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10 iconic wedding venues to knock your guests' socks off

Just like some monuments and landmarks are instantly recognisable, so are some wedding venues.
That could be thanks to their good looks (either inside or outside), level of service, well-rounded reputation… or all three. But that's not all you'll get from an iconic wedding venue. Think of these spaces as tried-and-tested settings - generally speaking, you can expect excellent things from a place that's impressed so many couples before you. Keen to know which venues fit the bill? Here are 10 of our favourites from right across Australia.

For a world-famous façade...

The façade of The Bathers’ Pavilion on Balmoral Beach could be one of the most recognisable venue exteriors around. This historic Sydney icon has Art Deco good looks, impressive dining credentials and a beautiful setting to boot. The Room is the Pavilion’s main event space and it’s pretty special. The walls are covered with 1200 sheets of silver, and the result is a contemporary, elegant room that acts as a blank canvas for couples looking to put a unique stamp on their big day styling. Another space, The Terrace, is ideal for small ceremonies, pre-dinner drinks or canapés and, naturally, for photographs too.

For a Hunter Valley favourite...

Château Élan is to wedding venues what lace is to wedding dresses: as classic as it comes. This venue’s full name is Château Élan at The Vintage Hunter Valley and yes, it’s just as swanky as it sounds. The sandstone Carriage House is an easily recognisable ceremony location; it’s shaded by gum trees and has the resort’s golf course as a backdrop. Other ceremony spots are Fairway Lawn and the pretty white Summerhouse. The two reception spaces – Founders Room and Barrington Room – have elegant interiors, plenty of natural light and views of the manicured golf green. Both rooms can accommodate traditional round or contemporary long tables, a dance floor and large guest lists.

Exclusive hire wedding venue
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You can have these digs all to yourself.

For a heavy-hitting hotel...

There are five-star hotels, and then there's The Langham Melbourne. This luxury hotel is a go-to for couples wanting a venue that delivers memorable weddings. It’s no surprise really, especially when you think about all the ways The Langham Melbourne sets the wedding bar. Its location in the heart of the buzzing Southbank precinct makes the hotel one of the most sought-after wedding spaces in the city – and the views of the Yarra River don’t hurt either. The menus are famous (the buffet at Melba restaurant is the stuff of food legends) and the service is top-notch. The superb spa is perfect for pre- or post-wedding pampering; the plush suites can sleep all your family and friends in style; and the event spaces can accommodate weddings on both ends of the guest spectrum, be it a gathering of 20 guests or a blowout of 250.

For an iconic sandy stretch...

Okay, so Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays isn’t a venue in the four-walls-and-a-roof sense, but given its history of hosting beach ceremonies, it’s only fitting that it makes this round up. This strip of white sand could be the perfect definition of ‘beach wedding location’. In fact, Whitehaven Beach has been called the South Pacific’s best beach on more than one occasion. The beach is suited to small weddings (read: less than 10 guests) or couples wanting to elope. You could base yourself and your guests on nearby Hamilton Island before jumping into a charter flight or helicopter and landing on the beach. There are some restrictions about what you can and can’t bring onto the beach – flowers, butterflies, OTT decorations – so to help you navigate the logistics, tap into the expertise of a local wedding planner. 

For a waterfront wonder...

The Lagoon Seafood Restaurant in North Wollongong is a favourite with couples for a tractorload of reasons. One of those reasons is its location. The restaurant sits on the absolute waterfront, which creates a dreamy backdrop for lawn ceremonies. Even when it’s time for your reception, you won’t have to go without watery views for long – the reception spaces each have excellent outlooks, floor-to-ceiling windows and an al fresco terrace. There are seven different options, so finding a room to suit the style and size of your big day is a sure thing. Think there couldn’t be any more reasons to love Lagoon? Here’s one: the food here is legendary and has won a list of awards longer than your veil.

For age-old grandeur...

Mt Lofty House in Adelaide is a wedding venue that definitely belongs in this collection. However, Mt Lofty House isn’t just a venue – it’s more like a destination. Expect 22 acres of immaculately manicured grounds, world-class facilities (tennis court, croquet and bocce lawns, swimming pool, day spa) and excellent accommodation, including three self-contained cottages, perfect for bridal party get-togethers and big day preparation. There are reception spaces for every style of wedding, and that’s no exaggeration – Mt Lofty House has 10 options for you to choose from, including a garden marquee, tiered lawn, heritage verandah and coach house. 

For ultra-luxe everything...

There are few backdrops that can compete with the one you’ll find at Saffire Freycinet on Tasmania’s East Coast. This secluded coastal location means Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay are at your fingertips. Weddings here are just as high-end as the hotel’s offerings. Saffire Freycinet will be all yours, thanks to an exclusive-use arrangement. From accommodation in Saffire’s incredible suites and your choice of beautiful ceremony location to a reception in Palate restaurant and spa credit, a wedding at Saffire Freycinet is one your guests won’t forget in a hurry. 

For a Yarra Valley legend...

Stones of the Yarra Valley is an institution, and one of the Yarra Valley’s most popular wedding venues. How do we know that? The fact that you can simply refer to it as ‘Stones’ and just like Prince, Madonna and Cher, people still know what you’re talking about. The property has four main hubs – the Chapel, Dairy, Barn and Stables – that are all linked with European-inspired paths. The Chapel has high ceilings, stained-glass windows and handmade timber pews. Once you’ve swapped vows in the Chapel, guests can make for the Dairy for pre-reception drinks and canapés. It’s then on to the historic Barn, with its exposed beams and spectacular views. The Stables at Stones is perfect for smaller celebrations and is kitted out with vintage fittings, worn brickwork and rough timbers. Naturally, the menus are world-class too. 

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It's time to go big, lavish and a little bit OTT.

For a rustic vineyard...

Sandalford is one of the oldest and largest privately owned wineries in Western Australia. Sandalford Wines Estate in Swan Valley has everything you need to tie the knot in style. Think landscaped gardens and vineyards for your photography, a smattering of ceremony locations and a handful of spaces for your reception, including an underground cellar. Of course, there are menus and packages to suit every style. Pre-designed packages can cover seated and cocktail receptions, or you can even create your own package. 

For a classic feel...

Grand architecture, a stunning location and romantic setting: it’s no wonder Customs House is one of Brisbane's most loved venues. With its grand Corinthian columns, heritage clout and view of the river, Customs House certainly makes an impression. Inside, there is a magnificent ballroom and award-winning restaurant. Ceremonies and receptions are both welcome at Customs House. Swap your al fresco ‘I do’s on the Riverside Terrace; wet weather will see ceremonies moved to an alcove in your reception space. The Long Room and The Art Gallery Room are the two main reception spaces. The Long Room is dramatic – think cathedral ceilings and sculpted pillars – and has a private lounge for the bridal party. For daytime celebrations, The Art Gallery Room is perfect. Its walls are dressed with works from artists including Charles Bush and Arthur Boyd.

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