Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Oct 12, 2020

Best Wedding Venues in Melbourne

  1. Newport Substation
  2. Rupert on Rupert
  3. Half Acre
  4. Panama Dining Room
  5. State Library Victoria
  6. Longsong
  7. Gather and Tailor
  8. The Deck At Circa
  9. Quat Quatta
  10. Luminare
  11. Brunswick Mess Hall
  12. Fortyfive Downstairs
  13. Glasshaus
  14. George Ballroom
  15. Altar Electric
  16. Fyansford Paper Mill
  17. The Line

Melbourne is full to the brim with interesting, quirky, and Unique Wedding Venues to appeal to every design sensibility under the sun. Our city is kinda like an egg – ask 5 people for their favourite way to consume it, and you’ll get 4 different answers, and one who’d prefer a nut-based alternative. So if anywhere is gonna be able to cater to a wild range of vibes within a small radius, it’s Melbourne.

What weddings are going to look like in Victoria is a little different in the short to mid-term, so this is a list for folks with alternative and unique sensibilities.

When I made this list, I essentially made it for myself: there’s plenty of lists on regular wedding venues out there, but these are the best wedding venues in Melbourne that have a little bit of sass and quirk to them, and cover a range of wedding venue styles, from industrial warehouse, to art deco: these are wedding venues for large weddings, small weddings, and everything in between.

1. Newport Substation – Warehouse Wedding Venue

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Newport Substation | Wedding Venue Location: Newport | Photo: Briars Atlas

What do an obscure German electronic artist, experiential-theatre zombie-apocalypse, and majestic high-end wedding all have in common? They all found a home at the towering Substation in Newport – in no small way thanks to a philanthropic strategy of intertwinement with the local & international arts community.

The Substation has this classic “we’ve just casually repurposed an industrial Brooklyn warehouse” vibe written all over it, with staggering floor-to-ceiling windows (this criteria would be less staggering if, for example, the windows were in a hobbit-sized home but we’re talking a less vertically-challenged structure here), red statement curtains, and one end lined with more secret little rooms than you can poke a stick at.

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
Newport Substation Reception | Wedding Venue Location: Newport | Photo: Briars Atlas

With plenty of space to spare both in the main atrium and the rooms below, Melbournes unique wedding venue queen Newport Substation can be mapped to nearly any configuration, including any furniture layout you can imagine, and an on-site burrito stand for guests to tuck into (or the most epic grazing table you can imagine).

Set up a band in one corner, quirky photobooth in the other, hire a leading progressive florist like Good Grace & Humour or Georgie Boy to dress up another end with an impossibly wild installation (or leave it in all it’s all bare glory), and you’ve got a space that’ll be on the tips of the guests tongues for weeks. After they recover from their hangovers.

Check out Nicole and Dan’s incredible wedding at Newport Substation. One of my favourite things about Newport Substation, not to take away anything from it as a brilliant Melbourne venue, is that it takes me back to any number of the incredible and enormous New York Warehouse venues i’ve had the good fortune of being in.


Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Newport Substation website: www.thesubstation.org.au
Newport Substation wedding gallery: Nicole & Dan
Venue size: Enormous. 250 seated, 300 cocktail

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Newport Substation Portraits | Wedding Venue Location: Newport | Photo: Briars Atlas

2. Rupert on Rupert – Warehouse Wedding Venue

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
Rupert On Rupert Ceremony | Wedding Venue Location: Collingwood | Photo: Briars Atlas

Rupert is kinda like the Tesla flying in outer space with an astronaut next to it and David Bowie blaring from the stereo as it flies towards Jupiter: it probably shouldn’t exist at all, much less where it does, but – it does.

And thankful for it existing, we are. Separated into a Main Dining Hall, Conservatory, and Cocktail Lounge, alternative wedding venue in Melbourne king Rupert on Rupert takes the crown for classic modern New York bar vibes in Melbourne, and wouldn’t be out of place in any of the more recently gentrified areas of inner-Brooklyn: which is also code-word for gorgeously designed, thoughtfully laid out, with a level of subtle considered genius by a design team that makes the space grow on you like the third album from that previously favourite artist of yours.

