Oct 12, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 website: www.thepanama.com.au
Venue size: 160 guests seated, 220 standing
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.
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 website: https://venues.slv.vic.gov.au/wedding/
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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 website: www.quatquatta.com.au
Quat Quatta wedding gallery: Quat Quatta wedding
Venue size: Pretty big, mate. 300 seated, 450 standing (Across two physical spaces)
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
The Line in Footscray takes all the grit, texture, and industrial charm of recently gentrifying Footscray and… leaves all it the fuck alone.
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.
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.
Sep 15, 2020
Melbourne wedding celebrant: finding a great one is challenging, and it’s hard to get an idea of whether their vibe is gonna fit your tribe ahead of time. The Celebrant A List is an initiative put together to help solve that, and their Celebrant A-List Ball which I joined majestic celebrant-ey forces with last year, brought together a whole swag of the industries best under one roof in Melbourne.
Since we had so many luminaries of the industry packed into one of Melbournes best bars, it would’ve been rude not to set up a Vanity Fair style photo-corner.
I’ve been super lucky to work with many of these maestros, so read on and enjoy these community marvels and a little insight into the Celebrant A List, and then hire one for your Melbourne elopement.
Lord of the dark-funk, Jac the Hitcher lives here.
If you want to skip the gab (not recommended, but hey, it’s your life), here’s a run-sheet of some of the best Melbourne wedding celebrants that are featured here (in no order):
Lord of all things neon and dark in the wedding celebrant world, find Annie here.
As well as being found under an excellent hat, known as one of the Best Marriage Celebrants Melbourne has on offer, you can find Sean here.
On paper it’s a directory with some hand picked celebrants. Maybe it’s also an antidote to the ‘come one come all’ sites that I find just end up causing us much confusion and anxiety for couples who are by and large going through this process for the first time.
BUT what it actually is a chance to be a little different in the market. All of the directory members are people from my own and some other close confidant’s personal networks.
These were people we already were swapping leads with. So whilst it’s not the definitive and finite list of who’s a quality melbourne wedding celebrant, I can definitely say that all members are quality people and celebrants.
As well as being found wrapped in curtains, Megan can be found here.
Megan is pointing over there, and to find her we’re pointing here.
So the Celebrant A List is also a little community group. We all know which other members are better suited for which kind of couple just based on the initial enquiry.
So my advice would be to get on the directory, to find the kind of wedding celebrant you think fits the bill and send them an enquiry.
If they’re not available, we work as a group to find you someone that is not only free but will also fit what you are looking for.
This legendary Tasmanian wedding celebrant can be found here.
This totally debonair devil can be found here.
Is Brian Jones or David Koresh a funny or poor tasting joke?! Nah but in all honesty, the crew on the Wedding Celebrant A List is from the network of wedding celebrants who were already naturally jelling together.
Everyone on the list is vouched for – we avoid cult like activities, thinking and environments, we feel the market for that is already catered for!
Not just a good looking rack for short-shorts, maybe the best marriage celebrant Melbourne has on offer, find him here.
Haha, what a question! If I was to say what was the mission of the Wedding Celebrant A List, it would be to address exactly this challenge.
We have moved from a world where once upon a time we had to wait until every Thursday night at 7:30PM before our favourite show would be on…now I can binge watch whatever I want, whenever I want.
This is how society works now, so the Wedding Celebrant A List is the kind of place where people can come and not only can we help them feel less overwhelmed we also support each other’s businesses.
With her name an homage to Fleetwood Mac, find Erin here.
It’s for this reason alone why we don’t have hundreds and hundreds of members as we genuinely feel like in the end that helps no one – the couples or the celebrants.
As I already mentioned, just by enquiring with one us, we’re kind of all there to help you find not only the right celebrant but also many other vendors.
We all buy based on people giving us recommendations, it’s kind of the same approach over at the Wedding Celebrant A List.
Well before good ol’ Rona hit the plan was to try and host an event in each major city where we have representation. But now we’re focussed on our big event next year, Hitchmas.
We plan on making this the best business workshop/networking/party kind of event ever hosted in the wedding world.
This cartwheeling legend can be found here
Head back up through this post and click through to any of the brilliant Melbourne wedding celebrants websites.
Finding a Melbourne wedding celebrant can be a bit of a massive task – fortunately, the Wedding Celebrant A List has been assembled to take some of the legwork out of it. Verified legends, take a look and find your Melbourne wedding celebrant below, and then get them down for your Melbourne city elopement.
Sep 3, 2020
Babiana Botanic makes incredible, unique floral designs, thanks to the fine-art background of it’s founder, Anna. We worked together on the wedding of Pepe and Sam at The Line (officiated by Nat Sproal), and we chat a little about her incredibly unique approach to Melbourne florals.
To see more of her impossibly innovative work, check out the wedding of Pepe and Sam featured here (Hello May Wedding Photographer), available on news stands today.
I’m Anna of Babiana Botanic. Most people think working with flowers “must be so lovely and relaxing!”
And yeah, sure – I love what I do and it is at times, lovely and relaxing – but its also 3am wake-ups to get the best flowers at market, long days creating arrangements, carrying buckets up and down stairs of beautiful old venues that don’t have lift access, hands covered in cuts, 1am pack-downs – it can be a brutal job – which just shows you’ve got to really love it – and I do!
I have a Bachelor of Fine Art and have always loved flowers and nature.
My love of Art Nouveau inspired me into the floristry industry where I can create works of art with nature, for people on their wedding days or for other amazing events.
