Small wedding venues in Melbourne

Aug 19, 2021

Best Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne: handpicked by Briars Atlas photography

The reception at a small wedding venue in Melbourne, Rupert on Rupert
  1. The Altar Electric
  2. I Do Drive Thru
  3. Rupert on Rupert
  4. Two Ton Max
  5. The Prince Deck
  6. Family Property
  7. Air BnB
  8. Kenny Lover
  9. Glasshaus
  10. Gather and Tailor
  11. Melbourne Town Hall
  12. Brunswick Mess Hall
  13. The Wool Mill
  14. Picnic Styling Co
  15. Your Backyard
  16. Alto Event Space
  17. The National Hotel Richmond
  18. St Andrews Conservatory
  19. Cutler and Co
  20. Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya
  21. Elwood Bathers

Melbourne Small Wedding Venue: a venue comparison chart

Small Wedding venue nameWedding Venue StyleWedding Venue locationWedding Venue capacityYou might also likeView gallery
The Altar ElectricVegas chapelCollingwood50Kenny LoverThe Altar Electric
I Do Drive ThruOutdoorsMelbourne30Picnic Styling CoI Do Drive Thru
Rupert on RupertNew York warehouseCollingwood20-200GlasshausRupert on Rupert
Two Ton MaxWarehouseNorth Melbourne40-300Gather and TailorTwo Ton Max
The Prince DeckStylish modernSt Kilda20-450Alto Event SpaceThe Deck at Circa
Air BnBVariedMelbournevariesPicnic Styling CoBlue Mountains Wedding
Kenny LoverIce creameryThornbury20The Altar ElectricKenny Lover
GlasshausJungle warehouseRichmond20-140The Altar ElectricGlasshaus
Gather and TailorWarehouseFootscray40-200Two Ton MaxGather and Tailor
Melbourne Town HallArt DecoMelbourne20-400St Andrews ConservatoryComing Soon
Brunswick Mess HallRustic warehouseBrunswick20-400Gather and TailorComing Soon
The Wool MillModern warehouseBrunswick20-200GlasshausComing Soon
Picnic Styling CoOutdoorsMelbourne50I Do Drive ThruPicnic Styling Co
Your BackyardVariesMelbournevariesPicnic Styling CoComing Soon
Alto Event SpaceModernMelbourne CBD20-200Gather and TailorComing Soon
The National Hotel RichmondHeritage pubRichmond20-120GlasshausComing Soon
St Andrews ConservatoryModern indoorFitzroy20-180Elwood BathersComing Soon
Cutler and CoRestaurantFitzroy20-200Brunswick Mess HallComing Soon
Ichi Ni Nana IzakayaRestaurantFitzroy20-150Elwood BathersComing Soon
Elwood BathersModernElwood20-180Ichi Ni Nana IzakayaComing Soon
A comparison chart of the best Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne

For various reasons, we’ve enjoyed seeing an explosion in beautiful intimate small weddings (or, micro wedding packages Victoria and beyond, or, straight up elopements), which means you’re probably looking for small wedding venues in Melbourne: and if we do small venues as well as we do croissants or… anything, really, that means that this won’t be a compromise, but instead, something awesome.

If there’s one thing i’ve noticed in photographing celebrations of all shapes and sizes, there’s always a certain brilliance in intimate gatherings that just doesn’t exist in larger ones, and having a small wedding in the short term still means you can have a larger celebration down the line, with less planning infrastructure.

Pair that with the classic Melbourne tendency to get creative with things, and it makes for a brilliant range of Small wedding venue options. If you’re looking for a cheap wedding venue Melbourne or beyond, dialling things down and hosting a smaller wedding with a more intimate guest list can be one way of doing that. (See also: small Yarra Valley Wedding venues).

So while we have to wait a little while to have big parties and weddings again, here are some of my favourite Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne, for intimate weddings, micro weddings and more.

1. Unique small wedding venues Melbourne: The Altar Electric

A photograph of a ceremony at the smallest wedding venue in the world, The Altar Electric

Ahead of the curve in the small-wedding game, The Altar Electric has been championing the power of intimate weddings for years, and is the brainchild of The Wedding Anarchist, Sarah Dobson, and Anthony Cribbes.

