Castlemaine Wedding Venues

Dec 17, 2020

These are four of my favourite Castlemaine Wedding Venues, including photos taken at each of brilliant couples choosing to have their wedding in this rustic region.

It’s really late at night, and i’m writing this article for you, dear human-person, on the other end, and i’m supposed to use all this coercive langue that apparently makes internet websites more engaging and all that (“you’ll never BELIEVE how rusticly-rustic to the power of rustic these are”), but, let’s skip all that cheap shit and get to the point, because you’re better than that (it’s a Castlemaine thing).

Castlemaine is incredibly rad, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this post or considering a wedding in the area, and I want to share some great spaces from this totally marvellous region.

I’ve spent a tonne of time out there, and as a general thing within the universe, a visit to it is generally recognised as being far more desirable than a slap over the noggin with a wet fish, so have a look at these scallywags that thought the same, and hire me to shoot your wedding.

The Best Castlemaine wedding venues

1. Providence Gully
2. Butterland Newstead
3. The Diggers Store
4. The Cosmopolitan hotel

1. Providence Gully

Providence gully is a gem of the area, an incredible oasis established in 1858. With a rustic barn, olive grovee, pomegranite orchards and an endless variety of native greenery, this understated marvel is a must see.

I photographed the wedding of Amy and Bronson, held in this precious place, and featured in all it’s glory on Hello May.

Find Providence Gully

Providence Gully website:

2. Butterland Newstead

Katie (othewise known at the inimitable Katie Marx flowers – see her here on Melbournes best wedding florists) and Greg run Butterland Newstead, and took it from an historic factory needing a little DIY love, into and incredibly versatile venue just one good road trip out of Melbourne

Iro and Alex got married at this spectacular property, and you can see more of these hilarious, stylish marvels featured here on Together Journal.

Find Butterland Newstead

Butterland Newstead website:

3. The Diggers Store

The Diggers Store is something of an understated gem of the area, and resembles something of an impossible mix of tiny italian clifftop homestead, mixed with rustic outback, and just a couple of hours north of Melbourne.

After their Queenstown Elopement (also featured here on Hello May), Lilli and Jake brought the party, and their beautiful community, to the intimate grounds of the Diggers Store in Castlemaine, and loaded up with a bunch of strange old film cameras (see here why I shoot film at weddings) I came along for the ride to document it.

Find the Diggers Store

The Diggers Store website:

4. The Cosmopolitan Hotel

This one slipped into this post, just. Even though it’s about 40 minutes outside of Castlemaine, it still qualifies and is well worth adding to the Castlemaine venue consideration pile. Home of beautiful hospitality, wood-fired pizzas, and plenty of beautiful portrait locations in the surrounding regions to run around in. Go for the woodfired pizzas, and get married on the side.

Kara and Marty had their Castlemaine wedding at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Trentham, and we whipped out for a beautiful portrait session in some unique spots nearby. Head here to see more of their Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding.

Find the Cosmopolitan hotel

The Cosmopolitan Hotel Trentham website:

Check out this post for rustic wedding venues in Melbourne, or on the other side of Victoria, have a look at these Mornington Peninsula wedding venues. For something on the complete other end of the dial, check out this Melbourne city Luminare wedding.

Hire me as your Castlemaine Wedding Photographer

Briars Atlas Wedding Photography – enquire

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Analogue film wedding photographer

Jun 15, 2020

Film 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.

It’s no secret that film is having a massive comeback, and I want to share my love of why you should consider some or all of your coverage being captured on the inimitable nostalgia of real Kodak film.

How to shoot film at weddings
From Parker and Jenelles canoe wedding in Canada. Photographed on a Yashica TLR from the 1960’s, on Kodak Tri-X film. Featured on Wedding Chicks.

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.

International Film Wedding Photographer of the year winning entry.

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 35mm analogue film as part of your wedding coverage.

