"I know each special occasion held at our wedding venue ‘Willows on Abbey’ will be memorable and precious..."
- Fiona Taylor
It all started when...
End of an era, and with a new relationship it was time to start again. Both my partner and I started looking for the right property. It had to have room for a workshop, garage and home to fill our blended family and gardens.
After weeks of looking at the same property advert for 2 acres in Whareora we took the plunge to view the property.
The property was baron farmland with a large barberry hedge and lots of rushes. With hard work, we transformed the property to the beautiful home and parklike grounds it is today. Only minutes from town we also have the benefits of the quiet countryside of Abbey Caves and large willow trees through the middle of our property to provide the perfect shade in the summer months.
In April 2016, with our blended family all grown up and no longer at home we wanted to continue to entertain. With some help from a close neighbour we opened our home to host and accommodate visitors to the north, now known as Abbey Barn B&B.
Wanting to keep our countryside free from a potential housing development we purchased the 3.5 acres of adjoining land. Immediately we started planting trees around the new boundary.
My partner asked, "what I was going to do with the land, other than mow." I didn’t want stock, I wanted to create gardens, each with something different. We acquired an old Volkswagen and I had my boys negotiate it into place, then came two pergolas and new garden beds.
I knew I was seeing my vision of a great place for a wedding venue.
Over the past year we have continue to create our special place. Our desire is to create a premium wedding venue, minutes from central Whangarei. We believe our property offers a relaxed private countryside setting for weddings or a place for friends and family to gather for special occasions.
Our bed & breakfast accommodation has been a huge success with great feedback and compliments our wedding venue vision.
For myself this project has really made me realise how I gain more pleasure and motivation working for myself. Days of sitting in a corporate office, where you’re just a number, I think are past. I seem to fill every spare moment with ideas, pricing, building new networks of people, seeking advice and focused on what will be. Corporate life just gives me the regular income, but is that what life is really about. I don’t think so anymore. I love my job, but I have something more inspiring in the future to head towards.
I gather I should take a leaf out of my son’s book. He walked away from $60K salary as an Officer in the NZ Army to create his very own CrossFit gym. Now his gym is one of the leading CrossFit gyms in New Zealand and he loves every minute of his day. With continuing to promote our venue, I see myself going down this path and offering Northlands number 1 wedding venue.
Another little bit of advice he gave was to focus on one main thing. He says his CrossFit success is because he is focused on providing high quality ‘CrossFit’ and not lots of extras like personal trainers etc. So for me, it is creating that ‘premium’ wedding venue that is unique and personalised for each individual that steps onto our property. As the saying goes ‘keep things simple’, you don’t need to do everything.
So with all this in mind, it has made me realise I can achieve anything if I really want to. I don’t need anyone to drive me or motivate me when I believe in my goal, and it is exciting having a vision which challenges you mentally and physically. I have realised how much my corporate role had taken me away from the public and how much I gain joy in meeting and mixing with people. Our parklike property has provided me the door to an exciting venture, where I can live my dream. I know each special occasion held at our wedding venue ‘Willows on Abbey’ will be memorable and precious.
Life is about living, not sitting on the fence waiting
Let me show you.