One of the more characterful small wedding venues in Melbourne and nestled in the industrial back streets of Collingwood, The Altar Electric warehouse wedding venue can cater for weddings up to about 30 people, and right down to a cracking shotgun-wedding with just the two of you and your witnesses: either way, it’s one of the few elopement or wedding venues under $100 per person out there.

To top it all off, they just upgraded their space, thanks to the incredible styling handiwork of local design and party heroes, Good Day Club.

So whether you’ve got a small elopement, 5 guests, 10 guests, 20 guests, 30 guests, 40 guests, 50 guests, 60 guests, or 70 guests (I think that’s where they cap out) this brilliant peach palace is a great place to have a small wedding, and doubles as one of the more affordable wedding venues melbourne has to offer.

Enquire about their Collingwood Small Wedding Packages
The Altar Electric website: www.thealtarelectric.com.au
The Altar Electric wedding gallery: Altar Electric showcase
Venue size: Intimate, from 2, up to around 50 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: 81 Rupert St, Collingwood VIC 3066

2. Affordable small wedding venues Melbourne: I Do Drive Thru

I Do Drive Thru, a small wedding planning service in Melbourne

When Covid19 hit full-steam and we were locked down to having weddings and elopements with a maximum of 5 people in total, local genius Mel of The Ceremony Store came up with a hit elopement concept that quickly spread throughout Australia, and right over into the USA: I Do Drive Thru.

I Do Drive Thru gets you married in a whirlwind elopement ceremony from the safe confines of your car, or anywhere in a public space: just you two, and the very closest of your crew. Get it said, get it done, and get away to celebrate what matters: just the two of you. Given that, this also technically makes them the most affordable wedding venue melbourne has available.

Don’t be mistaken by the name: while I Do Drive Thru might sound like, it’s a drive-thru thing, that’s only one side of what it can be. I Do Drive Thru is a small wedding ceremony and elopement planner, done anywhere you like, in exactly any style of intimate celebration that you can imagine. From loud, to quiet, to classy to crazy, and everything in between. If you’re looking to elope Melbourne or beyond, be sure to check these legendary lunatics out.

Read more about I Do Drive Thru here, each out to them to see if they’re the right fit, and ask about their small wedding packages Melbourne and beyond (they are now based in a tonne of cities). And if you loved this incredible dress, check out this lis of the best unique wedding dresses in Melbourne.

Enquire about their Drive Through Wedding Packages
I Do Drive Thru website: www.idodrivethru.com.au
I Do Drive Thru wedding gallery: Drive Through Weddings
Venue size: Scaleable, from 2, up to as many guests as you like

3. Intimate Wedding Venues Melbourne: Rupert on Rupert

A photograph of a reception at the best small wedding venue in Melbourne, Rupert on Rupert

One of the best small wedding venues in Melbourne or places to elope in industrial surrounds, Rupert is the hidden gem of Collingwood, supporting both large wedding celebrations (80 guests, 90 guests, 100 guests and beyond) and smaller intimate ones (10 guests, small wedding venues for 20 guests, 30 guests etc) via clever use of one or more of it’s three areas. Rupert isn’t necessarily known as a Small Wedding Venue in Melbourne but is super unique in how it can be scaled to suit any size celebration.

Best Small Wedding Venue In Melbourne, Rupert on Rupert, during a wedding reception

To see a larger wedding in full with more examples of this incredibly stylish small wedding venue, check out this Rupert on Rupert wedding, and you’ll see why it’s one of the best intimate wedding venues Melbourne has on offer.

Enquire about Rupert on Rupert Wedding Packages with their wedding and event planner
Rupert on Rupert website: www.rupertonrupert.com.au
Rupert on Rupert wedding gallery: Rupert on Rupert Wedding
Rupert on Rupert wedding capacity: 40 – 200 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: 73 Rupert St, Collingwood VIC 3066

4. Small Wedding Venue: Two Ton Max

Small Wedding Venue Melbourne - Two Ton Max

Two Ton Max is a repurposed, blank-canvas warehouse wedding venue in the heart of North Melbourne. One of the most simple wedding venues melbourne has on offer. Two Ton Max can support elopements and small weddings of all sizes, but with the way it’s space can be compartmentalised, it is ideal for small Melbourne weddings of 20 people, up to 50 people and beyond.

