Australia is beloved for its beautiful beaches, iconic scenery, and sun-drenched landscapes. No wonder couples from around the world dream of tying the knot in this relaxed holiday destination! Planning a destination wedding can seem overwhelming at first, but with the right guidance, it can also be a breeze. From choosing the perfect Australian wedding venue to assembling your dream team, we’ve rounded up the key factors to consider.
Whether you’re considering a beach wedding in Queensland, a waterfront soirée in Sydney or a winery wedding near Melbourne, we’ll highlight locations to look for and practical info to consider. So, sit back, relax, and let’s get started on planning your dream Australian wedding.
Planning to elope in Australia? We have a guide for that!
Where to get married in Australia
Australia offers a range of beautiful wedding destinations as wide as its iconic sun-drenched landscapes. So, start thinking about how you want your wedding to look and feel and maybe any wish-list locations that would make your celebration extra special. To get you started, here are just some of the most popular wedding destinations in Australia:
The Whitsundays & Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Some of the most romantic venues in The Whitsundays are located on their own private island or exclusive estate, making this a very special Australian wedding destination. The super-scenic region of The Whitsundays comprises 74 islands plus the vibrant mainland township of Airlie Beach and gold-dipped countryside just minutes away. It’s also the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. So, you and your guests can experience magical underwater adventures at this World Heritage marine park as part of your wedding. No wonder The Whitsundays is also one of Australia’s most popular honeymoon locations. Those vacay vibes!
Sydney, New South Wales
Glamorous, exciting and photogenic, Sydney offers a mix of urban and natural landscapes and a variety of stunning wedding venues. Many couples are drawn to Sydney’s beautiful waterside restaurants and event spaces for an Australian wedding with a chic twist. Celebrate a beach wedding at the city’s pretty Northern Beaches or beloved Bondi Beach. Or head to glittering Sydney Harbour for jaw-dropping Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge backdrops. Talk about a memorable photocall! The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney also sets a glorious scene for a garden wedding that’s still handy to luxury city accommodation.
Gold Coast, Queensland
Sun, surf and sand have become synonymous with the Gold Coast: an Australian wedding hotspot just south of Queensland’s capital, Brisbane. The Gold Coast is popular with local and international couples who are drawn to its holiday attractions, world-class beaches and luscious hinterland. And the wide range of waterfront, beachside, garden and mountaintop venues ensure your wedding wish-list is covered, whatever your style and budget. And, of course, you’ll have plenty of luxury hotels and resorts to choose from, so you and your guests can enjoy the moment. Wondering how to get to the Gold Coast? It’s an easy drive from Brisbane (about an hour) and also has a domestic airport. The national parks and lush scenery of the hinterland are about half an hour’s drive from the ocean.
Discover more of Australia’s best beach wedding locations
Melbourne is renowned for its cultural, culinary and artistic vibe, making it perfect for creative couples and foodies. Bonus: The gorgeous vineyards of the Yarra Valley are just an hour’s drive away, making it perfect for wine-lovers too! When planning your Australian wedding, Melbourne has many beautiful wedding venues to suit your style, whether you’re dreaming of a rustic winery wedding or a modern rooftop soirée in the city.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
North of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast unfolds as a glorious chain of beaches and coves. You’ll be spoiled for choice deciding between the coast’s stylish riverside restaurants or beachfront venues in luxe resorts towns such as Noosa. But don’t miss the region’s hidden gem: the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, home to charming townships such as Maleny and Montville around half an hour from the sand. This lush and picturesque region can be found just beyond the beaches and is home to incredible natural beauty and elegant venues with views of rolling hills and mountain ranges. Perfect for a memorable escape to the country.
Rounding out our list of popular wedding destinations in Australia is the country’s scenic, southernmost state: The island of Tasmania. A holiday favourite for adventurers and foodies, this small but stunning destination is ideal for an Australian wedding with a difference. From a waterfront wedding in the capital Hobart to a romantic elopement at Cradle Mountain in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, you’ll fall for the ‘Apple Isle.’
The best time to get married in Australia
Good news: you’ll find a beautiful Australian location any time of year. And that’s because Australia is so vast, the weather can vary greatly from top to bottom. For example, North Queensland has a hot and humid tropical climate while Tasmania has a temperate maritime climate with cold winters. Chasing the sun? For a beach wedding you may be tempted to opt for summer (December to February), but just remember this is peak holiday season. The shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) usually deliver plenty of sunshine with less humidity and chance of rain.