I love doing weddings in Melbourne because it is such a melting pot of people. It means you get such a wide range of clients with a diverse set of needs. There are also so many creative people in Melbourne who want a wedding that stands out and is unique to them.
It means that I get to create amazing colourful weddings, weddings with nods to the couples cultures (Indian, Macedonian, etc), and contemporary weddings that are a little different.
What makes Babiana Botanic special is that we are not afraid to use colour and create something unique. We like to think about flowers as an art form and creating works of art specific to each couple.
We’ve been offering flower delivery to people’s homes during this time off so that we are still working with flowers and offering something to brighten people’s days. We’ve also been in contact and working with all of our couples who have had to postpone their weddings and events to ensure we can go ahead when all these restrictions ease.
I think post-covid, there will be a move towards more intimate weddings with just your closest family and friends, and a move away from feeling the need for a big wedding where you have to invite your third-cousin-twice-removed and that friend you haven’t seen since high-school.
I love colour and doing things differently – and that’s the mark I would like to leave. I want couples to come to me wanting beautiful, quirky, colourful and different designs.
Head to this post for more incredible unique florists in Melbourne.
Aug 10, 2020
Briars Atlas – Melbourne Wedding photography documenting the calm and anarchy of beautiful couples all over Melbourne and Victoria. I’ve been fortunate to be noted as one of Melbourne’s top wedding photographers both locally in Australia’s Capture Magazine, and abroad in New Yorks Rangefinder Magazine, as part of their Top 30 worldwide.
But none of this stuff matters – what matters is that i’m lucky to have one of the best jobs in the world: chasing party-starters and anarchist lovers all over the planet to make something that matters for and with them.
I work with you to make your wedding photography absolutely bangin’, and not something that makes you want to chew a cyanide pill. Read on to see some of the wedding photography i’ve been commissioned on all over Melbourne and beyond.
Jul 13, 2020
Here’s a rundown of some of my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations, organised by the mood they give, to show you what brilliant variety we have in our own inner city for weddings: from gritty industrial, all the way over to the most incredible nature within a stones throw of the Melbourne CBD. Included in all locations are Google Maps pins.
These are my top 15 Melbourne wedding photo locations (I have plenty more hidden gems, but you’ll just have to head out on foot and go exploring yourself to find them).
Be sure to tune in for the very last one – some of my favourite little slices of Melbourne alleys. If you’re getting hitched in the city or inner city or eloping in Melbourne, I know these like the back of my hand as well as a whole bunch of wonderful other little known spots.
These are somewhat more popular locations, but when looking at where to take photos in Melbourne i’ve found they’re ripe for putting a unique spin on each and every time, especially if you’re planning a Melbourne elopement.
The Melbourne Treasury building is the go-to photo location for registry weddings in Melbourne, and one of the most iconic spots for Melbourne wedding photos. With its incredible historic design and layout, it’s one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne. What people often miss though, is that the immediate surrounds of the building have the most brilliant wedding photo locations, perfect for rain-shielded photo sessions, sunset sessions, all of it. If you look closely, you can see some of these at this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.
I take so many couples around here, and it can’t be overstated how beautifully soft and moody the light is around the structures themselves. Head down Treasury place and explore, it’s all an easy and quick whip around, especially if you’re then heading south to somewhere like The Deck at Circa.
Just west of the Melbourne Treasury building, is the Treasury gardens. While the gardens themselves are beautiful and lush, what I personally prefer from this photo location is to use them as context against the treasury buildings behind it.
Walk about halfway up Treasury Place, head down the paths inserting themselves into the gardens, turn around, and you’ve got beautiful lush greenery depending on the time of year, with the incredible heritage buildings right behind you as the backdrop.
The Collingwood and Fitzroy back streets contain some of our earliest historic houses, since they were the first suburbs inhabited when Melbourne did, well, what we did back then, clear everything and everyone in sight and build lots of stuff.
As a result some of the architecture in the surrounding streets is particularly cute and interesting in equal measure, and make for some of the best Melbourne wedding photo locations.
As a general area, this is a personal favourite and one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne and a go-to for all the best wedding photographers doing their thing.
Something more of a sleeper wedding photo location (ie: more classic, and not immediately striking), Carlton has some understated alleys that are beautiful soft backdrops without fighting the rest of the frame, and an ideal subtle place for Melbourne wedding photos.
Enormous stonework, subtle signage and fittings, the laneways here are worth exploring and just a small dash out of the Melbourne CBD.
One of the best lanes. Find this photo location on Google Maps here.
One of my favourite general areas in Melbourne, and a brilliant wedding photo location to explore. Further north we hit Thornbury, which has an endless amount of textures, historic structures, and all sorts of weird and wonderful signage and exteriors – oh, and Kenny Lover.
30 minutes here will be spent pretty quickly heading up, down and around High St, with art-deco design left right and centre.
See more of Sam and Pauls wedding on Instagram.
Northcote Town Hall is a must visit for simple Melbourne heritage vibes, beautiful columns and light. If Fitzroy Town Hall isn’t accessible, then this isn’t a compromise as a wedding photo location, and it provides the same kind of feel, shelter from rain, and beautiful soft light, with no chance of being disturbed, and super close proximity to bars, cafes, and all of the standard Northcote glory.
There’s also plenty of beautiful textures and walls to find on Eastment st and Westbourne Grove, down the side of the town hall.
