Aug 13, 2020
These are four of my favourite Castlemaine Wedding Venues, including photos taken at each of brilliant couples choosing to have their wedding in this rustic region.
It’s really late at night, and i’m writing this article for you, dear human-person, on the other end, and i’m supposed to use all this coercive langue that apparently makes internet websites more engaging and all that (“you’ll never BELIEVE how rusticly-rustic to the power of rustic these are”), but, let’s skip all that cheap shit and get to the point, because you’re better than that (it’s a Castlemaine thing).
Castlemaine is incredibly rad, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this post or considering a wedding in the area, and I want to share some great spaces from this totally marvellous region.
I’ve spent a tonne of time out there, and as a general thing within the universe, a visit to it is generally recognised as being far more desirable than a slap over the noggin with a wet fish, so have a look at these scallywags that thought the same, and hire me to shoot your wedding.
Providence gully is a gem of the area, an incredible oasis established in 1858. With a rustic barn, olive grovee, pomegranite orchards and an endless variety of native greenery, this understated marvel is a must see.
I photographed the wedding of Amy and Bronson, held in this precious place, and featured in all it’s glory on Hello May.
Providence Gully website: http://providencegully.com.au/
Katie (othewise known at the inimitable Katie Marx flowers – see her here on Melbournes best wedding florists) and Greg run Butterland Newstead, and took it from an historic factory needing a little DIY love, into and incredibly versatile venue just one good road trip out of Melbourne
Iro and Alex got married at this spectacular property, and you can see more of these hilarious, stylish marvels featured here on Together Journal.
Butterland Newstead website: https://www.butterland.com.au/
The Diggers Store is something of an understated gem of the area, and resembles something of an impossible mix of tiny italian clifftop homestead, mixed with rustic outback, and just a couple of hours north of Melbourne.
After their Queenstown Elopement (also featured here on Hello May), Lilli and Jake brought the party, and their beautiful community, to the intimate grounds of the Diggers Store in Castlemaine, and loaded up with a bunch of strange old film cameras (see here why I shoot film at weddings) I came along for the ride to document it.
The Diggers Store website: http://www.thediggersstore.com.au/
This one slipped into this post, just. Even though it’s about 40 minutes outside of Castlemaine, it still qualifies and is well worth adding to the Castlemaine venue consideration pile. Home of beautiful hospitality, wood-fired pizzas, and plenty of beautiful portrait locations in the surrounding regions to run around in. Go for the woodfired pizzas, and get married on the side.
Kara and Marty had their Castlemaine wedding at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Trentham, and we whipped out for a beautiful portrait session in some unique spots nearby. Head here to see more of their Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel Trentham website: https://www.thecosmopolitanhotel.com.au/
Briars Atlas Wedding Photography – enquire
Jul 11, 2020
The Fyansford Paper Mill (otherwise known as the Old Paper Mills or Site 3a by Truffleduck) hosts weddings and events just outside of Geelong in the historic corner of Fyansford at Provenance Wines, in what is an absolute little treasure of the area, just minutes from the Geelong city centre. Take a look at this Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding Pre-enactment with the inimitable Georgie Boy.
I spent half a day in it’s incredible stone walls with Melbourne florist Gina (Georgie Boy), making use of the space and each of us following our noses in our respective crafts, with no end-goal in mind but to make something together in the 3 hours spent there. More from this shoot and a little short-film we created at the papermill to be released soon.
Scroll to the bottom for information on hiring for a Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding (or epic battle, midnight ritual, the world’s your oyster).
Fyansford Paper Mill is something of an internet enigma, and has less of a presence than you might expect for a venue that resembles an impossibly beautiful run-down italian castle, just sitting at the edge of Geelong.
Dating back to the precincts industrial era, the Fyansford Paper Mills look like something more likely to have been plucked from the minds of Peter Jacksons set-design team than a venue just outside of Melbourne that you can actually hire for your wedding: enormous wooden beams, an impossibly high entrance divider between the two main stone rooms and a unique blank canvas unlike anywhere else.
Anyhow, you don’t need me frothing over it’s incredible blue-stone walls and regurgitating information you can find readily available on the Truffleduck website, but I will say that outside of an old palace on the side of an Italian cliff, there aren’t any venues i’ve been to that feel anything quite like this.
Lower Section – 200 guests
Upper Section – 160 guests
Cocktail Style – 380 guests
For venues like the Paper Mill outside of Geelong, see Alternative Wedding Venues in Melbourne.
Jul 8, 2020
I Do Drive Thru is a worldwide wedding startup, helping couples get hitched in the middle of Covid19 while adhering to the restrictions and saving the partying for later. Since launching in Melbourne as a drive through wedding service, it’s spread nationally, and has since popped up all over the USA. Melbourne wedding celebrant Mel (who also moonlights as The Ceremony Store) runs us through why it started and how it’s helped couples all over the world.
I’ve been a Marriage and Funeral Celebrant for 15 years and own the companies, The Ceremony Store, The I Do Drive Thru and The Last Time. I am also a Celebrant Trainer with Australian Celebrations Training, Furniture Maker, Writer, Mother and Wife but I have always wanted to be an Electrician.
I am obsessed with learning as much as I can in this lifetime, I am perpetually curious. I try one new task every year until I get good at it, then I move on: I have learnt lock-picking, languages, carpentry, metal-detecting, and written a book.
When COVID 19 became a part of our world I was given medical advice to isolate which meant I could no longer do weddings. The next day I gave away/rescheduled 17 weddings and it was, to say the least; devastating, not just for me, but for my couples. Not only that, I felt horribly guilty giving my weddings to other Celebrants who could possibly get COVID.
That night I lay awake thinking about how I could keep those Celebrants safe and keep working from home during COVID.
To digress, I have always been a bit obsessed with Vegas style weddings and in my early Celebrancy career, I used to ride my red postie motorbike to weddings dressed as Elvis. It just seemed pretty natural that Vegas-vibed drive thru weddings and getting couples to stay in their cars while getting married and keeping the Celebrant distanced was the answer to all of my problems.
The next morning I texted 3 of the most awesome Celes I know, said let’s start this business, and all of them said yes without hesitation and 8 days later, we had a business name, logo, website and a press release. On our launch day we had over 32 calls from the press, 10 enquiries and booked our very first wedding.
Just by chance, my co-founders Kate, Zena and Klara were the perfect combo to get everything going, and the main driver between all of us was the passion to continue working while this crisis was going on around us.
We all love what we do and while we all kind of felt like sitting around grieving for what we had lost, we forced ourselves to build something new to fit with the changed times. Our catch cry became ‘we will work that out later’ as the business moved so incredibly quickly.
I honestly believe that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, impossible isn’t in my vocabulary. Any skill can be learned, any work can be completed no matter what limits there are, so we worked 19-20 hours days for that first week and we pulled it off.
The most rewarding thing about starting the business was the instant gratification we got with the media interest, we knew that our idea was good and the public interest confirmed that.
My gorgeous co-founders put so much trust in me right from the get go. We organised everything via phone, zoom and email, we have only sat in the same space once since we started the business, which is pretty incredible.
On launch day, seeing Klara on the 6pm news launching our business was such an achievement and then to replicate that model in each state over and over and then in the US has been amazing!
We now have 21 Celebrants working Aus wide with us and 2 in the US.
Celebrants weren’t the only people affected by COVID, it’s also the photographers, venue owners, car hire companies, florists, everyone has been affected in our industry. We worked hard to create a model that could encompass as many of these suppliers in local communities as possible, so they could be involved too.
A huge benefit to our business has been that we managed to snag some of the best photographers in Australia to work with us and these artists have provided some of the most epic photos of ceremonies.