Geographically tucked neatly away into the “local knowledge” category, pop into Rupert on Rupert on a weekend, and it’s jam-packed with folks who know it’s one of the most unique venues Melbourne has to offer with it’s incredible food and quirky interiors in a classy casual setting.

Rupert on Rupert has three main areas, each of which can be repurposed as you need, and the menu is headed by (x) and a crack-team of friendly maestros who can cater incredibly for vegetarians and vegans alike.

I’m not saying to just get Aunt Jenny on her iPad taking the photos for the day, but I will say that with every inch of the interior so thoughtfully considered at Rupert on Rupert, you could probably point your 2002 Nokia at the urinal and still get an incredible image.

But don’t do that, because it’s extraordinarily weird that you’re still using that phone.

For more inspiration check out Alix and Tim’s Rupert on Rupert Wedding.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Rupert on Rupert website: www.rupertonrupert.com.au
Rupert on Rupert wedding gallery: Alix & Tim’s wedding at Rupert on Rupert
Venue size: Cosy & compartmentalised.  (85 seated, 220 cocktail)

Melbourne Wedding Venues
Rupert On Rupert Reception | Wedding Venue Location: Collingwood | Photo: Briars Atlas
Melbourne Wedding Venues
Rupert On Rupert Reception | Wedding Venue Location: Collingwood | Photo: Briars Atlas

3. Half Acre – Modern Wedding Venue

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Half Acre | Wedding Venue Location: South Melbourne | Photo: Briars Atlas

South Melbourne’s Half Acre, helmed by the catering mad-hatters at Food and Desire, is a giant secret dropped right in the middle of the wide streets of South Melbourne. Occupying a corner of the suburb that mostly is home to industry, it is – apart from the majestic cacophany of matrimony on a weekend – a gloriously quiet dead-zone of a weekend.

In line with this play on contrasts, it’s actually pretty near impossible to tell what the hell the place even is, unless you’re in the know, or a loaded up wedding guest finds themselves playing horizontal on the nature strip outside.

With all the new wedding venues Melbourne has on offer, Half Acre are a giant, well-oiled diamond (if that’s a thing). Half Acre itself was previously an industrial complex, and retains a lot of that gritty charm in it’s warehouse interior. Half Acre is split into several different areas, giving an enormous range of opportunity for a smaller ceremony indoors, over to their large, high-roofed reception hall.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Half Acre website: https://www.halfacre.com.au/
Half Acre Wedding gallery: Food and Desire
Venue size: Seated: 264, Cocktail: 400

Melbourne Wedding Venue
Half Acre Portraits | Wedding Venue Location: South Melbourne | Photo: Briars Atlas
Melbourne Wedding Venues
Half Acre Portraits | Wedding Venue Location: South Melbourne | Photo: Briars Atlas

4. Panama Dining Room – New York Style Wedding Venue
Wedding Venue Location: Collingwood

The grand-master of alternative wedding venues in Melbourne. Beer-soaked carpets, wistful homages to Dave the hot bassist etched into the bathroom walls, and the shady corner where your insouciant friend got lucky.

These are a few things that you definitely won’t find at Panama Dining room anymore.

When stepping into this cavernous room filled with giant arch windows you might be forgiven that in it’s past-life as a music venue in the heartland of the pub-scene, the majestic gateways of Panama Dining Room looking into and around the city were completely covered up.

Since being exposed in all their glory, Panama Dining Room has staked its claim as one of Melbournes best open-bar, dining-hybrid venues, and if you gently squint, it’s easy to imagine yourself in the warehouse-loft of a pre-crash Wall St tycoon in the 80s.

So squint, dear friend, bring that cigar to the lips, and inhale that sweet, sweet smell of pre-2007 venue tobacco laws, while you imagine yourself in that steamy machine of systemic exploitation known as wall st.

