South Coast Wedding Photography Guide

Looking for a photographer for your South Coast wedding? From the internationally recognised, award winning rock stars of the industry to fresh faced start-ups, the South Coast has all the options in every price bracket so you're guaranteed to find the perfect wedding photographer to fit your budget.

View Price Guide to 30 of the South Coast's most exciting Wedding Photographers

When most couples first start researching wedding photography, they want to find out the average price of packages in their area. This is a useful exercise to understand what your budget will afford, and what you could expect to receive with your package.

Average cost of wedding photography on the NSW South Coast

The average cost of wedding photography on the South Coast of NSW is around $3,200. But it's important to understand the huge variabilities in what you can receive for that "average" price. While one photographer may offer a $3,500 package with 6 hours of photography excluding an album, the next may offer a $3,000 package with 12 hours of coverage plus a 20 sided album.

So first things first, you'll want to establish what your photography budget is, in a range that you're comfortable with. Couples who marry on the South Coast spend anywhere from $500 to $25,000 on their wedding photography. The area is a hot spot for weddings involving the rich and famous hence the upper price bracket. But if your initial thoughts on your own spend are somewhere between $2,500 - $6,000 you're amongst the majority.

One reason couples like to know the average cost of wedding packages is to get a realistic sense of what they can expect to receive for their budget. Another reason is due diligence - no one wants to feel they've been ripped off or paid too high a price for a product or service. There’s a common myth in the wedding industry that when you mention the word wedding a few zeros get added to your quote. You can be reassured that wedding photography isn't the industry that attracts the quick-buck entrepreneur. The days are 12+ hours long, involve late nights and huge stress (there's one chance to get 'the shot' at the many poignant moments that happen throughout the day). Not to mention the tens of hours of editing. Chances are, if you love the images of your chosen photographer, and their price is somewhere close to your budget, you're on a winner.

So, how to find the winner? The two most important things you want from your wedding photographer are images that you LOVE, and to enjoy the company of your photographer since you'll be spending THE BIGGEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE with them. Don't underestimate the importance of that 2nd point. Wedding day memories last a lifetime. You want your memories to fill you with warmth and joy.

The moments when you’re busting out your biggest grins will probably produce your most cherished wedding photos. Unless you’re Posh Spice, photos of you smiling, laughing and loving will be the ones that give you all the good feels. The key ingredient is receiving these photos is being happy on your wedding day. 

South Coast Photographer Two Creeks
Image by South Coast wedding photographer: Two Creeks

Your wedding photographer will be working hard behind the lens, not just creatively but also interpersonally with you. Directing your photo ‘shoot’ and ensuring good vibes is part of their mandate. They want to produce amazing art for their clients to give you a beautiful product, but also because they’re challenging themselves artistically. When you are happy, smiling, laughing and enjoying yourself, the likelihood of them achieving their next killer shot goes up 10 fold.

Your job is to choose a photographer who’s a great cultural fit for you and your partner. After you make this choice you’ll pay a deposit at which point responsibility for producing gorgeous wedding photos for you will shift onto your photographer. The choice you make when booking your wedding photographer will determine the images you receive. Be sure you are comfortable with them!

Here’s a couple of points to help you figure out who might be the perfect photographer for you. What will they be like, and how will they work:

  • A great communicator
  • No fuss
  • Fun 
  • Easy going
  • Adventurous
  • Take charge
  • Fly on wall
  • Sensitive
  • Multi-lingual

The photographers at Wedlockers are endorsed by professionals in the wedding industry. These endorsements enable you to filter the marketplace and shortlist photographers with characteristics you like.  They also give you insight into how each photographer will work on your wedding day and where their particular expertise lies. As a Wedlockers member, you can find these endorsements towards the bottom of each business listing. To search by endorsements, use the filters on our Wedding Photography page.

The first step in finding your South Coast wedding photographer though, is to look at images produced by photographers who service the area. If you want to love your wedding photos, look for images that resonate with you. Do the images make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Do you go “awwww” when looking at them? Or “wow!”