35mm film wedding photography
For Rachel and Bens Melbourne Registry wedding, they wanted the day shot on film. I then processed and scanned the entire shoot by hand.
Pentax 67 film wedding photography
Shooting film at weddings
35mm wedding photos: Lil and Jake. See their Analog Film Wedding on Together Journal.

1: The slow

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).

35mm film wedding photography
Also see this post here about how to shoot dark and moody wedding photos.

2: Variety vs timelessness

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.

35mm film wedding photography

3: The experience of the muse

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 shooting:

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.

35mm film wedding photography cinestill
35mm wedding photos Melbourne – Lil and Jake in Castlemaine

Separatist shooting:

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.

Why I shoot film at weddings
Lou on Cinestill 500T

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.

The downsides

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.

35mm film wedding photography cinestill
Head here for a ripper wedding florist

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 film photography gear I use currently:

Hasselblad 500 film wedding photography. Why I shoot film at weddings

Yashica 635G

The poor-mans Rolleiflex, this little beauty is quiet, a marvel of engineering, dream to look at, and a pleasure to carry around.

hasselblad 500cm film wedding photo

Hasselblad 500CM

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.

Crown Graphic 4×5 camera

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.

Why I shoot film at weddings
Why shoot film at weddings
Pentax 67 film wedding photography. Why I shoot film at weddings
Dan and Dre on a Pentax 67II with Kodak Tri-X. Also the cover for the New York Rangefinder Magazine Annual.

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 these Melbourne wedding venues.

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

Film wedding photography questions answered

Do wedding photos on film cost more?

All of my packages include some film. To enquire about the cost of having your wedding photographed on 100% analog film, make an enquiry on the contact page.

Can anything go wrong on analog film?

I use a mix of old cameras, as well as the very latest analogue film cameras that were ever made. All of them are regularly serviced by the leading analogue film camera technicians. And I carry backsups on backups, so there is never any risk of anything going wrong. In fact, since I’m not simply shooting everything on one digital SD card, you could even argue that having your wedding photos taken on analog film is even safer than digital.

Will we get less photos on film?

Shooting your wedding on film means being even more careful when capturing moments. This means that i’ll typically come back with a fraction of the photos that I would for a wedding photographed on digital. With that said, you’ll still come away with a minimum of 300-400 finished film photos of your wedding, sometimes even more.

What is the best film to photograph my wedding on?

I use only the best stocks from Kodak and Cinestill. Typically, I can be seen waving my very favourites around: Cinestill 800, Ektar, Portra variants, and TMAX or Tri-X. Occasionally, i’ll even bring some special sauce that has become a unique part of my look and made me one of the most sought after film wedding photographers on the planet.

wedding venues in Mornington Peninsula

Jan 11, 2020

Best Wedding Venues on the Mornington Peninsula (no order)

  1. Tanglewood Estate
  2. Crittenden Estate
  3. Lindenderry Red Hill
  4. All Smiles Sorrento
  5. Brighton Savoy
  6. The Shearing Shed
  7. Private property

The Mornington Peninsula isn’t just famous as an escape for no-ones favourite redneck, nor is it just a place to quest a short distance from the CBD to scratch that covid iso-itch at a local winery: Mornington Peninsula wedding venues are some of Victorias most incredible landscapes filled with culinary brilliance and unique wedding accommodation right at your fingertips.

Having photographed so many incredible celebrations at beautiful Mornington Peninsula wedding venues, I wanted to share with you 6 of my favourite places to get married on the Mornington Peninsula (if you are looking for something a little closer to the city, check out these unique Melbourne wedding venues).

1. Wedding Venue on Mornington Peninsula: Tanglewood Estate

A sunset photograph of a couple at Mornington Peninsula wedding venue, Tanglewood Estate
Tanglewood Estate | Wedding Venue Location: Dromana | Photo: Briars Atlas

Tanglewood Estate is exactly as it says on the box. You get your wood, that’s tangled, in, an estate. Almost something more out of the brain of Tim Burton than a wedding venue on the Mornington Peninsula that you can actually visit and see with your own eyes, this impossibly gorgeous estate is where i’ve even chosen to host my own wedding photography workshops.