This one gets a header all of it’s own. The incredible artwork on the side of the Fonda building is a joy to walk past and pop off some frames in front of, and one of the most distinct wedding photo locations around. Punchy, colourful, geometrically satisfying, this is located just off Smith st, with spades of bars and other historic streets right near it.
A great little stopover if you’re getting hitched at Panama Dining Room or Rupert on Rupert.
I’ve had so many couples stay at the QT Hotel on Russel St, and turning just around to the right of it’s entrance, down Portland Lane, is a no-brainer for some quick portraits when exiting the building to head to the ceremony.
The wall of the Portland Hotel is painted a rich black, and feeds down into deep bluestones below, creating something of an impossible infinity-wall, where it feels like the bluestone is a shelf at the edge of the universe. One of the more unique wedding photo locations in Melbourne.
As if we’re about to lean into the ether, or into Gandalf’s embrace, etc.
Until fairly recently, sweeping sections of South Melbourne have somehow managed to mostly avoid being exploited by our general lack of regulation around architectural design for a suburb so close to the city, and so unlike other heritage suburbs, still has plenty of great things to explore without yet looking like a second-year students first foray into geometric design elements.
As a result, as well as easily feeling like it’s a jaunt into the old world, the entire area around the Town Hall, Clarendon St, and industrial back areas have plenty of textures to explore, and is an ideal wedding photo location just 5 minutes out of the Melbourne CBD.
Abbotsford may just be our closest answer to anything resembling the back streets of New York or Brooklyn (see these Melbourne wedding venues). Abbotsford has it all: incredibly close proximity to Yarra Bend Park (which doesn’t seem like it should or could sit so close to the city), old heritage streets, imposing industrial buildings, and everything in between. Abbotsford is a brilliantly diverse wedding photo location.
A 30 minute session in Abbotsford can get chewed up very quickly, and that’s without stopping off at any of the beautiful little cafes littered around the place. One of the best photo locations in Melbourne, at just a short jump outside of the Melbourne CBD itself.
Looking at the map, Fitzroy Gardens almost sounds ripped out of a Tolkien book. The Faeries tree, Tudor Village, Temple of the Winds. These are all great, but the best parts of these gardens aren’t etched on the map.
Enter from the midwestern paths along Lansdowne St, and some of the more incredible tree-tunnels are visible, then head further in to a couple of “secret” little jungle areas with tight greenery, stone stairs and more. Gorgeous wedding photo location resembling a jungle.
One of my favourite places for Melbourne wedding photos.
Carlton Gardens join the Royal Exhibition building. Carlton Gardens are more known for the aisle of trees leading up to said building (and a water foutain) but the best parts of these gardens are actually around the northwestern edge of the exhibition building.
Architecturally there’s a bunch of textural options around there, but what I like most is the setting sun against some of the smaller characterful pieces of garden around there.
Prahran isn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of when looking for the best Melbourne wedding photo locations, but when I lived there, I made a point of taking any couples eloping here from overseas there, for two reasons.
Firstly there’s more than it’s fair share of architecturally stunning historical charm, and secondly, while there’s the allure of taking portraits in the CBD, in my opinion Prahran punches above it’s weight, and saves all of the regular hassles associated with parking in the city itself, while allowing folks spending a little bit of time here to explore a neighbourhood they might have otherwise missed.
First stop from the Melbourne CBD as we head west, Footscray is a gritty gem, and enormously misunderstood suburb (especially from our dear friends of the east). All the right ingredients for a subversive photo location.
Footscray has buckets of charm in it’s back streets, and as you head over to Seddon (i’d never heard of it either until I moved there), you’re hit with some of the most incredible cottage-style residences you’ll see in Melbourne.
The pièce de résistance. Melbourne has bucketloads of beautiful alleys, and the main choices become things like how much heritage do you want, vs graffiti, vs tourists, vs calm.
All of the major alleys have their own character as a wedding photo location, and at any quarter of the CBD there’s a good handful within walking distance, and are usually crowned as the best Melbourne wedding photo locations.
These aren’t necessarily the “main events” here (sorry), i’m instead sharing some of my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations containing simple light, and simple texture. For more of my secret ones, keep an eye on my melbourne wedding photography workshops.
Jul 10, 2020
Jul 9, 2020
Charis white is a Melbourne wedding celebrant with an enormous amount of experience in weddings large and small all over greater Melbourne and Victoria, for every type of couple you can imagine. With all her experience in running brilliant ceremonies, Charis shares her thoughts on how to write a wedding ceremony, how to write your vows, and how to ensure that it’s a smooth experience – especially for the shy and introverted.
Getting to know the couple well means they will have a great ceremony. At a wedding I did recently, a guest asked if I was a friend of the couples. This is the best compliment ever as it shows I really know them and reflected their story in an awesome way.
I ask them if they have an idea about what they want to talk about. If not, then I give them some vow inspiration to look over and guide them along. I also read over the vows and offer advice and guidance.
I tell them to face each other, that way they are only seeing the face of their bestie. If you are nervous, a reassured look can calm you down. I am also up there with them to reassure them and guide them through the process.
When I meet my couples, we have a chat about their day, their expectations and the overall vibe they want their ceremony to take. Once we have chatted through their story, I send them a questionnaire with more comprehensive questions. I also give my clients the draft to look over, it reassures them.
In terms of their vows (see Jake writing his wedding vows), I cast my eyes over them to make sure they are both semi aligned. EG, if one vow is very funny, then I will go to the other person and tell them to weave in a little humour.
That way they are both balanced.
I talk about family and friends in the ceremony. I also love engaging with people prior to the ceremony, especially the oldies and kids.
