We're spoilt for choice when it comes to wedding venues in Perth so I’ve listed some that I think are the best. Some are just down right hip and cool, others boast stunning water views, while some are so beautifully intimate and charming you won’t want to leave. I can’t comment too much about the food – I’ll leave that to the foodies. But these are venues that know their stuff when it comes to wedding receptions – they usually have a highly efficient and extremely helpful and knowledgeable wedding coordinator and from a photographer’s perspective these venues make my current favourite (in no particular order). There are a few others I am scheduled to shoot at in the next season that I am excited about - The Core Cider House in Pickering Brook, the Quarry Amphitheatre in City Beach, Linton and Kay Gallery in the City and the Perth City Farm in East Perth and Distribution Laneway in Fremantle so be sure to check them out as well.
This is a perfect summer venue with the outside deck taking in sweeping views of the harbour while serving as an excellent dance floor. Not to mention all the cool maritime exhibits in the museum that guests are able to take in. The Australia II Gallery downstairs, which sits beneath the suspended winning yacht of America's Cup is also available for ceremonies and pre dinner drinks and canapes.
2. Lamonts Bishops House Weddings
Again, this is a summer venue to make the most of the beautiful outside courtyard with the city lights and strings of fairy lights twinkling down on the grand old 18th Century Georgian Bishops House. Run by Lamonts it matches its reputation for delectable modern cuisine and attention to detail. Ceremonies can be conducted in the gorgeous landscaped gardens so guests can stay in one place for the whole day and evening. And there are plenty of photo opportunities within the grounds and the city, so it's perfect if you don't want to have to hire cars for the day. And of course it's convenient for out of town guests who might be staying in the city.
3. Woodbridge House Weddings, Guildford
Another spring/summer venue on the grassy banks where the Swan River is narrow enough to feel like you could leap across to the vineyard that sits on the opposite side to Woodbridge House. Clients have told me they have LOVED the food this talented crew whip up and it makes a perfect venue for cocktail style receptions. If it does happen to be threatening rain then there's plenty of room for a marquee to go up without squashing the atmosphere. And for those who want to arrive in style, there's the option of mooring a boat at the jetty. Ceremonies can be held in the gardens of the historic Woodbridge House.
4. Moore and Moore Weddings - Fremantle
For the lovers of art and all things quirky, this venue is loads of fun. The Moores Building is a heritage art gallery in Fremantle and works well as a summer and winter venue for sit down and cocktail style funtions. The food is sumptuous - I can vouch for that - with the catering and organising done through the thriving Moore and Moore Cafe, which is located on the ground floor of the gallery and the outside courtyard. They allow the bride and groom to supply their own alcohol, which can save a lot of money. The delightful courtyard at the back can be used until 9pm and looks beautiful under the strings of fairy lights and old limestone Fremantle buildings. The front two rooms and the corridor of the Moores Building, which is filled with funky artefacts are used after 9pm and comfortably caters for guests to mingle and dance in.
5. Kidogo Art House Fremantle
Continuing with the art theme, the Kidogo Art House is a smaller art gallery space that is ideal for ceremonies however it also caters for receptions as well. Offering a large single room in the historic limestone building that looks over at Bathers Beach, the Art House ensures every wedding is unique with the changing art exhibits on the walls. The recent addition of the deck to the side of the building with stunning views of the beach and sunsets over the Indian Ocean, makes it the perfect place for pre dinner and congratulatory canapés and drinks after the ceremony. For art lovers this one is hard to resist.
Links to weddings at Kidogo Art House: Maddie and Adam
6. The Indiana, Cottesloe
What Bondi is to Sydney, the Indiana is to Cottesloe Beach. Inside the iconic Indiana, finishings evoke colonial beachside ambience of a bygone era and can host a large number of guests without them being segregated or it feeling like a soulless function room. On the contrary with the palm trees swaying out the front and the bifold windows flung open to let in the smell and sounds of the Indian Ocean below, it oozes atmosphere. With different levels and annexes for the bar and dance floor and dining, and a chill out space for the bridal party, the Indiana is one of those venues that pretty much ticks every box. Guests can't help but feel like they're treated to something seriously special here.
Not so far away from The Indiana, is the famous Mosmons on the leafy banks of the river in Peppermint Grove. Perched over the water, the tranquility and seclusion of this venue is unbeatable. A selection of luxurious boats line up along the restaurant's jetty, making guests feel completely spoilt as they are treated to canapes and cocktails at sunset. Ceremonies can also be held in Mosmon's garden beside the river.
