When it comes to having swish nuptials, having a venue where it's only you and your loved ones can push an already fancy wedding into seriously swanky territory.
Getting hitched at a venue that is, or offers, exclusive-hire means just that: the only people there will be you and whoever you invite - no nosy neighbours, no colleagues turning up unannounced and no strangers craning their necks for a sticky-beak. Plus, it's super fun. To keep the fancy feels going, we've found 11 exclusive-hire venues that are pretty much guaranteed to make you a top contender for 'Best. Wedding. Ever'. Some of these venues have a strict exclusivity policy (read: your wedding will be the only one there that day or weekend), while others have the option of hiring the entire property to make it exclusive.
Will a wedding backdropped by rolling hills, a vineyard and landscaped gardens ever go out of style? Answer: definitely not. And neither will venues that come with more than 20 years of experience in the wedding business. Inglewood Estate
offers all of this – and more. You’ll find the Estate in a secluded valley in Kangaroo Ground, and having your wedding here gives you the run of the property, from the hand-built chapel to the reception centre, which is kitted out with a fireplace, timber beams and exposed brick. The grounds are also scattered with hay bales and old farm machinery, giving your wedding photos some stellar rustic-chic cred.
In the lead-up to your nuptials at Gabbinar Homestead
, we recommend letting your ears become accustomed to ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s, because that’s exactly what your guests will be doing on the big day. At this Queensland homestead there are more photography opportunities than you can point a David Austen rose at, from under the boughs of lofty trees to the rustic stables and the old schoolhouse. When you’re off striking a pose (remember, shoulders back), your guests can enjoy a spot of croquet or tennis, explore the sprawling gardens or graze on canapés and cocktails. To make sure you and your 'maids are reception-ready, make use of the Bridal Retreat, a plush room stocked with a full-length mirror, make-up, sparkling wine, chocolates and perfume.
A versatile warehouse space in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, Cupo
boasts polished wooden floors, industrial fittings and furnishings you’ll want to deck out your own pad with. Here, the moveable walls and floor-to-ceiling curtains mean you have a few different options for dividing up the space (read: you can have your ceremony on one side, and your reception on the other). For couples who like to go their own way, Cupo offers a two-day hire package, giving you and your main squeeze (and anyone else you can rope in) the freedom to set up and pack down this blank canvas in your own time.
When a property turns from bed-and-breakfast to full-time wedding venue because the demand for couples to wed here is so high, you know it has top-notch credentials. Located on the Mornington Peninsula, Summerfields Estate
has the goods to cater to both intimate and grand weddings. The black-and-white tiled reception room can accommodate cocktail and sit-down receptions; for a blow-out bash look towards one of the large marquees. There’s also the resplendent Great Hall, hedged terrace lawns, an olive grove, a lake and six plush suites for your bridal party or immediate family – and you, naturally.
For a dose of history wrapped up in a stately sandstone pile, Banjo Paterson Cottage Restaurant
in Sydney is for you. The former home of a young A.B. Paterson (he lived here with his grandmother), the Cottage Restaurant comes with five acres of landscaped gardens and an outlook over the water – make the most of its waterside perch by arranging to arrive or depart by water taxi. The Cottage Restaurant also takes its food seriously: both the kitchen and cellar are multi-award winners.
A historic property where Instagram-worthy views meet top-shelf nosh, Gunners Barracks
in Sydney has the ‘exclusive’ part of exclusive venue nailed. Here, you have three ceremony locations to choose from: the elegant sandstone courtyard, the lower lawn or harbour terrace – believe us, it’s a tough pick. Your seated or cocktail reception will be held in the recently refurbished room, which comes complete with luxe furnishings and Waterford chandeliers.
Terrara House Estate
isn’t just any old country estate. Sure, there are the neighbouring green pastures, a tree-lined driveway, vegetable garden and classic good looks, but when it comes to exclusivity, Terrara House seriously ups the (wedding) ante. On the front lawn you’ll find the spacious, silk-lined marquee, which makes a stylish setting for a lavish reception. When you’re looking to rest your weary head (or start your wedding night), the historic stables are your go-to. These digs have been converted into self-contained maisonettes and even housed Archer, the horse who won the Melbourne Cup in 1861 and 1862.
On a secluded, 130-acre wooded peninsula overlooking Great Oyster Bay in Tasmania is Thalia Haven, an off-the-beaten track bolthole where you’re even treated to your own private beach. Thalia Haven has four separate buildings clustered around a central courtyard that sleep up to eight people, as well as a main building perfect for a pre- or post-wedding sesh with your bridal party. Oh, and there’s an outdoor bathtub, which we’re pretty sure boasts the best views of any tub, ever.
Adelaide's new industrial-chic venue Ten 22 is a space that’s as diverse as the city its perched in. Just 15 minutes from the CBD, Ten 22 is a contemporary alternative to traditional reception venues that can be styled and customised to suit your personality (and your Pinterest board). Ten 22 has two rooms on offer: the Main Room and the Parisian Room. In the Main Room, you’ll find two different spaces, a vintage chandelier, polished concrete floors and oversized doors from Argentina. The sheer curtains here mean you can divide the space up as you like. No prizes for guessing where the Parisian Room draws its styling inspiration - our tip is to use it as a private lounge for your bridal party.
For your wedding to kick on well after the last bubbly has been poured, you need a venue that’s all yours and has plenty of on-site accommodation. Say hello to Grange Cleveland Winery
, a 120-acre winery that has everything you (and your guests) need. Weddings with more than 120 guests have the run of this place, but don't fret about where your nearest and dearest will stay: the venue also has 52 rooms, including the 1887 homestead. For your reception, take your pick from the Great Room or the Carriage House Restaurant, but if an al fresco affair takes your fancy, the Cleveland team can arrange an outdoor reception too.