There’s hundreds of wedding photographers that service the South Coast region, with many driving in from Sydney, the Southern Highlands and Canberra. There’s also plenty of great quality local photographers who live and breathe wedding life on the South Coast. They’ll be your go-to choice for the ins and outs of great close-by locations for wedding photography. 

This list of 30 wedding photographers on the South Coast includes a price guide and a locality guide which will save you hours in research. Use this list to view photographers in your price bracket. Photographers put their best and most representative images in their Wedlockers profile, so what you see there is a great indication of what that photographer will deliver for you. 

Once you’ve found a couple of photographers you like, check their endorsements.  Will they be a great cultural fit? Don’t necessarily discount a photographer who doesn’t have the endorsements you’d prefer to see, particularly if you love their work. Sending an enquiry will enable you to gauge their response and assess if it’ll be worth your time in meeting with them.

You can quickly enquire with photographers by using the contact form on our listings. This informs the photographer where you found them and helps them with their marketing. (It’s free to enquire & also doesn’t cost the photographer.) You can use the copy and paste function to share details about your wedding if you are enquiring with more than one business.

What to say when you enquire

Here’s a few tips on how to enquire with a wedding photographer. You’ll save yourself time later by following these guidelines:

  1. Invest time
    Most couples enquire with 3 or more wedding photographers. They will however, only book 1. You can imagine then the volume of enquiries that photographers are fielding from customers that will not book them. Many of these clients they will never hear from again after investing significant time in drafting replies. Photographers develop a nose for sniffing out enquiries that are unlikely to book. Make sure it’s not you that’s been filtered from their inbox. If you want a response from your favourite South Coast photographer, and you want them to respond to your specific questions - invest time in personalising your enquiry to them. Which leads to the next point…
  2. Provide the details
    Most enquiries include a request for package information & availability for your preferred wedding date. Here’s what you should provide in order to receive that information: the date of your wedding, the location of your ceremony and reception, the approximate number of guests, the number of Bridesmaids/Groomsmen, what parts of your day you’d like captured, your preference for 2 photographers if you want 2, approximate start and finish times.
  3. Give them the ‘why’
    You will spend a lot of money on your wedding photographer and they understand you want to receive AMAZING photos having made that investment. However, you want your relationship with your wedding photographer to be more than a transactional one. Wedding photography is not a product that comes with guaranteed fixtures and features like a washing machine. There’s no guarantee on what your set of images will look like (hooray!), because what you’re investing in, is someone’s creativity and human effort. That’s why we suggest explaining to your wedding photographer why you are enquiring with THEM. People understand the ‘what’ (you’re asking for) but they’re motivated by the why. To get the best from your photographer on your wedding day, you want them to be looking forward to your wedding as much as you are. Start the relationship off well by explaining why you love their work.

And now you’re all set to start your search by browsing our list of 30 South Coast wedding photographers. It comes with a price & locality guide to short circuit the research process. The list caters for all the most popular price brackets from budgets of less than $2,500 to the average range of $2,500 - $4,500 plus the higher end of $4,500+. Photographers on the South Coast book out quickly due to the volume of weddings in the area - so make sure you enquire early.

 View South Coast Photographers

Cover image by Olguin Photography 

Wedding Dance Lessons - the perfect start to marriage

Wedding planning can be SO stressful! There are so many things to keep track of, and it just seems like every single weekend is full of wedding appointments! Florist appointments. Dress alterations. Visits to the reception venue. You can’t remember the last time you actually just hung out with your partner and did something fun – and wasn’t wedding planning supposed to be fun?

Then someone asks if you’re taking lessons for your first dance – and maybe you hadn’t even thought about it. Or perhaps you had, but do you even have the time? Now it’s got you thinking! It would be kinda nice to spend some quality time together as a couple…. 

Wedding dance lessons are absolutely one of the most fun things you can do together in the lead up to your wedding. If you’re tossing up whether to take the grand jetés, here’s everything you need to know about dance lessons - why do it, what to look for, and what to expect.