Legal requirements for getting married in Australia
Getting married in Australia is fairly straightforward but there are some legal requirements. Good to know: Same-sex couples can now legally marry in Australia too! Here’s what you need to get married in Australia (check with your celebrant or ag.gov.au for the most up-to-date-info):
Notice of Intended Marriage
You need to lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage with an authorised celebrant at least one month before the wedding date.
You need to be at least 18 years of age and provide identification documents such as a birth certificate and passport. If you’re not an Australian citizen, make sure you have a valid visa that allows you to get married in Australia. If you have been previously married, have a divorce certificate or a death certificate of your previous spouse ready.
On the day you’ll need two witnesses who are over 18. If you’re planning to elope, don’t worry, your photographer and coordinator can usually step in.
Top tips for your Australian destination wedding
A destination wedding is an exciting event, whether you’re coming from within Australia or abroad. But it does require an extra layer of planning.
Luckily, the world is more connected than ever. So, when you’re checking out photographers, looking at reception spaces, or creating your wedding menu, you can read reviews, peruse photos and videos, and chat with your vendors remotely. Of course, if you can visit your location in advance, perfect. If not, don’t be afraid to ask every question and tick every box before boarding that plane. The Australian wedding community is well-versed in planning dreamy destination weddings for couples around the world, so you’re in good hands!
Our top tips? Choose vendors with a proven track record and excellent communication from the get-go, so you relax and enjoy the process. And remember Australia is huge geographically, so always ensure your logistics are covered if you plan to location-hop for your wedding or honeymoon.
How to travel around Australia
Australia’s capital cities all have international airports, with domestic airports in hotspots such as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. In The Whitsundays you can sail or ferry between the major islands. The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar (A$), ATMs are widely available, and you can use credit cards at almost all shops and markets.
Is Australia good for a honeymoon?
Of course! The destinations we’ve listed above are perfect for a wedding, wedding weekend, and Australian honeymoon — but there’s so many more. The best locations for a honeymoon in Australia also include the iconic landscapes of Uluru, the wild Daintree region of North Queensland, gorgeous off-shore islands such as Fitzroy Island, Tangalooma and K’gari (Fraser Island), and the renowned wine country of South Australia.
Raise a glass to these luxury winery stays in Australia
We hope this guide has inspired you to start planning your dream wedding in Australia. We’ve also included a quick checklist below to keep you on track.
Destination wedding planning checklist
12-18 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
– Set a budget. This will help inform your decision-making and keep you on track.
– Choose a wedding date or at least narrow down your preferred month/season.
– Create a guest list. Or not! If you’re planning to elope, decide whether you’ll be letting close family in on the secret.
– Choose a wedding destination. Check out other real weddings, read reviews, scan socials, dip into websites, and make contact with your shortlist. – Book a wedding venue. Ideally, you’d want to book now to secure your date.
6-12 MONTHS BEFORE
– Book your wedding venue. If you’re a bit more flexible with dates, you may be locking in your venue now.
– Research accommodation for you and your guests. Ask if your venue offers discounts on room blocks or can recommend nearby options.
– Send a save-the-date. Giving guests a heads-up will allow them to save for flights and accommodation and arrange time-off.
– Choose a wedding theme & hire a stylist/planner to bring your vision to life.
– Choose a caterer, florist & cake. Your venue may be able to help with these details or they may even be included in your wedding package.
– Choose a wedding dress & suit. If you’re flying, consider fabrics that will travel well and suit the weather conditions. Remember, Australia can be hot!
– Book a photographer & videographer. Ask your venue for recommendations and scan socials for examples of their work.
3-6 MONTHS BEFORE
– Send wedding invitations as early as possible. Be sure to include: dress code; options for accommodation; and info on where and when each part of the wedding will take place.
– Finalise finer details such as menu, drinks, flowers, decorations & music.
– Book wedding transportation. Australia offers a range of options from vintage and classic cars to limousines and even practical charter buses.
– Book the honeymoon. You’ll be spoiled for choice in Australia.
1-2 months BEFORE
– Confirm details with vendors. It doesn’t hurt to double-check everything!
– Finalise the wedding timeline. This is especially important for sunset ceremonies or beach weddings where the tide is involved.
– Keep guests in the loop with a wedding website, WhatsApp group or emails.
– Write your vows & pack for the honeymoon. Nearly there now! – Arrive for your dream destination wedding in Australia.