If there is a way to weave a few friends into the ceremony story, I love to do this and love the relatability of it.
Laura and Walker looking super cinematic. See why I shoot film.
My advice is totally against this. Actually, I bully them into giving them to me prior. JK. If the couple wants me to have their vows, so they do not need to carry anything on the day of their wedding. I ask for the vows prior to the ceremony. I then populate them into the final draft.
My timeline on this is at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. Sometimes I get them the morning of.
However, most couples are pretty good with getting them to me on time. I also look over their vows prior to the ceremony.
Long story short – don’t leave your vows until the last minute!
Follow your gut, trust the process and believe in your team.
See here for how to plan wedding music.
Jun 27, 2020
How to spray a champagne bottle at your wedding: everyone’s seen it, everyone’s had a crack at it, and everyones experience ends with one of “nailed it”, “nearly took my head off”, or “fizzled out to a flaccid wisp like Creeds record contract” (I bought a few of their albums back in the day so this is all fair game, and I guess that makes me fair game).
Also file this under – things you can practice at home in a pandemic. Great for your serotonin levels, not so great for your lounge room walls, so maybe one to take to the streets.
There’s a gentle art to the champagne spray, and it’s both easier than you might think in the moment, while at the same time requiring of a bit of careful strategy and forward-thinking so that the proceeds don’t resemble the unfortunate scene of a garden hose with no pressure at a kids water-fight birthday-party in the middle of summer.
Because if we’re gonna have a day of beautiful debauchery and anarchy, contributing to the carbon(ated beverage) atmospheric trust-fund – and surrounding garments – is one of the cheaper thrills we can have on the day, with a mighty power-to-weight ratio as far as thrills gained, and dollars spent on cheap wine.
Fun for everyone – even me as my camera-gear gets gloriously soaked in the stuff (tips for photographers: if you want to get the best champagne shots, sorry – but you need to be right in front of it – and if you don’t come out needing a dry-clean, you haven’t shot it right).
In order to get a wild spray going that lasts as long as the winners ones do on an F1 podium, we need to consult our dusty “armchair teenage physicist” manual, and brush up on the “why” before we get to the “how”.
This means we need to press our thumb against the hole, as soon as the cork is removed. This in turn keeps extra pressure inside the bottle, which means it’s going to try and force it’s way through the available gap. If the champagne has pressure that is mostly kept in by your thumb, that means that in order to release that pressure, it’s going to have to push it’s way through that gap – and fast.
And when you maintain that while continuing to shake it – that’s where it all starts going beautifully bananas. If I had a dollar for the amount of times i’ve seen folks not immediately apply pressure and then watch the contents dribble out like Sam Newmans Twitter musings, i’d have enough clams to lift his face even higher.
Luckily for us, we have everyones favourite rainbow anarchist (well, the other favourite to this wonderful mob) Dee Brinsmead, wedding celebrant and co-owner of The Altar Electric, to help run us through how it’s done.
Bring yourself into a state of maniacal glee. This should be fun, you should have your crew around you (if they’re part of it), and you should be prepared to make a mess, take an eye out, blow a hole in the photographers expensive lens, all the good stuff.
Here, a friendly neighbourhood cat takes part.
Acquire champagne, twist and remove the wire cap, so just the cork remains.
With your thumb over the cork, pre-shake it enthusiastically.
Begin to undo the cork until it’s nearly off. Brace your thumb against the base of the cork, and flick it into the heavens above, or at your photographers head.
Tip: if the cork is tough to remove, grip it with #intention very tightly, and carefully rotate it and “unscrew it” out with your hand.
At this point, you should immediately cover the hole with your thumb: in fact, trying to completely block it – and shake the bottle like a maniac. I promise you the champagne will begin to escape, no matter how robust you think your thumb-bottle sealant game is. This is where a champagne-spray often fails, and this is the step to nail correctly.
Every second of champagne-exit where the hole isn’t blocked, is precious pressure lost.
From here, just gently remove pressure very slightly, in the direction you want to spray, being conscious of where it’s coming out as you pivot your thumb. Continue to shake with maniacal glee.
Tip: As the contents and pressure in the bottle deplete, you can squeeze as much out if it as possible by increasing the pressure you’re creating, and pressing your thumb against it more firmly and closing the gap. The little pressure that’s left in the bottle will be amplified by having the gap made even tighter.
Voila! You’ve successfully emptied the contents of a bottle in the manner in
which was truly intended by the manufacturer, but can’t be claimed as such on fancy champagne labels.
Just know that you’re doing your winemaker countrymen proud.
Jun 15, 2020
Analogue Film Wedding Photography: this is a piece on how and why I drag around analog film photo gear that past it’s use-by date half a century ago, why I consider myself an analogue film wedding photographer, and the pros and cons of considering having your wedding photographed on analogue film.
For a brief moment there in the late 00’s, opportunistic young-things were meeting the cries of the old-guard lamenting “film is dead!” with “yes, i’ll take all that dead processing gear off your hands for free, thankyou very much”. All of the beautiful analogue film processing gear that had seen so much love, had been decommissioned and retired, before being snapped up by enthusiasts for a song.
As a result, more film-labs began to open than they did close, and now there has never been a better time to shoot analog at weddings.
Film has been a key part of my look and approach since I became a melbourne wedding photographer, and an ongoing reason why creative folks and even other wedding photographers book me – even if in some cases I just channel the look of film photos in my digital images.
