Gold Coast wedding venues that are unique can be a harder search than you'd think. Maybe you're looking for a wedding venue that's close to home, but getting married on the beach at surfers paradise isn't really your vibe. You guys are a bit more adventurous and you want your wedding day to reflect that. I've been photographing weddings for 10 years now and one of the tips I always try to tell couples is. It doesn't matter what decorations you use. The biggest influence on the style of your wedding is going to be the venue you choose. If you choose a modern art gallery venue, and decorate it like a boho wedding, it's still going to look pretty modern. Pick a country farm and make it look fancy. It's still going to look rustic.
In this venue guide we're only going after the lactose free wedding venues. No cheesy, live laugh love signs, no fake flowers, and definitely no one handing out flyers to schoolies tours anywhere in sight! Let's check out some off the map wedding venues on the Gold Coast shall we?
Firstly though. Let's take a brief minute to chat about how to choose the best wedding venue. Having been a wedding photographer for 10 years now. And a creative human for a lot longer than that. Whenever I'm anywhere.. be it a cafe with the wrong music playing to match the neon signs behind the barista. Or a wedding venue with a ceremony spot thats facing the bride's face into the blistering sun. I ALWAYS notice when things aren't right and when they aren't. I can't help it.
I'll also add that I'm not the type of photographer who thinks the only thing that matters on your wedding day is your photos. Let's be honest. Wedding photos are awesome. But not as awesome as marriage. And definitely not as awesome as having the best day of your life with your friends and family. The photos are just about remembering how great is was. So I wont be reviewing these wedding venues purely on how well they photograph. I want to review based on all the important factors that make for an epic gold coast wedding venue.
What Makes A Wedding Venue Epic?
So what makes a wedding venue a unique "experience" because really. It's ALL about the experience. We want that magic. We want to be transported somewhere.. If we didn't want that we would just go down to the same pub we always go to and just use nostalgia as our only benchmark of a good venue. (this is actually why backyard weddings are pretty popular)
When it comes down to it. You're looking for something that has that bit of magic. Charm... that X factor. Now why am I putting this first? before any of the practicalities? Because JASON! if it doesn't have that X factor. It doesn't matter which if your practical needs it meets. You're not going to have any real magic. And I like to always start with magic and then move on from there. Now I can't define that magic for you. That's up for interpretation right?
Who are you? & why does that matter for your wedding venue choice?
However.. something to think about is.. does it fit who you are as a couple.. If you absolutely hate camping and never go outside.. and would never dream about swimming in a river or anywhere that's not Whitehaven beach. Maybe don't pick a super rustic farm venue where your guests have to camp overnight and your wedding ceremony is by a creek.
If you guys love to read every book ever, love the smell of leather bound books and rich mahogany.. Maybe you want a dark inner city venue that has a bit more of the feel of a super deluxe library. Are we tracking?
One thing I always tell me couples is to think of the top 3-5 days of their life.. What were the ingredients, where were you? who were you with? What music was playing? What were you eating and drinking? If your wedding is meant to be the best day ever (super unrealistic pressure to put on one day P.S.) Why not base it around some of the most incredible days you've ever had?
If you love live music, your best nights ever have been at music festivals with your mates... figure out how to centre your wedding day around incredible live music and make it feel like a festival. And make sure your venue can accomodate that well.
Unique Gold Coast Wedding Venues
Riverwood Weddings - Maudsland
Image by Van Middleton Photography
Talk about exclusivity. This Gold coast wedding venue only takes 15 wedding bookings per year. With all the rescheduled weddings due to COVID-19 I'd recommend trying to book as far in advance as you can with a venue like this that's only taking very limited bookings.
But with that warning out of the way lets talk about this gorgeous venue shall we? Set in the lush little garden of eden that is the Gold Coast hinterland, Riverwood weddings boasts maybe the best outdoor wedding setup on the gold coast. Their massive boho festival tent is an absolute show stopper! I think it's technically the option of a single or double Kata Tipi, but all I think of when I see these big tents is festival fun!
You can also choose from white Marquees for a slightly more traditional outdoor wedding vibe. Or, my personal preference, RISK IT FOR THE BISCUIT! Go topless. No roof.. Enjoy the amazing gold coast weather. Let your guests stare up at the stars. You're in the hinterland. You definitely want to feel like you're having a proper outdoor wedding.
Image By Deb Boots
If you're choosing to have it without a roof. I would recommend planning for a month with the lowest rainfall. July, August and September historically have super low chance of rain on the Gold Coast so I would definitely be picking those months if you're having it outside without a roof. And if it's July.. you also bring in the option of fire pits and everything else I love about winter weddings.
Photo by Van Middleton Weddings
Now obviously it's in the name, but there is a river... and yes. You can hop in a boat and channel your inner Ryan Gosling notebook scenes.
The other thing worth noting about this venue is that your guest list is capped at 100 people. Which I honestly believe for most people is plenty. Your wedding day moves so fast, you really don't have time to connect with a huge crowd very well.
