Owners Eugene and Joanna O’Reilly salvaged an abandoned historic site and transformed it into a unique NZ wedding venue now known as The Hall. Located on New Zealand’s North Island, it features an outdoor stage, a caravan bar, a bell tower and more. It’s unlike anything else in the area and is perfect for couples who love live music and unusual spaces.
Here we chat to Mr and Mrs O’Reilly about their journey in bringing The Hall to life and what other exciting additions they have up their sleeves.
The Hall – can you tell us a bit about it?
The Hall has a beautiful history and has been used in the past for many weddings. It has also been a church and used as a school house. We have saved The Hall from demolition so we have kept her best features and added some design elements using found and saved pieces from all around NZ including an amazing window from an iconic building that was destroyed by the earthquake in Christchurch.
There is a pebbled hedged courtyard that surrounds The Hall, an outdoor stage for music, lawn games and a great spot for family photos known as the Love Shack.
Inside, The Hall has native timber floors, a high plaster ceiling, awesome vintage lighting and big burgundy church entrance doors which we reclaimed for a church in Wellington. A black feature wall with a blue diamond window from an art deco building in Napier and 100 yr old fretwork – these offer beautiful indoor ceremony options. All the features have been designed with photography in mind. The Hall has a great stage and is great space for a classy reception followed by a great party.
What inspired you to get involved with weddings?
Our background is travelling around NZ playing at weddings in the very popular band Five O’Clock Shadow – we love being part of people’s special day and hearing that we provide a big part of making it the most awesome day of their life. Now we want to do this with The Hall – it’s a really rewarding feeling dealing with so many happy couples. Also I (Joanna) have a background in set and stall design for events and vintage and couture design clothing so I will be offering styling services as well.
What kind of facilities does The Hall offer?
When you book The Hall as your wedding venue you can either choose a dry hire option which includes hardwood tables, vintage gold tiffany chairs, pews and professional bar staff to serve BYO beer, wine or cider.
We also offer a ‘Golden Glow Package’ which includes a banquet platter dinner, an all-day music package, stylish cutlery and crockery options, a vintage caravan bar and cocktail hour options. The Hall has upgraded bathroom facilities and air conditioning.
What do you think is the selling point for most couples?
Most of the couples we have booked for next season like the options that we offer with the Golden Glow Package as it takes care of a lot of the organising but is flexible enough that couples can create a wedding that is unique to them.
Do you offer onsite accommodation? Alternatively, are there places to stay nearby?
We have a few really great options nearby – Te Aroha is a thermal spa with healing waters that people travel from all over the world to visit – the water is high in minerals that make the skin feel silky. Nearby is Opal Springs Thermal Resort which has cabins, motels or some cute spots for tents. Lord of the Rings footage was filmed in the area and there are plenty of beautiful walks – many couples encourage guests to stay for a whole weekend and enjoy the destination.
What’s your favourite thing you’ve seen a couple do at your venue?
One was a flower farm theme with loads and loads of dahlias as a floral garland around the entire bell tower window and a huge arrangement on the mantel above the church doors… floral luxe! The other was a dance floor mash-up as a first dance.
And what do you think would be epic at your property? Any ideas you’d love to see a couple carry out?
A bohemian country fete-style wedding with food carts and fair type attractions, kissing booth, games, popcorn etc.
Can you describe the kind of couples your venue attracts?
We attract the kind of couple that is happy to leave most of the details in our hands and go with the flow but who want a beautiful stylish wedding. We are seeming to attract people who like the bohemian style. Mostly couples in their 20s – 30s who are professionals from the Waikato and Auckland areas. Couples that are independent and care what their family likes/wants but are confident to make their own choices. Couples that want beautiful photo opportunities.
Any new venue developments or plans on the horizon?
More photos ops, a fruit crate dell in the cider orchard, extending our wildflower meadow, our 50’s Bedford Truck is getting a makeover and development of my props and styling side of the business – deciding if that should be part of The Hall or its own entity. So much, much more… we plan to add more unique features each year.