So - why take lessons?

Think about what you want your first dance to look like. Will it be:

  • an intimate moment for just the two of you? 
  • a studious effort to get through the song without tripping each other over? 
  • a ‘wow’ moment for your guests, with all the lifts, dips and swirls of a Patrick Swayze movie? 

Regardless of what you want the first dance to look like, the best goal is often to get to a level of confidence, where you are relaxed and the dancing happens naturally, without being conscious of what you’re doing. This will allow you to let your body move unconsciously and in a natural way, rather than your mind being focussed on executing each step or hitting your marks. And as the two stars of the show - when you and your partner are smiling, relaxed and enjoying yourselves - so too your guests will follow. There’s nothing that warms the heart more than watching two people having fun!

But doesn’t it have to be perfect?

Wedding Dance Lessons First Dance captured by Nicole Butler Photography

This is something that leading ballroom dance instructor, Ryan Herbert, from Move With Me Dance Studio in Sydney’s northwest, has heard many times before. “I think a lot of people will come into a wedding dance lesson with the heavy weight of expectations on their shoulders. They’ll think they’ll have to have a perfect, highly choreographed wedding dance to the perfect song. I spend a lot of time saying to people that being in the moment and enjoying your dance together as husband and wife is what you should be aiming for. Not trying to execute a Dirty Dancing style lift!”

Remember – this moment is about you and your partner. It can be helpful to think about what you want to remember from your first dance, once the wedding day chaos is over.

“This will be the first time you will dance together as husband and wife, and be able to share that moment with friends and family. The reason the first dance exists is to take a moment amongst the craziness of the wedding day, look into each other’s eyes, and have a moment to spend with each other,” says Herbert. “I know it can be very easy to get sucked into the idea of an overcomplicated routine, but in my experience, it’s usually better to keep it simple. A lot of weddings these days are put on for the guests, and a lot of couples forget the day should be about them.”

But I’m too busy to go to classes!

The stress of wedding planning can take its toll on couples in the lead up to the day. There are often so many things to do, that taking an hour out of the schedule to do a dance class can seem impossible.  

“People tend to feel guilty if they’re taking time out for themselves, when planning a wedding,” says Herbert. “But it’s actually a really nice excuse to do something for yourself, which you can also justify as being worth doing, as it is part of the wedding planning.”

The Bride will usually be the one in the couple pushing for the dance lessons, with the Groom reluctantly giving in to keep the peace. Most of the time though, Herbert has found that after the first lesson it’s the Groom who is enjoying it the most, because they enjoy taking the lead and having a chance to be in charge and make decisions!

First Dance Rehearsal
First Dance Rehearsal captured by Across the Forest

“The time you spend in the dance studio, giggling and having fun as a couple, can be more valuable than the skill of learning to dance. Couples sometimes tell me they can’t remember their first dance, and that it flew by, but they often come back for more lessons after the wedding because they loved the way that dancing made them feel,” says Herbert. “Coming to the lesson can be a moment to STOP stressing during the wedding planning process.”

I’m a terrible dancer, how will I ever learn to dance?

Our advice? Don’t take it too seriously! Herbert recommends looking at a wedding dance lesson as your downtime, rather than another wedding-related chore to tick off the list. “I think the bulk of wedding couples tend to enjoy learning the dance not because of the dance itself, or because they are gaining a skill, but because they get to spend time together where they’re not stressed out. Learning the dance is actually the one time they get to hang out as a couple, and have a laugh together.”

So, what do I look for in an instructor?

A dance instructor should be open to your ideas, and listen to you, but also should be honest with you about what is achievable and not achievable. There are a lot of instructors who will promise you the world, but ultimately you may end up disappointed and out of pocket when they can’t deliver. A good instructor will consider the time available, and any limitations. If you only have two weeks rather than 6 months, you probably won’t be able to achieve a fully choreographed, professional level masterpiece – and they should be honest in telling you this.

What can I expect in the first lesson?

