The top five decisions around getting hitched for most couples will be: choosing engagement rings and wedding rings, setting a date for the big day, agreeing upon a style of ceremony, invitations and selecting a venue.
The priorities will be different for every couple (and their families potentially) but these elements will usually be common to all. The engagement ring may be an enormous solitaire diamond in platinum or an heirloom ruby in 18 carat gold. The ceremony might be small, private and modest or large, quite public and lavish. It might be religious or pagan! But either way – a location will need to be chosen and locked in.
Obviously 2020 has been a year like no other in living memory. Weddings have been indefinitely postponed, some cancelled and many have taken place in very different formats from their original conception.
Restrictions on travel and severe limits around association have been the two main obstacles for wedding hopefuls. With borders closed at state and municipal levels and gatherings by law limited to very small numbers, 2020 has been the ‘Year from Hell’ when it comes to holding events such as weddings and many other celebrations. Many popular destinations have had to close their doors.
But, in Australia, we have so far done extremely well in containing the virus, and things are opening up. In some States limitations persist, but in much of the country now, social gatherings have few restrictions and travel is again possible. Events and celebrations are back on!
This development is great news for those trying to plan weddings, so with that in mind, this week we take a look at some of the popular and fabulous places to host that Big Day, in our list of Top 12 Wedding Locations in Australia.
Obviously one couple’s ideal wedding venue will be very different from another’s, so here we compile a cross section of various types of locations – the common thread being they are all fantastic in their own way!
For serious luxury and a glamorous location in Melbourne, the Langham in Southbank is hard to beat. It has expansive spaces with incredible views, its own ballroom, all exquisitely decorated and of course they are able to serve you and your guests the very finest in food and beverages.
One of Marvellous Melbourne’s most fondly regarded locations, the grand ballroom at the George in St Kilda is a classic – for couples wanting elegance with a twist – the space presents like something out of European Vogue – yet is so very Melbourne. This writer has attended three wedding receptions at the George, all notably impeccably catered for and the atmosphere rather magical.
One of the culture capital’s most important institutions, the NGV in Melbourne’s CBD is also an absolutely amazing location for all sorts of events, which can include your wedding! They can offer various special packages; there’s a range of different spaces which can be booked – all within this iconic building, which houses one of the finest art collections in the Southern Hemisphere. Having attended a couple of gala events at the NGV previously, this writer can vouch for the understated elegance of the settings and artful catering. A Masterpiece wedding venue!
Staying in Victoria, but for a more rustic feel – a terrific potential location for swapping wedding bands is Summerfields Estate, Bittern. Those searching for that bucolic charm – look no further. There’s country comfort here with marvellous accommodation for all your guests and rural elegance resplendent with olive groves, ornamental lake and sensational gardens and lawns – Splendour in the Grass!
Glenmore Country Estate in NSW’s Hunter Valley has been around for a while, and gets top reviews every year. It’s high-end, can cater for up to 100 guests and although set in a rural environment, can offer luxury on par with any city establishment. It’s very private, has an amazing position amongst the beautiful vineyards and the operators (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley) can take care of everything ceremony and reception related. You just need to bring the rings! There’s a dedicated in-house wedding co-ordinator and the venue can turn on splendid catering and there are excellent accommodation options. It’s great for couples looking for an impressive and stylish package deal.
A gorgeous, verdant garden setting has long been a beloved location to exchange vows and wedding rings. There are splendid garden settings in big and small towns alike, public and private. There’s probably one near you! The Royal Botanic Gardens in our biggest city is an iconic and stunning destination. This writer’s uncle and aunt tied the knot at Mrs Macquaries Road in Sydney some years ago, in a lovely ceremony in a picturesque corner of the property, with string quartet in the background, followed by a reception at the restaurant there. It was an exceptionally charming wedding. No need to get too concerned about floral arrangement options with a garden wedding – you’ll be surrounded by flowers!
Overlooking Australia’s most famous beach, and a beloved restaurant space for many years, Icebergs is also a fantastic wedding location. There are several private function spaces which can be made available, and of course the food and drinks are heavenly. The ultimate urban coastal luxe venue.
Villa Rustica in Byron Bay looks a bit like 1930’s Hollywood meets North Coast of NSW, if that’s possible. But it sure works! In the hinterland behind the town, there’s romantic Moorish inspired sultry buildings, mysterious courtyards, enchanted gardens and a beguiling pool. This place is lush! Looking for a location with a sense of adventure and an atmosphere of private secluded paradise? Then you’ll adore this gorgeous place to come together.
Heading north to the sunshine state now, what about having family and friends to a special event on the spectacular, world renowned Great Barrier Reef? This is one of the truly superior locations on offer in Queensland. There are around a dozen possible venues on the island, lots of choices with regard to ceremony and reception spaces, themes, styles of catering, and of course there’s amazing accommodation.
Back down the other end of the East Coast – for couples seeking something more unusual – MONA in Hobart is a place for that real ‘eye-opener’ experience (as it should be, being a Museum & Gallery). One of the most unique of its kind in the world, the ‘Museum of Old & New Art’ houses an incredibly diverse and fantastic collection of artworks and some of the most fascinating architecture you’ll see in Australia. They can also host grand events of all sorts and the food & wine on offer is superlative. A chic option for culture vultures.
Also in Tassie you have the ever popular Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. With its awe inspiring natural setting and providing the best fare in traditional Tasmanian hospitality style, this location has long been a favourite venue for repeating the “I do’s” and celebrating marriage – in breathtaking surroundings.
Wineries have long been preferred wedding locations, as they tend to tick all the boxes. The Barossa Valley has many excellent venues. A stand out is Kingsford Homestead, renowned for its food and wine. Kingsford only holds a limited number of wedding events per year, so it’s rather exclusive. The catering and accommodation is sophisticated and only 45 minutes drive from Adelaide.
This writer has attended many memorable weddings at vastly different locations – from medieval churches in Europe to incredible contemporary uptown function rooms, to beaches in Thailand to a service held under a gum tree in a paddock in country Victoria. All were wonderful in their own way. What the locations had in common was the love in the air – and that the venues represented the way in which those brides and grooms wished to reflect their personas as individuals – and for the first time their personae, as married couples.
by Nick Resch