Fortunately for those of the stamina variety, Panama did carry one little thing over from it’s days as a live music venue: a 1am liquor license.

So party on, dear aspirational Gordon Gecko.

The Panama Dining Room is located in the heart of Smith St, which places it in beautiful proximity to some of the most iconic and historical parts of Melbournes oldest suburb, Fitzroy. That puts it at arms length away from an incredible lot of great portrait opportunities that can be had even with just a quick little sprint away from the Panama.


Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Panama Dining Room websitewww.thepanama.com.au
Venue size: 160 guests seated, 220 standing

5. State Library of Victoria – Library Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue Location: Melbourne CBD

Bookworms by day, dancefloor worms by night: State Library Victoria is the poster-child for a venues ability to play Jekyll, Hyde, and all their far-removed cousins, and might just be our cities most slumbering giant gem.

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
State Library Victoria| Wedding Venue Location: Melbourne City | Photo: Briars Atlas

There’s much to be said for nostalgia. It is after all, the reason why we fought tooth and nail for an (ill-fated, but I digress) Hey Hey it’s Saturday revival wayback when, and why the the whiff of a can of Lynx can suddenly remove two decades of time and space for those in the mid-30’s bracket.

The savvy folk at Showtime events and caretakers of State Library Victoria know the value of nostalgia, and so they know that once the lukewarm memories of higher education and it’s study pressures have faded into memory, there’s nothing more appealing than inhaling an Espresso Martini and double-stack of canapes in one of the worlds most extravagantly beautiful study halls.

Enter the unusual wedding venue, State Library Victoria.

Thankfully to the mad hatters at SLV, there are a total of five separate, incredibly distinct spaces in which to host your wedding, that can cater from the intimate to over 500 guests. So whether you’ve spent your days as a cave dwelling misanthrope or have as many friends as Tom from Myspace, you’re probably covered.

The lay of the land at State Library Victoria starts at the obviously decadent La Trobe Reading Room, throws a curveball of art via the Cowen Gallery, and ends at the recently revitalised Ian Potter Queens Hall, with the glorious North Rotunda and Isabelle Fraser room in between.

The State Library of Victoria, as well as having a variety of rooms that would be the envy of a Labrynth-trotting Bowie, is smack in the heart of the CBD – lending itself to plenty of beautiful portrait opportunities, classic Melbourne laneways and beyond, and is one of the more left of centre alternative wedding venues in Melbourne.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
State Library of Victoria websitehttps://venues.slv.vic.gov.au/wedding/
Venue size:
Isabelle Fraser Room: 156 Banquet 220 Cocktail
Ian Potter Queens Hall: 290 Banquet 500 Cocktail
La Trobe Reading Room: 520 Cocktail
North Rotunda: 60 Banquet 90 Cocktail
Cowen Gallery: 220 Banquet 350 Cocktail

State Library Wedding Melbourne
State Library Wedding Venue| Wedding Venue Location: Melbourne City | Photo: Briars Atlas

 

6. Longsong – Warehouse Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue Location: Melbourne CBD

Longsong is what happens when a collective of design-centred mavens pair with culinary master David Moyle, and point their magic towards an historic old Melbourne horse stable in the middle of chinatown.

Alternative Wedding venues in Melbourne - Longsong wedding
Longsong Melbourne| Wedding Venue Location: Melbourne City | Photo: Briars Atlas

Majestic tall ceilings, a wave of paper lanterns above and original brick floors from this converted 1900s space, JCB Architects added another space to a growing list of venues in Melbourne keeping as many sympathetic roots to the original uses of the structure as possible, while allowing it to stand alone as progressive and stylish. Add a dash of quirky photographic genius on entry and you have yourselves one serve of Longsong.

Longsong is the benchmark in subtle, sprawling classy alternative vibes in Melbourne, with a 2-tier open space that lets you know exactly what it’s all about as soon as you walk in.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Longsong website: https://longrainmelbourne.com/
Longsong Wedding Gallery: Together Journal
Venue size: Up to 200 people

7. Gather & Tailor – Warehouse Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue Location: West Melbourne

Gather and Tailor takes an old inner-city warehouse, and puts it in the hands of the genius, quirky captains of wedding hospitality, Nudo.