Having these professional images to share with potential couples so they can see that tiny weddings can be so intimate and beautiful and moving has been incredible, a professional picture really is worth a thousand words.
Bringing work to all types of wedding industry professionals, while they were feeling pretty down about losing their own work, has given us all the warm fuzzies.
Our couples really range in age, we have had couple in their 20’s to couple’s in their 80’s. The similarity between them is that they really want to get married, but feel like they don’t fit into the white wedding dress/getting given away by Dad/first dance scenario. We have had couples that have stayed in their car for the ceremony, gotten out and married under trees, created convoys so family and friends can come and watch and couples have arrived via cars, helicopters, motorbikes and bicycles.
My fave couple so far is a couple where the Bride recently became paraplegic and she is still getting used to navigating new places and feels a little self-conscious.
Her Fiancé just wanted to marry her, because in his words, ‘she is the most amazing woman in the world’. When they heard about the Drive Thru and she saw that she didn’t have to get out of the car and worry about wheelchair logistics, she cried, because this was the only way she felt comfortable getting married.
COVID is going to be here for a while. It’s not going to magically disappear, and I honestly think this will impact the wedding industry for years.
In the short term we have the uncertainty of not knowing when we can go back to booking big celebrations and it makes planning pretty impossible.
Then when restrictions are lifted then yes, technically, we can go back to bigger celebrations, but is it a celebration if you can’t hug your Nan when you walk back down the aisle? Is it a celebration if you can’t share a shot glass or eat bread out of the same breadbasket?
The effects of social distancing will continue to live on, especially when it comes to celebrating that way that we are used to.
A surprising side-effect to this whole COVID scenario, is that suddenly eloping isn’t taboo, eloping makes you responsible, kinda like a hero, you are protecting your community by having a small wedding and that shift in thinking has been kinda rad.
People have been eloping because there isn’t the stigma attached to it anymore, heck the government practically endorsed eloping when you were only allowed to have the marrying couple and two witnesses present.
My advice to couples during COVID has been to follow your heart and remember that there is a huge difference between a marriage and a wedding. (Check out Will and Jac for Melbourne wedding planning).
If you wanna get married, get married, do it, commit to your lover, that’s so important, don’t let COVID stop you. There is literally no better time to love and be loved than right now, having companionship during a crisis is what will get you through it.
When people ask what you did during COVID how totally romantic is it to say that you married your honey and then shacked up in iso together? (Side note – like this Blue Mountains Elopement).
If your heart is set on a wedding that encompasses family and friends, then wait, but wait until COVID is dead and gone and we can hug again. Have a huge wedding down the track, when you can handshake and dance, but you will have to be patient.
And for those that want both, do it! Have the most romantic, sweet tiny ceremony now and make it all about each other, then have a huge wedding party later on-best of both worlds.
Running a business during a pandemic is tough. Terms and conditions/your contract/Statement of Fees documents are everything. Mine was pretty broad but certainly never covered a killer virus!
I always say to other Celebrants be tough on paper, but soft in reality. You have to have your rules in place, but be flexible, don’t forget everyone is going through something and creating relationships, and word of mouth recommendations in this business is what it is all about.
I always rule with my heart and not my head, so I certainly don’t set the best example for other business owners, but I find if you treat people with kindness then that’s what you will get back.
I have always gotten more out of what I do for others, than what I do for myself, so to create a business that has helped so people feel good and have a bit of purpose during COVID has probably been one of the most rewarding things I have done for a long time.
For more info on how to get married during Covid 19 away from a drive thru wedding, check out these small wedding venues in Melbourne, and this information piece on having a Melbourne City elopement during Covid 19.
To have your small Melbourne City elopement filmed by the best wedding videographers in town, check out Bottlebrush Films as they’re doing filming for overseas guests and relatives who can’t make it.
Jul 5, 2020
The Yarra Valley is one of the most totally majestic regions in Victoria, which you already know if you’re planning a wedding out that way. Yarra Valley Wedding venues are places that celebrate the natural beauty of the area, as well as the unique food, wine, and accommodation.
As someone who grew up in the Yarra Valley, i’ve got a special passion for the are and it’s a treat to lay out some of my favourite spots in the region. These days I photograph weddings in the Yarra Valley year in and year out, but a couple of decades ago it was tearing around the streets on a BMX instead.
To either of those, it’s got a special place in my heart and if it doesn’t yet have one in yours, it soon will.
These Yarra Valley wedding venues are some of the best wedding locations Australia has to offer, let alone in Victoria. I’ve photographed a fair few Yarra Valley winery weddings in my time. They’re stunning. The evening sun pirouettes through the vines, and if you’re lucky, drops an incredible rainbow your way (looking at you, hills of Zonzo Estate).
There are an innumerable amount of Yarra Valley wedding venues to choose from, so I’ve compiled a short and sharp list from first hand experience for you to peruse and explore, sink your teeth into whilst navigating a latte like-say, etc.
Because this area of the world is so spectacular, i’ve also included some useful local insights to occupy yourselves with either side of your wedding day itself. It’s all well and good picking a ceremony and reception venue but that’s only half of the fun. Where will you get ready? Where will you sleep?
Where will you cure the hangover?
I’ve looked into some dazzling accomodation for you and your guests to lay your heads. Being secluded and private on a vineyard is one thing, but people not being able to find the place or their way back to bed is another!
The accommodation I’ve picked is local to your potential venues so people aren’t spending too long travelling before or after. I’ve looked at a range of affordability too so everyone can enjoy this wonderland. It’s little things like this I find help the day run smoothly and keep spirits high.
Remember, there is going to be a lot of sore heads the next day so I‘ve snuck in a few great places to catch your first married bite the morning after too.
All of these venues are pretty marvellous in their own way, so these are listed in no particular order. When you go and visit them you’ll know which one is the one, and I recommend booking a meeting with their events coordinator to show you around. The awesome crew that run them, the wild scenery, the charming ceremony spaces and the versatile reception areas will all ring true with you in one way or another.
Read on to find out exactly why these 5 have made it to my list. Each one offers something quite different. I obviously love wedding venues that have unique photo opportunities and sublime backdrops, and we are not short of them here. I also love it when venues have really thought about the couple and their guests’ whole experience. Whether that’s offering a bridal day room, onsite ceremony and accommodation, or an award winning dining experience. It’s those little extras that make your wedding the talk of the town!
I’m kicking off my list with these maestros because this is a venue for the photos and the food! My two pleasures in life. I remember turning up at the Zonzo Estate for the first time and being pretty knocked out by it’s rolling hills. Set in an old milking barn the emphatic main building with sloped roof, huge glass panelling and sleek interior design makes for an idyllic modern yet traditional setting. They have a particularly cute outdoor area under festoon lights where newlyweds do the ‘zonzo twirl’ contrasted by the evening’s sweeping landscape. A bonus of this estate is that you can opt to have your actual ceremony on site with a choice of three glorious spaces overlooking the rolling hills. No chance of anyone getting lost en route to this reception. The three options give you the chance to express yourself that little bit more, and make for a venue that you can make your own.
The real dark-horse of this place though, the gem of Zonzo Estate, is their Italian dining experience. Let’s face it, no one wants shit food at a wedding (this can’t be drilled home hard enough ahead of time). If guests taste buds are being tantalised, then the vibe is too (if you’re looking at a venue that doesn’t have onsite catering, make sure you check out this post about the best wedding caterers in Melbourne). People need fuel for the dance floor! Zonzo Estate have won several awards for their wedding restaurant reception so it’s official that their food is to die for. They’ve been in the business over a decade and know what they’re doing. Zonzo have their own wedding coordinators on site to help you make your Yarra Valley winery wedding dreams come to life in the most seamless and stress-free way, and they run like clockwork.