In 2019, I was awarded the analogue international wedding photographer of the year award, and in this post I want to discuss why I shoot film, what it’s benefits are, and why you might consider the use of analogue film as part of your wedding coverage.
It slows you down, and costs you money. In a generation of excess, our freewheeling brains need to be reined in. Historical patterns show that the more Tik-Toks and short-form content (ie – catering to short attention spans) there is entering the arena, the more room is then created for long-form content, and things warranting pause and stillness, as we collectively look for a space to make us feel something again.
When something forces you to respond slowly and consider the cost, the by-product of that is that you give yourself to the medium more. Where there’s tonnes of advantages in firing off thousands of frames on digital, there’s just as many advantages to having the costly walls of constraint around us (constraint being the only true useful tool in creativity that continues to stand the test of time).
People throw the whole timeless thing around in association with analogue film, but I think that only really holds true for black and white (Tri-X) film.
Most colour stocks actually have their own distinct look and feel that, when processed by a modern lab, aren’t what I’d necessarily call timeless. I don’t say that in a bad way – but the timeless colour we’re perhaps used to, is more the Kodachrome, stuff from the 60’s-80’s that our eyes more closely align with timelessness.
The rich, punchy colours of beautifully over-exposed Portra film aren’t any more timeless than digital, and are actually very distinct in their own right.
The sheer variety of looks in analog film stocks, lenses, and camera bodies is staggering, and each link in the chain imparts it’s own little flavour on the end look of the image.
So for me, shooting analog film is less about timelessness, and more about variety.
In my own tests, shooting analogue film is an objectively better experience for the person in front of the camera – if for nothing else, because we’re slipping into a loss of generational memory of those old cameras: and so these crazy old things bring on a strange sense of removed nostalgia and wonder, simply because it’s assumed that they’re just mantlepiece decorations, rather than fully capable image-making machines.
Having someone use an archaic piece of engineering with all the romance of a past-craft makes them feel valued in a totally different way. Even if the whole shoot isn’t being done on film, having some gear in the bag to switch things up can completely change the tone of the shoot.
David Rees is a good point of reference for the question “can the intrinsic value of a thing be increased or amplified by wrapping some old-world artisan air of craftsmanship around it”.
Typically, there are two main approaches that a photographer will take when choosing to use film as well as digital during a shoot, and they are either hybrid shooting, or separatist shooting (I made that second label up, but I can’t think of another way to title it).
Hybrid film photography is when the photographer shoots analog film, but aims to have the feel and tonality of the images completely in tune with the digital coverage. Often the aim of the preset applied to the digital images is to have them look as close as possible to the film ones. In this way, hybrid shooting is a process-based approach to film photography, rather than an output based approach: which is to say that it’s used mainly to provide variety to the photographer, rather than to the couple. This is not how I shoot film.
Separatist shooting is when the differences in the two mediums are celebrated, and no effort is made to create consistency between the digital images and the analogue images, meaning that the photographer gets to enjoy the process of shooting with different cameras, as well as providing something unique to the couple, and extra variety in the images they receive. This is how I choose to shoot film.
Separatist shooting is my preferred approach, and this is why: over the last 100 years, we’ve had hundreds of beautiful, differing formats used to create images. Different analogue film-stocks, and different lenses that all interpret light and render a scene, differently. I think those differences should be celebrated. It also keeps me more entertained pushing to find the deeper uniqueness of a particular format, rather than agonising over getting a perfect match between analog and digital, which for me, defeats the purpose of enjoying analog film as a medium.
Mixing things up is probably the number one reason why I shoot analogue film at weddings.
I don’t necessarily think consistency is overrated, but I do think surprise and intrigue is underrated. And as a film wedding photographer, there’s no greater joy than delivering a set of images where couples get the chance to swoon over that sprinkle of images that seem to just have something… else, to them.
Sure, I could go into the all the impractical bits of it, but for me, they’re joys. The only prolonged implications of shooting this stuff, is that it costs. It’s easy enough to throw in a roll here and there, but with analogue film and developing costs, we’re looking at about $70 for a couple of rolls – or about $3 per shot.
That’s fine when it’s a small part of the shoot, but a full-day analog wedding shooting only film can run past $1500 in film and developing costs alone very quickly, and that’s where it has to be considered as an add-on, rather than something that can be thrown in.
If you’re considering having your wedding photographed on analog film, I can recommend a bunch of ways in which it can be approached: whether having your entire wedding photographed on film such as Lil and Jake here, or doing what I do much of the time, when I detect that the idea sparks joy: bringing along some weird, wonderful gadgets, and making some images on them over the course of the day.
If you like, you can see some of what’s in my camera bag over at Shotkit, although it’s in need of an update (i’m pretty sure all the kit there hasn’t survived my anarchist hands for half a decade).
The poor-mans Rolleiflex, this little beauty is quiet, a marvel of engineering, dream to look at, and a pleasure to carry around.
This is my “good afternoon, i’m making some serious work” camera. A little heavier, a lot louder, but due to having an enormous mirror inside it, what you see through the ground-glass is what you get: whereas with a Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera, there might be a very slight difference in what you end up with.
The grand-daddy of common press-cameras in the 1950’s. Extremely portable, lightweight, invites curiosity, and the looks of it alone are good enough reason to be a film wedding photographer.
If I had to take one to a desert island, it would be the Yashica. If I got to take a tripod too, it would be the Hasselblad. My favourite film stocks are Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X, although these days i’m taking a leaning towards the rich colours of Ektar.