You don’t need to bring anything special to your first lesson – just wear comfortable clothes and shoes that are easy to move in. As the day approaches, you can work towards wearing heels if you will be wearing them, and in your final lessons you can try dancing in a skirt or dress to give you an idea of how it will feel.

Your instructor will probably spend the first lesson teaching you the basic steps of the dance, which can be repeated over and over with a few ‘flashier’ steps thrown in to make it appealing. You may even be able to try dancing these steps to your first dance song in your first lesson. And if you don’t have a song? Don’t stress too much. Try listening to some of your favourite slow songs, listen to the lyrics and see if they have any words which really communicate how you feel about your partner. Your instructor will be able to let you know if the song will work.

First Dance Wedding Video

So, how many lessons will we need? 

Couples will take 4-6 lessons, on average. The more lessons you take, the more polished the dance will look, but 4-6 lessons should make even the most nervous dancers feel comfortable, and not look stilted or forced. 

“You want a routine that you can dance with your partner and enjoy. Rather than looking like you’re fresh out of dance school, it will look like you’ve been dancing confidently for years, and this should make you feel pretty good about dancing in front of your guests,” he says. 

How much do wedding dance lessons cost? 

For 4-6 dance lessons the cost will be average around $350-$750, depending on the price of the lesson and how many you take. When you enquire, ask about the price of private lessons and whether the studio offers any package deals. You may find that booking a package of dance lessons works out much cheaper per lesson than paying each time you go.

How do I make sure I get good value?  

For Herbert, it’s a simple answer.“Practice! Practice! Please practice! Do your homework. Every lesson, I spend about a quarter of the time going over what was taught in the previous lesson, because they have usually forgotten it. If you practice, you’re essentially getting an extra lesson’s worth of content out of the deal, compared to if you don’t practice.”

You will only get one chance to do your first dance as a wedding couple, and making sure that you are setting yourself up to have a dance you’ll remember for all the right reasons, is why you are doing this. Yes, you are paying for the physical time of an instructor to teach you, but what you are really buying for yourself is confidence, and the ability to enjoy the moment together on the night.

Think about the moment you step onto the dance floor, hand in hand with your partner. Will your feet be stumbling over each other as you silently will the song to finish? Or will you be full of confidence and excitement as you step onto the floor, ready to create a moment that you will cherish for the rest of your life? 

This article was written by Nicky Oliver - wedding planner from White Magnolia Events. Cover image by Robert Meredith Photography

 

40 Farm Wedding Venues in NSW

Farm wedding venues are in plentiful supply in NSW, with the state offering a variety of property types for those wishing to take their celebrations into rural Australia. From working cattle & sheep farms to farm stays with chickens and donkeys - the options available in NSW cater to just about every type of farm wedding you could imagine.

If you’re tossing up whether to have your wedding on a rural property, there are plenty of benefits. Farm weddings seem to have a unique intimacy about them that bring family and friends together like you've never been apart. Maybe it's the wide open space or the fresh country air or the leisurely way in which the sheep and cattle go about grazing in their paddocks. Conversation comes easy in the country. The pace is slower. Time is free.

View List of 40 NSW Farm Venues

Getting married in the country is easy too. Farms don’t have parking meters or parking rangers or even painted parking spots. Just drive on in - and don’t block the gate. Easy. Have your ceremony under the tree or in the gardens or next to the dam. Easy. If it’s sunny and warm, tables & chairs and epic styling can be enjoyed under the stars. Or take the fun inside. Whatever you like.

Here’s another reason to have a farm wedding: You’ll be supporting the sustainability of a local community and their businesses. When you have your wedding in a rural area and your guests stay, eat and shop locally, you contribute to that region’s local economy. Nowhere are communities more in need of the support from out-of-towners than rural areas. Particularly after droughts, fires or random pangolin-blamed viruses. The financial impact of which, have a devastating effect on farming industries. 

40 NSW Farm Wedding Venues

Why get married at a NSW farm?