Intermission: be sure to check out my larger post on Zonzo Estate.
I love the shit out of being a part of couples wedding here – beautiful industrial structures juxtaposed with all things rustic, and a moving platter of beautiful vibes all on the one property. While you’re on the Zonzo train, you might also like these beautiful rustic wedding venues in Victoria.
Beforehand: be sure to check out my post on Stones of the Yarra Valley.
Stones of the Yarra Valley had cemented itself as a bit of an icon of the region, and is one of the busiest venues going. What this means for you, is that their wealth of experience in running lush, tightly run events, means that everything goes to plan. Their owner and sometimes coordinator, Vonnie, is just as much an icon of the industry as her venue.
It’s enormous grounds offer a variety of spaces to accommodate the day to your needs. There are several 19th century restored buildings with pristine gardens and vines, it really feels like being in Tuscany. These guys can host your whole day here or they even have sister smaller venues to host smaller reception only gigs. Whatever you want, the Stones of the Yarra Valley can deliver.
Let’s start with the stunning on site ‘Chapel’. It’s simple and elegant, the high ceilings and handcrafted woodwork make an alluring place to tie the knot in front of your nearest and dearest. After you’ve become newlyweds you can join your guests for drinks and little bites in the ‘Dairy’. I love this part of the day, there’s so much excitement and a proper buzz in the air. Go and give your guests a twirl in all your magnificence and lap up the love. The Stones have absolutely smashed it when it comes to Yarra Valley wedding reception settings. Every seat in the house has a spectacular view of the scenery, all hosted from the sensational ‘Barn’. They’ve elevated the ceiling so it’s bright and airy in the daytime. They’ve got exposed wooden beams nestled against panoramic windows and impressive foliage externally. At night they have festoons and soft lighting for you and your guests to jive under, and for me to take some fantastically lit photos!
After all the fun is over, you can stagger down the road to the boutique ‘Farmhouse’ accommodation. I love onsite accommodation, it just takes one less logistical step out of the equation! Easy! Another logistical added extra these guys have is a bridal preparation room. Filled with mirrors and natural light, you and your party can be on site and get some extraordinary pre-wedding shots! Winner! Read below for more on their sister venues.
Yering Station is one of the oldest wineries in the Yarra Valley. This wedding venue is truely and naturally ceremonial. This quintessential ceremony under the trees could be in Italy or France. The orchard trees are ordered yet natural and needs minimal decoration (and the coverage stops everyone from squinting).
Walk yourselves across the grounds toward the impressive main building. The incredibly serene reception room and scape are the epitome of elegance. The architecture oozes class and the grounds are ornate and mature. Everywhere you turn there is a photo opportunity. I love taking the couple away for their personal shots around the grounds, there are some really delicately lit hidden spots for those golden hour frames that are just priceless. This place really is a jewel.
Lavished in history and grandiose views you just have to be there to soak it all up. The huge panoramic windows of the reception room mean you can be protected from the elements but cannot get away from the endless views. Every person in the room will be able to see them from any seat in the room. The exposed stone accents and overhead wooden beams look gorgeous in photos. They’ve got so much space for you and your guests to prance around in, it’s ace!
The little wins here include a bridal room which is light and airy, a wedding coordinator to help you from start to finish and get your guests in the right place at the right time and an unexpected quirk of a personal sommelier to match your menu to the gorgeous wines they have there! It’s not only the manicured grounds that are totally phenomenal, even the food looks incredible and sits perfectly on the long white tables. Have a look at their wedding packages here.
Also: check out my lengthy post on this Yering Station wedding.
Before you dive in: check out this Immerse Yarra Valley wedding.
As soon as you arrive at this cataclysmic location you are wowed by one of the chapels (yes there are three options!). The ‘Vineyard Chapel’ has floor to ceiling striking windows looking out into the Sauvignon Blanc vines that draw you in. Then once you’re inside they frame the landscape astonishingly. This chapel keeps the elements out whilst still letting maximum nature in. Their next option is the covered outdoor ‘Garden Chapel’. This is the perfect balance between inside and outside ceremonies. You’ll be wed in front of the most pristine ornamental lake and gardens. The photo opportunities are exquisite, believe me! However, if you want to go fully al fresco then their final ceremony option is ‘The Paddock’. You and your guests and nature, nothing else. I think it’s great when a venue has options, it really gives you a chance to customise your day to how YOU want it. It means that even if you’ve been to a wedding there before you can make yours different.
As I mentioned before, being in one place for the full day is a big bonus. This divine location offers 20 on site rooms and a stella restaurant alongside their multiple ceremony options. Their elegant and spacious bridal suite can be hired for you and your squad to get ready in before and you and your new husband to retire to after. No need to spend on transport, more time for epic dance moves! Winner! The 20 rooms also get complimentary breakfast in the morning which is pretty peachy too!
Finally, and probably most importantly, the main reason I love Immerse Yarra Valley wedding venue is because the family that owns it are stupendous. They are warm, welcoming and wonderful from start to finish. Making sure you, me and your guests have everything we need and more. You can’t buy that. There’s nothing worse than feeling stressed and disorganised with a wedding. Whether you’re having 20 or 220 guests, there is absolutely no chance of stress when they are involved. This is probably why they are so popular and highly rated all the time.
So you’ve chosen your beautiful Yarra Valley winery wedding venue and now you need somewhere for you and your lovely guests to sleep. I’ve had a little think for you, from personal experience and from extensive industry research I’ve compiled a few ideas.
When choosing where to stay you probably should think about being well rested and within a decent distance from the Yarra Valley wedding venue you’ve chosen so that…
a) you’re not late
b) you can get to bed easily after the most magically mental day of your life!
You also need somewhere that has enough room for you to get ready comfortably and that will make you feel special and relaxed on your first night as a married couple! Whoop! (The room needs to be bigger than the bed is what I’m saying). This is surprisingly hard to find sometimes. If you can get on-site accommodation then this takes out a lot of logistical planning and time from the day but not all winerys offer this. It’s more important to be in love with your venue than go for something less to your taste just because they have accommodation.
A great and often overlooked option is to get an AirBnB. There are some pretty jazzy options in this area. You can hire a huge one between you and your closest friends and family or even just a secluded private one for your first few nights as a Mr and Mrs! Make sure there is enough room to get ready in with lots of natural light and mirrors if you’re hiring it for the night before.
This ‘Rustic Luxury’ 6 person house is in the vines and is only a 10 minute drive from Stones of the Yarra Valley Winery. Or why not get yourself a secluded villa with a pool for you and the girls to enjoy before the big day? If you really want to be in nature and away from it all then Olinda Yarra Cottage offers a cute farm stay option for up to 6 people and has beautiful farm views for the pre-wedding photos and for soothing weary heads.
It’s your big day, spoil yourself! The Kangaroo Manor is a spacious, modern, wooden, secluded, sophisticated, mega-mansion with a pool in the hills. It sleeps 7 people and it’s about 35 minutes from the wineries I’ve listed hidden down a farm track. It is honestly breathtaking! You get so much more space for your money in these kinds of places rather than in hotels.
If you’d rather have most people in the same place then there are a plethora of really bloody nice hotels in the area too. The Chateau Yering Hotel is a slice of renaissance style luxury if that’s your thing. This is only a short walk away from the Yering Station Estate and is commonly used as their accommodation option. Their good relationship with the winery can really help with organising things too. Check your dates for this one though as it can also be used as a wedding venue because it’s so suave!
Healesville Garden Accommodation Houses have a fully functional ten bedroom house that can sleep up to 22 people. It’s only 15 minutes to the wineries and is ideal for keeping the family all in one place. Renting somewhere like this can be a very cost effective accommodation option and be a nice way to spend a bit of quality time with people around all the commotion of the day.