8. Backyard Weddings
So you can't find a venue that fits you perfectly. You want something that is intimate and personal and you don't want it to end by midnight. If you have the space then a backyard wedding might be just the ticket. I love photographing backyard weddings - they are loads of fun and the limit is only your imagination (and budget of course). Places like the Hire Society and Her Handpicked Harvest are brilliant for getting all those bits and bobs you might not have, including crockery and glasses etc. You'll need to source caterers or a private chef such as Ryan John who created incredibly mouthwatering dishes at Sinead and Aaron's wedding in 2011 - I still think about it! Chica Catering is another one with exquisitely presented canapes and cocktail food that I had the pleasure of tasting at Emily and Adrian's wedding.
If you don't have room for a backyard wedding then you can always use a section of park to host the celebrations. Emily and Adrian used a shady bit of Hyde Park for a picnic style wedding, complete with icy poles, picnic blankets, games and food for a delightful afternoon with friends.
9. Swan Valley
If you want the vineyards and the country feel but without the trek to Margaret River then the Swan Valley fits the bill perfectly and has a plethora of wineries that cater for wedding receptions. These are some of my favourite so far (there's still a few I have yet to shoot at): Sittella has views of rolling hills dotted with vineyards and is ideal if you are looking for somewhere to have the ceremony and reception all in the one location with ceremonies usually conducted at lakeside pavilion while the reception in the restaurant overlooking the vineyards. Chapel Farm overlooks fields with horses and farm animals idling by, and is simply charming with its rustic barn style setting complete with stone walls, corrugated iron and quirky artefacts hanging from the wall. The Riverbank Estate is another great venue for having the ceremony and reception all in one location with views of vineyards and a spacious lawn offering privacy for ceremonies and pre dinner drinks and canapés. Ideal for both cocktail style food or in the warmer months a sit down table dinner on the veranda. For the cooler months, there's something very warming and inviting about Sandalford's Oak Room and Underground Cellar. With oak barrels filled with ageing port wines lining the walls and wrought iron chandeliers hanging from hessian draped ceilings, the rooms provide enough open scope to make it exactly how you want. If you are having a big wedding in winter then this might be the perfect option with up to 250 sit down dinner guests and plenty of room to strut your stuff on the dance floor afterwards.
Sittella Winery (above)
Chapel Farm (above)
I have photographed weddings both upstairs and downstairs at Matilda Bay Restaurant but there's something special about the Catalina room downstairs when you can hear the boats bopping gently on the river while relaxing on the lounges under a string of fairy lights in the idyllic courtyard. While it is geared towards cocktail receptions (up to 100 people) it can also accommodate a sit down affair if you are only having a small number of people (up to 50) and there is ample room for a dance floor within the room itself. This is a venue for a summer wedding though, as the alfresco ambience is lost if you have to squash into the room to hide from the rain or the cold.
12. Little Creatures Brewery Fremantle
Ah, the iconic brewery of Western Australia! While most of us have wiled away an afternoon sipping on the refreshing pale ale at Fremantle's Little Creatures Brewery at some point, not everyone knows about the waterfront glassed function rooms the brewery keeps tucked away at the back and to the side of its main hub. There are two large rooms interlinked (one for dancing, one for eating, or however you want it to work for you) both filled with vintage quirky sofas and lamps and rugs to give it a warm cosy feel, and boasting sweet views of the harbour (at sunset the light floods the room - a photographer's dream light!), this venue is made for the laid back couple who like to party.
11. Brookside Winery in Bickley Valley
Oh if there's one thing that will blow you away at Brookside Winery - aside from the picturesque valley where it is nestled in, bordered by a babbling brook, its vineyards stretching down the lush rolling green hills to meet the large shady trees that provide the perfect alfresco spot for pre dinner canapés and drinks, with a couple of horses looking on in the distant neighbouring field - aside from all that, is the food. Oh the food! Just pop down for a lunch on the weekend (better make a booking as word is getting around) and you'll be sold. This venue is great for couples who want the ceremony and reception all in one place - no hassle of having to organise buses and cars from one place to the next. The garden for the ceremony is stunning and after some alfresco canapés guests head to the super cool shed style restaurant with quirky artefacts and instant atmosphere for feast they will never forget.
This is a true darling of the Perth hills. It has everything you could possibly want for your wedding day in the one spot. From the purpose built gorgeous cabana for your ceremony, to long tables set up under the rustic undercover outdoor setting for the reception with a dance floor under the stars and fairy lights. Hidden away amongst the winding lush green hills, you don't need transport to take you for photos as the scenery and soft diffused end of day light amongst the forest and bushland is beyond perfection. Darlington Estate Winery provides a setting that is charming, intimate and beautiful.