A family owned and operated venue, the McEvoys will look after you and put on the most brilliant celebration imaginable (read on down to #5 for another incredible family owned wedding venue).

A couple at Tanglewood Estate, a wedding venue on the Mornington Peninsula
Newport Substation Reception | Wedding Venue Location: Newport | Photo: Briars Atlas

Tanglewood Estate on the Mornington Peninsula has more space than you can poke a stick at, and an incredibly broad configuration of their space is possible: from the wild grounds themselves, to the incredible heritage chapel they lovingly transported and placed onsite, over the enormous barn (where your epic grazing table can live).

Load up the space with one of Melbournes best wedding bands (you MUST check out Like This and Tobi Tobi), grace the interior with some of the best wedding flowers on the planet, and you have yourself and incredible wedding on the Mornington Peninsula.

If you want to dive a little deeper into this incredible wedding venue on the Mornington Peninsula, scroll down to get in touch with them, or check out some images from my workshop I hosted for some brilliant photographers right here.

Enquire about their Mornington Peninsula Wedding Packages
Tanglewood Estate website:
Tanglewood Estate gallery:
Venue size: Able to cater to both small and large weddings

Wedding venues on the mornington peninsula at sunset
Tanglewood Estate Portraits | Wedding Venue Location: Dromana | Photo: Briars Atlas

2. Dromana Wedding Venues: Crittenden Estate

A photograph of a wedding reception at Mornington Peninsula wedding venue, Crittenden Estate
Crittenden Estate | Wedding Venue Location: Dromana | Photo: Briars Atlas

Here’s a question that might not be at the top of your mind when you’re considering your wedding venue: “how will the wedding venue deal with an apocalypse?”.

Let’s answer that here with Crittenden Estate. These two lovers, Jess and Kevin, had a wild day at one of the Mornington Peninsulas best wedding venues, as clouds took over, a hectic storm, and a regional power outage. In case the sublime smiles and joy don’t give you your answer, it’s worth knowing that the Crittenden Estate staff are joy-merchants, slick professionals, and masters of dealing with curve balls.

All of that stuff aside, Crittenden Estate is set on beautiful grounds in one of the most beautiful regions in Victoria. Read on below to connect with them.

Love these wedding flowers? Find a great wedding florist here yourself.

Enquire about Crittenden Estate Wedding Packages
Crittenden Estate website:
Crittenden Estate capacity: 130 seated, 150 cocktail

3. Red Hill Wedding Venues: Lindenderry Red Hill

Lindenderry Red Hill | Wedding Venue Location: Red Hill | Photo: Briars Atlas

I keep going to write “Lindenberry” then realise i’ve misplaced a d with a b. An easily made mistake. Anyway, whatever consonant you choose, Red Hill’s Lancemore Lindenderry Estate Mergest wild, mountainous vineyard terrain, with subtle art-deco brilliance all wrapped up on the Mornington Peninsula, just an hour from Melbourne.

And after a beautiful day there spent necking wines on their gorgeous grounds, I bet you’ll also forget which way is up, which way is down, which b should be a d, etc.

