We’ve all heard the old adage, there is nothing like ‘wide open spaces’,‘country charm’ or ‘small-town hospitality’. But what does that mean exactly, and more specifically what does that mean for you if planning a country wedding?
How does choosing a country wedding venue translate into an amazing experience for you and your guests and provide an even better alternative than a major city venue?
Australia is experiencing a revival of breathtaking country wedding venue options, with heritage-listed homesteads, boutique country manors and winery-based venues breathing new life into the wedding landscape. Couples as a result now have a myriad of exceptional country wedding options to choose from - and before we get any further, let's make a clear distinction, country does not equate to ‘old fashioned,’ nor will you have to compromise on all the modern touches,exceptional experiences and service details that a city venue would provide you.
Tucked away on expansive estates, nestled on escarpments, dotted amongst lush valleys or overlooking undulating hills country wedding venues are rolling out the red carpet for visitors to their region and are proudly championing everything their unique locale has to offer. Whether it be dynamic, locally-sourced produce for true farm to table fare, inimitable landscapes, unique historical character or one of a kind photo opportunities country venues are offering incredible experiences for those willing to venture and explore outside the city confines.
If that sounds like you and you’re finding yourself longing for a relaxed change of scenery, or wanting to escape the hustle and bustle to celebrate your wedding day festivities, we have put together the top 10 benefits of having a country wedding for you and your guests alike:
1. Location, location, location
There is no escaping that location is among the top benefits when opting for a country wedding. Spoilt for choice, with most venues offering expansive surrounds, country weddings provide the luxury of feeling secluded and private. Couples are offered an exclusive experience, where they don’t feel they have to ‘share’ their venue or rush through their proceedings. Country wedding venues, as opposed to their city counterparts, will often limit weddings to one per day with estates such as Gabbinbar Homestead offering couples the opportunity to ‘make the venue their home for the day’ and customise and personalise their experience to suit their desires.
Offering only what can be afforded with space, country wedding venues brilliantly fuse outdoor and indoor entertaining spaces allowing couples to seamlessly enjoy the benefits of both. Often located on large estates, in wine valleys or farm retreats these venues look to take advantage of their setting by hosting outdoor ceremonies, elegant garden parties and receptions under the stars. With the freedom to use the estate to best fit the couples requirements and with the constraint of limited space removed, country weddings allow for couples and guests to maximise their venue to its full potential and allow for flexibility when asking the all important question "How many guests should I have at my wedding?"
2. Farm to table fare for the ultimate dining experience
With a plethora of locally grown produce available at their doorstep country wedding venues excel at providing an authentic paddock to plate experience. Sourcing inspirations from locally acquired produce and fare, country wedding chefs at venues like Lancemore Mansion Hotel Werribee Park will look to highlight the region's unique offerings in their menu choices.
Not to be limited, but rather inspired by the local region, menus will often be a beautiful union of modern Australian and international cuisine . With consumers more aware than ever of how and where their food is sourced, country wedding venues are prioritising and promoting their ability to connect with and support local farmers and food artisans.
3. Make a weekend of it
Country weddings offer the perfect opportunity for couples and guests to retreat away together for the days prior to and post wedding. With country wedding venues promoting themselves as ‘destination venues’, couples and guests enjoy taking the opportunity to ‘make a weekend of it’ and explore the region.
Wedding weekends provide an excellent opportunity for couples to enjoy extended time mingling and socialising with friends and family, laughing, catching up and introducing guests to one another - a luxury they may not otherwise get if limited to the day of celebration only.
Country wedding venues will often provide regional highlight itineraries, local dining recommendations and will prioritise providing couples and guests with exceptional accommodation options. Having a country wedding allows you to enjoy the opportunity to re-imagine what your wedding day can look like by having the celebration fall over multiple days (think welcome cocktails the evening before and farewell brunches the day after) in a region you may not otherwise have been able to experience collectively, for inspiration checkout the incredible Longtitude 131.
4. Multiple ceremony and reception locations
Why be limited to the choice of one when you can have numerous ceremony and reception locations to choose from? Country wedding venues specialise in giving couples multiple and varying options. Garden ceremonies held beneath towering feature trees, overlooking rolling hills, beneath wisteria laden arbors or amongst manicured fields are just some of the options. Couples are increasingly looking to have the landscape or garden design be the feature of their ceremony, with styling the accompaniment, and country wedding venues allow them to do this. The breathtaking landscape and natural beauty of country wedding venues means that elaborate styling, floral or arbor arrangements aren’t as pivotal. Multiple ceremony spaces also translate to being able to provide great wet weather alternatives, so regardless of weather conditions on the day of the wedding your venue will still be able to accommodate a stunning ceremony.
Fresh country air and starlit skies also provide the perfect vista for both elegant outdoor and indoor receptions such as those hosted at Woodburn Homestead. With noise restrictions often not a concern, country wedding venues allow guests to enjoy live bands and music with dancing well into the evening.
Insider Tip: Be sure to check that your venue has a night garden to capture precious moments at night together under festoon or fairy lights.
