Enticing, vibrant, dynamic – Melbourne is a shapeshifting city of ever-appearing joys. It’s cosmopolitan, sports-mad and arty all rolled into one. It’s stylish, cultural and loud, but also keeps its best spots hidden – expecting you to discover them through the jubilant exploration of food, culture and art. Drawing on my own experience, I’ve made a guide to getting married in Melbourne that reveals the best locations!
Melbourne boomed and blossomed during the Gold Rush of the 1850s, and also saw a surge of new arrivals following the 20th-century wars. The city is organised in a well-laid-out grid, with 50s-style art deco high-rises scattered throughout, suburban houses with lemon trees in the yards and a decent band in every pub. It’s a city that beats with caffeine and cuisine, both in large and tantalising supply.
It’s beyond the fringes of Melbourne, as cement gives way to grass, that one begins to find the best locations for Melbourne destination weddings. They’re just a few hours’ drive from the city, but often feel a world away.
Weddings can be complicated and so, to give you a north star and illuminate the way, I’ve created this guide on how to plan a Melbourne wedding – allowing you to take the first few steps in creating your dream wedding day.
This question is notoriously tricky in Melbourne, which is often said to have ‘four seasons in one day’ and a place where striking a bargain with Mother Nature can prove difficult. My advice is to hold your wedding in a venue that can cater for any changes in the weather that one may experience. Each season brings new changes and each of these changes brings its own individual beauty. With that in mind, there are aspects of each season that make them all special and worthy of a celebration.
An important point I want to also make here is that you don’t need to be held back by convention. It’s becoming more and more popular to get married on whatever day suits you best. Weekday weddings are a vibe – it’s not just weekends anymore!
Ah, the romance of spring! Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular time for lovers to tie the knot and marks the beginning of wedding season. A large portion of couples (37%) have a Melbourne spring wedding between September and November. This means venues and vendors get booked up well in advance, and prices rise drastically. On the other hand, springtime does ensure that you have the widest selection of exquisite florals and that the sun will be out to give you a kiss on your special day. The beauty of spring is that, while the weather will be sunny, you won’t have to worry about your guests melting in their chairs (or the chairs melting).
If you, like Alanis Morissette, don’t want rain on your wedding day then a Melbourne summer wedding is for you. It’s a dry, festive and hot time of year. The days are long, which is especially wonderful as you can stretch the canapes well into the evening with beautiful golden light for your guests to bask in before dancing well into the night. The heat can be pretty intense – peaking at 40 degrees or even more. This can be uncomfortable for your guests, so you’ll always need to ensure enough shade for your guests. And drinks, of course.
About a quarter of couples choose a Melbourne autumn wedding to ring in their nuptials. As the heat of summer simmers down, the sun still sticks around, just missing the electrifying highs that the previous months are known for. From March to May, there’s mostly sunshine met with the beautiful tones and hues that autumn brings with it. This makes for an explosive colour palette as the backdrop of your wedding. The only downside is that the popularity of this time to get married is that prices increase. Book well in advance!
Yes, it may be cold but the rates are lower, there’s more availability and wearing a suit won’t come with health warnings. Ladies can wear comfortable, long-sleeve dresses, coats and boleros to keep warm. Think faux fur, cosy interiors and wintery drinks. Some of the best weddings I’ve been to have been Melbourne winter weddings! Even the wintery moodiness can create a sensational ambience and this can be stunning in your photographs too.
Ooh, the million-dollar question. Do you get married in the heart of the city where chic style abounds? Or do you turn to the further reaches of Melbourne’s surroundings and escape to a more rustic destination? There are countless options, but in this guide on where to get married in Melbourne, we’ll look at my absolute favourites.
The beautiful Great Otway Park is a stand-out gem of a location for a wedding. From an intimate forest wedding to something more elaborate, you can create magic in this woodland setting. Gentle birds, gum trees and waterfalls are dotted throughout the park. With vows shared in the divine light with the sun cascading through the canopies, well off the beaten track and truly serene – it’s a destination that should definitely be checked out. There’s a wide range of activities as well as accommodation to be enjoyed in this vast area teeming with nature.
Flinders cliffs is a wedding destination with a real wow factor. It’s raw and romantic with the jagged cliffs overlooking a crisp ocean horizon, the golden brush wrapping over the wandering hills creating more natural hues in your wedding palette. A pure dream for Melbourne Peninsula wedding photography, it’s one of the most beautiful and unique destinations you can imagine. It’s close to small fishing villages with antique stores and makes for a charming romantic getaway you and your guests will never forget.
