Weddings West Coast
Up and down the West Coast, in offices and warehouses, home offices and kitchen tables, small businesses are flourishing. Development West Coast runs a nine-week programme called Co.Starters to equip aspiring entrepreneurs so they can turn ideas into action. Many of the businesses do not have a traditional store front, so in this series of Open for Business, the Greymouth Star and Development West Coast sample some of the emerging small enterprises that are helping shape the future.
With an abundance of stunning, dramatic and unique locations, the West Coast is a wedding destination like no other. Co.Starters graduate, Chrissy Freitas, wants to share this amazing part of the world with couples on their special day. Through her business Weddings West Coast, she provides affordable wedding packages on the West Coast.
Chrissy had her first taste of entrepreneurship when she helped open the Stationhouse Café in Moana in 1993. She fell in love with the area after visiting it on a regular basis for boating and water-skiing, which led to the crazy idea of starting the business.
The opening day turned out to be on the anniversary weekend for Moana, which they were completely unaware of and unplanned for.
“The day we opened the steam train rolled into Moana loaded with passengers. Being our first Café, we had very little experience, so it turned into quite a hilarious experience,” Chrissy says.
“We called anyone and everyone we knew to help, and our lack of waitressing skills led to orders being made like: ‘sandwich for the guy in the red hat’ or ‘coffee for the lady in the blue jacket’. By the end of the day we were beginning to wonder what we had done.”
The experience of running a Café in such a beautiful location led Chrissy to consider becoming a marriage celebrant. With the recommendation of the Greymouth Business Association at the time she went for it.
“Several Weddings were held over that time and at one stage we had the most amazing picture gallery of all the happy couples gracing our walls,” Chrissy says.
“It was a truly amazing privilege and experience for us, especially as time went by and the couples returned with children of their own.”
Lynda and Tony Le Brun’s wedding was one of the first Chrissy conducted. In a roundabout way, Lynda has now joined Chrissy at Weddings West Coast as a photographer – adding a new dimension to the business.
Chrissy says Weddings West Coast is dedicated to crafting exceptional, original occasions that truly embrace the meaning of love, with the West Coast’s scenic untamed natural wilderness as a backdrop.
“We now have Shantytown on board providing another unique location particularly for train and history buffs.
“Our aim is to provide affordable wedding packages and take out the stress of planning your amazing day. We want to showcase the West Coast as an amazing wedding destination,” she says.
To help develop her business Chrissy signed up for DWC’s Co.Starters programme being run by WestREAP in Greymouth.
“I decided to take the course to increase my knowledge and gather any ideas and information that could help move my business forward,” Chrissy says.
“I really enjoyed the course. It was great meeting such an amazing group of people and watching their incredible business ventures develop. Seeing all the amazing talent we have on the West Coast was one of the highlights.”
Weddings West Coast specializes in elopements, pop up weddings, registry style weddings, commitment ceremonies, renewal of vows, same sex weddings, for either small intimate or larger groups.
Wedding packages start from $500 for a registry style wedding or $5699 for a pop-up lakeside garden wedding with 30 guests. For more details see their website: www.weddingswestcoast.co.nz