shop is department store. Department stores have lots of basic household items, are often located in the major cities and they have gifts in all price ranges. Choosing shops that suit your style is also important.

Do some research into which shops offer gift registers and find out if they offer any special incentives, like discounts for your guests or reward points for the bride and groom.

Traditionally wedding registry details weren’t included in wedding stationery but over the last decade this has changed and people almost expect that this will be included. If you choose not to include the wedding registry details make sure your immediate family and bridal party know where the register is.

Consider the size of your guest list when choosing gifts, people like plenty of choices. You will want to register for at least twice as many gifts as the number of guests. Don’t be afraid to include some high priced items for generous guests and groups of guests.

You’ll need to manage your registry, as guests start buying gifts check to make sure there are plenty of options at different prices.

Don’t forget to keep a record of the gifts you receive and write thank you notes as soon as possible after the wedding.

At Silverstream Retreat we host a large number of meeting for both big corporate companies and small non-profit organisations. These tips have been prepared for people who are new to taking meeting minutes, we thought that some basic guidelines might help to get you started.

Meeting minutes are a legal record of meeting proceedings, so it’s important to make sure they are accurate. Minutes are a source of information for people who can’t attend the meeting and as a reference for future use.

Prepare for the meeting

  • Get a copy of the meeting agenda
  • Get a copy of any documentations that might be sent out with the agenda or passed out at the meeting
  • Find out the names of those attending the meeting including any guests or speakers

Taking the minutes – content

  • The type of meeting, regular (weekly, monthly) or special (annual)
  • The purpose of the meeting
  • Name of the organisation
  • Date, time and place of the meeting
  • The name of the Chairman and secretary
  • A list of all attendees and those who could not attend
  • Whether the minutes of the previous meeting were approved or had any corrections made
  • All the main motions including the attendee making the motion, action to be taken, next steps and voting outcomes.
  • Items to be held over for the next meeting
  • Next meeting date time and place
  • Time of adjournment.

Writing the minutes

  • Writing the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting while still fresh in your mind
  • Be clear and concise
  • Follow the order of the agenda
  • Proofread the minutes.


  • Ensure the Chairman has reviewed the minutes before distributing
  • Distribute a copy of the minutes to the attendees and those who sent apologies
  • Store the minutes for future reference
  • The minutes need to be revised, corrected and approved at the next meeting.







Wedding-Show-Sep-2014_homepageStart planning your special day

Silverstream Retreat, Sunday 15 February 3–6pm

This is a great opportunity to meet the Silverstream Retreat team, view our beautiful venue and see samples of the set-up options. You’ll also be able to view the bridal suite and guest rooms.
Receive $500 towards your bar tab when you book your wedding and pay a deposit at the Open Day.

Please confirm your attendance, phone 04 562 9080
or email


Be prepared for your next conference or seminar

By attending a conference or seminar we gain new skills, find out the trends in our area and network with people.

Before attending the conference make sure you read through the agenda and any other pre-conference information, prioritise the sessions you want to attend. Prepare any questions you may want to ask speakers or exhibitors.

Remember to take plenty of business cards there are always plenty of opportunities when you’re meeting new contacts. When you receive a business card, it’s a good idea to make a quick note about that person on the back of the card so you can remember them in the future. It’s also a good idea to bring paper, pen, highlighter, camera and snacks.

Make sure you are on time, there’s nothing worse than arriving late and having to sit at the back or having an obstructed view, this is also good time to introduce yourself and meet more people.

At the conference, get involved and make yourself approachable. Make sure you practice your introduction, first impressions are important. Describe your business and briefly explain your role.

Be available for the social events, a lot of conferences include cocktail parties and dinners. These events are always a great opportunity to meet new people and network in a relaxed atmosphere.

Most of all relax and enjoy yourself.


How to create a Facebook Event

Whether it’s a marketing event, product launch, party or fundraiser, the Facebook Event application is a free, effective way to promote an event and reach a wide audience. It is a great way to encourage people to engage, post on your wall and invite other friends.

The Facebook Event application is quick and simple to set up.

    • Click Events on the left side of your homepage.


    • Click Create in the centre or on the left side under My Events.


    • Fill in the event name, details, location and time, and then choose your privacy settings. Keep in mind that you must include an event name and time.
    • Click Invite Friends to add friends to the guest list. Check the names of the people you want to invite and then click Save.


  • Click Create.
  • You’ll be taken to your event where you can share posts, upload photos, invite more guests and edit event details.

For more details about creating an event and additional information like adding a place, weather information and sending messages to event guests visit Facebook Events.

Ways to promote your Facebook Event

  1. Create a registration page on your website, you can then direct traffic from your Facebook Event to the site. Here you can have more information about the event.
  2. Update your Facebook cover photo with an image that promotes the event and then include a link to the registration page on your website.
  3. Share the Event on your Facebook timeline, include a link to the Event page and add a call to action such as ‘Register Now’. Images draw the most attention so make sure you use an eye catching image promoting the event.
  4. Keep followers updated with information about speakers, discounts, competitions or pictures of the event preparation.
  5. If you have speakers or presenters at the event you can tag them in your post and encourage them to talk about the event.
  6. Give away tickets and create a buzz around the event. You can give away tickets by running a contest on your page, ‘like this post and be in to win free tickets’.
  7. Post videos from past events, tag guests and business that are in the videos. Videos attract more attention than text posts.
  8. Include a link to your Facebook Event page in your email signature.
  9. As the event date approaches post reminders for guests that have register and create some urgency for those that haven’t registered ‘Tickets selling fast’.

