Planning a Destination Wedding
For those dreaming of something a bit exotic on their special day, sometimes the only thing for it is a destination wedding. Nothing says 'special' quite like an event that takes place out of the city - or state - but with destination events comes a whole lot of planning. Take a look at this guide to ensure your big day is as stress-free and successful as possible.
For a destination wedding that is kind to your budget and those of your guests, look for local Australian locations. While the thought of romantic nuptials in Paris or Rome may be appealing, this kind of event can quickly spiral out of control in terms of your finances, and it's likely to many of your beloved guests will not be able to attend.
Luckily, Australia has a plethora of enchanting locations for romantic, intimate, festive and visually spectacular weddings.
For a quaint, rustic and incredibly romantic setting, head to The Little Church in on Springhill Road in Victoria. Nestled in the Macedon Ranges, the Little Church is just an hour away from the Melbourne CBD, but with its rolling hills and dams you'll feel like you're in a world of your own. The Little Church is a weathered timber building that carries with it over 100 years of history, tucked between ancient gum trees on private property.
Have your ceremony in the church and then move to the pavilion for your reception, where there's a full kitchen with modern appliances and bathroom facilities. What's more, when you book The Little Church you'll be doing your bit for the environment, as the eco venue operates on full stand alone power production, rainwater harvesting and recycles and composts. You can hire The Little Church between 9:00a.m. and 9:00 p.m., seven days a week. This is well suited for small to medium weddings, as the church can fit up to 80 people standing and 60 sitting.
For a South Australian destination wedding you and your guests will remember forever, try Adelaide's Glen Ewin Estate. It's just 25 minutes away from the CBD, and is a heritage-listed property with two unique venues. Choose from the Gatehouse and the Pulpshed, each of which sits on a garden overlooking lakes in the Adelaide Hills.
If you choose The Pulpshed for your venue, be prepared for sheer beauty. It's a rustic building set amongst old stone buildings, woodland and a lake, and is the largest of the two venues. The Gatehouse is slightly more modern and has a light, airy feel, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy an alfresco ceremony and reception here, with a deck area and lake adding to the indoor-outdoor appeal.
Glen Ewin Estate can cater for weddings of all sizes, whether you're planning an intimate affair or a huge sit down reception.
Many reception venues come with their own recommended vendors (who provide the essential services for your big day), while others offer package deals including multiple services. In these cases, you will often deal with just one person - whether it's the venue manager, specialist party planner or event service provider for the venue - to coordinate all your catering, floral, music, photographic and decor needs.
In many cases, however, you will need to source some, if not all, of these vendors yourself. If your wedding is going to be large or you have a very specific idea of what you want on your big day, it may be worth hiring the services of a wedding planner. This person can often get you exclusive deals and offer incredible insight, and has connections to all the right people. This can not only save you time, but also money in the long run.
If you do plan it all yourself, consider whether you will hire service providers such as photographers, florists, caterers and decorators from the location of your destination wedding or your hometown. If you hire from where you're currently based, you will usually have to pay extra transport and travel fees, which may include accommodation. If you hire from your destination location, however, this means you will likely have to travel to and from this place to sample their wares and finalise your decision. Both can add extra costs to your event, so weigh up which is the best option for you.
Weddings usually require guests to travel from different parts of the city, state, country and even world to attend, and this is especially true for a destination wedding. For venues that require lots of travel or overnight stays, it's likely accommodation will be required by you and your guests.
For a more personal, comfortable touch, why not try booking in holiday homes for your guests? Friends and family can stay together in one home, creating a festive atmosphere either side of your wedding. Simply look for holiday homes in the area where your destination wedding is taking place and offer different options to your guests. You never know - some may want to stay on at the houses longer, taking the opportunity to turn your wedding into a longer getaway.
If guests are travelling to attend your wedding, the least you can do is provide transport from local towns where they will be staying to your ceremony and reception venue. As many people will be flying or catching public transport to the event, and alcohol may be served at your wedding, it is impractical to expect guests to drive. Instead, hire out buses, mini-vans or any other type of transport that suits your budget to help transport guests safely and easily to your special day.
The budget is a primary concern of many brides and grooms to be, and this is especially true of a destination wedding. Look for ways to cut costs where possible, whether it's by reducing the guest list to family only or booking in your event for a weekday. This can save you a significant amount on both your venues and vendors, as these service providers often raise their costs at the weekend. They may do the same during peak wedding season - usually in summer - so a Thursday wedding in winter can leave you with a bit more cash in your pocket to spend on things that really matter - such as your honeymoon!