Six Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding in Victoria

A destination wedding is a wedding that is held in a setting away from your home city. For a long time in Australia this meant having a small wedding somewhere tropical like Bali, Thailand or Hawaii. 

But from about 2014 destination wedding locations began broadening: Paris, Tuscany, New York! And cities and towns around Australia began becoming popular as destination wedding locations. Some couples wanted to treat their guests to an out-of-town wedding experience or celebrate at their favourite holiday destination, the place they got engaged, or grew up.

And then… Covid struck. And any wedding, let alone a destination wedding, became almost impossible.

But, that’s again changing. With international and interstate borders reopening we’re all hungry for travel.

You may be a Victorian reading this as you sit in your apartment in New York (or just love the sound of Victoria for your wedding and honeymoon). Or perhaps you’re a ‘local’, excited to plan a destination wedding here in Australia. In either case, I’ve got some tips to help you navigate planning a destination wedding in Victoria.

Why get married in Victoria

Victoria, a state of south-eastern Australia, occupies a mountainous coastal region of the continent. You’ll love Victoria as a destination for your wedding because there is so much to do and see here, making it an ideal place for you and your guests to visit. And that’s important because when guests travel for a wedding they enjoy having a place to explore and enjoy for several days, not just your wedding day. And it makes planning your honeymoon easier too.

Victoria is well known and loved for its fabulous beaches, skiing, food and wine regions and of course the cultural melting pot that is the capital, Melbourne. When it comes to choosing a location for your destination wedding, you’re spoiled for choice; there are 12 regions for you to consider, each offering something unique and exciting for you and your guests to enjoy across your wedding weekend.

Victoria’s 12 regions are:

    • Melbourne

    • Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges

    • Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

    • Mornington Peninsula

    • Phillip Island

    • Geelong and the Bellarine

    • Great Ocean Road

    • Goldfields

    • Grampians

    • High Country

    • Gippsland

    • The Murray

You’ll love the high country for a wedding at any time of the year, but especially if you’re dreaming of a winter wedding in the snow. Or if it’s a casual, weekend away vibe you’re going for, one of Victoria’s seaside towns could be the perfect destination for your wedding. And then there are the locations around the state that are perfect for the foodie couple – the Murray River region, Gippsland and the Great Ocean Road are especially good for a gourmet wedding weekend. And when it comes to Melbourne itself, you’re spoiled for choice, especially if a ‘city chic’ wedding is your style.

But choosing the perfect location is only one of your tasks when planning a destination wedding in Victoria, which is why I’ve put together the following list of destination wedding planning tips.

Consider the weather

The weather is always a consideration when you’re planning a wedding with an outdoors component. A destination wedding in Victoria is no different. But the trouble with ‘good weather’ seasons in popular tourist destinations is that they’re busy at these times of the year. And ‘busy’ often equates to less choice and more expense. 

This doesn’t mean you have to choose the off-season for your wedding, but booking in advance and careful budget planning are important.

An alternative is to talk to a local like me for suggestions about little-known spots that are perfect for ‘out of season’ weddings. For example, whilst the high country is popular for winter weddings because of the snow, it’s a naturally beautiful region to explore at any time of the year. This is especially the case if you’re an adventurer so it could be a good choice for your ‘out of season’ wedding.

Give fair warning

Because life is busy for most of us, I recommend that you choose your wedding party early on in your planning process and send save the dates to your guests. Anyone who will need to travel from overseas or interstate for your wedding will need to block out considerably more time and may choose to combine the trip with a holiday. Giving them fair warning enables them to plan for this in advance. And ‘plenty of notice’ helps them to budget for the expense of attending your wedding too. 

The more time you can give people to plan, the more likely it is that they will be able to both afford and attend your wedding. And the best deals on accommodation and flights are often found when booking well in advance.

Keep in mind that time constraints and finances could prevent people from attending your destination wedding. Accepting this from the outset will help you and them to not be too disappointed if they simply can’t make it.

Visit the destination

As a local I can help you to plan your destination wedding in Victoria from afar. But if you can manage a visit prior, it can help move the planning process along and give you further confidence in your choices. This is especially true when it comes to finalising details with vendors and feeling very comfortable with things like the layout and styling of your wedding day. But again, a lot can be done remotely, so don’t let not being able to visit turn you off having a destination wedding.

Research local marriage requirements

If you’re an Australian getting married in Victoria, the marriage requirements won’t differ from those in your home state. And whilst many countries have residency requirements for anyone wanting to get married there, Australia does not, which means anyone can legally marry in Australia.

Foreigners can marry as soon as they arrive in Australia providing they are free to do so. Before getting married both partners have to sign a declaration stating that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.

Civil and religious marriages are both legally binding in Australia and can take place in any location. Australian marriages are widely recognised by other countries, but you should confirm this in your own country first.

Hire a wedding planner

Planning any wedding requires expert attention to detail. Add in the distance factor and you’ve got a whole new level of pain waiting for you. Yes, things can get tricky when you don’t have the help of someone who has expert knowledge of who’s who and what’s what in the destination you’re getting married in.

Attempting to source and vet local venues and vendors is incredibly difficult from afar. When you work with a destination wedding planner you trust they will shoulder a lot of the burden of the planning process on your behalf. And if there is a language barrier, this is even more important.

A local wedding planner in Victoria will also be invaluable in handling any last-minute problems that can arise in the weeks leading up to the wedding. And your destination wedding planner will help you to manage not only the logistics of your wedding, but also your guests, who may need help with accommodation, transport and other events and activities during their stay.

Make guests feel welcome

Attending a destination wedding is a fun experience for guests, but it’s also a big commitment on their behalf. Turn your wedding into a fabulous experience for them by giving careful thought to the itinerary for not just your wedding day, but the days surrounding it. 

A great way to make guests feel welcome and communicate important information is with a wedding website. A wedding website brings all the details of your wedding together in one place. It’s ideal for gathering details like group rates for flights and hotel rooms, how to get to and from the airport, a list of nearby activities either that you’ve organised for guests or they can do on their own, and an itinerary of the weekend’s events (rehearsal, welcome dinner, post-wedding brunch etc). 

Welcome bags with essentials for the stay are another way to make your guests feel comfortable and can be themed to suit the destination and your wedding.

Planning a destination wedding in Victoria 

If you’d love to get married in Melbourne or any of the surrounding regions, I can help you to find the perfect location and take care of all of the details that come with planning a destination wedding in Victoria. And of course as a wedding planner in Melbourne, I’ll be there for your wedding weekend to ensure everything runs seamlessly for both you and your guests. 

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