Alternative Wedding venues in Melbourne - Gather and Tailor
Gather and Tailor| Wedding Venue Location: Footscray | Photo: Briars Atlas

5km out of the CBD, smack-against a bunch of shipping containers and an old-school automotive garage, it initially feels like you aren’t quite allowed to have all that room and calm all to yourself – but then you lean into it, and in return are gifted with one of the most unassumingly mighty warehouse experiences in Melbourne, and a small nod to a classic New York warehouse.

With the seasoned hands of the Nudo team and their hospitality empire at your fingertips, Gather and Tailor is a modular set of spaces, and the perfect blank canvas where you can call in as much or as little of the in-house styling as you need.

Check out Ash and Karan’s glorious Gather and Tailor wedding here.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Gather & Tailor website: www.gatherandtailor.com.au
Gather & Tailor wedding gallery: Gather and Tailor wedding
Venue size: Pretty damn big, mate. 300 seated, 450 standing (Across two physical spaces).

Alternative Wedding venues in Melbourne - Gather and Tailor outside
Gather and Tailor Wedding Portraits| Wedding Venue Location: Footscray | Photo: Briars Atlas
Alternative Wedding venues in Melbourne - Gather and Tailor
Gather and Tailor Reception| Wedding Venue Location: Footscray | Photo: Briars Atlas

8. The Deck at Circa – Classy Wedding Venue

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Circa The Prince Deck| Wedding Venue Location: St Kilda | Photo: Briars Atlas

The Deck at Circa is nested on the rooftop of the Prince Hotel, in sun-drenched St Kilda. The Deck itself is an expansive, as you’d imagine, deck, with a large covered interior space, and access to some of the other incredible events and wedding spaces inside the Prince Hotel.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
The Deck website: https://theprince.com.au/prince-deck/
The Deck wedding gallery: The Deck Circa Wedding
Venue size: Sit down – 120 guests. Cocktail – 500 guests

9. Quat Quatta – Art Deco Wedding Venue

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
Quat Quatta| Wedding Venue Location: Ripponlea | Photo: Briars Atlas

Quat Quatta contains some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful interiors and exteriors around (check out Burnham Beeches for another), and the breadth of portrait opportunities on-site both inside and outside are unbeatable. A festooned outdoor area makes for a glorious intimate ceremony space, before the party is carried inside, making the combination of these things raise Quat Quatta as the best art deco venue Melbourne has going.

But, let’s just hold off on all the adjectives and hyperbole for a hot damn minute, though: because something about this venue in particular isn’t talked about nearly enough: the bridal suites.

These old heritage rooms at the wings of Quat Quatta, apart from being a pretty splendid place to get all that bridal-suite stuff done (application of bandaids, eating of cupcakes, necking of champagne, and whatever else goes on in there), are totally gorgeous and a way under-appreciated part of the venues makeup, and one of my favourite areas of the building to take portraits on the day.

Quat Quatta is a place of wild charm and a more traditional-looking outpost that holds more than it’s own with plenty of variety. Check out this Quat Quatta wedding for a lay of the land. One of the most majestic art deco reception venues Melbourne has on offer.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Quat Quatta websitewww.quatquatta.com.au
Quat Quatta wedding gallery: Quat Quatta wedding
Venue size: Pretty big, mate. 300 seated, 450 standing (Across two physical spaces)

10. Luminare – Rooftop Wedding Venue

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Luminare| Wedding Venue Location: South Melbourne | Photo: Briars Atlas

Luminare is a wedding venue in Melbourne that has become something of a go-to for all things lush and grand, and I find that folks who are drawn to Luminare are also drawn to The Deck (up above) and The George Ballroom (further down this page).

