Picking a wedding venue that’s within a reasonable travel time isn’t just something your guests will love you for... it’s a bonus for you too!
Think about it: do you want to be trekking across state lines or spending countless hours travelling every time you need to make a site visit or meet with a potential vendor? Chances are your answer is a big fat "no". Sure, Skype and FaceTime are handy for planning a wedding that’s not in your hometown, but sometimes you just need to be there in person. How else will you know exactly what your flowers, cake or table settings look like? Then there's the solid you'll be doing your local guests: they'll definitely appreciate the fact that they don't have to travel a great distance for your big day. That doesn't mean you're limited to CBD venues though - there are some seriously pretty locations within a few hours' drive of most of the capital cities. To kick things off, we've rounded up seven venues that are all less than three hours from Melbourne.
If we were to count all the reasons Glen Erin at Lancefield
makes a first rate wedding venue, we’d be here for a long time. At the top of the list is the fact that Glen Erin delivers country charm by the tractorload. There’s the vineyard backdrop, landscaped gardens, bespoke chapel and seven indoor reception rooms for you to choose from. Each wedding at Glen Erin comes complete with a dedicated wedding coordinator, who will be on hand to help you perfect every detail of your day. It's just over an hour to Glen Erin from the Melbourne CBD – great news for guests reluctant to spend too much time in the car. If you do have friends and family looking to stick around though, Glen Erin at Lancefield can take care of that too. The venue has luxury on-site accommodation, meaning your guests can arrive the day before you say “I do” and celebrate your newly-married status the day after your reception has wrapped up.
All Smiles Sorrento Ocean Beach
has one of the prettiest perches on the Mornington Peninsula: it overlooks Sorrento’s back beach and is two minutes away from the main street. The venue meets the criteria for both contemporary and beach weddings, and an hour’s drive is all you need to get here from Melbourne. All Smiles also happens to specialise in cocktail functions, so it's perfect for couples who want to put their own spin on a traditional sit-down reception. You won’t have to worry about elderly guests or those wearing sky-high stilettos though, because the function space is dotted with lounge suites and plenty of seating. Looking to make a weekend out of your wedding? Think about organising day trips with your guests to some of the Peninsula’s famed wineries, restaurants or the hot springs (a sure way to earn extra brownie points!).
Head east from Melbourne's CBD towards Willung South and in two-and-a-half hours you'll find yourself at Toms Cap Vineyard Retreat. This property is a working winery (those vines aren't just for show, you know), so getting hitched here is a real treat. It's a total one-stop wedding destination, thanks to its ceremony settings, reception spaces, photo opps and on-site accommodation. There are indoor and outdoor spaces for your ceremony and then, when you're officially wed, your guests can mingle and sip pre-dinner cocktails while you take off on your photography tour. With 100 acres of grounds to explore at your fingertips, it'll be a cinch to find those picture-perfect locations. For brides looking to get their hands dirty, the Toms Cap team can even help arrange a 'trash the dress' shoot. When it's time to call it a night, the on-site cottages and lodge are your go-to.
Head to Victoria’s High Country and you’ll find Lindenwarrah at Milawa
, a private estate that doubles as the perfect setting for both intimate and elaborate nuptials. To get here, you’ll need to hit the Hume Freeway and travel around two and a half hours. The venue sits on eight acres of gardens and vineyards, and counts Mt Buffalo and the Great Dividing Range as some of its neighbours. This elegant modern hotel features event spaces that are flooded with natural light and look out across spectacular views. Ceremonies can be held under the old oak tree. When it’s time for your photography tour, your guests can mingle around the swimming pool or nurse a glass of wine in the plush guest lounge. You could even arrange a wine tasting at Brown Brothers. Chances are you’ll be keen to explore King Valley too, so make the most of one of Lindenwarrah’s 40 accommodation rooms.
sits on a stunning 125-acre estate, right in the middle of Victoria’s spa country. Sounds pretty good, right? It gets better. There are views over a lake and the property is surrounded by lavender fields. Oh yeah, this is your chance to have a Provencal-inspired wedding, without having to fork out on an airfare to France. And it's all just over an hour from Melbourne! For your ceremony, head to the just-built barn chapel. Its exposed timber facade and clean, white interior make for gorgeous photo opportunities. To make your walk down the aisle one for the books, have your wedding transport park at the top of the lavender field and walk down the path to the chapel. Trust us, those snaps will be worthy of a place on the mantel (just look at the shot above - it was part of the venue's collab with designer Gwendolynne). Those seeking an al fresco affair can also get hitched in the gardens, with Wombat State Forest as your backdrop.
Werribee Park Mansion is only 30 minutes from Melbourne and a perennial favourite with couples for its English countryside-inspired good looks and easy-to-get-to location. The newest jewel in the Park’s crown is The Refectory
. The space is recently restored and is all classic architectural features, designer chandeliers, high ceilings and contemporary furnishings. Plus, it also has access to the 10 acres of formal gardens and lush lawns flanking the stately 1870s mansion. The gardens make a graceful setting for your ceremony, but can also be used for pre-dinner drinks and canapés. You and your guests will then move inside for the reception; the space can seat up to 180 of your nearest and dearest. The Refectory is run by Bursaria and the expert team will work with you to bring your big day to life.
In the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges in Silvan South, just over an hour from the Melbourne CBD, is Gum Gully Farm
. The farm’s barn was built using handmade mud bricks, heavy beams and recycled timber. Inside, the barn is scattered with handpicked collectables and features two open fireplaces. Put simply, it’s a dreamy setting for a picture-perfect rustic wedding. On the property, you can also take your pick of ceremony locations. Whether you choose to swap vows by the kiwi fruit vines, in the sunken garden, on the lawn or inside the Windmill Chapel, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be disappointed. To up the ante on your rustic wedding photos, have your snaps taken with the farm’s permanent residents: deer, horses, cows and other animals. Of course, there are plenty of hay bales too, which are, naturally, a rustic wedding staple.
The Mount Sturgeon Homestead
by The Royal Mail Hotel is a destination for Victorians (and out-of-towners) who love their food and want a solid helping of nature. Dunkeld is at the end of the travel spectrum, almost three hours exactly from Melbourne. The historic homestead sits on 70 acres of manicured grounds and gardens. Swap “I do”s underneath the ancient red gum tree or a patch on the green lawn. Receptions are tailored to each couple, whether it be a sophisticated cocktail function on the Homestead verandah and lawn, a relaxed picnic, swanky degustation dinner or in a marquee. The Mountain View Room at the hotel is also available. The venue offers complete wedding packages that are designed in conjunction with the dedicated wedding coordinator and kitchen team. You’ll be treated to a dining and wine package, plus expert know-how on finishing touches like wedding cakes, entertainment, florists and stylists.