So you’ve picked your glamorous winery, you’ve sampled your delicious menu, you’ve booked your mother in law into a delectable hotel room. Now those hangovers need a good feed! Post wedding day breakfast spots can be fancy or laid back depending on your style. It’s a great time to have a giggle and swoon over the previous day’s happenings. How did Uncle Steve end up sleeping under the stars? How did your dress get so muddy? How fucking colossal was the entire day!? I live for this time. The pre-wedding stress is over, the months of anticipation have climaxed and you can now sit back and bathe in your honeymoon period. You might want to have a little family group get together or meet up with your old pals from school you haven’t seen for years. Whatever or whoever you’re eating with, you want it to be tasty and there to be (lots of) amazing coffee!
I’ve picked out 3 of my favourite brunch spots in the area where you can debrief with your nearest and dearest.
I know we’ve spoken about these guys already but they offer the full package and they have 5 insane venues to host your brunch the next day! And if they’ve already looked after your actual day then the coordination for the next day will be seamless. Talk about tasty convenience!
‘The Barn’ can seat 200 people so you can really continue the wedding properly the next day! It’s where you’d usually have your reception so guests will be familiar with where to go and you can all sit in the same place to avoid confusion.
‘The Stables at Stones’ can seat 63 people which is perfect for those more intimate weddings. It’s 19th century chic at its finest. Exposed brick walls, huge wooden stable doors and manicured hedges are just perfect for an elegant and relaxed meal with friends.
‘No.7 Healesville’ has epically high ceilings, sliding barn doors and walls of wine barrels which look really fucking cool! This is a spacious and airy location for 53 guests. Why not have next day tapas?!
If you’re staying at the Stones of the Yarra Valley accommodation you’ll find the Meletos locations very convenient.
‘The Warehouse at Meletos’ also seats 63 people and is a more modern option. Huge glass windows in a renovated building with chandeliers and a bar. This is a more relaxed vibe and can even be set up as a standing cocktail/mingling style if you want.
‘Meletos Cafe’ is its own entity. Very popular cafe priding itself on using local produce to create very tasty food. They are very accommodating vegan, vegetarian and gluten free without compromising quality. You can choose a more formal sit down or a sharing option.
Modern and mental food and design. Their eggs are fluffy and their sauces are swirly. They’ve got fruit bowls, avo smash and creamy dreamy coffee. If you want brunch done well these are your guys. They’ve got all the eggs and avo you can shake a stick at. They’ve got big breakfasts, little breakfasts and even a glass of bubbly if you’re not quite finished celebrating yet! Vegan and gluten free friendly options all over the place. Something delicious for everyone here. Their freshly made juices and milkshakes could just be the antidote you’re seeking. Yum! Take a look at their menu here.
An Alice in Wonderland inspired high tea experience! This isn’t your usually prissy cucumber sandwiches, these guys have taken afternoon tea to the next level. Get ready to go down the rabbit hole to find extraordinary cakes and bites swimming in smoke and mirrors. I’m talking about ‘Korean Fried Chicken’, waffles, and ‘Mad Hatters breakfast’ platters followed by ‘tweedle wheels’, ‘queen’ of hearts strawberry mousse and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ lemon and pineapple desserts. Accompanied by hypnotic ‘chess board coffee’ boards, ‘love potions’ and ‘white tea and butterfly pea’ lattes! They have some ace vegan and veggie options too which is often hard to properly accommodate. Have a look here to be sure to keep the giggles going into the next day!
Planning a wedding is a time to let your fantasies take control! Yarra Valley is an ideal location that can help your dreams for the day come true. The best weddings combine the couples personality to make it feel like it’s their own. Keep searching and don’t settle for something until it feels right!
What I love about our industry is the amount of raw inspiring creativity people bring to what they do. I have worked with some phenomenal wedding super stars in my time and I’m lucky enough to stay in touch with all of them. Looking for something in particular?
Drop me a message and I can send you some suggestions. You could also check out my other blog articles for more wedding inspo! I’ve recently released articles on unique florists in Victoria and music ideas for small weddings!
For more inspiration in Victoria outside of the Yarra Valley, be sure to check out this Sault Daylesford wedding, Tanglewood Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, and this incredible rustic Castlemaine wedding venues.
Jun 30, 2020
In the middle of classic Australian expanse, about 2 hours west of Brisbane as the crow flies, sits Australia’s second largest inland city, and recipient of “most vowels in a city name” award. Welcome, to the gloriously rural region of Toowoomba, Queensland. Known for it’s Carnival of Flowers held annually in September, and having recently installed it’s own airport more and more people are getting to know this hidden gem of a town. Today though, we’re here to focus specifically on the BEST Toowoomba wedding venue, Gabbinbar Homestead.
Read this post if:
The majestic diversity speaks for itself. It’s the perfect middle ground between country wedding and city wedding. While Toowoomba isn’t a bustling hub of activity like Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, it has the most endearing rustic charm that you can’t quite find in those larger cities. This rustic charm honestly makes for the most heartwarming, down-to-Earth wedding ceremonies.
Shooting at rural wedding venues like this just make you feel like you’re part of something special: and part of that here owes to the almost total seclusion from the outside world of it’s private garden edges.
I’ve shot at countless wedding venues and no place quite makes you feel at home like the gorgeous Gabbinbar Homestead. There are so many hidden gems scattered throughout the venue, and the mystique of it all is something you have to feel to believe. You find yourself weaving in and out of the trees, snapping pictures of family and friends of the bride and groom in such a relaxed, magical atmosphere. Rural wedding venues just seem to bring out the best in people.
Gabbinbar’s all-inclusive wedding package, aptly titled ‘The Gabbinbar Experience’ is just that. It’s basically everything you need to experience the exact wedding day you want to bring to life. Specifically:
Plus all of those often overlooked, finer details that go into executing a flawless wedding that come with the territory of having everything in the one place.
Outside of this theres 3000+ rooms a stone’s throw away for guests and family.
So, if you’re thinking of escaping to the country for your wedding, short of the rural expanses of the moon there’s no better place than Gabbinbar Homestead.
From a Toowoomba wedding venue abundant in charm and heart to a completely unique shotgun-style Melbourne wedding venue, visit this post featuring The Alter Electric.
Jun 19, 2020
The perfect wedding setting for thoughtful, contemporary couples who know how to appreciate a great piece of art, Heide Museum of Modern Art allows for both a stunning ceremony and an inspiring reception. The Museum boasts spectacular photography opportunities throughout the grounds and the Gallery. Let’s take a sneak peek at this amazing, artistic space and check out some photos from a recent Heide Museum of Modern Art wedding I was fortunate enough to capture.
Heide Museum of Modern Art brings an air of sophisticated creativity to Banksia Park in Bulleen, a north-eastern suburb of Melbourne. It’s not too far at all from the CBD – only around a 20-minute drive. It practically oozes convenience.
The Yarra River flows, snake-like, through Banksia Park, just a short walk from Heide Gallery. Bulleen Art Gallery and Garden is also within the vicinty. Another interesting point, Bulleen Hungry Jacks is only a short way down the road. Post-wedding burgs? Count me the hell in.
You’ve got a golf club nearby if there’s time to fit in a quick game with the lads (or ladies) the day before the wedding. And, as mentioned, Melbourne CBD is a short Uber ride away. You can get up to all kinds of mischief, eat some amazing pre-wedding noms and pick up any last minute bits and pieces for the wedding that may have slipped your mind.
