Wedding Location Ideas: Offbeat Sydney Venues

Article Collaborators : Kristjan Porm Photography Vincent Lai Photography Your Event Solution

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Collaborators Kristjan Porm Photography Vincent Lai Photography Your Event Solution

Swap the function room for a wedding venue with flair and your guests will remember your day forever

Every couple hopes their wedding will stand out in the memories of their guests, and one way to ensure that will happen is to host your wedding at a unique location.


For Sydney couple Megan and David Errington, the best part about having their wedding ceremony at St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Newtown was the morning tea that followed, held among the gravestones in the cemetery adjacent to the church.

“The atmosphere was very relaxed, peaceful, and calming,” says Megan. While some might consider it a little creepy, a cemetery can be a great venue for a wedding ceremony and reception. For the couple that isn’t easily spooked, there are some lovely old (and non-operational) cemeteries located throughout NSW that provide beautiful and atmospheric locations for outdoor wedding celebrations.

Lots of old churches have their own small cemeteries on the church grounds, where you could hold a marquee reception or even the slightly more offbeat picnic reception. As Megan attests, the gravestones add a historic feel to the day and to wedding photos. “The cemetery grounds, with the dappled light, rambling headstones, and everything slightly overgrown creates a very relaxed scene in which, surprisingly, everyone is very comfortable. It also makes for some pretty nice photos!”


For a truly show-stopping wedding that is sure to get rave reviews from the critics, get married in dramatic fashion — at a theatre.

Sydney boasts some beautiful historic theatres, many of which can be hired out as reception venues. The Capitol Theatre in Haymarket, built in 1927, has a stunning foyer that can be used for wedding ceremonies, while receptions can take place in the theatre itself, with tables set up onstage.

According to general manager of the theatre, Graeme Kearns, “most people who get married at the theatre do so because they have some association with the theatre.” Or because they’re drawn to the beautiful aesthetics of the building.

“The theatre has a very flamboyant and grand feeling about it.” But before you start hiring your stage crew, costume, and lighting designers, there are logistical issues about a theatre wedding that you need to consider. Unless you want your wedding to be a piece of performance art, you can’t hold your wedding when there’s a show going on. This can be tricky as Saturday is the most popular day not only for weddings, but for the theatre, too.

“Also,” says Graeme, “if there is a show currently playing at the theatre there will be a set on the stage, which can look spectacular, but it means that you can only fit 60 to 70 people onstage around tables. If there isn’t a production on and the stage is empty, you can fit between 200 and 300 people.” Whether you’re surrounded by the set of Wicked, or simply have a stage full of your family and friends, a theatre is one wedding venue sure to have people calling out for an encore.


Uninterrupted harbour views, awardwinning caterers, and monkeys. What more could you and your groom want at your wedding reception? Taronga Zoo provides a unique mix of sophistication and wildness. While probably the most mainstream of the three venues suggested, there is still something memorable and unique about being married among the animals.

This is certainly one of the reasons why Cie’Jai and Brett Zarb decided to hold their elegant wedding reception there. “We chose Taronga Zoo because it was something out of the ordinary,” says Cie’Jai. “At night you could hear the sounds from the zoo grounds and we could offer our guests a memorable experience with animal encounters.”

The zoo offers the chance for guests to meet a few four-legged locals. There is a range to choose from, but Cie’Jai and Brett decided they’d invite an echidna and a crocodile to party with them and their guests.

As well as its animal magnetism, Taronga Zoo also appeals because it’s just a terrific venue. It received the 2010 Restaurant and Catering Award for Excellence for Wedding Caterer in a Function Centre, and it is hard to find a better view in the city.


A marquee is the key to turning virtually any location into a breathtaking reception venue. Paul Ford from Your Event Solution has constructed stunning wedding marquees in a variety of off-the-beaten-track locations, such as on escarpments, in the middle of the bush, as well as on private properties, which he says can sometimes prove trickiest of all. “About 10 years ago we were asked to put up a marquee on a hill on private property for a wedding,” says Paul.

“They levelled the ground and we built the marquee on the hill. No problem. Years later the same family called us in to do another wedding and they wanted a marquee in the same place. But in the years between the weddings they’d built a water feature and a pergola on the fl attened ground. So we had to work out how to build an entire marquee with flooring around the pergola and water feature.

“The water feature became a beautiful centrepiece in the floor of the marquee and the pergola, complete with climbing vines, framed the bridal table. This was the perfect example of the lengths we can go to to solve a problem. The result was stunning.”

According to Paul, there is almost no place too diffi cult to set up a marquee if a couple has their heart set on it as a location, as long as it is permissible by the local council. “It’s something we pride ourselves on,” he says, “saying yes when other people say no. It’s something my workers hate me for!”

Three more unique venue ideas

  1. Art gallery: Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art ( offers four venues, each with
    views of the harbour and Sydney Opera House. The Art Gallery of NSW is also available for events of up to 350 people for a sit-down dinner. You can even organise for your guests to have a tour of the exhibition (
  2. Gaol: The National Art School’s Cell Block Theatre used to be the women’s wing of the Old Darlinghurst Gaol from 1841 to 1920, and is now a spectacular historic venue, available for wedding reception hire (
  3. On water: Have your wedding floating on Sydney Harbour with 360-degree views and a roving reception venue. There are many yacht operators that cater for wedding receptions, including Sydney Glass Island (

Written by Kate Wilcox


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