If you’d like me to shoot some analogue film at your wedding, you can connect with me here or on instagram, and maybe for a doubke-whammy of awesome, let’s get our analogue on at one of the best alternative wedding venues in Melbourne.
For more of my film-only work, you can follow my personal account here.
If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos.
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 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.
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.
The venue has the most incredible light draping through its industrial style windows at any hour of day.
BYO cardboard Elvis – but you can order the real deal via their in-house Elvis impressionist.
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.
No bridal snog is complete without the floral explosions of Bloom Boy behind it.
Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert St, Collingwood VIC
Jun 8, 2020
Tanya and Ryan are Jiu-Jitsu diehards, who train together, and Mario-Kart together. These legends had their Two Ton Max wedding in Melbourne right at the 11th hour before Melbourne’s first Covid lockdown. In one of Melbournes most brilliant warehouse wedding venues, these two got it done in style with a crew of the best. I was lucky to be along for the ride with my dear old mate Michelle Grace Hunder, photographing this together for the first time in years (we started out as a wedding duo before going solo).
Enjoy this little peek into Tanya and Ryans Two Ton Max wedding, featuring Melbourne wedding celebrant Shannon Jeans running the show. For more beautiful warehouse, rustic, or alternative wedding venues in Melbourne, check out this post on unique Melbourne wedding venues, featuring Rupert on Rupert and Gather and Tailor.
Two Ton Max website: http://twotonmax.com.au/
Nov 1, 2019
If you’re here, you’re planning a wedding at Metropolis Events incredible wedding venue in Melbourne, and maybe even looking for a photographer. I’m a Melbourne based wedding photographer, and photograph weddings all over the world, including each year in New York, which I feel Metropolis Events is something of a spiritual homage to.
I photograph a small number of weddings each year, capping out at around 20 so that each couple receives an extraordinary level of care and attention.
Below is a selection of weddings i’ve photographed in all sorts of locations, with brilliant couples all over the planet. If you’re looking for a Melbourne wedding photographer for your Metropolis Events wedding, drop me a line at the bottom.
Make an enquiry: https://briarsatlas.com/enquire
Jul 10, 2019
Wedding portaits: you’re getting married, you’re organising your vendors, and you’re at the point where you’re facing the classic conundrum that is working out whether you do or don’t want your day turned into a Hollywood film-set, and whether you are or aren’t going to be dragged away from your guests for 3 hours for a portrait session.
Originally published on Polka Dot Bride
There’s no right or wrong way of going about your wedding portraits: the main thing is to look at a lot of images from a variety of photographers, and build up a vocabulary of photos that you connect with (Pinterest being one of the great ways of storing that vocabulary), and understand how and when the portrait session (or sessions) fit into your wedding day.
Here’s a few helpful little home truths and things to keep in mind about your wedding portraits that I’ve found useful in navigating all this:
First up, someones gotta say it: while being totally necessary, your wedding portraits are still, simply not the most important part of your day. Not by a long, long stretch! I say this as a photographer who adores that part of the day (this post here has plenty of wedding portrait examples) and invests a hell of a lot of personal energy into them, both on the day and at 1am in my editing cave in the weeks after. Your photographer should be able to advise on the ideal amount of time for them to get images up to the standard that you’ve fallen in love with on their website.
At the same time, they should be able to confidently make you great images, in a small window of available time. I’ve been in situations where 45 minutes have been allocated, and then rain has erupted, and that reduced to just 5 minutes because they wanted to get into the warmth of their packed barn and on to the beers.
I think that’s fair enough.
And a photographer should be able to confidently deliver you some glorious wondrous images, in that 5 minutes. While I personally recommend 30-50 minutes total to my couples, split across two parts of the day, I was able to work out what was important to do in that 5 minutes, work like a crazy-person and get them a beautiful set in just 5 minutes.
So, step back and ask your wedding photographer how long they recommend for the wedding portraits. Work out how long you’re prepared to spend and have a mutual understanding that on one hand its a beautiful window of calm where you get to be with just each other and on the other hand, it’s also precious time away from your guests.
The first-look is still a little bit of an unknown out here in Australia. It doesn’t help that it’s name has this kind of scary grandeur attached to it. Let’s dispel a few myths, and look at a few of the positives.
The first look is, simply, a moment where you get to meet each other before the ceremony, and inhale a little bit of calm together. It doesn’t take off the magic of seeing each other in the aisle (if anything, it amplifies it).
It does give you the chance to make some portraits immediately after and reduce how much time is spent away from guests later on. Most folks often miss out on the canapés hour, of course there’s no right or wrong approach here, but personally, I’d want to be hanging around my crew for canapés! Remember you can still head out at sunset together, and get the best of all worlds.
This is about having an all-in attitude. This is the test. How far are you willing to go for your portraits, in the moment? This is worth thinking about briefly ahead of time, as it can help you slip into the right state of mind on the day if the weather goes south.
There’s no right or wrong answer: but from a photographic point of view, the more risks you’re prepared to take (within reason), the more wild the photographs you’ll receive will be, and fitting to that particular moment.
Maria and Ingo leapt out into rain and rainbows for their wedding in Tuscany, and I think it was worth every second of that 1-2 minute sprint. Us photographers are a weird bunch, and you can probably always consider us up for running out in a hail storm to get the best shot, so this is really just for yourselves to consider.
The worst thing that can often happen is a bit of dirt on your dress and water in your hair. So get out into the rain, make some wild photos, then load up on some whiskey. That’ll get you warm again.
