Destination weddings are a wonderful way to celebrate your marriage. Generally, you have a smaller gathering of the people who mean the most to you, you are in a location that you adore, and you and your friends and family get to have a fantastic holiday amidst all of the celebration. Destination weddings can be a truly magical experience.
Australia has so many amazing destination wedding locations for you to choose from. From the beautiful Byron Bay (my home town and my own destination wedding location) to Tasmania. From Margaret River to Uluru. The possibilities for a destination wedding in Australia are endless.
To celebrate the destination wedding in Australia, we’ve found professionals in the wedding industry who work in Australia’s best destination wedding locations and interviewed them about their best tips, locations and ideas to make planning your Australian destination wedding a wonderful success.
To start our series which will run over the next few months, we kick off with the wonderful Vanessa Bye from I Do Events Whitsundays. Can you imagine a better place to start?
Q. Please tell us a little about yourself, your company and your experience in the wedding industry.
I have been involved in the wedding industry for about 14 years. My first introduction to the wedding industry was at the age of 16 when I spent my weekends as assistant to a wedding photographer in Tasmania. Shortly afterwards I became a wedding photographer of my own accord. After many years I relocated to the Whitsundays where I changed career path but not industry, as a wedding coordinator on a Whitsunday island. It was this role that brought my attention to the lack of wedding décor options available to bridal couples in the Whitsundays particularly as many people were coming from afar and it was costly and risky to bring their décor with them. Thus in January 2005 ‘I Do Events Whitsundays’ was born.
Originally thought of as a casual sideline, it was less than 6 months in operation before the demand of the business required my full-time focus. Now 4 years on, we employ 3 full-time staff in addition to myself. We have a dedicated Office Manager who liaises with clients and offers guidance in décor selections, a Stock Coordinator who manages all stock maintenance and ensures everything gets to the correct venues for set-up and a Creative Wedding Stylist who goes to the actual events to set-up and make them look beautiful.
Q. You organise weddings all over the Whitsundays. What are your favourite Whitsunday wedding destinations and why?
Ooh, tough one! There are a multitude of options and I would have to say for those with an extravagant budget Woodwark Bay could possibly be the most stunning venue in Queensland, if not Australia – it is an amazing property on a secluded beach-front location with individual bungalows that can accommodate up to 20 people in total. Miles from anyone with the property completely to yourselves to enjoy, you are spoiled with lush tropical gardens, a Moroccan themed pool and endless activities.
A new and exciting venue is Villa Botanica (above). Simply driving down the driveway brings a sense of peacefulness and tranquility. This amazing property is designed solely for weddings and functions so you escape the hustle and bustle to enjoy the venue exclusively for you and your guests. A sprawling paradise of amazing architecture and graphic gardens perched right on the water’s edge, just minutes from Airlie Beach, yet totally private and exclusively yours.
Hamilton Island is definitely the most popular wedding destination here in the Whitsundays. Whilst having all the luxurious benefits of being on a tropical island, you also have the conveniences of a small town. A major attraction would be the diverse range of options available, from a barefoot beach wedding, to a quaint chapel or up on the hill with breathtaking views over the Whitsunday Islands and brilliant aquamarine water.
Coral Sea Resort (above) would be the most popular venue in Airlie Beach (the mainland). The beauty is that of the islands, situated on the waters edge with picturesque water views and adorned with tropical palm trees and lush gardens, yet conveniently located centrally in Airlie Beach with easy access to everything you need.
The best thing about the Whitsundays though is that no matter where you choose to have your wedding, you are almost guaranteed stunning water views.
Q. For each of your favourite destinations, can you tell us your favourite venues, ceremony sites and anything special about the locations?
Woodwark Bay – I can’t get past the sweeping lawn area out the front of the main house. It is at least 100m x 100m of pure lush green grass with a couple of feature palm trees, against the beautiful water backdrop. I can just imagine a long white carpet running through the centre for a grand entrance to your ceremony.
