Ceremony & Reception at The Mudcastle

Dream weddings don't just happen; they require careful planning, creative skill, an experienced team and the right location. 

" If a bride ever wanted to feel and look like a princess on her wedding day then this elegant castle is the best place in the world to be on that special day. I rate the Mud Castle as the best place in NZ for extra special occasions."
Damon Ward 

VENUE HIRE
All weddings booked at The Mudcastle have exclusive use of the venue and are assured of total privacy. There are no noise curfew issues and ceremonies, photos, receptions, dance and wedding party accommodation can all be achieved at the one location.

A wedding booking at The Mudcastle involves 12 hours exclusive hire from 12.00 noon - 12.00 midnight on the day of the wedding.

Early access to The Peach Suite and/or The Gold Turret from 10.00 am on the day of the wedding may be possible for an additional fee.

This option allows the bride and/or groom and their attendants the privacy to relax and get ready on site before the ceremony should they wish. (Please note it does not extend to the bridal party or wedding guests checking in to the other accommodation then).

 In the event that we have a wedding booked for the day before, please understand that the earliest possible access would be from 12.00 noon so that the first wedding is not rushed to leave and we have time to clean and reset.

If you would like to hold a rehearsal on site and/or require access on another day to do your own decorating, put out place names, etc., there is a charge for this additional use of the venue. Any such access must be by arrangement so the privacy of other guests at The Mudcastle is respected and is only possible if no other function is booked.

If you want your wedding to continue until 1.00 am, 2.00 am or 3.00 am, there is a charge for each hour of additional hire of the venue. Please note that if you book the accommodation, this charge does not apply. 


CEREMONY
With several fantastic ceremony sites both indoors and out, (and all with power available), memorable and stress-free weddings at The Mudcastle do not depend on the weather on the big day. And you can hold your ceremony and reception at the one venue for no additional hire fee. 

The lower lawn, ringed by a fragrant lavender and white rose garden, suits both formal and informal style wedding ceremonies. You may choose to have all the guests seated in rows on covered chairs, a red carpet aisle, a floral arch and matching register signing table or you may prefer guests to stand where they like and use one of the natural backdrops in the area.

The lower waterlily pond area features the Yellow Princess lily, a series of small waterfalls, an old kauri clinker boat and is landscaped with dramatic lancewoods and black cabbage trees. Seating for just a few selected guests is often the preferred option in this location and having the waterfalls running is optional (and controllable).

Many other outdoor ceremony sites have been chosen for smaller wedding groups and as you have the property entirely to yourselves, there is no other group ever likely to be just around the corner.

No one wants to think about having a wet wedding day but The Mudcastle can alleviate the stress of having to contact guests to relocate as there is a plan B inside ceremony location. Many couples have in fact used the Main Turret as plan A.

And The Mudcastle team does in fact now include a Wedding Celebrant should you wish to consider this as an option. Please contact us to discuss this option further.

    

PHOTOS
Photographers frequently say that they are “spoilt for choice” for photo possibilities at The Mudcastle which means the time needed to get great shots is kept to a minimum and you can join your guests sooner. 

Whether you like ornate wrought iron arches or quaint white bridges, fruiting trees or water reflections, rolling hills or rustic tumbledown buildings, The Mudcastle and its immediate surroundings can provide all of this and more. Just have a look at our GALLERY.

All weddings at The Mudcastle have the exclusive use of the entire property so indoor and outdoor shots are possible and there is no waiting for locations to become free.

And located centrally as The Mudcastle is in the region, we’ve had couples achieve beach shots, mountain shots and river shots depending on their preference while their guests enjoyed finger food and a relaxed drink from the Bar.

 

The Mudcastle Upper Moutere Nelson The Mudcastle Upper Moutere Nelson The Mudcastle Upper Moutere Nelson

 

RECEPTION
The Mudcastle’s Main Turret provides a unique backdrop for intimate wedding receptions for up to 110 guests seated. 

A wedding reception is the celebration that flows on from the wedding ceremony itself. At The Mudcastle, wedding receptions can be formal or informal and anywhere in between.

As a capacity guide, The Mudcastle has catered for weddings from 6 - 134 inside the castle and has a marquee site in the grounds for weddings of 130+. (Marquee requirements are costed on a case by case basis).

Most wedding receptions still follow the sit down format. The basic, practical requirements for this involve tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, glassware and linen and the setting up of this to a designated floorplan. The Mudcastle can supply the basic sit down wedding reception accessories and set it all up for you.