Braeside at Gin House Creek Estate - Merrimack
Image by Feather & Finch Photography
Rosewood Estate - Beechmont
Image by Figtree Pictures
250 acres of some of the most insane views, This Gold Coast hinterland wedding venue definitely steals the cake for scenic views. You and your guests can enjoy staring at the coastline stretching from South Stradbroke Island to Coolangatta to the East and up the entire Numinbah Valley to the South.
There's some absolutely magical scenic rim wedding locations but this one definitely might be my favourite. It's sort of got everything a wedding photographer. Believe it or not there's actually like a specific distance photographers prefer mountains to be when they're in the background of wedding pictures. I've spent my fair share of time up in mountains around the traps and the little mountains / valleys behind this venue are the exact right distance away to look perfect in photos.
Other boast worthy facts about Rosewood Estate: Because it's a bit more remote you will be able to leave your music blasting and the party generally going a lot later than most venues in South East Queensland.
Also the restored farm house is the perfect getting ready location and you can stay overnight so that you're not having too many moving pieces the morning of the wedding.
Cowbell Creek - Austinville
Image by True North Photography
Slightly smaller at only 170 acres, Cowbell creek is another gorgeous gold coast wedding venue that packs plenty of punch.
Space for up to 120 guests, (which is plenty) I might add. Cowbell creek has a sort of rustic luxe thing going for it that's been really beautifully done. Sometimes places can be so rustic that they're absolutely unusable, hot-messes, just waiting to fall down, or too modern that the rural feel just isn't there at all.
So as you'd expect any venue that has any type of luxe vibe, yes there's lovely air conditioning. It's pet friendly.
Providence Farm Hall - Beechmont
Image by Wander & The Wild
Summergrove Estate - Carool
Image By Nathan Lapham
Eco Studio Felleni - Mudgeeraba
Image by New Black Studios
Kooromba Vineyard & Lavender farm
Photo by Ivy & Rose
This place has no right to be so far down this list. This venue is goshdarn stunning. I've seen photographs of this chapel for so many years. It's just so pretty. It has this kinda joshua tree feel to it that you just don't really see in Australian wedding venues. Because it's essentially made of glass you get the most incredible light inside the chapel.
My major complaint with chapel weddings is that you typically get super weird light, (If they're not as dark as the night sky) and the one window that is letting light in has some weird green tint and it's only hitting 3 bridesmaids and leaving the bride and groom in the dark. This is not what you're going to get at Kooromba vineyard. Now bear in mind.. There is a right and a wrong time to have your ceremony in a largely open room like this. Depending on the time of year you'll want to consider how much light is beating down on the roof / spilling in and hitting your guests who will be sweating, not just from the usual, "I'm very uncomfortable in buildings that feel like a church sweat." But from, "the Gold Coast sun is burning a hole in my suit" type of sweat.
I always recommend to my couples that they visit the venue at the time of day that they'll be having their wedding so they can see exactly how the light will be during the ceremony... and afterwards while we're zooming around for portraits at sunset. There's a few reasons for this.
- Light is one of the most crucial ingredients in delicious photos that you'll just want to stare at forever.
- It's always nice to have been at the venue with your hearts beating out of your chest feeling the excitement for what's to come, looking at the sunset and imagining how the day is actually going to feel. Because when you're actually there walking around the lavender fields with your photographer taking your photos you're going to be having this beautiful nostalgic experience remembering the last time you were there and how excited you were for the moment that's now actually happening. And nostalgia my friends, is 9/10ths of the law!
Image by Chris Guy
Image by Tom Hall
Fins At Plantation House
Mt Warning is one of the most spectacular spots on the gold coast and Fins at plantation house has some seriously majestic views. Nestled in 65 hectares of exotic secret fruit plantation this venue has a ton of unique things going for it.
Obviously exotic fruits are going to have some really interesting colours and textures going on in the plants themselves. So having a plantation of unique trees and plants to roll through is going to give you some really unique photo locations. Most of the gold coast wedding venues listed above are old dairy farms or hills / valley type settings with loads of green and plenty of native trees.
In essence if you want some lovely Australian views but also to be able to feel like you're in some wild tropical plants and that if you really wanted to pretend you were somewhere in south America or some other magical tropical place.
Another HUGE win, the ceremony spot here has the sunset behind it! (as you'll see in the video below) Which is something that I'd say 50% of venues generally get wrong. You don't want the sun smashing one of you right in the eyeballs. You want it coming from behind your celebrant. Creating a beautiful soft warm glow behind you which makes for the most stunning wedding pictures.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read. I hope you've found this information super helpful. If you're still in the hunt for a wedding photographer I'd love to chat with you about that too. I'll be taking bookings in the Gold Coast and across Queensland for 2022 and have limited spots available. I'm pretty passionate about people having photos that aren't just of how their wedding looked but also how it felt. If you're after something unique to remember your wedding day with. Please drop your info in the box below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can. or you can say G'day on social media. Though I'm not always as reliable via instagram.
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