Melbourne’s 10 coolest wedding venues
MY TOP TEN MELBOURNE CBD WEDDING VENUES
There are literally hundreds of venues to choose from to host your wedding. Pretty much something for everyone. And that’s without venturing too far from the boundaries of the city! I don’t know what you are looking for in a venue, but I do know that a great many of the weddings I shoot have a few things in common. I shoot a bunch of weddings with couples who want their day to be relaxed. To be beautiful, but not too formal. To be fun, and possibly most important, to have good food! So here’s my top 10 list of my fave Melbourne wedding venues. They are places that will make you feel welcome, that have a distinct, unique vibe and feel to them. Some are self sufficient. Some require a bit of work from you to make it happen.
In no particular order…
EASTERN HILL DINING HALL
I love this place. Tucked away around the corner from St Patricks, it’s beautifully Melbourne in that you won’t know its there. Unless you know its there. High ceilings, stained glass, a colourful, weathered charm all of its own. Fantastic in the armer months when you can take advantage of the hidden courtyard. The interior is amazing, with an elaborately painted wall dominating the rear, and amazing, lofted ceilings above. Long tables complete the picture.
Check it out here: Eastern Hill Dining Hall
Again scoring highly for being hard to find, Tonic House is a quintessential Melbourne rooftop venue. It’s stunning – contemporary, yet inviting, colourful and charming. It’s possibly the best spot in the CBD if you are thinking of having a cocktail party. It’s a blast to shoot at, and even more fun to party there. It’s an amazingly funky space – an outdoor oasis of greenery and coolness high up in Melbourne’s skyline, yet intimately nestled between the surrounding buildings. The food is simply fabulous – it’s really the best spot for a cocktail style party, and your guests will graze happily all evening. Also, it never* rains when you have a wedding there.
*In my experience. So far. Crosses fingers… :)
Check it out here: Tonic House
MOUNTAIN GOAT BREWERY
C’mon, it’s simple. Its an amazing space. Converted warehouse, high, high ceilings, radiating industrial chic. And it’s a also a brewery. Where they brew beer. Win. Win. If they have it, check out their Pulped Fiction – and IPA infused with blood orange. So, so good. Mountain Goat is tucked away in the industrial heart of Richmond, opening up into an expansive space dominated by great lights and giant stainless fermenting vessels. I am a huge fan of venues that, well, aren’t strictly wedding venues. Places that know what they want to offer and do it well really bring something extra to the table. And these guys want a space that is inviting. Funky. Clearly a bit industrial (well, it’s a working brewery), but equally a place that people will feel welcomed into. And did I mention they brew beer there?
Also, they have foosball.
Check it out here: Mountain Goat Brewery
I shot these guys there a while back.
Oh, Montsalvat. It’s an artists colony – Melbourne’s oldest continuously active artist’s colony, in fact. Snugly nestled away in leafy Eltham, it is a beautiful collection of stunning, original historic buildings on acres of beautiful gardens. It’s a venue like no other. The Great Hall is an amazing ancient building, all stained glass and giant stone slabs. There’s a couple of options for a ceremony venue – the chapel is lovely, but the Upper Gallery is awesome. Also, if you can negotiate the insanely tight spiral staircase, the portraits you can get upstairs are well worth it. It’s like window light on steroids. The grounds are extensive and beautiful, which is perfectly aligned with my favourite portrait shooting technique. (Go for a wander, take some pictures, be happy). Also, peacocks.
Check it out here: Montsalvat
A stunning, modern, stylish venue in South Melbourne, Luminaire radiates a subtle glamour, which is backed up by professionalism and stunning views across the city and over to the Westgate Bridge. It has a unique elegance and a sweeping deck just made for sipping cocktails on. Unlike a lot of my other faves, its a very modern space indeed, with dramatic architecture and spaces that go brilliantly with the view of Melbourne’s skyline, especially as the sun starts to set. The deck is absolutely made for whisky and cigars, and the food is terrific.
Check it out here: Luminaire
An unassuming shopfront hides a beautifully quirky, intimate venue. The Glasshaus is,, a gallery? A nursery? I’m really not sure. But set up with long tables, surrounded by pot plants and an enormous abundance of flowers and foliage, it’s a venue with very much its own style. I’ve shot formal dinners and cocktail parties there – it works equally well for whatever suits you. It’s quirky and independent, and a place where it’s easy to have a whole lot of fun.
Check it out here: Glasshaus
COLLINGWOOD CHILDREN”S FARM
This is a fantastic place to take your kids. It’s an amazing slice of the country just outside the CBD. There are goats, sheep, pigs, horses, the most beautiful assortment of chickens. You can cuddle hamsters, milk cows, just get involved with the farm life.
Or you can have your wedding there. Put a tipi up in the fields, or set up a table in the barn. You can just hold your do at the Farm Cafe if you want to keep it simple. This is not a huge venue, but if you are having a more intimate wedding, and want something a little bit different, it could be the place.
Check it out here: Collingwood Children’s Farm
I shot Bridget and Tim’s wedding there a while back – check it out.
FITZROY TOWN HALL
This place is simply epic. Brimming with genuine old world charisma, it’s crying out for long tables and elegant glassware. It’s ornate and splendid. Fill it with family and friends and celebrate an extraordinarily Melbournian venue. If you are local for a backdrop for some portraits, it’s right next door to the magnificently columned Fitzroy Public Library. It’s worth noting that it is not an immaculately restored historical building. But its slightly ramshackle nature is simply part of the attraction. It’s a building that has seen many coming and goings. You can feel it.
Check it out here: Fitzroy Town Hall
Note – you’ll need to book it through Yarra City Council, who are very helpful, by all accounts
What an amazing space this is. Beautiful grounds, the sheer old world awesome of the convent itself, the… well, the vibe, is the only word. So relaxed. So lovely. Get married on the lawn, or in the brilliant Rosina Room, with its inviting outdoor courtyard. And be sure to pop out just after the sunset sets to watch the giant flock of fruit bats as they migrate across the skies.
Check it out here: Abbotsford Convent
YOUR OWN BACKYARD
Yeah, well, technically this may not be one of Melbourne’s coolest venues. But it could be. And while every one of the venues I’ve mentioned has a certain je ne sais quoi, there’s one thing that every wedding I have shot in those spaces has had in common.
People. The people who you care about. Who you want to share your day with.
And at the end of the day, it’s those people – your closest friends and family – who will bring your wedding day to life. And knowing that, it’s possible to make almost anywhere a perfect space for your day. So get a marquee, slap up some bunting, grab some ice and some snags. After all, there’s no place like home.
So there it is. Look, its far from an exhaustive list (for a start, I spend more than half my time time shooting far, far from the city!). I’ve shot in a whole bunch of other truly amazing places (Thinking Laurens Hall and Pope Joan (sadly no more), Circa, Enoteca, The Panama Dining Room) but the above all resonated with me. It’s hard to go wrong in Melbourne – truly, we are lucky to have a city with so many people and places devoted to providing a good time.
If you are looking further afield, I’ve written about my favourite Yarra Valley wedding venues here.