Villa Botanica – Villa Botanica has a unique ceremonial area featuring a mosaic stone bridal walk lined by palm trees and leading up to their exotic hand carved Wedding Pavilion, with magnificent views over the waters of the Coral Sea. An unusual feature is the ‘fish tank bathroom’ – the smaller end of a giant 12,000 litre fish tank is viewed from the bathroom!
Hamilton Island – there are so many ceremony options to choose from and my favourite would have to be Beach Club Gardens. Plush green grass, tropical palms and a view overlooking the beach and beautiful Whitsundays waters… (Being an exclusive venue they do have size and other restrictions, but definitely worth the culling of guests!). Hamilton Island has just completed a purpose-built renovation on Outrigger and this is an ideal reception venue. Exclusively yours, with an open-air permanent Marquee structure you can be undercover yet feel out in the open. Outrigger is waterfront in a tropical setting of palms and luxurious gardens.
Coral Sea (pictured)- Ceremonies are held on the lawn directly backing onto the aquamarine water, with a quaint wedding gazebo for signing of your certificates. My favorite reception venue would be the Jetty for a true Whitsundays Wedding, however they also have a function room for a more traditional wedding reception.
Q. Do you have any tips for couples contemplating a Whitsunday wedding?
- Have a winter wedding. With average temperatures of 22, and low rainfall, June, July and August are the perfect climate for your special day. Other popular times are April/May and September/October.
- For a beach wedding or beach photos make sure you check tide times (your wedding coordinator should be able to assist in this) and try to time your wedding around high tide
- If you want 40 people, don’t invite 80. Many bridal couples assume that people won’t come because it’s a destination wedding but in our experience most weddings get a high quantity of guests confirm – who wouldn’t want a Whitsundays holiday!
- Combine your wedding and honeymoon and stay for a week or two. Though, if you do want privacy it may be best to explore another area or island of the Whitsundays, to avoid your wedding guests who may also extend their stay.
Q. What are your best tips for a destination wedding in the Whitsundays?
- Take the advice of local wedding professionals. Our unique location can have unique requirements. For example, some flower types may not last well in the humidity. It’s better to have a beautiful fresh bouquet of your second floral preference to a wilting bouquet of your favourite flower.
- Arrive at least two days prior to your wedding so that you have time to reconfirm everything and, most importantly, relax, before the big day
- Don’t sun-bake before your wedding, Remember to slip, slop, slap!
- Barefoot on the beach is great – just not in the summer; it can be quite hot on your feet (except Whitehaven Beach, whose silica sand never gets hot!)
- Heels can be difficult on the beach. If you really want to wear heels on your wedding day, perhaps take along some flats for when you are on the beach and change in to heels later – any excuse to buy more shoes!
Q. For 2009 and 2010, what are the trends on the horizon for Whitsunday weddings?
Working with nature is definitely the way to go. Enhance the natural beauty of your surroundings with twinkling fairy lights, hanging paper lanterns and tropical table settings incorporating earthy tones and elements such as stones, vine and tropical flowers.
Alternatively fresh and breezy complements the tropical setting with light colours such as lemon or spearmint. We encourage use of two of three contrasting feature colours for added depth and interest. If your bridesmaids are wearing green, it doesn’t mean you have to have green or white flowers. Olive green bridesmaid’s dresses with hot purple flowers create a sultry tropical flavour. Bridesmaids in latte and carrying soft pink flowers illustrate old fashioned romance. The colour combination options are endless and can really show your individuality!
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
Having your dream wedding in a tropical destination like the Whitsundays doesn’t need to be a luxury you can’t afford. There are so many options for wedding and reception venues, and you can even start on your honeymoon straight away.
It might seem daunting to book a wedding outside of your home town, but that is where the services of a professional wedding company such as I Do Events can really assist you in ensuring your dream wedding happens exactly as you imagined. We offer coordination and styling services, and have the benefit of local knowledge and local contacts for all aspects of your wedding.