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8 waterfront venues where you can take the plunge (without the sand)

Pop superstar Annie Lennox once asked to be taken to the river and, even though we're pretty sure she wasn't talking about weddings, we're going with it.
We know, we know, holding your nuptials by the water isn't exactly a ground-breaking idea - beaches are as popular as Mason-jars-as-vases when it comes to weddings. But while they may dominate the waterfront wedding stakes, they aren't your only option. You've got venues by lakes and rivers and dams and harbours that all come with those killer water views, but won't have you getting sand in unwelcome places (carpet, ladies... we obviously mean the carpet). That's why we've gone and cracked open our little black book of wedding venues to bring you eight waterfront perches, where you're close enough to the water to dip your toes in, but there's no fear of falling in and trashing that dress. Unless, of course, you want to. 

For seaside feels... Encore St Kilda, VIC

To one side of this venue, you have stunning views of Port Phillip Bay. On the other, you have one of Melbourne’s most buzzing suburbs, St Kilda. And if that wasn’t tempting enough, the fare and service at Encore St Kilda is just as good. The space can accommodate weddings of all sizes, from an intimate dinner with 50 invitees to lavish blowouts where the guest list numbers 700. Leave your guests to graze on canapés as you take off towards St Kilda pier for your waterside photography shoot. 

For when only the harbour will do... Deckhouse Woolwich, NSW

If it’s waterfront views you want, then it’s waterfront views you’ll get at Deckhouse Woolwich. This Sydney institution sits on Woolwich Pier and is 10 minutes from the CBD. From the Upper Deck space, there are uninterrupted vistas of the come-hither water. The venue also has an outdoor terrace and a private bar, both with floor-to-ceiling windows so you’ll never have to go without those water views. Take advantage of the Deckhouse’s waterfront perch by pulling up to the venue in a ferry or water taxi and fulfilling your beau's fantasy of living out a James Bond style entrance. 

For a heritage pile... Banjo Paterson Cottage Restaurant, NSW

You’ve probably already guessed, but this sandstone cottage was once the home of an Australian literary great. The Banjo Paterson Cottage Restaurant sits on five acres of parkland, including landscaped gardens that make a seriously photogenic perch for your ceremony. There’s also a private jetty, you know, for when you and the bridal party arrive in that chartered boat. Inside, you’ll find four spaces to hose your reception. The west and south verandahs overlook the Parramatta River and are you go-tos for an intimate celebration. 

For as close to the water as you can get... Mosmans Restaurant, WA

Forget a venue that sits by the river, Perth's Mosmans Restaurant sits on the river. The restaurant boasts a bucketload of awards and has glass walls, which mean you will always have stunning water views. If you want to have the space all to yourself (spoiler: you probably will) the venue is available for exclusive hire. The grassy lawn adjoining the restaurant can also be used to say your 'I do's. 

For country house perfection... Bendooley Estate, NSW

Vineyard? Check. Homestead? Tick. Manicured gardens? Yep. And a lakeside pavilion perfect for swapping vows? You know it. There’s also a brasserie, cellar door, cottage accommodation and the Berkelouw Book Barn, which is all timber beams, cathedral ceilings and antique books. If you’re keen to stay close to the water, the pavilion can also host a lunchtime reception for 60 guests. And to answer your question, yes, you’ll probably want to move in to Bendooley Estate permanently. 

For row, row, rowing your boat... Studley Park Boathouse, VIC

Paddling about on a wooden boat is exactly what you’ll be doing on your photography tour at Studley Park Boathouse, which sits on the banks of the Yarra River and is Melbourne’s oldest operating boathouse. The venue is a restored Victorian residence that has a glassed-in verandah. The Café offers a relaxed setting for a cocktail reception. 

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For a one-stop lake location... Cammeray Waters, VIC

With more lakes than you can poke an oar at – there’s three, don’t you know – Cammeray Waters has those waterside photography opportunities covered. Find the resort on 400 acres of bushland in the Macedon Ranges, a 60-minute drive from Melbourne. A permanent marquee sits beside the lake and the property also has 33 rooms on-site so your guests won’t have to worry about the drive home. 

For something that's completely different... Paronella Park, QLD

We’re willing to bet you’ve never seen a wedding venue quite like Paronella Park. It’s a castle, in the rainforest. The Park boasts two waterfalls – yes, that’s right, waterfalls – and is situated on the banks of Mena Creek, 90 minutes south of Cairns. If you’re in the mood for a dip, you can go for a swim in the creek or paddle up to Teresa Falls. The ruins of Spanish Castillo, built by the park’s original owner, make a unique backdrop and there is a maze of paths and bridges for you and your guests to explore. 

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