Complete Guide to Queenstown Wedding Seasons
— By Emily Ray
16 September 2020
Queenstown is perhaps one of the only places in the world which is genuinely beautiful all year round.
Whether it's summer or winter, autumn or spring, people flock to Queenstown to experience the beauty and touristic delights of this stunning region. If you and your significant other are thinking of saying "I do" in Queenstown, the question might well not be why but when.
There's a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the ideal season for your Queenstown wedding. What do you want the backdrop of your wedding photos to look like? Winter serves those famous snow-capped Southern Alps, while autumn makes for a symphony of fireside colours. You also need to think about temperature: some love the heat, others crave the cold. Even the types of flowers and ingredients available in any given season come into the equation. To figure out which season best fits your wedding checklist, check out this complete guide to Queenstown weddings. Treat it as a kind of seasonal mood-board, covering everything from weather conditions to venue options, floristry, and local activities.
Image by Tracey Claire Photography
Ah, summer – the season of hot days, sparkling blue skies, and sun-kissed skin. From December to February, Queenstown slips into glorious holiday mode. Summer means early sunrises and late sunsets, meaning you can take advantage of the long daylight hours for your ceremony and reception. What's more, the Southern Lakes region enjoys some of the most sunshine hours in summer in the whole of New Zealand, so good weather is almost assured for your Queenstown summer wedding.
Another logistical advantage to having your wedding during a Queenstown summer? Most people will have at least some time off work and school, so you should have an easier time gathering all your friends and family together. And if you're needing to lure your overseas whanau to NZ to celebrate with you, asking them to come when the sun is high, and the air is warm is a pretty good tactic. In your downtime, enjoy a dip in one of the region's many lakes, then head into Queenstown to sample some of the fresh summer fares at one of the top-rated restaurants.
Image by Fay Carey Photo & Video
Having a summer Queenstown wedding makes the best outdoor venues in the Southern Lakes region available to you. Perhaps you want to combine a summer camping holiday with a touch of wedding luxe. For the best glamping wedding destinations Queenstown has to offer, consider Camp Glenorchy or Oasis Yurt Lodge. These venues are ideal for wedding parties who want to celebrate together in nature. Another favourite summer venue is The Olive Grove, where you'll perform your ceremony high on the Central Otago hillside, with 360-degree views of Lake Wanaka.
When it comes to flowers, Queenstown enjoys the best of summer blooms. Think garden roses, hydrangeas, lisianthus, tuberose, lavender, and dahlias, to name a few. All these colourful and exotic-looking flowers come into full bloom in the summer. With so many vibrant Queenstown seasonal flowers to choose from, gorgeous bouquets are guaranteed.
Image by Lydia Rachel Photography
Nothing quite compares to a Central-Otago autumn. From March to May, Queenstown is a painting in warm ochre, burnt orange, and crisp leaves. One thing's for sure: this seasonal setting makes for a stunning background for those wedding photos. Autumn also adds a lovely sense of whimsy and romance to Queenstown wedding events.
Along with the stunning natural colour palette, Queenstown autumn weddings benefit from mild but cosy weather. As an in-between season, autumn will suit couples who don't want the extremes of summer or winter. The days are balmy enough to enable outdoor ceremonies, but the nights are ambient and cosy for indoor receptions. The cherry on top? Autumn in New Zealand is dotted with a whole bunch of public holidays, so it won't be difficult to find a long weekend for your wedding event. Biking, hiking, golfing, and gold mining are all activities that you can put on your wedding group's agenda during a Queenstown autumn. And don't forget about those world-famous vineyard tours for the adults!
Image by Mikayla Bollen Photography
Because of the endless possibilities wrapped up in a Queenstown autumn, you'll have your pick of the region's best wedding venues. Venues that enjoy the best of Queenstown's autumnal magic include those based in the region's renowned Gibbston Valley. The Winehouse is an autumnal wonderland, set amongst expansive wine countries and full of interesting nooks and crannies for your guests to explore. Kinross is another Gibbston Valley gem, complete with willow trees and a pond for outdoor autumn ceremonies. There's just something about vineyard and orchard estate venues that is perfectly compatible with an autumn Queenstown wedding.