Small Wedding Venue Melbourne - Two Ton Max

Enquire about Two Ton Max Wedding Packages
Two Ton Max website: www.twotonmax.com.au
Two Ton Max wedding gallery: Two Ton Max wedding
Two Ton Max wedding capacity: 40 – 300 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: 124 Langford St, North Melbourne VIC 3051

5. Small Wedding Venue in St Kilda: The Deck

The Deck in St Kilda might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a small wedding venue, but the unique, angular layout of the internal space, as well as the L-shaped external deck, make it ideal for creatively arranging it for a small wedding. With so much natural venue detail both inside and out, there’s plenty to keep the senses entertained without having to fill the space with 150 people.

Not only that, but The Deck has several other little spaces that can be used. Just ask.

Want to see The Deck in action at a wedding? Then check out the deck wedding of Emily and Tony.

Enquire about Prince The Deck Small Wedding Packages with their event planner
The Prince Deck website: www.theprince.com.au/prince-deck
The Prince Deck wedding gallery: The Deck Wedding
The Prince Deck wedding capacity: 20 – 450 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: 2 Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182

6. Alternative Small Wedding Venue idea: The Family (or friends) property

family property wedding

Tess and Sam, married on their family property in Australia’s Kangaroo Valley.

If larger wedding venues aren’t a part of the plan and you’re looking towards an elopement or intimate small wedding, sometimes it’s best to look inwards to what’s closest: our own family property. With some thoughtful catering and preparation, having a wedding at your home makes for an intimate experience, and something potentially more meaningful when you look back at your photos.

The only concern usually had around having a wedding on family property, is that of cleanup! But keep your crew small, keep the food simple, and it’s a great way to have a meaningful celebration where the only timeline you’re working to is your own.

7. Micro Wedding venue: Air BnB

air bnb elopement

An Air-Bnb has all the intimacy and timeline benefits of hosting your elopement or small wedding on your own family property, with the added bonus of being able to get married at any spectacular geographic location of your own choosing. Select a location with adventure nearby and a good kitchen within.

Here, Sarah and Simon had a beautiful small elopement ceremony at an Air-Bnb in a spectacular piece of nature, before enjoying a beautiful afternoon with 4 of their closest friends, and an evening of home cooked meals and games. If you’re looking to elope Melbourne or beyond, be sure to check out some of the beautiful nearby Air BnB’s for your small wedding.

Small wedding venues melbourne
lueablue light wedding portraits

Sarah and Simons Australian wedding was featured on the wedding blog Rock n Roll Bride, so head over there for more of their story.

8. Unique Small Wedding Venue Melbourne: Kenny Lover

Small Wedding Venue in Thornbury

I left this one last, because it leads into some thoughts written under it, so read on. Kenny Lover is a brilliant little Thornbury shop, offering chips and ice-cream.

Together at last.

Not only that, but they have the most jaw-droppingly beautiful interior. If you don’t believe me, head over and check out this Kenny Lover wedding, where Paul and Sam, Thornbury locals, headed there after having an intimate small wedding ceremony at their home. Fabulous, colourful elopement venue in Melbournes inner north. An elopement or small wedding that has Kenny Lover involved somehow will make for an incredibly unique wedding experience in Melbourne.

9. Small Rustic Wedding Venues: Glasshaus Inside and Glasshaus Outside

Small wedding venues melbourne Glasshaus

Glasshaus Inside and Glasshaus Outside are two brilliant small wedding venues in Melbourne, sitting just outside of the Melbourne CBD, tucked in Richmond. Glasshaus Inside doubles as a warehouse jungle, and Glasshaus Outside swaps the warehouse vibe for an aviary. A small wedding venue in melbourne for folks seeking a grittier feel where nature is a part of the celebration. Imagine a grand ballroom, with the roof ripped out, and a glorious jungle spread around it’s interior.

That’s about right.

