Wedding Location Ideas: Off The Beaten Track

Article Collaborators : Photography On Hermitage

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Collaborators Photography On Hermitage

Turn your wedding into a weekend celebration with the wineries of the Hunter Valley and the pristine coastline of Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Renowned for its relaxed pace, gorgeous vineyards, and free-flow of fine food and wine, the Hunter Valley is the ideal location for a weekend wedding. Say your vows among meadows and grapevines just two hours’ drive north of Sydney while sipping a local vintage from the year you both met. But the most romantic part, according to wedding photographer Chris Elfes of Photography on Hermitage, is fi nding the secret photography locations hidden around the valley. “I’ve lived here for 12 years and there are so many secret locations in the Hunter that I’m privy to,” says Chris. “There are plenty of vineyards, beautiful gardens, even locations on the side of the road with magnificent mountain backdrops. The Hunter is one of those locations that can cater to every whim.”

Since the vines change with the seasons, Chris warns they don’t always make the best wedding-photo backdrop — particularly when they dry out (although some couples prefer it when the vines look this way). However, the Hunter still has plenty to offer guests year-round, including wine tastings, hot-air balloon rides, horse riding, and golf, to name a few. There is also a range of venues to accommodate both boutique and big weddings.

Moving further north, away from the chilled countryside, you can have your nuptials on one of the beautiful beaches or at one of the seaside locations lining the Central Coast, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and Port Stephens. A plethora of waterfront, all-inone venues is available and the nooks and crannies of the stunning escarpments plus the white sand and crashing waves are all at your feet to enhance wedding photography. Local bridal businesses — cake decorators, florists, photographers, and celebrants — are aplenty, so be sure to make use of the talent
in the area.

Top three photography ideas

  1. Edogawa Japanese Gardens 
    Located in East Gosford, the beautifully manicured Edogawa Japanese Gardens provides the perfect setting for wedding photos. The winding gravel paths allow you to meander across quaint wooden bridges, past tranquil ponds and waterfalls filled with lotus flowers and koi fish, stone lanterns, and a Japanese teahouse. A roofed pavilion overlooking the koi pond is also available for wedding ceremonies. For more information visit
  2. Killcare Beach
    This halfway mark between Sydney and Newcastle is as carefree as its name suggests, with soothing sandy shores and an oceanic backdrop that extends all the way down to Sydney’s Palm Beach.
  3. All-in-one-venues
    According to photographer Chris Elfes, there are some venues in the Hunter Valley and surrounds that you “don’t even have to leave for your wedding photos”. With so many function centres with stunning grounds, opt for a wedding ceremony and reception in the same venue to save time and effort.

Top four venue picks

  1. Peppers Creek Barrel Room, Hunter Valley 
    Nestled in the wine region, the Peppers Creek Barrel Room is a stone’s throw away from the rustic Peppers Creek sandstone chapel and caters for up to 200 guests. Lending elegance to the venue are the 20-feet high gabled ceilings, stunning chandeliers, and stone fireplace that exudes a rustic country charm. Catering, dance floor, and bar are also at the ready.
  2. Capers Guesthouse & Cottage, Wollombi
    This countryside retreat is perfect for a boutique-size wedding. With nearby chapels or the landscaped Capers gardens for your ceremony location, and a 20-seated or 50-standing catered reception venue, The Capers Guesthouse ensures a close-knit occasion enjoyed by all.

3. Norah Head Lighthouse, Norah Head
Located on Lighthouse Beach, this heritage-listed icon built in 1903 combines a distinct historical quirkiness with panoramic seaside views. The panoramic ocean views outside and rustic elegance inside will create lasting and timeless memories.

4. Ettalong Beach Club, Central Coast 
A hidden jewel on the Central Coast, this venue offers uninterrupted ocean views extending over Lion Island and all the way to Sydney’s Palm Beach. Nestled between Woy Woy and Umina, the Ettalong Beach Club is located just 90 minute drive north of Sydney. While you gaze out at the glistening ocean from the club you’ll also enjoy award-winning cuisine and quality service. This venue is also very fl exible and can cater for any reception up to 700 people.

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