Most wedding receptions involve providing food and something to drink for selected guests and our Wedding pack includes some sample menus to help get you started.

The other aspects that go to make up a wedding reception include speeches, cake cutting ceremony and a dance and these are entirely optional but most couples like to add some decorations.

Use of an MC (Master of Ceremonies) is also optional but highly recommended. This is a key role in ensuring that everything runs smoothly. The Mudcastle has an MC Checklist available for those who may not have performed this service before and every assistance is given to guide them through their duties.

 

The Mudcastle Upper Moutere Nelson The Mudcastle Upper Moutere Nelson 

Image 1 Davy / Charlette Wedding
Image 2 Tuffnell / Nehu Wedding
Image 3 Watson / Mitchell Wedding

DECORATIONS
Whether you're after something simple, romantic, classic or totally original - from small details to extravagant statements - at The Mudcastle, we've got the expertise, the experience and a huge range of decorative extras to assist you to put everything together in style. 

Individual decorative requirements and views on style vary hugely so decorations are offered on an "as required" basis to promote a unique look for each wedding. 

Some items are purely decorative while others serve a practical purpose as well so these should be given first priority. Once this list is finalized, purely decorative touches can be added as your budget allows.

TIP. We are very happy for you to supply and install your own table centrepieces but it is a good idea to let us know what you are planning so that whatever else needs to go on the tables will fit. Also, ensure all candles have holders to catch the wax and candle grease and any tea lights sit on or in something else that can withstand the heat of the metal cup.

Any decorations you supply yourselves eg. seating plan, place names etc. are installed by you once the caterers have set the dining room. This is best done either at the time of the rehearsal or, if getting ready at The Mudcastle, on the day when all danger of changes is generally over.

CATERING
Weddings at The Mudcastle have been catered for up to 170 guests with gourmet BBQs, continuous finger food, sit down table buffets, plated menus and sumptuous medieval banquets so don't be afraid to ask if you would like something different. 

Wedding catering is different from all other events in that it usually has to span a much longer period of time. Food at a wedding also performs multiple functions over that time and often includes additional items eg. wedding cakes.

Food in the form of substantial pre-dinner nibbles provides a way to entertain guests during the time you are busy having photos taken. This not only shows you are a considerate host but also that you are mindful of your host responsibilities to serve food if alcohol is being served. A basket of nibbles and drinks can be packed for the bridal party so that you are also looked after over this time.

Wedding food reflects the personal style of the couple and is an important part of the guest experience. With your menu, you may want to showcase local produce, treat your guests to something they may not have tried before or just provide a substantial Kiwi 'home cooked' meal, nothing too fancy.

Self-catering is not possible but our caterers are happy to incorporate speciality produce you may have access to eg. crayfish, whitebait, scallops, venison etc. provided it is not purchased and on condition that the quality and quantity required can be guaranteed.

At the other end of the day, you may decide on a fruit platter or a cheeseboard to be served on the tea and coffee buffet during the dancing or even a light supper if you have additional guests coming to the dance only - just about anything is possible.  

BEVERAGES
Nelson wins more medals per hectare of vines planted than any other New Zealand wine region and at The Mudcastle is located right in the heart of it. Putting together a beverage list for each wedding is easily done. 

The Mudcastle is Fully Licensed and unique beverage selections are put together for each wedding depending on individual preferences and budget. This may include special touches like our own refreshing non-alcoholic fruit punch self-served from an antique silver punchbowl, an urn of spicy mulled wine, chilled champagne cocktails or a round of liqueurs and a decanter of port with coffee. Alternatively, the beverage list can be limited to juice/punch and a selection of beers and local wines to help keep costs manageable.  

Local vineyards whose wine we stock from time to time include:

Fossil Ridge Wines, Brightwater Vineyards, Kaimira, Seifried Estate, Te Mania Estate, Waimea Estate, Anchorage Wines, Neudorf Vineyards, Kahurangi Estate and the Tasman Bay and Latitude 41 labels from Spencer Hill Estate. Prices may change without notice as may vineyards stocked at any one time due to availability.

BYO (bringing in your own alcohol) is not generally an option but, by prior arrangement, we may agree to a certain quantity of something being brought in if it is something we cannot obtain or would not ever stock. To protect our liquor licence, BYO by wedding guests is strictly forbidden and will result in confiscation and additional charges if ignored.

Chilled, filtered water is served continuously to the table as a matter of course.