The Redwood Forest is another idyllic location for an outdoorsy forest wedding. As I’m sure you can guess, the Redwoods create a backdrop of epic proportions. Their grandeur lends a powerful dose of awe to your wedding atmosphere. Located just east of Warburton, it’s about an hour-and-a-half drive from Melbourne, making it really simple and easy to get to. However, do make sure you get permits to have ceremonies there beforehand. It’s well worth a little effort to have some of these wise giants as onlookers, gently blessing your ceremony on the day.
The ranges are scenic and completely enchanting – no wonder there are plenty of wedding venues within this region. Situated in the Yarra Valley, you’re met with lush green forests, incredible and colourful blossoms in the springtime, fresh air and dewy nature. From trails to wineries, this region is brimming with good memories waiting to be made.
And now for something completely different, Cactus Country is Australia’s largest cactus farm and an exotic backdrop for any wedding. The backdrops that these huge cacti create are something, as a Melbourne photographer, I don’t see every day. This dusty, green and sawtoothed location is three hours from Melbourne and there’s accommodation in the surrounding area to ensure your guests are well taken care of. Escape to Mexico without having to leave Melbourne! What a dream!
This is another romantic coastal setting for your wedding day. Stunning rocks and beachside brush line a topaz bay that stretches before you. The rocks unfurl and lead down to a pearly white sand beach perfect for a day wedding. This is a scenic, untouched and extraordinary spot to get married – where you’ll feel like you’re the only people alive on a slice of paradise with love in the (sea) air.
Now that you know the different unique destinations surrounding Melbourne, it’s time to think about what the best wedding venues in Melbourne are. There’s an abundance of venues that could suit your dreamy desires for the day. Here are some of my top picks:
Situated in an absolutely exquisite setting with plush green lawns, a dairy and a vine-covered chapel, this is a wonderful place to exchange vows. There’s also a sensational indoor venue for the reception or the vast outdoors to enjoy. The feeling you get here is so idyllic, you struggle to believe it’s even real.
This is absolute perfection and, with over eight acres of landscaped gardens, the foliage and flower backdrops will make your heart pop! They have stunning indoor venues or outdoor areas under ancient trees. There are so many different ways to utilise this space, you’ll feel like you’re in the Garden of Eden.
This is an inner-city paradise, a true diamond in the rough, and a venue that’ll ensure a Melbourne CBD wedding can still be a sensational wedding destination like no other. This venue can accommodate small gatherings to more elaborate ones, as it has several spaces to utilise. The plants and flowers cascade around the venue, dripping from the walls and creating the most unique blend of dark interior and tropical paradise. From the conservatory to the main dining hall to the cocktail lounge, your every desire will be taken care of. You’ll feel as if you stepped into Alice’s wonderland for a night, and it might be so!
This scenic setting of winelands and dams can frame your special day in the most charming manner. They can accommodate all the finer details, from the chair choices to the outdoor setups, with the beautiful contour lines of the vineyards giving your day beauty and elegance. They have wonderful venues for the receptions and you’re in great hands when dealing with the team at Acacia Ridge.
Also in Yarra Valley, this is an exceptional country estate. The woodshed is rustic and charming and can accommodate large receptions. The Main Hill is incredibly scenic, looking out onto the valley and can accommodate tipi-style weddings or intimate ceremonies. The Shearers Quarters is a beautifully restored building that can also host small wedding receptions or cocktail party-style celebrations, and is also a great location for food trucks.
Once you know your venue’s location, your next step will be to source and book vendors that can access it; so you can get hitched, without a hitch! I think it’s important when picking vendors to choose from recommendations and to find people that reflect your personal style and taste.
You need to feel comfortable on your day and the best way to do that is to connect with the vendors you use. As a Melbourne wedding photographer, I have worked extensively with all professionals in the industry and I must say these are my top recommendations from my experiences on the job. Below you’ll find a short list of some of my favourite Melbourne wedding vendors that I believe work ethically, are friendly, fun and also super talented.
Once you’ve assembled a venue and a team, your wedding will start to take shape. Deciding on all the finer details of your beautiful celebration can be such a fun and exciting time to share together!
As a wedding photographer, I have a selection of wedding photography packages in Melbourne that can accommodate your needs no matter how specific they may be. Shoot me a message and we can chat about how to make the best day of your life captured for many years to come! I absolutely love what I do and so would be honoured to capture your love on your momentous day.
Send me a message to find out about my special packages and rates!