As you might be able to imagine, warm-coloured flowers and leaves feature heavily on the flower line-up during the autumn season. Supplement in-season flowers like antique hydrangeas and scabiosa with unique textured additions like twigs, berries, and a scattering of autumnal leaves. Some couples even choose to forego flowers altogether, because the gorgeous leafage in the background serves as an all-encompassing natural bouquet.
Image by Perspectives Photo
Queenstown is perhaps more famous for its epic winter season than for any other. When the winter rolls around, snow blankets the Southern Lakes region, practically dressing up the mountains for you. With this panoramic backdrop in place, it's hard to imagine anything more photogenic than a winter's wedding in Queenstown. Add in the romantic atmosphere and ambient lighting which goes hand-in-hand with a winter wedding, and you won't have eyes for anything else.
If the heat of summer in Queenstown isn't enough to lure your whanau to New Zealand, then winter might just do the trick. Queenstown is the adventure capital of Aotearoa, and much of that adventure is down to its world-famous winter sports. With ski fields all around, your wedding group can go from the ceremony to the slopes (or maybe you want to combine the two somehow). If your guests aren't skiers, they can find exhilaration in a jet boat ride on the Shotover River, or a spot of luging on the Skyline Luge.
Image by Valo Photo & Cinema
Of course, winter isn't only the ideal wedding season for adrenaline junkies. It's also the season for fires, grounding architecture, and dimmed lights, all things that Queenstown's best winter wedding venues have in abundance. Choose Stoneridge Estate, with its historic-feeling stone architecture and romantic Chapel on the Lake, for a classy and cosy wedding from morning to night. If winter vistas are on your wish list, you might be interested in the high-altitude venue of Skyline Queenstown, with its incomparable view out onto the snow-dusted mountains.
Winter makes for a unique selection of flowers in the Queenstown region. The flora on offer is as lush as ever, but often in deeper, more intense colours. Favourite winter flowers include proteas, hyacinth, hellebore, and orchids, as well as kale leaves and winter foliage. These flowers offer an exquisite contrast when set against the sparkling white of the Queenstown snow and your wedding dress.
Image by Proshot Photography
Each year, spring can be counted on to usher in a much-needed sense of hope and renewal. After a long Queenstown winter, that feeling is all the more pronounced. Keen on new baby lambs and blossoming flowers? Book your Queenstown wedding for the months from late August-November, and profit from the inspiring newness that only spring can offer.
As with autumn, spring is a transitional season. Count on nice warm days and nights with just a little nip in them. You might want to tell your guests to bring a layer or two for the evening's events! An additional perk to having your wedding in the spring is the relative lack of tourists in Queenstown during this season of the year. You'll feel like you've got the whole town to yourselves – ideal for exclusive-feeling and tranquil wedding events. Looking for activities to engage in outside of the wedding day itself? You and your guests can enjoy scenic flights over the Wakatipu Basin, a touch of lake fishing, or one of the impossibly scenic drives to the neighbouring towns of Glenorchy, Wanaka, and Cromwell.
Image by Blush Photography
Spring opens up the possibility for outdoor ceremonies and receptions at some of Queenstown's most luxurious wedding venues. Venues that do spring weddings particularly well include the Edgewater Hotel, set on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Another venue perfect for water lovers is Lake Hayes Pavilion, ideal proximity to both Queenstown and the water. For something even more exclusive and unique, check out Jack's Point, a newly-established sustainable township where you can enjoy the most unspoiled slice of spring nature.
Curious about Queenstown's spring flower offerings? Spring is a sacred season in florists' shops, begetting some of the best-loved flowers around. Noteworthy flowers include peonies, lilac, sweet peas, tulips, anemones, snowball viburnum, and jasmine. Clean, fresh, and young blooms are what you can count on during a Queenstown spring. You'll feel fresh as a daisy carrying one of these bouquets down the aisle for your spring Queenstown wedding.