As a wedding venue, Heide Gallery is the gift that keeps on giving. From the picturesque, natural grounds to the vibing Gallery and sculptures, this place is a photographers dream. Seriously. There are almost too many spots that are perfectly suited to capturing stunning images.
The Heide grounds and gardens span majestically across the 15 acres this Gallery calls home. The heritage gardens contain sprawling lawns, gorgeous flower beds and huge trees with trailing limbs that form cosy hidey-holes.
A river glade with towering trees and shrubs provides a shady spot for an intimate ceremony, or a wonderful photography or videography location.
The views from various sites throughout the grounds sweep across the surrounding park and provide a truly awe-inspiring atmosphere.
Upon gazing around the venue, your view will be obstructed slightly – for good reason – by contemporary sculptures and architectural wonders that are dotted throughout the grounds.
All your wedding catering needs will be taken care of by the Heide Cafe, the exclusive catering service for Heide Gallery weddings. Both the wedding ceremony and the reception are able to be covered. The cafe has an amazing range of seasonal produce with a huge variety of menu options to choose from.
The Cafe is also a great place to swing by for a pre-wedding brunch with the bridal party or a post-wedding coffee if you’re feeling a little worse for wear (horrifically hungover) after the previous night’s celebrations.
The Museum itself is an awesome place to spend any spare time and fight off any pre-wedding jitters. A range of indoor exhibitions including the Main Gallery and the Modernist House are home to some amazing collections of contemporary art. Wander the grounds to experience Rick Amor’s Running Man, Neil Taylor’s Theoretical Matter, and the rest of the outdoor exhibitions and sculptures that add an artistic, modern flair to the sweeping, naturalistic elements of the grounds.
It’s safe to say that this Melbourne wedding venue is the perfect place to celebrate love, serenity and an appreciation for delightful modern art.
Have you visited to the Heide Museum of Modern Art? What was your favourite installation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
For more images of a decadent art space, check out this piece by Firecraker Event on grazing tables.
Jun 8, 2020
Tanya and Ryan are Jiu-Jitsu diehards, who train together, and Mario-Kart together. These legends had their Two Ton Max wedding in Melbourne right at the 11th hour before Melbourne’s first Covid lockdown. In one of Melbournes most brilliant warehouse wedding venues, these two got it done in style with a crew of the best. I was lucky to be along for the ride with my dear old mate Michelle Grace Hunder, photographing this together for the first time in years (we started out as a wedding duo before going solo).
Enjoy this little peek into Tanya and Ryans Two Ton Max wedding, featuring Melbourne wedding celebrant Shannon Jeans running the show. For more beautiful warehouse, rustic, or alternative wedding venues in Melbourne, check out this post on unique Melbourne wedding venues, featuring Rupert on Rupert and Gather and Tailor.
Two Ton Max website: http://twotonmax.com.au/
Mar 27, 2020
So, we’re in a pandemic. Apart from this bizarre scenario gifting us a new vocabulary including such terms as “social distancing”, it’s turned what should be a beautiful process full of joy (and at most, disagreements around what type of paper the invitations will be printed on) into a right old… let’s call it what it is – shitstorm. The beautiful upside is – and stay with me here – it’s opened the doors to many couples enjoying a beautiful Melbourne City elopement – while saving the party with their communities for later.
I’ve been fortunate to photograph a whole lot of weddings during Covid19 (nothing was ever gonna stop the love-train), and the general vibe has been one of optimism, and putting love first.
It’s difficult to say with conviction “currently, we can do…” as the information available and lockdown situation is changing very quickly, with huge implications on the scale of wedding celebration that can be had.
Presently, though – at this very moment in time – Stage 4 lockdowns have put a temporary hold on things, but beyond that, Stage 3 lockdowns mean a smaller wedding – in effect, an elopement! And that’s good news, for a slew of reasons.
From my personal experience, while this might sound like a compromise, it’s one of the most beautiful ways to celebrate your marriage in an intimate way, have a bunch of fun with it, while rescheduling the big community side of it to a later date.
Consider getting the legals down, teaming up with one of our brilliant Melbourne wedding celebrants (who in the case of I Do Drive Thru, can live-stream your little moment of glory to family and friends far and wide), exploring some of my favourite Melbourne Wedding photo locations together, and then… updating that Facebook status.
This is about you two! What a beautiful time to look inward to that, and outward later on at whatever shape the party takes with your community. On that note, getting a head-start on your planning to that end, is time well spent. Do it for your own peace of mind, and don’t listen to anyone telling you to rush (there’s plenty of vendors for everyone).
If you need any assistance planning your Melbourne elopement or small wedding, pop me an email.
I’m a destination wedding photographer, based in Melbourne, and originally from the Yarra Valley. I’m lucky to have the best job in the world: photographing love and community, all over the planet. If you’re having a Melbourne City elopement, i’d love to have the honour of photographing it for you.
Feb 1, 2020
I’m honestly at a loss for words trying to introduce this Blue Mountains wedding venue. The Hydro Majestic Hotel lives up to it’s name and is a turn-key wedding venue that really does offer everything you need to pull off the most extraordinary wedding. The hotel itself presents some phenomenal photo opportunities, with a refined art-deco style. The real magic though is in the view. It really does have to be seen to be believed. Luckily for you, I managed to snap a few wedding shots at this larger-than-life Blue Mountains wedding venue a little while ago and I’m more than happy to share. Enjoy!
Ok, this is the part where I blab on and on about how incredible this venue is. It is definitely for good reason though, there really isn’t a single downside. So, if you’re not thinking of booking The Hydro for your upcoming nuptials, maybe turn away if you don’t want to know what you’re missing out on.
This wedding venue is an absolute BEAST. It is a towering ode to the dreams of businessman Mark Foy and his drive to install Australia’s very first Health Retreat. That’s what The Hydro is, first and foremost – a retreat. And a mighty enormous one at that.
In 1903, Mark oversaw the construction of the Hydro, pulling out all the stops. A generator imported from Germany, artworks from all across the globe, a dome shaped roof that was built in Chicago and shipped all the way to Australia, and a Swiss health professional to run the joint. He even renamed the township The Hydro was situated in to “Medlow Bath” to make it suit the overall vibe of the hotel. If that isn’t a baller move, I don’t know what is.
The venue has hosted a plethora of famous guests over the years including: Dame Nellie Melba the magnificent Aussie Opera singer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Australia’s first Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton who actually died in the hotel in 1920. Sure, it’s a morbid claim to fame, but it’s a claim to fame nonetheless.
If the grandiose of this venue isn’t apparent in its history, then allow the photos below to show you just how remarkable this place truly is.
If you’ve been pining after a wedding ceremony with a view, there’s no better way to do it than right here in the Blue Mountains. The Hydro Majestic boasts a breathtaking lookout with a viewing platform that’s perfectly suited to hosting a wedding ceremony in the natural surrounds of the serene Australian bush.
Honestly, whilst capturing photos for this wedding I was constantly picking my jaw up off the floor. I couldn’t believe just how ridiculously gorgeous the entire place was.
The ceremony was backed by a tremendous valley that held an expanse of native bush lands. The Blue Mountains really is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Australia – it’s no wonder this spot was selected to host the grandeur of The Hydro Hotel.
When you book your wedding venue through The Hydro Majestic, you’re basically covered for everything. And I mean, everything.
The list goes on, my friends. I truly cannot recommend this venue enough, not only for weddings but for other events, photography shoots, high teas – anything that requires a spacious site that oozes class and style.
I’m going to leave you with a few more photos from this gorgeous Blue Mountains wedding venue. Once you’re done browsing through them why not check out this post on the awesome I Do Drive Through?
