Jun 14, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah and Simons Australian wedding was featured on the wedding blog Rock n Roll Bride, so head over there for more of their story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Briars Atlas Wedding Photographer – https://briarsatlas.com
Jun 9, 2020
If you’re getting married in Melbourne (or anywhere for that matter), it’s hard to go past our own hometown maestros, Suzanne Harward bridal gowns, for world-leading bridal design. In this post, we’ll look at a few of the best Suzanne Harward bridal gowns i’ve seen.
Based in Collingwood, the Suzanne Harward team are responsible for some of the most forward-thinking, design-minded pieces that are not only a joy to photograph (I might have a personal bias), but incredibly decadent pieces for brides.
Most importantly, each and every time I chat with a bride about their choice of gown, they end up falling over backwards in adoration for the team, and it’s pretty easy to see why.
I’ve been fortunate enough to photograph several fashion-forward brides over the years and got to photograph the best modern wedding dresses around – which much of the time happens to be a Suzanne Harward.
Here, i’ve picked three of them, that offer a quick look at what the Suzanne Harward team can do a across the whole spectrum: from elegantly classic, to something from another planet.
All photographs below captured by and remain copyright of Briars Atlas.
Laura’s Suzanne Harward gown knocked my socks off as soon as I walked into their Daylesford bridal prep house. Hanging from a rustic door, it was adorned with the most incredibly bright florals etched into it, with gorgeous soft peach/pink tulle layers.
Laura and Walker were married at the Daylesford convent, a beautiful historic location that made for a perfect contrast to Lauras gown.
I’ve just gotta step in here: how incredible is that speckled light above? You can find that yourself by heading to the Daylesford Convent Gallery.
Treats. Always. Win. Laura and Walker invited their beautiful little scallywag Bonnie along, and she stayed for the entire day and partied well into the evening at the Daylesford Convent.
Want to see more of Laura and Walker? They are featured in print, having been published inside issue #19 of Together Journal. Already got your Suzanne Harward gown and want me to photograph it? You can enquire to hire me here.
Iro’s stunningly detailed dress is a masterclass in modern classic design. I like to think that I have this gown to thank for this image landing me as a category finalist for International Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018 – a beautiful moment in bridal prep accomodation in rural Victoria, before her wedding to Alex at Newstead Butterland (also featured here on this post about Castlemaine wedding venues).
What they won’t necessarily tell you on the Suzanne Harward website, is that no matter how gloriously decadent their gowns are, they are able to withstand a champagne spray from even the most enthusiastic friend.
Just when you think that you can’t be beautifully surprised by a new take on subtle classicism, Suzanne Harward come out with this sleek, elegant gem. Natasha and Jacob were married at the Melbourne registry office, and we spent a little time traipsing around some of my most favourite, secret spots in the city, with gorgeous soft light that played off against the simple shapes of the gown.
These brilliant humans are featured on my website here.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the best Suzanne Harward wedding dresses (in my humble opinion – don’t let that stop you poring over their incredible range on their website below).
73 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066
All images taken by Briars Atlas.
If you’d like to make an enquiry for me to be your wedding photographer, head here.