Enquire about their Lindenderry Estate Wedding Packages
Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill website:
Venue size: Capable and scaleable: 180 seated, 280 standing

wedding venues on the mornington peninsula, Lindenderry red hill at sunset
Lindenderry Estate Reception | Wedding Venue Location: Red Hill | Photo: Briars Atlas
wedding venues on the mornington peninsula, Lindenderry red hill
Lindenderry Estate Wedding Photos | Wedding Venue Location: Red Hill | Photo: Briars Atlas

4. Sorrento Wedding Venues: All Smiles Sorrento

A photo of Sorrento wedding venue All Smiles, located on the Mornington Peninsula
All Smiles Sorrento | Wedding Venue Location: Sorrento | Photo: Briars Atlas

Right at the tail end of the Mornington Peninsula, we have this incredible clifftop Sorrento wedding venue, All Smiles Sorrento. One of the best wedding venues on the Mornington Peninsula, All Smiles merges a brilliant restaurant, with breezy clifftop views, and plenty of space around the venue to escape for a bit of quiet. If you’re looking for Sorrento wedding venues, this is the standard.

Enquire about All Smiles Sorrento Wedding Packages
All Smiles Sorrento website:
All Smiles Sorrento Wedding Gallery: All Smiles Sorrento Wedding
Venue size: All Smiles Sorrento seats up to 120 guests

Alll smiles sorrento wedding photo of a family on the mornington peninsula
All Smiles Sorrento Portraits | Wedding Venue Location: Sorrento | Photo: Briars Atlas

5. Bayside Wedding Venues / Wedding venue near Mornington Peninsula: Brighton Savoy
Wedding Venue Location: Brighton

These scallywags sneak in, though right at the top of the Mornington Peninsula, they’re a little further away from what most regard as “peak peninsula”. Regardless, I photographed a beautiful intimate wedding there recently, and was pleasantly surprised by how scaleable the venue was, how beautiful the outdoor ceremony area was, and the hospitality game of all their staff.

A photo of a brighton savoy wedding reception on the mornington peninsula

Brighton Savoy is where you get looked after, where you can head over the road to a beautiful stretch of the bay, and where you can rest your head after a few too many wines, all on the same site with their own accommodation.

Enquire about Brighton Savoy Wedding Packages
Brighton Savoy website:
Brighton Savoy capacity: 30 – 220 guests

6. Phillip Island Wedding Venue: The Shearing Shed

Wedding Venue Location: Cowes, Phillip Island

A wedding venue reception area near the mornington peninsula

Phillip Island isn’t really all that well known as a destination wedding region, and I don’t know if that’s a shame, or whether the area is best left as a well kept secret for all the locals of the surrounding region in the know. In any case, you must check out the best Phillip Island wedding venue – the Shearing Shed.

A long family-run venue, the Shearing Shed is situated at the top end of one of the most beautiful regions of natural wildlife and escapism, just a short hour and a half (or so) out of the city.

While it’s a little bit further away from the other Mornington Peninsula wedding venues, this spectacular little part of the world is full of hidden gems that the crew at The Shearing Shed will be more than happy to divulge to give you and your guests ideas for an incredible week away from the big smoke.

The Shearing Shed on Phillip Island has an incredibly adaptable suite of spaces for all sorts of weddings large and small.

The shearing shed, an incredible wedding venue near the mornington peninsula
The Shearing Shed| Wedding Venue Location: Phillip Island | Photo: Briars Atlas

Enquire about the Shearing Shed Wedding Packages
The Shearing Shed website:
The Shearing Shed Venue capacity: 150 guests seated

7. Private Property on the Peninsula

Wedding Venue Location: Anywhere on the Mornington Peninsula

wedding venues on the mornington peninsula

Ever considered having your wedding in yours (or an accommodating mates) backyard? Jaira and Paul did, for their surprise backyard wedding on the Mornington Peninsula (see more of their Mornington Peninsula wedding featured here on Hello May).

Family and friends turned up for a going away party, only to be surprised by an imminent wedding (in about 5 minutes).

Featuring a Paella chef, backyard antics, and a jaunt around the area for some portraits, it was a brilliant, intimate day with their family and friends.


