Business pitch . . . Waimate couple William Davis and Lyndsey Cullum, pictured with dog Tess, have started a bell tent hire business. PHOTOS: REBECCA RYAN

A desire to have her English family close by for her wedding has turned into a new business venture for Waimate newcomer Lyndsey Cullum and partner William Davis.

The couple made the move south last year from Taranaki, after selling the sheep and beef station Mr Davis owned with his family in Mokau.

‘‘We just decided on a change of lifestyle and to try something new, so we came down here,’’ Miss Cullum said.

Miss Cullum had been running her own business as a vet technician — scanning and pregnancy testing cattle — but had stopped to concentrate on Studholme Glamping.

She continued to work as an artificial insemination technician for LIC, while Mr Davis continued to farm.

The couple planned to get married in January 2023, in the hopes that, by then, Miss Cullum’s parents would be able to join them.

‘‘Basically, because my family will be coming from overseas, I wanted them to be able to stay with me. I didn’t want them to just be staying in hotels and things,’’ she said.

‘‘Also, I wanted them to be able to have breakfast with us in the morning, and things like that.’’

The pair had bought a 2.8ha section at Hook Bush, about 3km from Gunns Bush Camp in rural Waimate, so their plans to wed there soon evolved into accommodating Miss Cullum’s family.

‘‘We used to live in a tiny home, so we thought, ‘do we hire some little cabins or something?’, and then we thought, ‘well why not just hire some bell tents’.’’

The only place that would rent the number they required was Aucklandbased, so they decided to buy some instead.

‘‘Because someone else must be in the same situation as us somewhere down the line, and there’s so much potential in Waimate, because people love camping and being outdoors.’’

They bought 10 5m bell tents online unseen, but were happy with the quality when they arrived, Miss Cullum said.

Glamping life . . . An example of the set-ups available with a bell tent hire from Studholme Glamping.

The plan was to hire out the bell tents, and offer different accommodation options for guest glampers.

‘‘We have queen-sized airbeds, and we have full linen, and mats and solar lights and chairs, but people also have the option, to have the tents DIY, so they can just have it empty.

‘‘The sides will roll up on the tent too — so they can have, like, a baby shower, or whatever they want.’’

Up to six people could fit in a tent, but the ideal set-up was two per tent — especially if guests wanted the special treatment.

‘‘We’ve got a lady that wants one tent fully dressed for her parent’s 60th and then she wants the rest of the tents DIY and they’re all just going to bring their own sleeping bags and stuff, but it’s just so they can make it nice for their mum.’’

The business only began in December, but Miss Cullum said she was already fielding two or three inquiries a day.

They hired out a bridal tent for a wedding last Saturday, and they were booked for another wedding in March.

Added extras . . . people hiring the bell tents can specify what finishing touches they would like included in their set up.

People were looking at less conventional ways of getting married, and weddings were more often being held outdoors and in a bush setting, she said.

‘‘So it really fits into that aesthetic that people want to work towards these days.’’

Their land was situated near a ‘‘really cool bush track’’ which led to the Hook River. Mr Davis and Miss Cullum were in the process of cleaning the area up and signposting the track.

‘‘It’s just so scenic,’’ she said.

‘‘We really like the off-grid type of living — the ecoliving. We had a tiny home on the sheep and beef station — we were completely off-grid there, we had solar power, and we lived like that for a while.

‘‘We like the sort of sustainable lifestyle. I think a lot of people are gearing towards that as well, especially since Covid, people are looking to do more things outside, and looking to spend a bit more time with their families too. It all just points to going out camping.’’

Studholme Glamping will be holding an open day on February 26 at Gunns Bush Camp, for those interested in looking at the bell tents set up. For more information, visit