It’s taking every ounce of strength for me to say this, but, when it comes down to it, there’s no such thing as bad light, only bad photography. Us photographers – we might moan and groan about overhead sunlight (I certainly do!), or about harsh green fluorescent light, and there’s some truth in there being something extra special about sunset, twilight, and all that jazz.
But, this is really important: your photographer should be, first and foremost, a problem solver.
There’s no such thing as bad light – only light that might make them uncomfortable. And if they’re good at their job, they’ll be able to work through that discomfort, solve the challenge of whatever the lighting situation is, and still be able to deliver you magnificent images, and be comfortable in solving problems caused by un-ideal lighting.
A lot of what makes this image work was about carefully bringing it to life in post-production, but a photographer should be able to see great opportunity and know what to do with it. Mix up the indoors, with the outdoors.
With all of that said, I’m still a big believer in crafting the optimum scenario where possible: your photographer will be able to work with you on your timeline and styling to offer any advice to make things that little bit more magic for both your guests and your images.
I’m no stranger to being asked about festoon arrangements, or timings for portraits. Put your faith in your photographer and ask if they have any suggestions. Chances are, we’ve got a brain full of ideas that we’re willing to share, all in the name of getting you the best wedding photography.
Try and prioritise at least some of your portrait shoot later in the day, around sunset and into twilight. This is when the dance of light does some especially magic things.
Like every area of your wedding, you want to do the hard work on the back end, not the front end. What this means is connecting with caterers, stylists, and photographers you feel you can trust, so that on the day you’re not having to intervene. This is especially important with photography and specifically, wedding portraits. A shot list can hinder your photographer, and take them away from doing what we do best: which is being responsive to unfolding moments.
Don’t meet a million vendors for each category, meet a few and spend time with them. Make sure you get those little bells of trust ringing that tell you they’re the one. And then let them do what they do.
Because the best wedding portraits – the ones you’ll print and find yourself sending to everyone – fundamentally come out of ignoring nearly everything I’ve written above, and enjoying a couple of carefree windows with a photographer you feel entirely comfortable with, wherever they end up being taken.
These are a fun couple of portraits to close this article up – because this should all be, well, fun!
Jul 2, 2019
I get a lot of the most beautiful enquiries for weddings, from all sorts of humans and all types of celebrations. But every now and then one stands out as something of a… unique first. An enquiry asking if i’d shoot their Albanian Rock n Roll Warehouse Rave Wedding stands out as one such enquiry. I teamed up with the brilliant Nat Sproal (also headlining my piece on the best Melbourne wedding celebrants here), for this incredible Fortyfive Downstairs wedding in Melbourne, which began with gentle calm and after the rave stuff, ended with Saranda putting a fire-hose on Brendan enthusiastically trying to corral some last portraits at the local Maccas.
Fortyfive Downstairs website: https://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/wp2016/private-events/
Apr 10, 2019
Depending on who you ask and what their personal experience has been, raising the question of kids at weddings might be akin to asking “should we invite the early-onset of armageddon or the vertically-challenged apocalypse to our wedding with open arms?”.
It’s a bit of a contentious and polarising one, and a conversation that’s well-documented already out there in internet-land as far as the pros, cons, and how to manage the decision either way: everyone’s had their own experiences, and everyones personal situation is wildly different.
With all that said, having seen my fair share of weddings with the glorious little scallywags where nobody ended up dying, i’m just going to step into the ring as a raving advocate of our dear little humans being present at your wedding, from a different point of view.
Let me explain my heavy bias, over a few key points.
Straight up – in front of a capable photographer, the magical theatre of vertically challenged humans is a sight to behold, and one of the greatest gifts you can get back in image-form when all is said and done.
Excuse my French, but kids, again, bless them – just don’t give a fuck (or they did, but then came across a certain bright book at the airport bestseller stand when their parents weren’t looking).
This wonderful quality that we systematically try to rid ourselves of as we enter adulthood is responsible for them colluding, doing their thing, and in turn, giving you the photographic gift of this wonderful little human theatre that you were too busy to notice happening.
That’s worth celebrating, and the irony here is that due to the Theory of Small-Human Close-Proximity Exponential-Collusion Effect (sorry, I made this up – if you google it you’ll find nothing – yet), the more kids there are present, the more they’ll be too busy being wrapped up in their own awesome world to cause any trouble.
Stake your otherwise rapidly-diminishing claim as household power-holder before your spawn exercise their terrifying muscle of independant-thought by making sure that any moments of cacophony are properly captured and stored.
In this way, if there’s any delusions of grandeur in those teenage years, you’ve always got record of some of some of their not-so-fine moments, should those be displayed at your wedding, or in front of their friends at their 13th birthday party.
This is also a tool you can really apply to any areas of your wedding.
Worried about getting drenched in the rain? Flip it. Celebrate it. Make sure you have a spare outfit, head out with your photographer, get drenched, and enjoy the awesome images that come from it.
Worried about kids being underfoot? Celebrate it (and keep sharp objects away from the edges of tables).
Worried about them bellowing over the vows? Celebrate the quirk and discord that brings, and know that the little scallywag can almost always be gently taken away and cared for out of earshot.
And before that happens, you’ll have some wonderful images of the glorious little deathspawn in full-flight.
Ultimately, it’s your day: whether kids have a place or not is entirely your decision, and if you do invite them, simply go all the way and make sure there’s enough logistical things that let them fall into their own world. But consider this: where there’s a positive for every negative, there’s also another perspective: looking at that negative, and instead asking – is the day about being perfect, or being memorable in it’s imperfect glory?