For more beautiful rural New South Wales weddings, check out this Kangaroo Valley wedding,
Jan 8, 2020
Zoe and Adam married at the incredible Hydro Majestic hotel, in New South Wales. Zoe’s bridesmaids wore stunning Elle Zeitoune Emerald Bridesmaid Dresses, in emerald green.
You can see Zoe and Adams full day on Vogue, and here we just wanted to share these incredible, shimmering emerald green bridesmaid dresses.
To hire me to photograph your wedding, enquire at Briarsatlas.com
Elle Zeitoune Website: https://www.ellezeitoune.com.au/shop/section/55/Bridesmaids
Head here for more modern wedding dresses.
Apr 9, 2019
Considering a wedding at Deux Belettes, in the gorgeous Byron Bay hinterland in New South Wales?
On this page you’ll find some of my favourite photographs i’ve captured at weddings all over the world, including NSW and the Blue Mountains, and as far as the majestic Ravello castle, overlooking the Amalfi coast in Italy (which, if you have been to both those regions, you’ll find a little bit of a spiritual homage between them).
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer for your Deux Belettes wedding, I regularly travel to NSW, an can run you through how I work to make the process exactly as it should be: seamless, fun, with beautiful images at the end of it all, tailored to every type of couple under the sun.
My style is candid with a documentary approach, and every image you see on this page came from creating a space in the way that I know makes for images you’ll connect with: a space where you can be present with each other.
Deux Belettes is the place where all majestic, French inspired boho-wedding dreams come true. A frontrunner of the slow-building movement that began in the region in the 1980’s, all of the structures have been beautifully built over time using reclaimed materials as they become available, along with the iconic tunnel of plane trees that now give it an unmistakeable European feel.
Deux Belettes can hold up to 100 guests in a marquee, with on-site accommodation available as well.
Deux Belettes does not offer wedding packages, so they require that all vendors are booked separately. If you’re looking for a wedding planner or wedding celebrant, I can connect you to some brilliant options locally. But while we’re here, for Byron Bay wedding planning, I cannot recommend White Rabbit Projects highly enough – Bree and her squad are absolutely incredible and you *need* their experienced hands on your team.
Make an enquiry: https://briarsatlas.com/enquire
The majestic Deux Belettes is located at 2477/104 Victoria Park Rd, Dalwood NSW 2477.
Find them online at https://www.deuxbelettes.com/
Apr 2, 2019
Food And Desire are an incredible design-driven mob of party-starters and culinary masters, and they host the most progressive, design-minded weddings and events in Melbourne. I photographed the wedding of design-lovers Bianca and Harry held at their South Melbourne warehouse wedding venue, Half Acre.
This is what a Food And Desire wedding looks like. Some of the most incredible styling and florals i’ve ever seen (floral artistry courtesy of Flos Botanical – see her work here in detail on this post about the best Melbourne wedding florists).
Mar 28, 2019
Daniel and Darkus’s majestic Yering Station wedding in the Yarra Valley. Sharon the Celebrant came along to share their story with their community, and these two gents started off with a little portrait shoot nearby, before putting in a massive day of love and good times with their community.
If lush greenery and wild landscapes and art deco perfection in the Yarra Valley (cue Burnham Beeches and the incredible Zonzo Estate) aren’t your thing, check out these unique wedding venues in Melbourne for some alternatives. For a country victoria wedding venue further north, check out this Sault Daylesford wedding.
Mar 23, 2019
Rupert on Rupert is the most stylish intersection of sass and grit hidden inside inner Collingwood. I’ve been fortunate to photograph there, drink there, party there, meet there, and setup my other companies styling installations there. Each and every time it’s a treat to be inside, and this set of images is from Alix and Tims Rupert on Rupert wedding.
Alix and Tim’s first dance, film noir style on the floor of Rupert on Rupert.
The incredible interior looks straight out of a David Lynch or Wes Anderson film.
The iconic Rupert on Rupert floral wallpaper backdrop!
Not everyone was up for the party. Head over here to see more images of kids at weddings.
Rupert on Rupert has room for up to 220 people in a cocktail setting – with many of those folks ending up in this classic chesterfield room.
Tim and Alix running the bridal gauntlet for their entrance to the warehouse venue.
Simple hangouts in beautiful classic Collingwood backdrops near Rupert on Rupert. The back streets of Collingwood and nearby Fitzroy have an endless number of industrial, gritty, and historical backdrops, and just a 10-15 minute walk around the venue makes for endless photo opportunities.
Rupert on Rupert was also featured in my post about Alternative wedding venues in Melbourne – see the post to find more wedding venues like this. If you’re considering having your wedding at Rupert, i’m happy to share a bunch of information on all the hidden gold around the area, as well as tips on making the most of a wedding at the venue.
Rupert on Rupert online: www.rupertonrupert.com.au
Venue size: Warehouse cosy, with room to rave. 85 seated, 220 cocktail.
Briars Atlas Wedding Photography – https://briarsatlas.com/enquire
Dec 1, 2018
You’re getting married, you’re looking for a photographer, and you want to know the right questions to ask, and what sort of things you’re going to get. Experience is important, and i’m lucky to have plenty of it since our laws finally changed to allow same-sex weddings. I’m a same-sex and gay wedding photographer based in Melbourne, and have been fortunate enough to photograph the weddings of beautiful couples all over the planet. On this page you’ll see some beautiful gay wedding photography captured in Melbourne, and as far as San Francisco, as commissioned by couples looking for gay wedding photography that’s a little bit different.
On this page, i’ve put together some of my favourite images from five gay weddings held in Melbourne and Beyond.
To see what other couples have said about me, take a look at my Melbourne wedding photographer reviews.
If you want to plan either a wedding (large or small) or Melbourne elopement, reach out to me if you’re after a photographer. For small and large wedding planning, I recommend Melbourne wedding planners Will and Jac.
Check out Daniel and Darkus’s beautiful Yering Station wedding in full.
Sam and Pauls incredible Thornbury wedding will be on my site soon, but in the meantime you can check out their brilliant celebrant, Matt Finch, over on my Melbourne wedding celebrants page. Also check out their drop-in to Kenny Lover.
Nov 1, 2018
Each year I head out to this beautiful slice of the Yarra Valley to photograph a Zonzo Estate wedding, and each time is so different from one another. Growing up in the Yarra Valley, it’s always a treat to be a part of so many celebrations there year in, year out.
I wanted to share three Zonzo Weddings in the Yarra Valley, that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing over the last few years, that are wildly different in style, so that you can get a great idea of how different folks with different tastes have all used Zonzo (and, how they look when I photograph there). Zonzo Estate has undergone further brilliant transformation in recent years, and has a whole spread of wonderful areas on site.
These Zonzo weddings have been featured on Hello May, Ivory Tribe, and Polka Dot Bride, so be sure to read on for the links to those to find out all the other vendor information of who put their beautiful days together.
These young lovers met at 19, and 15 years later found themselves at Zonzo, in a bohemian-vintage themed winery wedding. These two married at the barn at Zonzo, and they carried on the entire day before whisking over to Europe for four weeks.
Celebrant: Sally Hughes
Photography: Briars Atlas
Florist: Sugar Bee
Hair: Marie Uva
Make-up: Monica Gingold
The Dress: Mariana Hardwick
Shoes: Tony Bianco
Rings: Micheli Jewellery and Uniform Black
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Alice McCall
Menswear: Oscar Hunt
Catering and bar: Zonzo Estate
Entertainment: Phoebe And The Night Creatures
Check out their full feature here on Ivory Tribe.
These two marvels opted for a rustic wedding at Zonzo, piecing together many of the elements themselves, except for a double-rainbow over the back of the Yarra Valley, which joined the party just after the ceremony.
See their full Yarra Valley wedding feature here on Polka Dot Bride.
