For couples who prefer the idea of an intimate wedding ceremony on the beach to a large event-style gathering, The Coromandel is the perfect location. It offers unbeatable, unpeopled golden sand beaches, impeccable photoshoot locations and is less than two hours drive from Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton. It is a small region with massive creative talent, especially when it comes to creating the intimate wedding of your dreams.
The challenge with getaway weddings is in locating and coordinating all the essential elements to ensure your day is a success. It becomes a logistical nightmare – not to mention expensive – once you factor in travel expenses for your photographer, your hair & makeup artist, your catering, your cake and your celebrant. Thankfully there is a custom-created solution based in the pretty peninsula village of Tairua, which is centrally located so all the Coromandel hotspots including Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and Hahei are only a stone’s throw away.
Donna Brooke has created the ultimate elopement set-up for getaway brides and grooms. Along with her husband Chris, Donna has developed the purpose-built luxury accommodation, Sunlover Retreat. She is also a registered marriage celebrant. Donna collaborates with a cherry-picked team of the very best Coromandel-based wedding professionals to provide bespoke weddings for couples who seek an intimate, more authentic alternative to the large scale, traditional wedding.
A romantic at heart, with a soft spot for people of all walks of life and their colourful stories, Donna just gets it. “After officiating hundreds of weddings, I appreciate the authenticity of elopments the most,” she explains. “There is something so meaningful about this type of ceremony. They really are my favourite,” she admits.
Donna says there are parallels to her roles as celebrant and accommodation host. She brings a genuine duty of care to both roles, doing whatever she can to ensure her guests are comfortable, relaxed and happy.
She also knows the Coromandel very well. For those who aren’t familiar, Tairua is on the doorstep of a veritable banquet of beaches and secluded natural beauty spots. It is literally a feast for the eyes, heart and soul and an amazing place to share an important day with the one you love. And if you don’t know where to stage your elopement, Donna does. Your ceremony could take place within the comfortable luxury of Sunlover Retreat, with the backdrop of magnificent views and vast sea-facing decks, or choose from one of Donna’s recommended beach spots before returning to Sunlover Retreat for a delicious three course dinner and divine accommodation.
Intimate weddings can reduce the stress of planning a large-scale wedding and allow couples to spend their time and money on creating an occasion that is authentic to them. Couples decide what is important to them and Sunlover Retreat takes care of the details, including hair and makeup, flowers, photography and the ceremony itself. Some couples choose to stay out of the spotlight and get married without an audience. Others choose a ceremony with a small group of guests. Sunlover Retreat’s Elopement Package includes accommodation for up to 12 people (2 rooms at Sunlover Retreat, 4 rooms nearby), with dinner and breakfast provided. Many guests find that once they arrive at Sunlover, they don’t want to go anywhere else. It is enough to simply stop and enjoy quality time with the people who matter most during a very special occasion.
For those who value nature, serenity and jaw-dropping views, the Coromandel is a dream wedding destination. As host and celebrant, Donna Brooke helps couples to express their unique love story with an intimate, bespoke wedding they will remember with love, forever.