Venue comparison chart

Wedding venueVenue StyleVenue LocationVenue CapacityYou might also likeSample gallery
Tanglewood EstateRustic BarnDromana150+The Shearing ShedTanglewood Estate Wedding
Crittenden EstateElegant outdoorsDromana150All Smiles SorrentoComing Soon
Lindenderry Red HillArt DecoRed Hill280Brighton SavoyComing Soon
All Smiles SorrentoCoastal clifftopSorrento120Crittenden EstateAll Smiles Sorrento Wedding
Brighton SavoyElegantBrighton220Lindenderry Red HillComing Soon
The Shearing ShedRusticPhillip Island150Tanglewood EstateComing Soon
Private propertyAllMornington PeninsulaVariedTanglewood EstateComing Soon
What are the best indoor wedding venues on the Mornington Peninsula?

My favourite indoor wedding venue on the Mornington Peninsula region is the Phillip Islands The Shearing Shed and Tanglewood Estate

What are the best outdoor wedding venues on the Mornington Peninsula?

Most of these Mornington Peninsula Wedding venues have spectacular outdoor areas, so be sure to read about each one on this page.

What are the best winery wedding venues on the Mornington Peninsula?

You just can’t go past Lindenderry Red Hill.

Cheap wedding venues Mornington Peninsula?

For cheap wedding venues Mornington Peninsula, you just cant go past having it in your own backyard. Scroll up to check out Jaira and Pauls incredible Mornington Peninsula backyard wedding

Wedding planners Mornington Peninsula?

Luckily for you, the incredible wedding planners Popup with Style are located on the Mornington Peninsula.

Are there any travel fees for the Mornington Peninsula?

No. Being a local, there are no fees to photograph your wedding on the Mornington Peninsula or surrounds.

There. 6 of the most incredible Mornington Peninsula wedding venues.

Author and all photos by: Briars Atlas. Photos may be only used with a link back to this website.

Hire me to photograph your Peninsula wedding (if you want)

Wedding photographer Mornington Peninsula: Briars Atlas – Enquire

Going intimate? Looking for a small wedding venue further away?

Be sure to check out my list of the best 17 Small Wedding Venues in Melbourne, and check the video below for a quick preview of them.

Destination wedding photographer

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:

Melbourne wedding photography portrait at desk wes anderson

1: Ask yourself how important portraits are to you

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 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.

2. From the USA, with love: the first look, and what it means

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).

Melbourne dark and moody wedding portrait on film
Funny melbourne wedding portrait

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.

3: Whatever the weather: wedding portraits and rain/apocalypse

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.

Rainbow sun shower wedding portrait
Rainbow sun shower wedding portrait

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.

4: How to see and use available light

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.

Dark and moody melbourne wedding portrait

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.

Melbourne arts centre wedding portrait
The photo of Anna above, is against a harsh fluorescent LED light in the venue entry-way. After the sunset shoot, this ended up being the perfect light!

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.

Melbourne black and white wedding portrait
This photo of Ryan & Alan above, was shot in the middle of the day in the harshest light. By finding a nearby canopy, we bounced beautiful full light from a lake in front of them, onto them.

Mt Sturgeon royal mail hotel melbourne wedding portrait
Hannah & Ben, captured at the majestic Mt Sturgeon Homestead, in a similiar setting to Ryan & Alan.

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.

Sydney sunset wedding portrait
Sunset in Sydney with Jane & Michael.

Moody blue mountains wedding portrait
Twilight in the Blue Mountains with Sarah & Simon.

5: Do the planning and hard work on the back-end, not on the front end.

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.

One Day Bridal wedding portrait Chosen by One Day
Laugh wedding portrait

These are a fun couple of portraits to close this article up – because this should all be, well, fun!

best rustic wedding venues melbourne

Feb 2, 2018

There’s nothing better than a rustic wedding. Surrounded by amazing antiques, homely vibes, and gorgeous Victorian era structures, you can’t help but allow yourself to be entirely engulfed by the country atmosphere. A well-done country-style nuptial celebration can have you feeling like you’ve been dropped right into your own Aussie fairytale. And let me tell you, the photo ops are to die for. Sprawling fields, old wooden sheds and stables, gorgeous native flowers from on-site gardens, delicious local menus – it all comes together to create a truly magical experience. So, without further ado, let’s check out the top 3 best rustic wedding venues Melbourne has to offer!

