Sun-kissed, cosmopolitan, and sassy, Sydney is ready to party. More specifically, it’s ready to host your party, in one of its many fabulous and affordable wedding venues, which range from historic homes to wharf-side restaurants.
A highly coveted and shockingly cost-effective venue, Lauriston House exudes elegance, romance, and class – this is where real life fairy tales are born. You and your guests will be able to meander through a manicured garden, dance under elaborate crystal chandeliers, and feast on a three-course meal that could include goodies like chicken and mushroom crepes, pan-fried veal, and homemade ice cream cake. To top it all off, your grand entrance will be unforgettable as you walk down the 60-foot aisle from the main house to the wrought iron gazebo, while being surrounded by cherry blossom trees.
Typical Cost: $100 per person
Bonus: You can be sure your fairy tale won’t overlap with some else’s, as this space only hosts one wedding at a time, with their entire staff dedicated solely to your needs.
Darling Harbor and Cockle Bay Wharf greet you as you step into this five-star private functions space that allows you to choose between two exquisite rooms. The Gold Room boasts leather and timber walls, a gold leaf octagonal ceiling, and a Swarovski crystal cherry blossom chandelier that makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into the happy ending of an old-Hollywood film. The Terrace Room, on the other hand, is all things chic and contemporary with a wall of slanted windows that allows the sparkling harbor to be the backdrop of your event, and numerous Chrystal chandeliers that fill the environment with a warm glow. When some fresh air is in order, step out onto the deck to watch the boats milling about and (if you’re lucky) sea life popping up to say hello.
Typical Cost: $120-$180 per person
Bonus: The wedding package includes a one-night stay at a five-star hotel. Yes, please.
Nature lovers will rejoice as they look out on the Sydney Harbour and city skyline while being surrounded by the vibrant foliage and elegant structures of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. Couples get the pleasure of choosing between the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Palm House and Lawn, Rose Garden & Pavilion, Bennelong Lawn, or Tarpeian Lawn for their nuptials. The Royal Botanical Gardens’ Palm House and Lawn offers a glasshouse that looks out onto a private section of the gardens, the Rose Garden & Pavilion is ideal for a traditional outdoor ceremony and features a sandstone pavilion, the Bennelong Lawn features the Sydney Opera House as its backdrop (maybe you’ve heard of it), and the Tarpeian Lawn has sweeping views of the harbour and a canopy of fig trees. Endless natural beauty is the name of the game at this special spot.
Typical Cost: $1,200 for two hours. $360 for every additional hour.
Bonus: Because these gardens lie at the heart of the city, your guests can easily find nearby accommodations.
Café Morso allows you to enjoy a laid-back canapé cocktail party or a more formal seated dinner party. Whatever vibe you choose, your belly is sure to be happy with menu options like Pumpkin and sage tortellini with beurre noisette, Roasted Peking duck, shallot and hoisin pancake, and Braised pork belly with chili lime dressing, shallots and steamed rice from the canapé menu, and items such as Green pea, mint and fennel risotto with goats cheese mousse, House made gnocchi with wild mushroom, truffle oil, and beurre noisette, and Crispy skinned barramundi with soft garlic polenta and salsa rosso from the dinner menu. And, the atmosphere is also sure to please with the interior of the café offering a chic and sleek feel with a high ceiling featuring a massive vintage-inspired chandelier, and the exterior providing tranquil views of the Jones Bay Wharf.
Typical Cost: $130 per person
Bonus: To give your guests a “restaurant experience” they’re able to choose their own entrée and main course the night of.
If you have the “white picket fence” dream, then you’ll love Burnt Orange, as it is literally set behind a white picket fence that’s surrounded by rustic gardens. This café, that’s a sandstone mansion built in the early 1920’s, offers a stellar menu and has been a “best-kept secret” for many foodies. Smaller wedding parties will be well suited for the charming Signal Room, which has a patio offering comfortable seating arrangements and views of the Sydney harbor, while the Balcony can accommodate larger parties, and features the landscape of Middle head and Chowder Bay.
Typical Cost: Starting at $5,000
Capacity: 300 max
Bonus: Wow your guests with the 12-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder menu option.
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Bailey Gaddis is the author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, a childbirth preparation educator, birth doula, and hypnotherapist who works with mothers-to-be, new mothers, and their support teams. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. She lives in Ojai, California.