Luminare is a giant, high-roofed events and wedding space, with an enormous deck that runs the full length of the floor, set against their iconic view of the city. This boutique wedding venue is located just a stones throw from the Melbourne CBD.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Luminare website: https://luminare.net.au/
Luminare Wedding gallery: Luminare Wedding
Venue size: 250 guests seated, 500 guests cocktail

11. Brunswick Mess Hall – Quirky Wedding Venue

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
Brunswick Mess Hall | Wedding Venue Location: Brunswick | Photo: Briars Atlas

Brunswick mess hall is a gritty casual warehouse wedding venue in the heart of Brunswick. Somewhat akin in functionality to it’s spiritual cousin Revolver in Prahran, the Brunswick Mess Hall is a restaurant by day, and party-space by night when a wedding is on. Minus the next new thing in electro-dubstep resetting everyones resting heart-rate, or coke-buzzed charlitans in the urinal offering you the key to manifesting abundance.

Brunswick Mess Hall has some of the most gorgeous natural light coming through later in the day, and some brilliant portrait locations in the surrounding streets that make a quick quest out into this quirky neighbourhood at sunset deliver an abundance of opportunities without dragging you away from the party for too long.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Brunswick Mess Hall website: https://thebrunswickmesshall.com.au/
Brunswick Mess Hall Wedding Gallery: On Polka Dot Bride
Venue size: 130 guests seated, 200 guests cocktail

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Brunswick Mess Hall Wedding | Wedding Venue Location: Brunswick | Photo: Briars Atlas

12. Fortyfive Downstairs – Gallery Wedding Venue

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
45 Downstairs | Wedding Venue Location: Melbourne City | Photo: Briars Atlas

Fortyfive Downstairs is Melbournes best Art Gallery Wedding Venue, and one of the most unique venues Melbourne has on offer. At first glance, for the parents out there, it might bring up the hairs on the back of the neck in the same way that letting toddlers loose around fine china does, but the reality of the space is quite the opposite.

Fortyfive Downstairs is a warming, welcoming space with beautiful rotating art on it’s walls, sat a few floors up from it’s incredible, cavernous warehouse space in the basement.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Fortyfive Downstairs website: https://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/
Fortyfive Downstairs Wedding Gallery: Fortyfive Downstairs wedding
Venue size: 160 guests seated, 300 guests cocktail

13. Glasshaus – Jungle Wedding Venue

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
Glasshaus Wedding | Wedding Venue Location: Richmond | Photo: Briars Atlas

Glasshaus has two distinct wedding event spaces: Glasshaus Inside, and Glasshaus Outside.

Fun fact: Glasshaus inside has an outside outside of Inside’s inside, and inside Glasshaus Outside Glasshaus Inside could probably fit.

Etc.

Glasshaus is something of a beautiful aviary in a jungle, and nearly tucked inside a front that doesn’t lend you any idea of it being there.

Glasshaus Inside is a warehouse jungle, and no other descriptors will do any justice to the space. If you’re looking for venues similar to Rupert on Rupert, this is the answer south of the river.

See more at this Glasshaus Wedding

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Glasshaus website: https://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/
Venue size: 88 guests seated, 125 guests cocktail

14. George Ballroom – Ballroom Wedding Venue

Best Wedding Venues Melbourne
The George Ballroom Wedding | Wedding Venue Location: St Kilda | Photo: Briars Atlas

The George Ballroom is one of the most decadent wedding venues going, and a brilliant example of just how incredible and modular a single room can be. Iconic textured, distressed walls and fixtures, and much like Rupert, the kind of place you can just point a phone camera at in any direction and come out with art.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
The George Ballroom website: https://www.thegeorgeballroom.com.au/
Venue size: 150 guests seated, 200 guests cocktail

15. Altar Electric – Vegas Chapel Wedding Venue

Alternative Wedding Venues Melbourne
The Altar Electric | Wedding Venue Location: Collingwood | Photo: Briars Atlas

Before pandemics and global disarray, The Altar Electric were ahead of the curve before flattening it was a thing, serving up small, intimate weddings in their brilliant chapel in Collingwood, designed by the genius event and wedding stylists over at Good Day Club. There are always new wedding venues Melbourne has popping up, but these folk stand out from the rest.