ACCOMMODATION
The Mudcastle offers their wedding couples the exclusive hire of the entire castle’s accommodation at a special rate that includes The Mudcastle signature breakfast served at a time of your choosing and a noon check out. 

The cost of the exclusive hire of all accommodation for up to 16 people before or following a wedding reception at The Mudcastle is offered at a special post wedding rate.  Alternatively the Bridal couple may choose to stay alone after the Wedding; please discuss options with us.The tariff includes our substantial breakfast served at a time of your choosing and a noon checkout. It also means that your venue hire to 12 midnight is automatically extended to 12 noon the following day and you avoid the after midnight venue hire extension rates.

Room Allocation
We will refer any wedding guest accommodation enquiries on to you so that you can allocate the accommodation as you wish and there is no chance of rooms being double booked.

Reimbursement
Accommodation costs are usually reimbursed to you by the guests staying in each room and you may divide the cost any way you like. The Mudcastle accommodation available to the wedding couple and their chosen overnight guests comprises:

1 single room (The Apricot Room)
1 twin room (The Lilac Room)
2 double rooms (The Yellow Room and The Green Room)
1 queen room (The Pink Room) and
3 suites - The Peach Suite (queen), The Rose Suite (king plus additional single) and The Gold Turret (queen).  

Re-configuration of rooms
The Pink Room may be altered to a Twin room or The Lilac Room to a King room if required at a small cost.

Breakfast
A substantial breakfast is served in the main turret for all overnight guests and is included in the special wedding accommodation rate. If the bride and groom wish to have their breakfast served separately to their suite and at a different time to their guests, there is an additional charge for this. Additional guests who are unable to be accommodated are able to come for breakfast as another option. Breakfast following a wedding is generally requested for some time after 9.00am - we fully recognise everyone, including us, has had a huge day the day before!

"Back here for our 1st wedding anniversary. Our wedding here was wonderful, have come back for more! The most amazing breakie! No need for lunch or dinner."
Gavin & Jen Davis

Check-in/Check-out
Overnight guest check-in for weddings is strictly after the ceremony. (This is frequently before the usual B&B guest check in time of 4pm). Check-out the following day is generally midday, but is dependent on whether there is another function booked.

"Excellent place for a relaxing morning after a fun wedding - thanks a lot!"
Alan & Peri Stenhouse 

Payment
The accommodation charge is added to the main wedding account. Subject to what arrangements you have made in this regard, guests will either reimburse you directly for their accommodation or pay us which we then deduct from the final amount owing.

Honeymooners coming from elsewhere
For couples who wish to retreat to The Mudcastle for their honeymoon night after their reception elsewhere, we may (depending on location) be able to collect and chauffeur you here as an addition to our Honeymoon Night Package. Just arrange to be collected the following day or for your car to be left at The Mudcastle the night before. Imagine a chauffeured pickup in a luxurious classic car from your reception venue, an entire castle in the country to yourselves, a night in a honeymoon suite of your choice with all the trimmings, a substantial breakfast brought to your suite at a time of your choosing the following morning and a relaxed checkout deadline! 

Champagne Package  upgrade
For couples who decide on The Mudcastle as their wedding reception venue, a honeymoon suite night is included in the special wedding accommodation price they are offered - see above. However, our Champagne Package is available as an upgrade and is extremely popular with bridal couples wanting some additional special touches after their reception in the castle. 

WEDDING DAY TIMELINE
Creating an individual timeline of events for your day is highly recommended so that sufficient time is allowed to fit everything in. Our sample timeline template may be helpful.

SAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIME FRAME FOR A 3.30pm CEREMONY HELD AT THE MUDCASTLE OVER SPRING/SUMMER/AUTUMN WITH THE BRIDE GETTING READY OFF SITE.

9.30am - 2.30pm
Hair, nails (if not already done) and makeup
Bridal bouquets etc. are collected 

Lunch
The bride and her attendants get dressed
The photographer may arrive for some "getting ready" shots
The bridal transport arrives

2.30/2.45pm
The groom's arrives together with his attendants
The ushers (if appropriate) arrive

3.00pm - 3.30pm
The guests arrive gradually (unless bus transport used)
The groom's parents arrive
The bride's mother arrives with the bridesmaids

3.30pm+
The bride and bride's father's arrive 

3.30pm+ - 4.00pm
Wedding Ceremony

4.00pm - 4.30pm
Group and family photos

4.30pm - 5.30pm
The bar opens for drinks and nibbles for guests while the bridal party photos are taken in the grounds and offsite.
A hamper of nibbles or a sampling of the fingerfood the guests are enjoying can be arranged with the caterer for the bridal party (optional)
The MC makes an announcement re the whereabouts of bathrooms, toasting policy for this wedding etc.
The guests put their presents on the present table, find their table numbers on the seating plan, sign the wedding book or card (optional) and overnight guests check in to their rooms.