I’ve thrown in a few sneaky pics too so you can truly appreciate the warm, inviting atmosphere of each of these venues.

  • brown brothers winery
  • cosmopolitan hotel trentham
  • newstead butterland

Country Victoria wedding venue: The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Trentham

The Cosmo Hotel is one of those classic Aussie pubs that looks and feels like your grandfather might have had his first beer at, back in the day, and maybe one of the most unique modern rustic wedding venue melbourne or beyond.

It is a highly convenient venue for Melbourne-ites to travel to because it’s situated only about an hour out of the CBD. It’s classy yet relaxed and it has a plethora of exciting bits and pieces that are honestly a wedding photographer’s dream.


In 2005, the Cosmopolitan was ravaged by a fire that destroyed a huge portion of the venue. Unperturbed, the owners rebuilt the hotel, restoring it to its former glory, with the addition of a few modern features. Although it has been done up in recent years, this historic pub still holds an air of friendly, rustic sophistication. This charm truly lends itself to the bright-eyed, love-filled couples who exchange nuptials here.

rustic wedding venue cosmo hotel

Rustic Features

The primary locations for a Cosmopolitan wedding are the Stables and the Gardens. These two locations simply have the most peaceful atmosphere.

The Gardens are impeccably kept and host a wide range of native Australian flora. Due to this, they are the perfect location to exchange vows and capture memorable photos. You may also be lucky enough to find your reception hall at the Stables decked out in some of the native flowers that the gardens have on show.

garden wedding

The Stables are truly breathtaking with their dim lighting, beautiful flowers and rustic decorations. The olden-day style wooden shed works together with these features harmoniously. This creates a mystically rustic setup for both the reception and dinner.

This delightfully quaint barn surprisingly seats up to 125 guests, perfect for a medium sized wedding. Inviting a few extra guests along is easy enough because the space can accommodate more for a cocktail style function.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding packages are all encompassing due to their awesome inclusions like a wedding planner, local food and drink options, access to the entire grounds of the venue and more!

Final Thoughts

The Cosmo exudes such an air of homeliness and warmth that you can’t help but smile no matter where you are on the property. It’s definitely one to consider if you’re looking to venture to truly rustic wedding venues Melbourne adjacent.

Cosmopolitan Hotel Trentham website:

Also check out this Cosmopolitan Hotel Wedding.

Country Wedding Venue: Brown Brothers Winery, Milawa

About 3 hours north east of Melbourne CBD sits Victoria’s wine country. This region hosts many historic wineries and vineyards just waiting for travelers and tourists to visit. For many reasons, one that stands out as a truly remarkable wedding venue is the picturesque Brown Brothers Milawa Winery.


Since its inception in 1889 Brown Brothers has held its title as one of Australia’s leading family-owned wine companies.

Brown Brothers won the award for ‘Most Loved Brand’ at the 2015 and 2017 Australian Drinks Awards. They received this due to their mix of traditional wine making methods, plus an added innovative flair that supports experimentation. Their mix of old-school and modern techniques spills over into the physical attributes of their winery with expertly designed features. Whilst it is a rustic setting, sparks of contemporary design are scattered throughout.

brown brothers winery milawa

Rustic Features

This unique venue in the heart of the King Valley boasts sprawling green grounds with gorgeous gardens full of natives. Cottages and heritage sites make themselves known, standing tall on the lawns. Mountains surround the valley and can be seen for miles from anywhere on the Brown Brothers Milawa site.

A nearby forest of tall native gums makes for an epic photo shoot location due to an air of intrigue and mysterious adventure. Check out these bad boys…

Even after years of photography experience, my mind is still blown by how finding the perfect angle can eloquently capture such magnificent moments in time.