Enquire about Glasshaus Small Wedding Packages
Glasshaus Richmond website: Glasshaus Website
Glasshaus Richmond wedding gallery: Glasshaus Wedding
Glasshaus Richmond wedding capacity: 20 – 140 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: 44 Cremorne St, Cremorne, VIC, 3121

10. Small Warehouse Wedding Venue: Gather and Tailor

Gather and Tailor aren’t the smallest wedding venue in Melbourne (that crown probably goes to the Altar Electric), but their dual warehouse spaces, particular warehouse one, are blank-canvasses that can be arranged any way you like. The incredible, forward thinking folks at Nudo run Gather and Tailor, and their expert planning team can host you a unique small wedding at their venue.

Gather and Tailor have both Warehouse One and Warehouse Two – beautifully distinct urban spaces that can host weddings large and small.

Enquire about Gather and Tailor Wedding Packages with their event planner
Gather and Tailor website: www.gatherandtailor.com.au
Gather and Tailor wedding gallery: Gather and Tailor wedding
Gather and Tailor wedding capacity: 40 – 200 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: Unit 11/41-59 Sims St, West Melbourne VIC 3003

11. Small Art Deco Wedding Venue – Melbourne Town Hall

I feel this is generally overlooked when folks are looking at the small wedding venues Melbourne has to offer, but if you know what’s what, you know that a classic heritage environment is a beautiful surrounds to have a celebration in, and just as good to dress up in your own way or with the hand of a great florists (check out the best wedding florists in Melbourne). The Melbourne Town Hall is a beautiful, ambient space, protected from the weather, and perfectly sized for a small wedding.

Enquire about Melbourne Town Hall Small Wedding Packages with their event planner
Melbourne Town Hall website: Wedding information
Melbourne Town Hall wedding gallery: Coming shortly, check back soon
Melbourne Town Hall wedding capacity: 20 – 400 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: Small Wedding Venue Address: Unit 11/41-59 Sims St, West Melbourne VIC 3003

12. Small Alternative Wedding Venue – Brunswick Mess Hall

Small Wedding Venue Brunswick Mess Hall

One of the great joys of this Covid business wrapping up will be seeing the best small wedding venue in Brunswick, the Brunswick Mess Hall, back in action. An incredible mixed-bag of design sensibilities that works a treat, and every time i’ve been there photographing a wedding, the space has been taken over in a unique and different way.

Enquire about Brunswick Mess Hall Small Wedding Packages
Brunswick Mess Hall website: www.thebrunswickmesshall.com.au
Brunswick Mess Hall wedding gallery: Kirstyn and Nicholas
Brunswick Mess Hall wedding capacity: 20 – 400 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: Small Wedding Venue Address: 400 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056

13. Small Blank Canvas Wedding Venue – The Wool Mill

a photo of the Nudo Wool Mill wedding venue in Brunswick
a wedding couple entering the wool mill in brunswick

Nudo, owners of The Wool Mill (a grand ballroom – but industrial style), say they run the best wedding planning service in the world, and given how well oiled their machine is, that statement is about on-point. Nudo look after all the moving parts of your wedding, and as well as Gather and Tailor (see point #9), they also have Brunswicks The Wool Mill in their venue stable. A wonderful blank canvas, modern small wedding warehouse venue.

Enquire about The Wool Mill Small Wedding Packages
The Wool Mill website: www.thewoolmill.com.au
The Wool Mill wedding capacity: 20 – 200 guests
Small Wedding Venue Address: 161 Donald St, Brunswick East VIC 3057

14: Micro wedding venue: Small Garden Wedding Venue

Picnic Styling Co

Not a venue as such, but Picnic Styling Co must be included here. If you’re looking for a brilliant small wedding experience that you can enjoy anywhere out in public or indoors, you must check out the popup Picnic Styling Co. Picnic Styling Co create bespoke picnic experiences for any number of guests, brilliantly styled with no work to do by you. Turn up, have fun, walk away, and Picnic Styling Co take care of the rest.

Enquire about Picnic Styling Co Small Wedding Packages
Picnic Styling Co website: Picnic Styling Co Website
Picnic Styling Co wedding gallery: Picnic Styling Co Wedding
Picnic Styling Co wedding capacity: 2 – 40 guests

15: Small Venue for Weddings idea: Your Backyard

Sometimes the goodness is right in front of you: get some food-trucks or a Paella station, and host the party right at home. Check out this Porch article on Backyard Weddings.