Useful Free Wedding Planning Apps

Today you can find a smartphone or tablet app for just about anything. We are finding that brides and grooms are using apps to help them with wedding planning from picking colour palettes to orgainising the guest list. I was asked the other day if I knew of any good apps for wedding planning, I decided to do a little research to find what was out there.

Appycouple_iconAppy Couple

Silverstream Retreat Rating ★ ★ ★ ½

Appy Couple is a stylish way to showcase and share your wedding. Give your guests the information they need, event times to dress code, RSVPs, meet the wedding party and see your pictures (even add their own). Get everyone involved in creating your ultimate wedding keepsake.

The interface design is really lovely with a heaps of options to personalise it. The functions are simple to setup and the navigation is straight forward. Only downside is that the page load time is a little slow and would be better if you could invite friends via Facebook.


weddingparty_iconWedding Party -Getting Married?

Silverstream Retreat Rating ★ ★ ★ ★

Wedding Party is a great way to share your wedding event schedule, wedding registry and accommodation details; keep track of the dates with a wedding countdown; and organise all of your photos into albums for all the wedding events (Engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor party, hen party,  wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon).

Another good looking app. The integration between the website and app is well designed. This is a great app to get friends and family involved in the wedding, fun and easy. Only downside was that you couldn’t upload multiple photos at one time.
Weddingpartyscreenshot_3 Weddingpartyscreenshot_2Weddingpartyscreenshot

theknoticonThe Knot

Silverstream Retreat Rating ★ ★ ★

The Knot is personal Wedding Planner, newly-designed, with a modern makeover. You can access and input your wedding planning details anytime, anywhere, for FREE! The best part? Heaps of inspiration which can be filtered by category, fantastic checklist and easy to use budget tool. This is a really great tool, the only downside is that the vendor section (accommodation, photograhpers etc. is only designed for use in the USA.

theknotscreenshot3 theknotscreenshot2 theknotscreenshot1

In part II of this series I will review Wedding Apps for cataloging ideas and inspirations such as Pinterest.

Wedding-trends-2014What’s trending at Silverstream Retreat this wedding season

This is a busy time of the year for Silverstream Retreat as we help our happy couples prepare for their big days. We’re often asked by couples what’s trending for the upcoming season year. Wedding trends are always changing, colours, themes, clothes and accessories and in more recent years technology. Over the years we’ve seen the good, the bad and not so good. We’ve decided help out our couples by coming up with a few predicted trends for 2014-2015.

Wedding bird cageWedding Dresses

Layer and textures are popular for 2014 bridal gowns. Floor length dresses with open back and combinations of soft fabrics (lace, chiffon and organza).

Wedding Hair Styles

Loosely-done waves, super chic bobs are popular styles with flowers, hairpins and fascinators are popular accessories.

Wedding Colour Trends

The table below illustrates the popular wedding colour choices:

Wedding Bouquets

Most bouquets are hand-tied, with the flowers gathered together and wrapped in wide satin ribbon. The style is looser than previous years, with a ‘just picked’ look. Adding beads and brooches, crystals and feathers seem to be a continuing trend from the last year.

The choice of flower will often depend on the season, roses continues to be the most popular bouquet flower, hydrangeas, peonies and orchids are also very popular.

Wedding candy buffetWedding Reception Decorations

Couples are choosing to decorate their venues with more and more unique items bird cages, crystal trees, vintage furniture and one we really like is photos and portraits used as decorative elements.

Other popular decorating items include Chinese lanterns, tissue pom poms, garlands and oversized balloons.

A popular decorating trend is the confection bar, which is where a variety of lollies or treats are grouped together on a table, in glass jars of varying size. Silver spoons or scoops in each container allows guests to fill small boxes or bags as take-home wedding favours.

Wedding Cakes

Couples are sticking to the traditional sponge, chocolate, vanilla or fruit cake, choosing cake decorations that fit with the wedding theme.

Wedding Photography

Couples are choosing photo journalistic style (actions shots of the day’s events) wedding photography over the traditional posed portraits. Posed portraits are still requested with a mix of colour and black and white photos.

Wedding Themes

The most common wedding themes for the up-coming year are rustic, vintage, and garden all with a mix of glitter, glam and tradition.

Go-GreenMake environmentally responsible choices for meetings and events

Planning a meeting or event while reducing its environmental impact can be quite overwhelming. Greening your meeting or event not only saves our planet but saves money, energy and can help local communities.

Here are some tips you can apply to your next meeting or event:

  1. Use a paperless system – Email meeting agendas; create a website where people can register online and then email confirmation.
  2. Use recycled paper – If printing is required have all printed materials published on recycled paper, using vegetable based inks, and on both sides of the page.
  3. Meet close – Reduce traveling distances and chose venues with accommodation onsite.
  4. Use local suppliers- This potentially means lower transport costs and emissions.
  5. Manage waste – Provide bins for compostables and recyclable.
  6. Promote transport options – Offer a bus service to the venue for attendees or encourage people to organise a car pool.

Greener Events Guide

Ministry of the Environment – Greener Events Guide

United Nations Environmental Programme – Sustainable Events Guide