5. Breathtaking photo opportunities
If strolling through a country estate chasing the light of golden hour with breathtaking backdrops and the one you love sounds amazing, then a country wedding is for you! A country wedding provides endless opportunities for curating an exceptional and varied wedding day album. With the ability to host both ceremony and reception at the same venue couples are able to solve the most complicated quandary of any wedding day - how do I find the time to get all the photos I want and still spend quality time with my guests?
Country wedding venues like Riverstone Estate bridge the gap between both worlds by having beautiful photo locations accessible within walking distance. Gorgeous vistas and milieus dotted throughout the property allows couples to capture the magic whilst roaming the grounds leaving their guests to enjoy canapes in the garden (remembering there will be plenty of time left to join in afterwards). Without having to leave the grounds, couples can dedicate the time they would have spent travelling between ceremony, photo locations and the reception to actually enjoying and partaking in the day they have spent months, or in some cases years planning!
Insider Tip: Be sure to take your photographer for a site visit before your wedding day. Show them through the venue if they are unfamiliar with it and scout out locations together to customise a run sheet - take into consideration if your venue has a seasonal garden and enquire as to what plants/trees will be in bloom around your wedding date.
6. Everyone is welcome (bring the kids, pets and band!!)
Planning to include the little people in your life on your special day or making your furbaby a valued member of your wedding party? If you’re planning a child-friendly wedding or pet friendly wedding country wedding venues are a great place to start your enquiries. With their ample space and large outdoor areas these venues will provide great entertainment options for children. Many already also provide games and activities while also being open to external vendors providing supervision or child friendly entertainment for the duration of the wedding (cue the jumping castle).
If including your furbaby (whether they be feline, canine or equine) is also a priority, country wedding venues will be well equipped to have them onsite for the entire day including your all important ‘morning of’ preparations. With space to walk your dog,park a horse float or set up a temporary pen for your llama, country wedding venues are the ultimate in a pet friendly wedding experience.
Love live music? Have the band play throughout the ceremony, garden party and well into the night without the same restrictions that would be imposed at an inner-city venue.
Insider Tip: If having a band or musicians play throughout your day check with your venue to see if they can provide vendor meals to keep everyone happy.
7. Support Local economies and tourism
More than ever, supporting small and family owned businesses and artisans is becoming a priority to couples who want to see their wedding day positively impact local economy and tourism.
With country wedding venues often locally owned and operated, and sometimes generationally as in the case of the incredible Bangor, there is an intentional focus on investing and partnering with vendors and artisans in the local community to provide an exceptional wedding experience for their couples.
8. Historical significance and connection
Authentic historical character, ties and connections to a local region can be a unique benefit of attending a country wedding. Experiencing historically restored or heritage listed venues is a wow-factor for couples and guests who want to have the story of their venue's history add to the uniqueness of their celebrations.
Whether the venue was once a summer retreat for the region's governors or an iconic piece of Australian rural history these venues provide interesting points of difference to the wedding day. Consider your venue as your ‘something old’ to include alongside your ‘something new’ and ‘something blue.’
9. Let's be practical - the parking is great!!!
It may not initially feel like a major consideration at the time of choosing a venue, but not having to navigate inner city parking, expensive metered parking, or juggle public transport before attending your wedding can be a big win for your guest experience. Being in the country, traffic will immediately be less of an issue, country wedding venues also offer ample (free) parking and often the opportunity to leave vehicles overnight at the venue and collect the next day once everyone has recovered.
10. Country hospitality
This is one of the greatest charms of a country wedding, the customer experience and the hospitality that follows. Setting a different pace to life in the city, country wedding venues focus on delivering a holistic experience that allows couples the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle and have the ‘freedom and space to breathe.’
10 Important points to clarify with your country wedding venue:
If unable to view your venue at the time of year you plan to host your wedding be sure to ask for photos/examples of what the gardens/estate will look like. Check to see if the venue has a seasonal garden and see what blooms you may want to capture in your wedding album.
Confirm with your venue what festivities, events and regional highlights are showcased throughout the year or close to your wedding date.
Check with your venue that your reception space is climate controlled, you may love the idea of making your wedding a summer soiree of sorts or a winter wedding wonderland, either way you want to ensure your guests are comfortable.
See if your wedding venue offers couples a complimentary wedding website that allows you to share important and detailed information on how to get to your venue, ceremony times, accommodation options etc.
Discuss what local and seasonal options are available for your menu from the venues chefs. Discuss the possibility of having a course crafted specifically for your day using seasonal produce.
Ask your venue if they provide a list of recommended vendors that guarantee an exceptional customer experience at their venue.
Being larger estates, ensure that your venue provides surround sound throughout the entire estate for an elevated guest experience, yes even in the gardens!!
If your wedding venue does not offer onsite accommodation be sure to see which Airbnb’s they recommend and ask if they offer discounted rates and early check-in and late checkouts for couples and guests at local hotels.
Chat with your venue to see if they can provide suggestions for a wedding weekend itinerary for you and your guests.
If planning a destination wedding ensure your venue offers a full and through wedding planning service from the moment you book to ensure you feel fully supported and assisted until the day you walk down the aisle.