For those new to the idea of getting married in Australia, it might seem overwhelming – a challenge of continental proportions. We’ve narrowed the choices down to the very best spots in the very best city for your destination wedding Down Under. And for those already set on celebrating in Australia, we'll convince you that Melbourne is the best choice.
Melbourne, located in Victoria, is the "world's most livable city" for a number of reasons. You don’t have to relocate to appreciate the magnificence of its tree-lined boulevards, proximity to the seaside, culture and unmistakable international energy.
Considered the sporting capital of the world AND the culture capital of the Southern Hemisphere, Melbourne is playful and stately, indigenous and modern, charming and sexy - all at once! It’s the ideal destination for stylish, savvy, and detail oriented couples in search of a meaningful location to wed. Services, amenities and choices are plentiful, which makes planning from a distance relatively easy compared to other far away cities.
Flying into Melbourne International Airport is pretty hassle free. From the U.S., the cheapest airfare is going to be from the West Coast (only 7,800 miles away!). From the airport, encourage guests to take the efficient Skybus shuttle to their accommodations. Travelling to Australia is like fast-forwarding to the future because of the time difference. Keep this in mind while planning. Allow ample time for yourself and your guests to acclimate to the time zone. Suggest that guests book their arrival at least two to three days prior to the big day.
Two Days Before the Wedding
Once everyone has settled in, bring them all together at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. It’s a 30 minute ride that gives you an awesome aerial perspective of the city. You can see up to 40km into the distance, viewing sights like Port Phillip Bay, Mount Macedon and the Dandenong Ranges. All you have to do is stand still and keep your eyes open.
The Melbourne CBD (Central Business District) is the city's hub of action. Plan to spend one of your first afternoons at the Queen Victoria Market. It’s the largest open-air market in Australia. Split up and encourage everyone to shop, explore and discover the food stalls and shopping options.
Melbourne is so trendy that even your engagement diamond might seem out of style. At least that might be the case at the Lightning Ridge Opal Mines. This is a great place to visit for an afternoon of sight-seeing and gallery strolling. (Trip Advisor rated Lightning Ridge the second best of Melbourne shopping destinations). Opals are always in, and this place has a ton of them, from souvenirs to collectibles.
As mentioned, sports are huge in Melbourne. Depending on the season, the guys can plan to catch a cricket match, a tennis match, a basketball game and more at the Rod Laver Arena. Home of the Australian Open, and among the worlds’ highest grossing entertainment venues, this place always has something interesting on the events calendar.
The girls, meanwhile, can spend their bachelorette hours with the professionals at the MISS FOX urban day spa. A host of lavish treatments are available- from medical grade facials to massages to makeup. Booking a package is recommended so that you can gain full access to certain areas and extra special attention from the experts.
Heart of the City Venues
The Victoria Hotel is one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets. It has a charm reminiscent of the 1920’s, with warm copper hues and a gleaming dance floor. “The Vic” was one of the original buildings in Melbourne. It was first established as a coffee house. For weddings, it offers turn-of-the-century spaciousness and modern hotel rooms.
The Art Deco Swanston Room is an excellent reception venue for up to 250 guests (however we love The Vic for its all-in-one convenience). Another draw for this venue is location! The best of Melbourne is within walking distance!
If you want the ceremony location to feel separate from the reception (even if you have it all in one place), wedding specialist Annmarree Schofield suggests asking the venue to host post-ceremony beverages, “lawn games” or other low-key activities before moving elsewhere to a cocktail hour and reception.
Another haven in the heart of the city is the Melbourne Museum. Your wedding symbolizes the beginning of your history together- what venue could be more precious and timeless than the private, intimate grounds of an elegant museum? The on-site team boasts that "making dreams come true" is their specialty.
Make a grand entrance from one of the most beautiful staircases we’ve ever seen, in Buthleigh Wootton. This historic mansion is perfect for combining your ceremony and reception. For vintage-style brides, there’s no better choice – the Italian architectural grandeur and lush gardens offer unforgettable glamour.
Don’t fail to set aside ample time on the day of. Buthleigh Wootton was made for pictures (especially ones taken below the glittering chandelier above the iconic staircase).
Stunning imagery and great reviews can certainly sell you on having your wedding at Buthleigh Wootton. What we love about the B.W. is how much information is available directly on their website. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with Australian cuisine, the dining and catering options are so informative and paper brochures are available upon request.
Do you have any tips about hosting a destination wedding in Melbourne? Let us know in the comments section below.