One more elopement Small Wedding Venue idea:

When we think about it, there aren’t that many mandatory moving parts to a wedding: you need a Melbourne Wedding Celebrant to take care of the papers and the ceremony, but really, the rest is up for grabs. One thing thats come out of the Covid pandamic, is a general willingness to be fluid and break new ground from both wedding vendors and small business in general.

Why do I say this? Because if you’re looking for a small wedding venue, consider what it would look like, to simply plan to have it in your favourite cafe, restaurant, take-away place, or any other business. Literally.

All you can do is ask: the Melbourne Small Wedding Venue idea that takes charm, optimism (and a dash of curiosity)

So with all that in mind, let me present this little idea: make a list of places that are meaningful to you: cafes, take-out shops, or even shops that sell knick-knacks, books, or anything else under the sun. A wedding ceremony doesn’t need to be an hour, and you don’t need to have your wedding ceremony in a place that can also feed any guests you have present.

Spend every Saturday morning in that quiet, beat-up cafe around the corner that no-one knows about? Ask them if you can sign the papers and say some words in there, and ask them what they’ll charge for the honour (they’ve probably never been asked).

The idea of “what is a wedding venue” is going to change pretty dramatically, as we change our idea of what a wedding is.

So make a list of bucket-list places that are either meaningful to you or quirky in their own right, and just give them a call! You might find that they are actually incredibly receptive to the idea of having a ten minute ceremony in their space where they get some cracking photographs of it for themselves afterwards too, and there’s something extra special about making that commitment in a meaningful space.

We see it all the time with the portrait part of the day, with brilliant wedding portraits captured in cafes and thrift shops, so why not the ceremony itself?

Everything can be a small wedding venue, if you’re creative enough.

All you can do is ask.

Other Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne

While we’re dealing with only having small gatherings, many of Melbournes most incredible venues are able to scale themselves down to accommodate a more intimate wedding.

To discover a whole lot of other options, including some larger ones to keep in mind for when your community can all celebrate together again, here’s a list of incredible Unique Melbourne Wedding Venues, or further out on the coast, check out these Mornington Peninsula wedding venues.

Looking for a large venue? Check out their Indian wedding reception.

Elopement Venues in Melbourne

If you’re hosting an elopement rather than a small wedding, you’re probably the type of person that’s less about the full theatrics about a wedding, and more about enjoying an intimate space with just your partner and maybe a friend or family member or two. Many of the venues on this page are suited to small weddings, but also consider that if you’re planning an elopement, you can really twist it however you want.

For example: while Rupert on Rupert is more suited to medium and small weddings, it doesn’t mean you can’t sign your papers nearby in a small elopement ceremony, and then head to Rupert to enjoy some drinks and a meal together. To craft a bespoke elopement experience in Melbourne, also be sure to hit up I Do Drive Thru (who plan intimate elopement ceremonies anywhere you can imagine, not just from the car as their name might imply), or even reach out to a Melbourne wedding celebrant as they are always more than happy to take more of a hand in crafting you a brilliant Melbourne elopement experience.

What is the best Small wedding venue in Melbourne?

My personal vote goest to Rupert on Rupert, but here you can also find 20 of the best Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne.best small wedding venue rupert

How many guests should I have at my small wedding?

A Small Wedding can have 5 guests, 10 guests, 20 guests, or 30 guests, but any more and it can become something larger and less intimate.

What are some more small wedding ideas?

It’s hard to go past the brilliant Picnic Styling Co, who will setup your Small Wedding anywhere in Melbourne, leave you to celebrate, and then come and pack it all up for you.

How much does a Small Wedding cost?

If you carefully consider the style, wedding catering, and length of your small wedding, you can easily host your wedding for under $100 per person. Reach out to an incredible Small Wedding Planner such as Will and Jac or Popup With Style for assistance on planning your wedding budget.

Where can I find small wedding packages in Victoria?

To find Small Wedding Packages in Victoria, you should make an enquiry with the best small wedding planners and venues: The Altar Electric, I Do Drive Thru, and Picnic Styling Co. Each of these services can help you plan your small wedding in Melbourne, with all-inclusive wedding packages.