Links to weddings at Darlington Estate Winery: Veronique and Tom
13. South of Perth Yacht Club - Beachside Marquee
So this one is a bit of a hidden gem. Not your typical yacht club function room, it is tucked away from the rest of the Yacht Club and sits right on the edge of the Swan River with its own private beach (perfect spot for a ceremony if you want it all in the one location) and views towards the city with its lights reflecting on the water as dusk falls. With a beautiful permanent marquee draped with fabric ceilings and soft lighting it offers an idyllic setting with lounges on the deck and lawn games on the grass before sitting down for an intimate wedding dinner or if you have a large wedding party, cocktail style food. The South of Perth Yacht Club offers several rooms/areas for weddings (the others catering to larger weddings) but there is something intimate and private about this one that I like the best.
Links to weddings at the South of Perth Yacht Club: Melanie and John
14. West Australian Rowing Club
If you want an intimate city wedding with river views then your search might end here. The upstairs room of the West Australian Rowing Club features rowing memorabilia adorning the walls (think rowing paddles and that kind of thing) but not in an overbearing kind of way. The wooden floors and sash windows in this historic weatherboard building give the room a cosy, homely feeling and in the summer the doors throw open for guests to linger on the wrap around balcony, which is great for taking in the views and letting in the breeze. Although the club doesn't do the catering themselves the bonus is you get to choose so you end up with exactly the kind of food that you want.
Links to weddings at West Australian Rowing Club Weddings: Alexandra and Fabio
15. Destination weddings in Western Australia
There are so many beautiful destinations for weddings outside of Perth if you (and your guests!) are prepared to travel. The great thing about designation weddings is the wonderful holiday feeling everyone gets when they come, as they will most likely come for more than an night. I have been fortunate enough to photograph a fair few designation weddings in Western Australia which I'll list here.
Rottnest Island Weddings
The closest destination wedding to Perth is Rottnest Island even though it's over the seas with a 30 minute boat ride. Childhood memories of quokkas and sandcastles and bike riding between the calm turquoise bays makes Rotto a destination wedding filled with nostalgia and beauty. From the waterfront venues at the Hotel Rottnest and Aristos restaurant to the intimate pool side setting at the Karma Resort Lodge, the iconic island has a selection stunning of reception venues. There are two quaint historic churches for those who want a religious ceremony while the selection of beaches for a civil ceremony is endless. Aside from finding the odd Quokka lurking around the dance floor, a Rotto wedding will make guests feel like they are on holiday, and will most likely stay for a night or two to make the most of the celebrations! However with the last ferry departing at 4.30pm, this is a wedding that will need at least a year's planning to ensure guests can book accommodation if they want. And of course, don't go having your wedding during the schoolie's week at the end of November.
It's hard to go past the beautiful regions of Margaret River and Yallingup Down South. Wine, food, beaches, rolling green hills dotted with vineyards, what's not to love? As beautiful in the winter with roaring log fires as it is in summer, the hardest thing is deciding which winery for a wedding - there are so many to choose from and all of them with vineyards and grounds to have everything in the one spot. Here are a few that I have shot at: Wise Winery in Eagle Bay is one of my most favourite wineries down south, mostly for its spectacular views. I always feel like I am somewhere in the Mediterranean when I come here. As with most wineries down south it caters for ceremonies, with its large lawns below the elevated restaurant. The grounds at Voyager Estate in Margaret River make this venue rather special (not to mention their superb wines). The views of vineyards stretch into the horizon while the extensive grounds feature stunning European gardens and Rose gardens. With mouth watering food and a warm ambience in the restaurant the Voyager Estate has extensive experience in delivering a highly personalised service for weddings. Not too far away, still in Margaret River is Xanadu Winery with its large and impressive glass and high vaulted ceiling restaurant. Canapes and lawn games can be played in the gardens after the nuptials and there is flexibility to cater for small or large wedding parties up to 180 guests.
I have shot weddings in Exmouth a few times and each time I am there I am blown away by the majestic scenery. Since the completion of the Novotel Hotel nearly a decade ago it has become a more popular destination for weddings - accommodating guests as well being the most popular reception venue. For the ceremony location however the choices are endless - I have shot weddings at the picture perfect Turquoise Bay (can be a little windy if you have it on the peninsula, I would recommend the more protected side of Turquoise Bay), up at the Lighthouse with its stunning 360 degree views of the ocean and the Cape Range National Park as well as at the beautiful poolside at Novotel Hotel resort itself. A truly magical wedding awaits here.