“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
So I shall begin at the beginning…. And what a fun beginning it was….!
Friday night, after a long week at work – our fabulous QWA members threw on their mad hatter outfits and hopped on down to their closest bus stops to be driven in style out to Alice’s wonderland – Winehouse – Gibbston!
An NZ Ski Bus Charter and The Remarkable Experience bus kindly took care of the transport and whisked our fancy dress divas off to the Mad Hatters Tea Party – without anyone having to eat a magic mushroom to get there!
On arrival, the gorgeous pathway to the house was lit with candles leading to the rabbit hole, where members were greeted by selecting a playing card at random which they matched to a place at the table – a great way to network and meet new people!
After sipping on some ‘drink me’ potion (unfortunately nobody actually shrunk – I think we only left bigger after the feast!) the delicious bubbles supplied by Liquor King were enjoyed in array of colours and were complimented by glorious canapes served by the great staff at the Winehouse.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
– Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland
In2food really pulled out the stops and a mixture of well themed Rabbit & prosciutto roulades, along with hot smoked Akaroa salmon profiteroles and cauliflower soup and prawn canapes kept tummies from rumbling before we sat down to eat our feast!
The soulful sounds of Freefall Entertainment floated around the room and gave members the perfect atmosphere to catch up – Dom and Pol joined the QWA this year despite them being long term Queenstown musicians – and the best was definitely yet to come….
Our gorgeous Carla Mitchell of self-named Carla Mitchell Photography was there capturing all the action and making sure we had evidence of the mad hatter’s tea party – only destined to get madder as the night grew later! Carla is owner of the most fabulously sleek and sexy photo booth (Photo booth by CMP) that all of our member’s love getting dressed up in front of! Quite amusing when you are asked to strike a pose in front of a human with a camera – that the result is much tamer than the results her co-worker photo booth provides…! It had everyone in fits of laughter adorning the rubber unicorn facemask teamed with the emoji head piece and holding up coloured lips and signs – need I say more – the photos speak for themselves!
“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Centre stage – quite literally – was our long table dressed elaborately by the Winehouse styling sensation Sam and myself – who without the kind sponsorship of Jo at Pacific Linen, Jules from Bloom and Jaimie from Cup and Cake – we would not have achieved!
The stunning natural cloths adorned with reams of their purple satin thrown down the centre mimicked the mess of the Mad Hatter’s table, creating the most amazing platform for the next layer! The Pacific Linen team have a huge variety of theming cloths and accessories to transform any party and their brand new naturals collection is quite literally ‘hot off the press’ for the upcoming wedding season! I think everyone was impressed by the way the Winehouse really did make you feel like you were about to sit down with the Mad Hatter himself!
The eclectic mix of bottles, trinkets and teapots kindly donated by Jules at Bloom Flowers were filled with the most beautiful heads of Orchids, Cherry Blossom and Gerbera’s – a true representation of the craziness that would have been found in Alice’s wonderland! Anyone that wants a daily fix of floral fantasy should head into the Bloom Studio on Gorge Road where Jules has the most magnificent collection of flowers on display!
Our dessert was provided by the Cup and Cake Queen herself! Jaimie went above and beyond, creating an abundance of amazing sweet treats that she whips up in her central Queenstown store. From cakepops, tarts and cupcakes to big, bigger and beautiful buttercream cakes – she really spoilt us with a variety of flavours, toppings and finishes, showcasing the range of possibility they can supply for any occasion! They sat so well in the theming and were appreciated so much more, tantalisingly teasing us as we awaited the first few courses! If you need to make sure you tasted right on the night – you can revisit Jaimie in the Cup & Cake shop where they bake fresh cupcakes daily!
“Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit:Sometimes, just one second.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
After being seated and presented with our platter style entrée, we were served a variety of Winehouse wines and able to enjoy a selection of duck, smoked South Island venison, pork terrine and sautéed button mushrooms with chives and pecorino cheese! As if this wasn’t enough, we were then presented with either a piece of wasabi crusted Akaroa salmon or wood roasted lamb rump and accompaniments! The In2food team knocked the socks off our members with their fresh produce, locally sourced ingredients and presentation of the meal – all we heard were rave reviews for the rest of the evening and quite rightly so too! In2food are one of Queenstown’s longest operating catering companies and they really know their stuff when it comes to giving a great service, serving delicious food and providing a phenomenal dining experience! Being on home turf at the Winehouse, the combination provided our lucky members with a night to remember!
“have i gone mad?
im afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usualy are.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Once we had been blessed with full tummies, president Tracey Maclaren got up and spoke, thanking members and introducing our wonderful hosts. Samantha Collins shared with us some history of the Winehouse and In2food, and was also able to excitingly divulge their newest venture – Alpine Ale Works – brewed in house and hopefully be available in and around Queenstown in the not so distant future! With a growing team we are looking forward to seeing In2food out and about a lot more this summer!
Warren Williams won best dressed in his full head to toe rabbit costume, and Yucca from A Moment came a close second with her amazing ‘cat on the hat’ creation! Everyone really pulled out the stops and got involved – there were some fantastic outfits!
Aaaaannnnnnddddd then the party really started!! With Dom and Pol back on the mic, slowly enticing a few members out of their seats onto the dancefloor, it wasn’t long before everyone had fomo and were up on their feet swirling and jamming to their dancefloor classics! Blasting out our favourite hits, there wasn’t many people left sitting and they really turned the atmosphere up to the maximum! These guys know how to entertain – their infectious smiles, amazing personalities and talent beams down on the crowd leaving only the option to let loose, have fun and embrace the good times!
Once the chariots returned to whisk us back into Queenstown it took all our might to push people back out of the rabbit hole and onto the buses – we could have gone all night, however our extremely kind chuffers Neville and Glen were patiently waiting to take us home safely – even though they did have to endure quite a few more renditions of various covers all the way back to Queenstown!!
The QWA provides fun events to members as way of networking and putting names to faces, exposure for your business without the pressure, but above all, simply rubbing shoulders and enjoying a wine with friends in the wedding circle!
The Queenstown Wedding Association is such a marvelous and beneficial little nugget of goodness that we should all be super proud to be a part of! You members have the opportunity to gain access to SO much of what Queenstown and the surrounding areas have to offer – we have a great little family and its constantly growing thanks to the positive vibes sent out through social media, word of mouth and working together!
So here’s to looking forward and planning the next party!!! Another excuse to dust off your glad rags and eat, drink and be merry, I am now onto planning the Christmas party for mid-November, before things get too crazy and you all forget what it’s like to be on the fun side of the party! It would be fabulous to see you there and enjoy the excuse to celebrate US!
If you would like to be a sponsor we would love to hear from you, we rely on you members to be involved in creating our events and making them magical! Please email me at [email protected] with your ideas.
Lastly, on behalf of the committee, thank you! Without you all we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for your support!
Check out the link here to see all of the Mad Hatter Images from Carla Mitchell and her amazing Photobooth on the evening….