5.30pm - 5.45pm
The bride and groom mingle with guests until leading through to dinner. This is also a buffer zone if the photo shoot goes over time.

5.45pm
The candles are lit for reception (if applicable)

6.00pm - 6.30pm
Sit down
Entrée /Orders are taken for main course (if a plated menu with choices)
The toasts and speeches may be heard here (optional)

6.30pm - 8.30pm
Main course
Cake cutting ceremony (if cake is a dessert cake)
The toasts and speeches may be heard here (optional)
Dessert
Cake cutting ceremony (if cake is a fruitcake to be served with coffee)

8.30pm-
Tea and coffee available from the coffee buffet
Dance

SAMPLE WEDDING DAY TIMEFRAME FOR A 3.30pm CEREMONY HELD AT THE MUDCASTLE OVER SPRING/SUMMER/AUTUMN WITH THE BRIDE ALSO GETTING READY AT THE MUDCASTLE. .

9.30am - 12.30pm
Hair, nails (if not already done) and makeup is done off site
Bridal bouquets etc. are collected 

1.00pm
The bride arrives at The Mudcastle with her bridal party attendants to get ready and relax
The chief bridesmaid may organise a hamper of goodies for a late lunch
The photographer may arrive for some "getting ready" shots

2.30/2.45pm
The groom's arrives together with his attendants
The ushers (if appropriate) arrive

3.00pm - 3.30pm
The guests arrive gradually (unless bus transport used)
The groom's parents arrive
The bride's parents arrive and often both join the bride
When the bride is ready, the bride's mother takes her seat and the ceremony begins

3.30pm+ - 4.00pm
Wedding Ceremony

4.00pm - 4.30pm
Group and family photos

4.30pm - 5.30pm
The bar opens for drinks and nibbles for guests while the bridal party photos are taken in the grounds and offsite.
A hamper of nibbles or a sampling of the fingerfood the guests are enjoying can be arranged with the caterer for the bridal party (optional)
The MC makes an announcement re the whereabouts of bathrooms, toasting policy for this wedding etc.
The guests put their presents on the present table, find their table numbers on the seating plan, sign the wedding book or card (optional) and overnight guests check in to their rooms.

5.30pm - 5.45pm
The bride and groom mingle with guests until leading through to dinner. This is also a buffer zone if the photo shoot goes over time.

5.45pm
The candles are lit for reception (if applicable)

6.00pm - 6.30pm
Sit down
Entrée /Orders are taken for main course (if a plated menu with choices)
The toasts and speeches may be heard here (optional)

6.30pm - 8.30pm
Main course
Cake cutting ceremony (if cake is a dessert cake)
The toasts and speeches may be heard here (optional)
Dessert
Cake cutting ceremony (if cake is a fruitcake to be served with coffee)

8.30pm-
Tea and coffee available from the coffee buffet
Dance

WEDDING VENUE COST SUMMARY
We realise that planning a wedding can be an overwhelming process to begin with. So, if working out what may or may not apply to you from the various options is all too much, we can simplify the process for you.

A summary of costs that may be involved in holding your wedding at The Mudcastle is provided below for your convenience. However, if you email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following details, we will happily compile a 'sample' invoice for you to show you exactly what costs would be involved. Many couples have said this service has been invaluable as the invoice can be updated as numbers or details change and it also ensures that nothing is forgotten. The details we need are:

  • your best guess as to total guest numbers - don't forget yourselves and the bridal party!
  • possible date (or at least what day of the week your wedding is likely to be on as this affects the venue hire rate)
  • from the decorations list, what you may want/need to hire from us - some of these items are decorative as well as practical eg. register signing table, cake table etc. but you only need to add anything from this category if it is relevant to your situation
  • the figure (either per head or as a total) you would like to put on the bar as a bartab limit - this can be revised up or down at any stage but is a place to start for budget purposes at this point
  • the figure per head you are thinking of spending on your reception catering menu - the menus provided should give you a rough guide as to the going rates
  • music requirements (if any are required from us, that is) eg. jukebox, piano
  • accommodation - let us know which option applies to your situation. We include this on the 'pretend' invoice but bear in mind this item is usually reimbursed to you by your guests.