For a peek into the level of “baller” that can only come from a 5 year old while delivering the rings, check out this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.
Mar 24, 2019
Head on my Melbourne wedding photographer instagram to see updates on weddings photographed all around the world, and in and around Melbourne. From Immerse Yarra Valley to Rupert on Rupert, Gather and Tailor and everything in between (if you haven’t picked a venue yet, maybe my post on the best melbourne wedding photo locations might help), I have the beautiful honour of documenting love and ceremony all over the planet (and Australia).
Head to my instagram to keep up to date with what i’ve been photographing and where, here: Briars Atlas Instagram.
Dec 15, 2018
Gather and Tailor is an incredible rustic, industrial wedding and events space on the edge of Footscray, just slightly west of the Melbourne CBD. Couples of all types book at Gather and Tailor Wedding as there are two distinct spaces available to cater to all sizes and scales of celebration: Warehouse One, and Warehouse Two.
I’ve been fortunate to photograph weddings at Gather and Tailor Warehouse every other year, and so here are three couples with different types of celebrations, so you can see how they’ve each used both Warehouse One and Warehouse Two, and hopefully it gives a little insight into what can be done in their incredible spaces.
Gather and Tailor isn’t just available for weddings, but the venue is also regularly host to cocktail event, fashion parades, corporate dinners and more.
An incredibly detailed blank-canvas industrial wedding venue in Melbourne, Gather and Tailor’s two unique spaces can be hired separately depending on the size of your wedding and the flavour of industrial that you prefer.
Gather and Tailor Warehouse One is the smaller of the two, but as with the specs below is still plenty large enough for weddings on the larger end of the dial, while having the space arranged in such a way that it’s also suitable for smaller weddings. The wedding you’re about to see was for Carli and Ennis, and was a communal gift from all supplies involved after a bushfire approached their first wedding in rural Victoria and forced them to evacuate. Incredible to see just how close the fire got.
Take a look at how everyone came together to get them the wedding they didn’t get to, at literally the last minute, have.
Gather and Tailor Warehouse One capacity:
Warehouse Style, flexible blank canvas
Gather and Tailor Warehouse Two is significantly larger in floor space, and one of the most epic blank canvases you can imagine. If having a smaller wedding here, the space should be used and styled in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a tiny huddle in the corner of the Vatican.
The weddings you’re about to see are of Ash and Karan, and Anna and Anna – theirs of which was featured on Australia’s largest modern wedding blog, Hello May.
Gather and Tailor Warehouse Two capacity
Warehouse Style, flexible blank canvas
Celebrant Gabriella Christopher Rings Julia Deville BRIDE ONE Dress Ellery Shoes Nicholas Kirkwood Makeup Ross Andrwartha BRIDE TWO Dress Dion Lee Entertainment The Elwood Community Shoes Proenza Schouler Earrings Ellery Makeup Ross Andrewartha Florist North St Botanical Venue Gather & Tailor Catering Pot and Pan Candles The Supply Co Lighting Technical Events Sound Hire DJ Warehouse
Heres some more of my wedding photography, made with couples from all over Melbourne, to the Yarra Valley, to Geelong and beyond.
Gather and Tailor website: http://www.gatherandtailor.com.au/
Unit 11/41-59 Sims St, West Melbourne VIC 3003
Gather and Tailor on Google Maps:
Dec 27, 2017
Holding a Tanglewood Estate wedding is like holding a wedding at something straight out of the head of Tim Burton. True to it’s name, Tanglewood Estate is a layered landscape of brilliantly twisted and tangled trees with a whole bunch of options both indoors and out for hosting your Mornington Peninsula wedding.
On it’s 100+ acres, Tanglewood Estate rustic spaces include The Chapel, The Grounds, the Studio (a former artists studio constructed entirely of mud brick), and the Winery. There’s a few little pieces about Tanglewood Estate’s story that are best left to them telling, but the one about their Chapel being purchased on Gumtree is a pearler.
I love shooting at Tanglewood Estate – apart from the enormous variety of spaces there, that sunset that drops behind the lake is out of this world.
I ran another series of wedding photography workshops at this beautiful slice of Mornington Peninsula wilderness – at it’s space called the Studio, and was joined by such a brilliant crew of Victorian creatives to spend the day together, such as the utterly inimitable Briggsy, Ashleigh Haase photography, my dear mate Cass Sullivan over from Tas and so many more, and had the incredible skills of Humdrum Films (head here for more Melbourne wedding videographers) putting together a video of the day.
Here’s a little peek into the day. Huge love to Humdrum Films for capturing it.
Growing up in the Yarra Valley and later towards the Mornington Peninsula, i’ve got a special love for those areas of Victoria, and it’s always a treat to photograph weddings out that way. Usually close to half of my photography year is spent across those two regions, and having spent so much time out there it makes perfect sense to host a wedding at Tanglewood Estate.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer at Tanglewood Estate or the Mornington Peninsula, reach out and I can advise on how to go about it and how to make the best of your time out there.
Dec 1, 2016
Karishma and Ro’s incredible Indian wedding took place all across Melbourne, with their Mandap ceremony taking place in the suburbs before their evening reception at the shed in the Docklands.
So many incredible colours, rituals, and precious moments between family and community happen at an Indian wedding, it’s like nothing else, and familiar and different every time I’m lucky to be photographing one.
After Ro’s incredible energetic Baraat, I leapt back to capture the Jai Mala to the Talumbralu and onwards, and it was an incredible, love filled day with these two legends.