Wed­ding des­ti­na­tion pitched

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

A com­mu­nity of Cen­tral Otago en­trepreneurs have col­lab­o­rated to pro­mote the Man­iototo as a wed­ding des­ti­na­tion.

About 30 busi­ness peo­ple rang­ing from wed­ding cel­e­brants, florists, pho­tog­ra­phers to landown­ers, tav­ern own­ers and trans­port com­pa­nies have com­piled a wed­ding guide for the re­gion.

Wed­ding cel­e­brant Val McSkim­ming said the idea to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive guide had been ‘‘mur­mur­ing’’ a while.

‘‘The idea was a no-brainer re­ally. We don’t have to put any cap­i­tal into it, the fa­cil­i­ties are al­ready there.’’

The Man­iototo was renowned for its mag­nif­i­cent scenery, wide open spa­ces and re­laxed, coun­try hos­pi­tal­ity. The area’s land­scapes made per­fect wed­ding photo back­drops and venues ranged from rus­tic coun­try wool­sheds, gar­dens, tav­erns and ho­tels to quaint churches and coun­try town halls.

‘‘The key one is af­ford­abil­ity. We think we can do it cheaper than the likes of Wanaka and Queenstown, but ev­ery bit as nice.’’

Florist Jan MacKen­zie said peo­ple worked to­gether in a small com­mu­nity - and this ini­tia­tive was no dif­fer­ent.

‘‘For this to work we have got to work to­gether...Quite of­ten when you are do­ing a wed­ding, peo­ple ask, ‘who can do my hair?, ‘who can do my photos?’. This way all the in­for­ma­tion is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and a good way to pro­mote what is avail­able. The com­mu­nity is try­ing to think out­side the square and see wed­dings as a real op­por­tu­nity.’’

It had all the in­gre­di­ents needed to cre­ate the per­fect wed- ding, with a wide range of ac­com­mo­da­tion choices, great hos­pi­tal­ity, award-win­ning food providers and op­er­a­tors pas­sion­ate about the re­gion.

Florist Lynda Galt said there was a lot of tal­ented peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, and a lot chose to of­fer wed­ding ser­vices as a side­line hobby.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Peter An­drews, of Naseby, said they were just like ‘‘one big fam­ily’’.

‘‘Di­vided we are noth­ing, but to­gether we can be ev­ery­thing.’’

An­cient Bri­ton Ho­tel owner Jan Ruther­ford said the scenery and ac­ces­si­bil­ity to dif­fer­ent land­scapes were a huge draw­card.

‘‘You might have a wed­ding venue in Naseby or Ran­furly but it is not far to go for pho­to­graphs. You can be in the moun­tains within 20 min­utes.’’

JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Val McSkim­ming, Peter An­drews, Lynda Galt, Jan Ruther­ford and Jan Macken­zie.

Meg Kirk started at Omakau School on Oc­to­ber 10, 2016.

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