A chance to hear wedding bells every day

5:00 AM Saturday February 28, 2015 Colin Taylor

Entry to Cassels wedding venue which is for sale at 1012 Scenic Drive, Swanson.

Cassels, one of Auckland's most popular wedding venues situated in the Waitakere Ranges, is on the market for the first time in 11 years.

“The beautifully manicured landscaped gardens evoke images of Tuscany,” says Ann Maree Rowe, business broker at ABC Business Sales, who is marketing the freehold property and going concern business at 1012 Scenic Drive, Swanson, for a total asking price of $2,265,000 plus stock.

“With a current capital value of $1,325,000, and a New Zealand Herald property report dated December 2014 showing houses in the area are selling well above their CV, the asking price of $1.6 million for the property is very reasonable,” Rowe says adding that $665,000 plus stock is sought for the business.  

She says the average revenue earned per wedding last year at Cassels was $14,222. Situated on a 4058 sq m site more the purpose built venue has operated as a wedding and event centre for over 15 years.         

While the primary customer base is weddings, the business also caters for corporate events, birthdays and other private functions. “Often weddings are booked months in advance with 75 weddings already booked for the coming 2015/2016 season. Viewings are still taking place and further bookings are being confirmed.”

Rowe says the current owners purchased the property in 2004 and made a significant investment to create the property for sale as it is today.

“These works include extensive plantings of the grounds, renovation of the reception and surrounding areas, installation of a waste water treatment plant, putting down synthetic tiger turf and erecting a large all weather marquee. Other improvements include fitting a patisserie area in the kitchen, wave guard sound proofing under the reception roof, the installation of a Crestron music system and renovations to the house which serves as the owners’ accommodation.”  

Rowe says Cassels offers a complete wedding venue from the ceremony and photographs through to the last dance. 

“The property offers complete flexibility for weddings with the marriage ceremony usually held in the lower garden area,” says. “The bride arrives walking down a landscaped walkway to music piped from the Crestron music system; past a fountain into the outdoor garden area which is nestled amidst beautiful native bush. When the weather is not the best, ceremonies are held under a big white all weather marquee in the covered garden courtyard.

“After the ceremony, the bridal party and guests walk through a romantic lighted ivy-covered entranceway into the interior, which features exquisite French furnishings complete with chandeliers, elegantly adorned tables with crisp white linen and beautiful candle and floral centerpieces provided by Cassels.”

1012 Scenic Drive, Swanson - diningroom.jpg

Dining room set up for a wedding at Cassels. 

Rowe says the reception area is large enough to have 12 round tables set up seating 10 per table plus a large bridal table. “This is positioned in front of an ornamental open fireplace set with candles to create a soft romantic ambient light behind the bridal party.”                                                

The reception area encompasses a dance floor with facilities for a DJ. “The Limelight Music Company is hired on an event by event basis to cater for the musical needs of clients may have.” Rowe says.

“With plenty of parking, and a large well equipped kitchen complete with two walk in cool-rooms, a wood-fired pizza oven and plenty of bench space this fully licensed venue can easily accommodate and cater for up to 120 people.”

Cassels is currently run by two owner operators, three full time staff and up to 20 casual waiting staff on an as-needed basis. The two chefs have been working at Cassels for 11 years and the manager, who is responsible for the staff and their rosters, for 10 years. The three key staff members are permanent staff and work irregular hours, mostly weekends and on the days leading up to weddings.

A part-time gardener has also been with the company for over 10 years

The manager has knowledge of the working and co-ordination of the wedding day and the ceremony rehearsals. She also carries out client viewings when the owners are on vacation and is capable of doing the accounts and paying wages.

Rowe says the success of the business has largely been due to attention to detail, commitment and the passion of the current owners.

“All the ground work has been done to earn this venue the reputation of being one of Auckland’s best wedding venues. It could now easily be run as a managed business keeping the current long term staff who have steadily taken on more responsibility allowing the owners more freedom to travel and take long holidays.”

Cassels operates a website which outlines the services offered including menus, price options and other details.

The owners live on site in a private two bedroom house situated on the property to the side of the main building with one room serving as an office. .

“It has not been an easy decision to make, but Sue and John are now ready to retire and have decided it is time to put their successful and much loved business on the market,” Rowe says.