The luscious on-site gardens make for a truly heartwarming ceremony with gorgeous native trees and shrubs lending their old-school Australian charm. Large oak trees surround the gardens in order to provide shelter from the elements.

brown brothers milawa wedding

A beautifully restored historic barn is the perfect setting for post-ceremony festivities and a seriously delicious dinner. Decorated to the nines, this venue is the perfect balance of modern sophistication and rustic charm.

Stained wooden features and an old-timey cellar provide a visual contrast from the light and bright wedding decorations and attire. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better venue when it came to capturing phenomenal wedding photos for this couple.

rustic wedding photography

Choose from a range of packages and options including The Bridal Cottage, Prosecco Hour, a custom made wedding cake and a professional wedding planner in order to construct the perfect wedding.

Final Thoughts

Any couple would be #blessed to secure a wedding at this contemporary yet rustic venue. A wide range of wedding package inclusions, stunning grounds and photo locations that are out of this world make Brown Brothers, Milawa one of the best rustic wedding venues Melbourne has to offer.

Brown Brothers Winery website:

Country Victoria wedding venue: Butterland, Newstead

This one-of-a-kind venue is located just under 2 hours out of Melbourne CBD allowing it to be an ideal destination for couples looking for a modern rustic wedding venue Melbourne and beyond. As you may have guessed from the name, Butterland is an old butter factory that has been masterfully refurbished as a rustic event venue.


Butterland was constructed in 1904 to accommodate an influx of settlers that came to Newstead as a direct result of the Gold Rush. It has been transformed from a dairy to a candle factory and now stands as a unique, multi-purpose venue for country-style weddings and other quirky events.

The red brick exterior, the chimney stack of the original dairy and the front signage have all been restored to their former glory in the recent restoration. Internal features have also been magnificently brought to life to accentuate the historic charm of a structure that has managed to survive throughout the ages.

butterland newstead

Rustic Features

The grounds of this stunning old building are nothing short of breathtaking due to the well-manicured lawns, stone walls, wooden structures and charming atmosphere.

A gorgeous garden and several homely veggie patches can be seen on the acre of land this venue calls home. Not only that, there’s a concrete pool hosted by an old sump tank and a disused railway line. These seemingly small features provide a spectacular opportunity to capture both the fun and sincerity of wedding celebrations.

newstead butterland wedding
rustic wedding venues melbourne

The internal aspects of this repurposed butter factory are just as stunning as the external.

Because the venue is owned by a florist, you can look forward to indoor plants and flowers galore. A wedding with a botanically-forward theme would be perfectly at home here.

Exposed wooden beams and a mish-mash of chairs made from steel, wood and other materials add to the relaxed aura. Long wooden tables extend through the main hall to provide ample seating for guests.

The owners of this homely venue will work with you to ensure every detail of your wedding is truly yours.

butterland wedding
wedding photography

Final Thoughts

Butterland isn’t just any wedding venue. It’s a wedding venue with history, personality and a suave charm that’s very difficult to resist. Quirky couples with a country-style wedding in mind will go nuts over this place. Honestly, it’s too much fun for its own good.

Butterland Newstead website:

Of the weddings I’ve been privileged enough to photograph, I often find myself looking back at rustic wedding venues with such fondness.

The simple, country vibe never fails to remind us of the importance of family, friends and home. It’s not just the amazing photo ops that draw me to these weddings. It’s the people, the history and the ability to connect so personally with a venue.

What are your favourite rustic Melbourne based wedding venues? Shout out in the comments!

Check out some pics from Tess and Sam’s stunning Kangaroo Valley wedding if you haven’t already…

For beautiful rustic venues specific to the Castlemaine region, check out these Castlemaine wedding venues, or on the other side of Victoria, if rustic is your vibe then you’ve gotta take a look at these Mornington Peninsula wedding venues.