A Naturopath by trade, the planning for Lou and Jamies Zonzo wedding put calm and health first in the entire process. With this in mind, it also meant that their day at Zonzo was littered with things that brought them both joy, including selecting carefully all of their vendors over 18 months. Lou and Jamie selected Zonzo Estate thanks for the venues ability to take care of everything from top to tail with the highest level of care, along with the added bonus of the spectacular Yarra Valley surrounds.
Photos: Briars Atlas
Bridal gown: Rue De Seine via The Bridal Atelier
Robes / getting ready tees: Peter Alexander and Cotton On
Lingerie: Simone Perele
Shoes: Alan Pinkus
Hair: Renee Camilleri
Makeup: Kath Carlin
Rings: Desi Desiderata
Bridesmaid dresses: Pilgrim
Bridesmaid shoes: Jo Mercer
Groom and groomsmen suits and ties: Briggins
Florist: Sugar Bee Flowers
Stationery: Ink Hearts Paper
Ceremony, reception and event stylist: Zonzo
Cake: Le Petit Gateau
Decorative elements: Kikki K
Wedding favours: Little Alchemy
Signage: Fox and Fallow
Entertainment: DJ Kwenda
Celebrant: Michael Goodluck.
Check out their full Yarra Valley wedding feature here on Hello May.
Make an enquiry https://briarsatlas.com/enquire
Heading further north in Vic? Check out these gorgeous Castlemaine wedding venues.
Oct 23, 2018
Located just 50km north-east of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is the perfect road trip destination. With over 70 wineries (see Zonzo), a huge range of tours, and some of the most quaint little hamlets this side of the moon, the Yarra is a true hidden gem. Nestled amongst the hills and valleys of this spectacular region is the incredible venue Stones of the Yarra Valley, one of the best wedding venues Melbourne has to offer, and a place where i’ve been fortunate to photograph weddings at year in year out.
So, here is a Stones of the Yarra Valley wedding guide (as much as we can cover in just a few page scrolls anyhow).
Planning a wedding can sometimes feel bigger than Ben-Hur. You’ve got everything from accommodation, venue, food and guests to consider – plus the addition of all the little things that seem to skyscraper into the clouds and out of sight. Ugh. When all the little things seem to become too much, allow Stones of the Yarra to kindly step in and offer a helping hand.
Here are just a few of the convenient pre-wedding services they offer:
The entire Yarra region consists of amazing wineries and beautifully scenic attractions that everyone can enjoy. If you don’t find yourself too entangled in the wedding prep itself (ie. if you have an awesome wedding planner), you can check out tours, trails and townships in the surrounding areas.
We were blown away with how perfect everything was and our family and friends are still talking about it.Stones of the Yarra Wedding Clients – Phoebe & Rob, April 2017
Game on, maestros.
When it comes to creating the perfect wedding atmosphere, Stones of the Yarra run a super slick operation due to the services they offer. You are in consistently good hands when you choose to exchange vows and carry on celebrations at Stones itself or at one of their two gorgeous sister properties, No7 Healesville or The Warehouse at Meletos.
Honestly, the lengths that this venue goes to in ensuring their happy couples are… well, happy, is absolutely phenomenal.
Depending on the wedding package you choose, you could be basking in the following inclusions:
All this is just the beginning, which is pretty par for the course when the Stones ring leader Vonnie is driving things.
Now, I’m likely talking more to the wedding guests than the stars of the show here, because they’re likely being whisked off on an amazing honeymoon.
So, what can you do at Stones of the Yarra once the vows have been exchanged, the food has been consumed and the bar tab has been exceeded?
As mentioned above, Stones have five ridiculously charming dining rooms to book into for a celebratory meal. You can wander the property and take in the most amazing views. Your Instagram followers will be drooling, believe me.
Outside of the Stones venue, you’ve got the entire Yarra Valley at your disposal! My top 3 suggestions for the adventurous at heart would have to be:
If you’ve made it this far and still have juice in the tank, be sure to check out this post on the best wedding venues in the Yarra Valley for more wedding planning inspiration.
Check out a few of my all time favourite black and white photos! These beauties are magical monochrome majesty. For more Yarra Valley Wedding venues, also be sure to check out Immerse, Yering Station, and the brilliantly art-deco Burnham Beeches. For a country victoria wedding venue further north, check out this Sault Daylesford wedding.
Mar 25, 2018
Not only is the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham, Victoria a top-notch, classic Aussie hotel, it’s also one of my favourite low key wedding venues in Melbourne. Located right on the corner of High St and Cosmo Rd in Trentham, this unsung hero of wedding venues really does put on quite the show (also check out this post on rustic wedding venues that features Cosmo).
The best part? It’s only just over an hour north-west of Melbourne’s CBD, near Castlemaine. Let’s check out the awesome Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding venue and all it has to offer.
The team at the Cosmo are absolutely wonderful, for one. They place such pride in their venue that they can’t help but go all out for their wedding clients. The level of care shown for even the tiniest of aspects of every wedding is astoundingly endearing.
The event team know their venue inside and out which allows them to perfectly place each and every decoration. They’ll also suggest the best locations for photographs and assist with any and all queries leading up to and during the big day.
The venue itself is absolutely perfect for an intimate country wedding because it holds such a warm, rustic air about it. If you want your wedding to bring back memories of gorgeous gardens, rural charm and warm firelight, this is definitely the Melbourne wedding venue for you.
The two main locations within the hotel grounds that are used for wedding ceremonies and receptions are the picturesque gardens and the charming stables.
The gardens truly are a sight to behold with their vast expanse and varied species of flowering shrubs and trees. Because of this they make a wonderful spot for wedding photos. They’re also honestly just a wonderfully calming, peaceful place to hang out.
The Stables, deary me, they are simply magnificent. Picture an old, weather-beaten barn built by hand from wood and other old-school materials. It’s well-kept enough to house up to 125 guests for a sit down dinner and a good old fashioned barn dance.
Fairy lights adorn both the interior and the exterior, adding a delightfully magical air to the entire event.
Even the simplest of decorations transform this venue into a lively, homely, spirited place to host a truly wonderful wedding.
The package includes delicious, local seasonal produce and a drinks menu featuring only the best wine, beer and cider from the region. So, the Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding in-house catering team is a force to be reckoned with.
A Cosmo wedding pays tribute to Victoria’s heritage in the most charming of ways. Events held here seem to draw on the historic nature of the pub itself. As a result, there’s no better place in Trentham to tie the knot that this majestic, historical venue.
And that’s the tea.
Feb 2, 2018
There’s nothing better than a rustic wedding. Surrounded by amazing antiques, homely vibes, and gorgeous Victorian era structures, you can’t help but allow yourself to be entirely engulfed by the country atmosphere. A well-done country-style nuptial celebration can have you feeling like you’ve been dropped right into your own Aussie fairytale. And let me tell you, the photo ops are to die for. Sprawling fields, old wooden sheds and stables, gorgeous native flowers from on-site gardens, delicious local menus – it all comes together to create a truly magical experience. So, without further ado, let’s check out the top 3 best rustic wedding venues Melbourne has to offer!
I’ve thrown in a few sneaky pics too so you can truly appreciate the warm, inviting atmosphere of each of these venues.
The Cosmo Hotel is one of those classic Aussie pubs that looks and feels like your grandfather might have had his first beer at, back in the day.
It is a highly convenient venue for Melbourne-ites to travel to because it’s situated only about an hour out of the CBD. It’s classy yet relaxed and it has a plethora of exciting bits and pieces that are honestly a wedding photographer’s dream.