Over the last few years many couples have opted out of an urban wedding preferring instead the laid back country landscape as a backdrop for their special day. Farm venues also provide a wonderful opportunity to DIY & BYO everything from food & beverage to styling. The glossy pages of Australia’s wedding magazines are regularly adorned with detailed images of beautifully styled spaces framed by unexpected country landscapes. Regional locations lend something different to weddings, which is perhaps why farms are now highly sought after venues.

Farm weddings became popular when rustic barns and converted hay sheds began popping up on Pinterest. Jars of hand picked flowers, cheese platters on tree stumps and hessian table runners took over and #rusticweddinginspo was the social media tag to follow. Rural councils received a flurry of applications from NSW landowners wanting to become wedding venues. Farm venues started to become more plentiful and easier to find.

Since the birth of the unique shed wedding we've seen the innovation of horse stable weddings, outdoor & undercover cattle yard weddings, flower farm ceremonies and venues made of all sorts of other repurposed rural amenities and structures.

Farm wedding venue and horse stables
Wedding reception in a horse stables on the NSW South Coast

Several purpose built barns have sprung up across the NSW landscape in recent years offering a modern and edgy option so that you can now have a shed wedding without the rustic hashtag. These modern barns have the benefit of being truly blank canvases that you can decorate however you like.

Farmstays and farmlets are a great option for a relaxed country wedding. NSW have a great variety with all sorts of animals in residence. The difference between a farmstay or farmlet and a proper working farm is in the size of the herd. Or flock. Or huddle. Which incidentally, is the collective noun for a group of walrus. Not a farm animal per say, but essential trivia knowledge nonetheless. #MostImpressiveAnswer-of-the-Night!

Farm weddings provide a unique opportunity to have an extended celebration with guests. Properties can be booked for your exclusive use for the entire weekend and some farms offer accommodation for your whole guest list.

Many rural communities in NSW offer enough accommodation for larger weddings. They also have the infrastructure to support your guests staying for a weekend or longer with cafes, restaurants and things to do nearby. Farm properties in these locations provide a great place to come together, giving you an extended opportunity to enjoy the company of loved ones at pre-wedding and post-wedding events. 

Here’s some of NSW’s most wedding friendly regional destinations. All offer farm wedding venues and have the required accommodation and amenities.

Farms in the Blue Mountains

Farm Venue Blue Mountains
Ding Dang Doo horse stables in the Blue Mountains. Image: Translucent Photography

The picturesque escarpments, scenic native bushland and world famous attractions make the Blue Mountains one of Australia’s best destination wedding venues. And there’s no better way to enjoy the undulating landscape than from it’s pockets of pristine farmland. 

Farms weddings in the Blue Mountains are scenic. Whether you choose a hilltop vista for your ceremony or a secluded valley framed in the bush covered mountains, farms here offer the ultimate wedding backdrop of fertile farming land and dense rugged bush. 

Venues include a working sheep station that offers glamping, a budget friendly DIY & BYO apple orchard, a shearing shed and hay barn near oberon and a horse ranch that’s also suitable for small weddings and elopements. You can view them all on our list of 40 NSW Farm Venues.

Farms in the Hunter Valley

Farm venue Hunter Valley NSW
Highland cattle at Lonely Goat Olives in the Hunter Valley.

The wine capital of NSW has a great range of farm venues for weddings of all sizes. The Hunter Valley isn’t just a picturesque and relaxed location for weddings and wine tasting, it’s also a great tourist destination with loads of things to do. Aside from the many international events that happen here, you can also go hot air ballooning, cycling, bush walking, cheese tasting and there’s a plethora of amazing restaurants to choose from.

Farm venues in the Hunter Valley invariably include the presence of your very own mob of kangaroos. Otherwise collectively known as a troop or court.  (But for legendary trivia status don’t forget - huddle of walrus!)

