Twedding bells chime for blushing e-bride

Screen shot 2009-12-14 at 12.08.50 PM‘They’ say it’s never been done in New Zealand—a wedding planned entirely via social media. But Orewa bride-to-be Pauline Stockhausen has vowed to use only suppliers she has met through Twitter, Facebook and the like for her March nuptials, and Waiwera Thermal Resort has jumped on board, offering a reception venue and spa makeover in return for frequent mentions on her blog.

When Stockhausen first joined Twitter six months ago, it was to boost the profile of her children’s arts programme, Kids Treehut. So when she and her partner decided to tie the knot, she wanted to use suppliers she already knew.

“It wasn’t a conscious thing. I was online one night and thought, gosh, why don’t I just use everyone I’m talking to instead of going down the street?”

And Waiwera general manager Wendy Snookes knew a good idea when she saw it.

“I thought, a-ha, here’s a new concept … it’s a huge opportunity for us to be involved from start to finish. You can’t really pay for this kind of advertising.”

She offered up Waiwera’s conference room as a reception venue, as well as the company’s new package, Bridal Boot Camp, comprising gym membership, spa treatments and teeth whitening.

“Social media is very new for us,” says Snookes. “I’m struggling with it a little bit but it’s a fun process. It’s a whole new way of marketing the business … getting the message out there that we’re more than just hot pools. We’re seen to be supporting someone in the community and it’s a really warm fuzzy feeling. Pauline does lots of charity work and we can leverage some of that.”

Screen shot 2009-12-14 at 12.07.41 PMSnookes says Waiwera will use similar tactics in future if this one is a success.

“It all depends on the scale of this thing, and it looks like it’s got legs. We’ll run a competition where people in the community can nominate someone worthy to receive a similar spa makeover. It’s about giving back.”

Stockhausen is thrilled by the deal and says she’s had quite a few job offers to handle the social media for various companies. “It’s not the right time just now but I will consider them. I want to work for a business I’m passionate about, not just take an offer from someone because I’m hot right now.”

But she’s not letting the fame go to her head.

“No, I don’t think I’m a celebrity, although it was amusing in Queen Street yesterday: some kids were like, ‘Oh my god, it’s stockhausens!’ They follow me on Twitter and were so excited to meet me, so that was kind of funny.”

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