The Altar Electric is a wedding chapel for three kinds of folks:

1 – Couples who were probably going to book a registry wedding, but wanted a little bit more sass to the occassion

2 – Couples who want Australias answer to the Vegas Chapel wedding

3 – Couples who want to get in, get it done in an incredible and colourful way, and get out into enjoying their day together around Fitzroy and Collingwood

The Altar Electric is one of the most unique venues Melbourne has going, providing everything from intimate shotgun weddings, all the way up to options for a larger number of guests inside the peach-toned walls of their tiny chapel.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
The Altar Electric website: https://www.thealtarelectric.com.au/
The Altar Electric Wedding Gallery: The Altar Electric Wedding
Venue size: 30, to up to 70 if the outside area is used

16. Fyansford Paper Mill – Heritage Wedding Venue

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
Fyansford Paper Mill Site 2A | Wedding Venue Location: Geelong | Photo: Briars Atlas

I had to include this one for all the Lord of the Rings fans out there. This doesn’t quite fit the bill for Melbourne, as it’s just outside of it, but is a secret worth checking out. Before I give the exact location as a potential turn-off, it’s worth saying that if you can stomach sitting in traffic on Punt Rd for an hour to move just 150 metres, then you can also put up with making your way over to Geelong to this beauty, and there’s no trip more worthy.

I still believe Fyansford Paper Mill is one of our real undiscovered gems that should be right at the top of any wedding venue consideration inside Victoria, and unfortunately it’s even tough to get a sense of how brilliant this place is from a proper google search, you almost have to just roll up and see it for yourself.

Cavernous interior, split into two distinct spaces joined by what is an iconic archway in between them, it’s impossible to think this place exists just a short roadie out of the city.

Fyansford Paper Mill – otherwise known ever so romantically as Site 3A – is run by prolific caterers and party-starters Truffleduck.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
Fyansford Paper Mill Website: Truffleduck
Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding Gallery: Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding
Venue size: 30, to up to 70 if the outside area is used

17. The Line – Warehouse Wedding Venue

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
The Line Footscray | Wedding Venue Location: Footscray | Photo: Briars Atlas

The Line in Footscray takes all the grit, texture, and industrial charm of recently gentrifying Footscray and… leaves all it the fuck alone.

Perfect.

Just as every developer with a string of graduate architects are discovering Fisher and Paykel My First Geometry lessons on exterior cladding in the suburb, the folks at The Line have kept the original spirit of the area alive in this rough around the edges gem of a wedding venue.

The Line is a blank-canvas wedding venue, and you know you’re in good hands when the venue is run by a team that also see their space used regularly for community, arts, and market events, which is something of a rarity.

To see The Line in action, pick yourself up a copy of the September 2020 edition of Hello May, where you can see the gorgeous and colourful celebration of Pepe and Sam gracing it’s pages.

Enquire about their Melbourne Wedding Packages
The Line Website: https://www.theline.melbourne/
The Line Wedding Gallery: Hello May Wedding Photographer
Venue size: Up to 200 people

Unique Wedding Venues Melbourne
The Line Wedding | Wedding Venue Location: Footscray | Photo: Briars Atlas

There. 17 (seventeen) of the best alternative wedding venues in Melbourne, for lovers and anarchists.

Author: Briars Atlas. Photos may be used with a link back to this website.

This made the list a little late, but be sure to also check out this Two Ton Max wedding. For unique wedding venues in new South Wales, check out this beautiful Sydney Theatre Company wedding. For a unique Mornington Peninsula wedding venue, you need to check out Tanglewood Estate.

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 ad 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?

I Do Drive Thru

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.

Find I Do Drive Thru online

I Do Drive Thru

I Do Drive Thru website
I Do Drive Thru instagram

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.