Hunter Valley farms include an olive grove with resident highland cattle - the photogenic shaggy type of cow with horns. (We’re told they’re largely very friendly) There’s 15 acres of photo-perfect gardens including sandstone walls, wisteria walks and aromatic roses. Some wineries also have barns, sheds and farm animals including one with deer. And there’s also a hugely popular dedicated elopement venue for up to 20 guests. You can enquire directly with these venues from here.

The Hunter Valley has a couple of private retreats. One comes with your very own valley that’s exclusively yours to hire for the weekend. You’ll share it’s hidden dam with two friendly cows and some free range chooks who won’t mind you sharing their eggs. 

Hunter Valley farms will usually accommodate outdoor wedding receptions and the climate during summer months is perfect for a reception under the stars. Many farms will also allow you to pitch a marquee. Go for the clear roof option - the night sky is glorious in the Hunter.

40 Farm Wedding Venues NSW

Farms in the Illawarra

An hour south or so of Sydney and near the main NSW centre of Wollongong is the Illawarra region. A fertile farming landscape renowned for its sandstone escarpments and cliff top views over the ocean. 

There are several farms around Gerringong including a popular winery and a purpose built modern barn. This barn isn’t your standard wooden beamed rustic type of structure. It’s a light filled, white walled, blank canvas of the variety you can request your stylist to paint your signature in florals all over. Hello hanging installations!

Farms on the South Coast

Farm Venue NSW South Coast
Winery, brewery & farm
on the NSW South Coast. Image: Translucent Photography

Wineries, breweries, fromageries, self-contained riverside getaways, DIY weekenders and pet friendly venues. Farm venues on the South Coast are all sorts of opportunities rolled into one. And the sunsets here are stunning!

Imagine walking through paddocks down to the beach. You can do that on the South Coast. In your whitest best, with gumboots on, having clambered over a rusty fence. That’s the way these farm weddings roll. 

There’s a 22 acre horse farm, a mini-wedding & elopement property with two of the most photogenic white bulls you’ve ever met, and a 250 acre private property that you can hire for the weekend and where your guests can stay in wilderness huts and boat sheds and do all the pre-weddinging and post-weddinging you like. 

The South Coast is another great spot for outdoor wedding receptions and all weather options are available at the farms in the area. 

Farms in the Southern Highlands

Farm venue Southern Highlands
Mali Brae Farm in the Southern Highlands

Fancy a little heritage in your wedding album? Farm venues in the Southern Highlands are dotted in history and come resplendent in beautiful old restored buildings and photo perfect ruins. You can even have stone castle ruins as your ceremony altar or arbor. 

The Southern Highlands is well known for its picturesque and idyllic grounds often frequented by the rich and famous. Farm venues are a little less rustic here and a little more upmarket. 

There’s a farm with a book barn, a new stables with magnificent high ceilings and glass facade and a wildgrass island in the middle of a man made lake. Marquee weddings are available at a wild-flower farm and you’ll find lake-side gazebos and garden conservatories at several venues.

Want to arrive to your wedding ceremony by helicopter? Farms in the Southern Highlands and further afield in the tablelands have you covered with private helipads. This region is also the place to go for photos on a lake-side jetty or cosied up in a freshly painted row boat with your newly betrothed other half. 

Farms on the North Coast

From the Central Coast to Byron Bay lies a huge stretch of NSW’s coastline that is peppered, both inland and on the oceanfront with farm wedding venues. 

Farm venue Byron BayFarm on the North Coast

The Byron Bay hinterland is a well renowned wedding region with many farms in the area.  You can get married at the infamous red barn, plan a DIY/BYO wedding with lush open fields and untouched rainforest as your backdrop, or go for a more earthy or eco friendly option.

Along the North Coast you’ll find a river ringed farm with a revolving homestead and a restaurant and bar with a couple more of those photogenic horned highland cattle. Closer to Sydney on the Central Coast there is a cute little well-maintained farm that offers wedding receptions in a majestic high-top marquee.

NSW has an incredible selection of rural ceremony & reception venues for your wedding. View our list of 40 Farm Venues in NSW & start planning your destination wedding now. 

 

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