In 2005, the Cosmopolitan was ravaged by a fire that destroyed a huge portion of the venue. Unperturbed, the owners rebuilt the hotel, restoring it to its former glory, with the addition of a few modern features. Although it has been done up in recent years, this historic pub still holds an air of friendly, rustic sophistication. This charm truly lends itself to the bright-eyed, love-filled couples who exchange nuptials here.
The primary locations for a Cosmopolitan wedding are the Stables and the Gardens. These two locations simply have the most peaceful atmosphere.
The Gardens are impeccably kept and host a wide range of native Australian flora. Due to this, they are the perfect location to exchange vows and capture memorable photos. You may also be lucky enough to find your reception hall at the Stables decked out in some of the native flowers that the gardens have on show.
The Stables are truly breathtaking with their dim lighting, beautiful flowers and rustic decorations. The olden-day style wooden shed works together with these features harmoniously. This creates a mystically rustic setup for both the reception and dinner.
This delightfully quaint barn surprisingly seats up to 125 guests, perfect for a medium sized wedding. Inviting a few extra guests along is easy enough because the space can accommodate more for a cocktail style function.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding packages are all encompassing due to their awesome inclusions like a wedding planner, local food and drink options, access to the entire grounds of the venue and more!
The Cosmo exudes such an air of homeliness and warmth that you can’t help but smile no matter where you are on the property. It’s definitely one to consider if you’re looking to venture to truly rustic wedding venues Melbourne adjacent.
Cosmopolitan Hotel Trentham website: https://www.thecosmopolitanhotel.com.au/
Also check out this Cosmopolitan Hotel Wedding.
About 3 hours north east of Melbourne CBD sits Victoria’s wine country. This region hosts many historic wineries and vineyards just waiting for travelers and tourists to visit. For many reasons, one that stands out as a truly remarkable wedding venue is the picturesque Brown Brothers Milawa Winery.
Since its inception in 1889 Brown Brothers has held its title as one of Australia’s leading family-owned wine companies.
Brown Brothers won the award for ‘Most Loved Brand’ at the 2015 and 2017 Australian Drinks Awards. They received this due to their mix of traditional wine making methods, plus an added innovative flair that supports experimentation. Their mix of old-school and modern techniques spills over into the physical attributes of their winery with expertly designed features. Whilst it is a rustic setting, sparks of contemporary design are scattered throughout.
This unique venue in the heart of the King Valley boasts sprawling green grounds with gorgeous gardens full of natives. Cottages and heritage sites make themselves known, standing tall on the lawns. Mountains surround the valley and can be seen for miles from anywhere on the Brown Brothers Milawa site.
A nearby forest of tall native gums makes for an epic photo shoot location due to an air of intrigue and mysterious adventure. Check out these bad boys…
Even after years of photography experience, my mind is still blown by how finding the perfect angle can eloquently capture such magnificent moments in time.
The luscious on-site gardens make for a truly heartwarming ceremony with gorgeous native trees and shrubs lending their old-school Australian charm. Large oak trees surround the gardens in order to provide shelter from the elements.
A beautifully restored historic barn is the perfect setting for post-ceremony festivities and a seriously delicious dinner. Decorated to the nines, this venue is the perfect balance of modern sophistication and rustic charm.
Stained wooden features and an old-timey cellar provide a visual contrast from the light and bright wedding decorations and attire. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better venue when it came to capturing phenomenal wedding photos for this couple.
Choose from a range of packages and options including The Bridal Cottage, Prosecco Hour, a custom made wedding cake and a professional wedding planner in order to construct the perfect wedding.
Any couple would be #blessed to secure a wedding at this contemporary yet rustic venue. A wide range of wedding package inclusions, stunning grounds and photo locations that are out of this world make Brown Brothers, Milawa one of the best rustic wedding venues Melbourne has to offer.
Brown Brothers Winery website: https://www.brownbrothers.com.au/
This one-of-a-kind venue is located just under 2 hours out of Melbourne CBD allowing it to be an ideal destination for couples from all across Victoria and beyond. As you may have guessed from the name, Butterland is an old butter factory that has been masterfully refurbished as a rustic event venue.
Butterland was constructed in 1904 to accommodate an influx of settlers that came to Newstead as a direct result of the Gold Rush. It has been transformed from a dairy to a candle factory and now stands as a unique, multi-purpose venue for country-style weddings and other quirky events.
The red brick exterior, the chimney stack of the original dairy and the front signage have all been restored to their former glory in the recent restoration. Internal features have also been magnificently brought to life to accentuate the historic charm of a structure that has managed to survive throughout the ages.
The grounds of this stunning old building are nothing short of breathtaking due to the well-manicured lawns, stone walls, wooden structures and charming atmosphere.
A gorgeous garden and several homely veggie patches can be seen on the acre of land this venue calls home. Not only that, there’s a concrete pool hosted by an old sump tank and a disused railway line. These seemingly small features provide a spectacular opportunity to capture both the fun and sincerity of wedding celebrations.
The internal aspects of this repurposed butter factory are just as stunning as the external.
Because the venue is owned by a florist, you can look forward to indoor plants and flowers galore. A wedding with a botanically-forward theme would be perfectly at home here.
Exposed wooden beams and a mish-mash of chairs made from steel, wood and other materials add to the relaxed aura. Long wooden tables extend through the main hall to provide ample seating for guests.
The owners of this homely venue will work with you to ensure every detail of your wedding is truly yours.
Butterland isn’t just any wedding venue. It’s a wedding venue with history, personality and a suave charm that’s very difficult to resist. Quirky couples with a country-style wedding in mind will go nuts over this place. Honestly, it’s too much fun for its own good.
Butterland Newstead website: https://www.butterland.com.au/
Of the weddings I’ve been privileged enough to photograph, I often find myself looking back at rustic wedding venues with such fondness.
The simple, country vibe never fails to remind us of the importance of family, friends and home. It’s not just the amazing photo ops that draw me to these weddings. It’s the people, the history and the ability to connect so personally with a venue.
What are your favourite rustic Melbourne based wedding venues? Shout out in the comments!
For beautiful rustic venues specific to the Castlemaine region, check out these Castlemaine wedding venues.
Dec 27, 2017
Holding a Tanglewood Estate wedding is like holding a wedding at something straight out of the head of Tim Burton. True to it’s name, Tanglewood Estate is a layered landscape of brilliantly twisted and tangled trees with a whole bunch of options both indoors and out for hosting your Mornington Peninsula wedding.
On it’s 100+ acres, Tanglewood Estate rustic spaces include The Chapel, The Grounds, the Studio (a former artists studio constructed entirely of mud brick), and the Winery. There’s a few little pieces about Tanglewood Estate’s story that are best left to them telling, but the one about their Chapel being purchased on Gumtree is a pearler.
I love shooting at Tanglewood Estate – apart from the enormous variety of spaces there, that sunset that drops behind the lake is out of this world.
I ran another series of wedding photography workshops at this beautiful slice of Mornington Peninsula wilderness – at it’s space called the Studio, and was joined by such a brilliant crew of Victorian creatives to spend the day together, such as the utterly inimitable Briggsy, Ashleigh Haase photography, my dear mate Cass Sullivan over from Tas and so many more, and had the incredible skills of Humdrum Films (head here for more Melbourne wedding videographers) putting together a video of the day.
Here’s a little peek into the day. Huge love to Humdrum Films for capturing it.
Growing up in the Yarra Valley and later towards the Mornington Peninsula, i’ve got a special love for those areas of Victoria, and it’s always a treat to photograph weddings out that way. Usually close to half of my photography year is spent across those two regions, and having spent so much time out there it makes perfect sense to host a wedding at Tanglewood Estate.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer at Tanglewood Estate or the Mornington Peninsula, reach out and I can advise on how to go about it and how to make the best of your time out there.