Small wedding venues in Melbourne

Jun 14, 2020

Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne

  1. The Altar Electric
  2. I Do Drive Thru
  3. Rupert on Rupert
  4. Two Ton Max
  5. Family Property
  6. Air BnB
  7. Kenny Lover
  8. Glasshaus
  9. Gather and Tailor
  10. Melbourne Town Hall
  11. Brunswick Mess Hall
  12. The Wool Mill
  13. Alto Event Space
  14. The National Hotel Richmond
  15. St Andrews Conservatory

Until early 2021, thanks to Covid19, weddings are going to be happening on a smaller scale (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.

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.

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.

1. Small Wedding Venue in Melbourne: The Altar Electric

Small wedding venues in melbourne: 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.

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 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 get a fab ceremony done.

2. Small Wedding Planning Service: I Do Drive Thru

I Do Drive Thru

When Covid19 hit full-steam and we were locked down to having weddings with a maximum of 5 people in total, local genius Mel of The Ceremony Store came up with a hit 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 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.

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, 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.

Read more about I Do Drive Thru here, and reach out to them to see if they’re the right fit.

3. Intimate Wedding Venue in Melbourne: Rupert on Rupert

Best Small Wedding Venue In Melbourne

One of the best small wedding venues in Melbourne, 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, 20 guests, 30 guests) 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.

To see a larger wedding in full with more examples of this incredibly stylish small wedding venue, check out this Rupert on Rupert wedding.

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. Two Ton Max can support 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

5. 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, 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.

6. Air BnB

air bnb elopement

An Air-Bnb has all the intimacy and timeline benefits of hosting it 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 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.

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.

7. 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.

8. Glasshaus Inside and Glasshaus Outside

9. Gather and Tailor

10. Melbourne Town Hall

11. Brunswick Mess Hall

12. The Wool Mill

One more 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 Small Wedding Venue idea no-one is talking about

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.

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

Hire me to photograph your Elopement or Small Wedding

Small wedding venues melbourne

Briars Atlas Wedding Photographer – https://briarsatlas.com

The Altar Electric Collingwood Bloom Boy

Jun 13, 2020

Looking for an alternative to the traditional registry wedding? Unfurrow your brow and cast your eyes over to Melbourne’s answer to the Vegas wedding chapel – The Altar Electric.

The gloves are off, and The Altar Electric, has overhauled their entire space in Collingwood.

Bloom Boy flowers Altar Electric

Previously a rich blue and in a slightly smaller room, The Altar Electric has a new lease of life in incredible pastel peach colours, with explosions of floral colour courtesy of the inimitable Melbourne florist Bloom Boy, styling features from The Arbourists, and an entire vision executed by the wizard-folk at Good Day Club.

The Altar Electric have been leaders in getting couples hitched while we’ve all been sailing the perilous waters of Covid-19, providing shotgun-style weddings and a colourful alternative to traditional registry weddings.

Now, as isolation restrictions lift, the venue is opening up and moving towards it’s full capacity of 40.

Enjoy this little peek into Rachel and Pauls real wedding at The Altar Electric.

The venue has the most incredible light draping through its industrial style windows at any hour of day.

Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric

BYO cardboard Elvis – but you can order the real deal via their in-house Elvis impressionist.

Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric
Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric
Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric

The space is littered with the hallmarks of Good Day Clubs’ intricate styling – a roof filled with disco balls and chains, and decadent knick-knacks from wall to wall.

Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric
Bloom Boy flowers Altar Electric

No bridal snog is complete without the floral explosions of Bloom Boy behind it.

Bloom Boy flowers Altar Electric
Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric
The Arbourists in the Altar Electric
Collingwood Chapel Altar Electric
Elvis and Bloom Boy flowers Altar Electric

Get married at Melbournes own Vegas chapel. The Altar Electric:

Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert St, Collingwood VIC
www.thealtarelectric.com.au

While you’re here, check out these other unique Melbourne wedding venues, and this Two Ton Max wedding.

This might be,
the start of,
something