How do I plan a small simple wedding?

Enquire with a small wedding venue on this list, or reach out to a small wedding planner such as Popup with Style.

How many guests is considered a small wedding?

A small wedding is considered anything from 2 guests (anything less is really an elopement), up to around 50 guests.

Best micro wedding venues in Melbourne?

Check out all of the micro wedding venues on this post. My own favourite might just be Rupert on Rupert.

Micro wedding packages Victoria?

The best micro wedding packages Victoria and beyond can be found with I Do Drive Thru, as well as The Altar Electric.

I photograph weddings. Hire me to photograph your micro wedding or Small Wedding anywhere (if you want).

Small wedding venues melbourne

Briars Atlas- Small Melbourne Wedding Photographer – https://briarsatlas.com

Covid wedding melbourne

Jul 27, 2020

Putting “Covid wedding Melbourne” at the front of Adriana and Calebs wedding title seems to relegate the marriage part (the bit we’re actually all here for) to the back seat. Sooooo, let’s reword that: Adriana and Calebs awesome little elopement (which happened to occur in the middle of the Covid pandemic that they thumbed their noses at and got it done beautifully anyway while staying well within all of the rules and regulations currently in place including the wearing of masks, social distancing, and limitations on who can be present).

Better.

Adriana and Caleb had their first date at this park in Coburg, in Melbournes northern suburbs. So that was where they decided to say their vows, and lock it down, with the inimitable Melbourne wedding celebrant Zena Lythgo doing the honours via I Do Drive Thru. I joined up to photograph it and play one of the witnesses.

Since their dogs can’t hold a pen.

I Do Drive Thru is a brilliant, agile initiative out of Melbourne that has enabled couples wanting to get married to get it done in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic, while playing to all the necessary current restrictions around social distancing and the wearing of a mask.

These two marvels got the important bit done – the marriage thing – with themselves and Adrianas mother, and then enjoyed the rest of the day together. Beautiful.

It’s been especially interesting in Melbourne, as our state has been… not playing ball with the restrictions, which has meant the pandemic has had several new clusters of outbreaks, further locking things down.

So the fact that initiatives like I Do Drive Thru and other small wedding venues such as The Altar Electric exist, has been such a brilliant thing for couples putting love and marriage first, and opting to save the party for later.

If you’re looking at getting it done in the middle of the Covid pandemic in Melbourne, head over here for more information on Melbourne City Elopements.

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More Melbourne Covid weddings

The Altar Electric have been the other frontrunners in this Covid pandemic craziness, and their brilliantly unique wedding venue warehouse space in Collingwood has seen all sorts of celebration playing exactly to all of the rules and requirements in place in the middle of this pandemic.

covid weddings melbourne
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The Altar Electric
The Altar Electric
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Zena Lythgow
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Book a Melbourne City elopement

Head over and read more here: Melbourne city elopements.

I DO Drive Thru wedding 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.

Who are you and what do you do at I Do Drive Thru?

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.

I Do Drive Thru

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.

I Do Drive Thru seemed to grow incredibly quickly. How has it felt seeing it take off, and at such scale?

I Do Drive Thru
Klara McMurray celebrant in action for I Do Drive Thru.

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.  

How has I Do Drive Thru seamlessly melted into the industry as it exists currently?

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.

Have there been any themes to the type stories and couples coming through I Do Drive Thru?

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. 

How do you see both the future of weddings and your place within it at I Do Drive Thru?

I Do Drive Thru

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.

Celebrant Zena Lythgow in action for I Do Drive Thru with the Covid wedding Melbourne of Adriana and Caleb.

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.

Any key advice for couples considering getting married during or after Covid19?

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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).

I Do Drive Thru

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.

There’s so many polarising stances on dealing with this from a business perspective, especially when small-business in the events space is exposed to the extreme end of the risk dial. What’s your advice to businesses navigating this sustainably, while continuing to place their couples first?

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.

What’s been a personal joy you’ve gotten through this whirlwind?

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.

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All photos on this page are from I Do Drive Thru weddings by Briars Atlas. Images may be re-posted with credit and a link to this site.

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.