Rustic Weddings Venues on the NSW South Coast

Rustic wedding venues on the South Coast of NSW include everything from traditional rustic barns and sheds to wineries, bars and modern retreats. There are private properties that can be hired for the entire weekend, eco friendly properties, bush retreats, beachfront venues and a selection of farms with rustic spaces where you can do as little or as much styling as you like. 

The South Coast provides a choice of rustic venues for all weddings from 2 person elopements up to gala weddings for 350+ guests. The region also caters for a wide range of budgets from affordable to luxury weddings and there are venues that provide all-inclusive packages as well as those that allow couples to DIY everything from food & beverage to styling, hire and flowers.

Our complete list of Rustic Venues on the South Coast provides details for all spaces that ooze rustic charm in the region. From the Illawarra to the far South Coast and from the coast to the country - here’s a run down of where you’ll find the best rustic wedding venues on the South Coast...

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Weekend Stay Venues

The South Coast offers a choice of 7 rustic wedding venues where you and your guests can sleep for the weekend. If there are a sufficient number of guests planning to stay over, you can hire these wedding venues for your exclusive use for the entire weekend.

Bundara Farm Rustic Weddings
Bundara Farm sleeps 30 guests for small rustic weddings and elopements

Rustic ‘weekenders’ on the South Coast sleep between 6 - 45+ guests and cater for a maximum event capacity of 30 - 180 wedding guests. Small weddings of up to 30 guests are catered for perfectly at Bundara Farm where everyone can sleep onsite. Larger weddings are best suited to the venues Worrowing and Terara Park Farm which both provide self contained accommodation for a select number of guests.

Another option is Bawley Bush Retreat where outdoor festival style weddings are well suited. The property is a hop skip and jump to the nearby lake, surrounded in bush and provides indoor event spaces that seat up to 120 guests or 150 standing. Self contained accommodation for 44 people is onsite and overnight campsites and glamping is also available.

Rustic Weekender south coast
Rustic weddings at The Driftwood Shed. Image: Olguin Photography

Bewong River Retreat is a popular rustic venue that offers affordable DIY & BYO packages.  The venue sleeps 38 in bungalows with optional glamping and accommodates weddings of up to 130 guests. Other weekender wedding venues with a rustic vibe include Paperbark Camp, Willow Farm and The Driftwood Shed.

Waterfront Venues

The South Coast has some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world and there are a couple of rustic wedding venues within a barefoot toe of the waters edge. There’s also a great collection of river and lakefront properties that offer beautiful rustic spaces with a waterfront backdrop for your wedding ceremony and reception. 

Many of the riverfront properties that offer rustic spaces for weddings are in the Nowra and Terara area on the Shoalhaven River. The Driftwood Shed combines the old with the new offering weddings for up to 100 guests in a marquee situated next to a 100 year old shed filled with rustic wares. Terara Riverside Gardens is a similar option with 5 acres of gardens and its own jetty. Wedding ceremonies are held on the river’s edge and there’s a permanent oversized LOVE letter sign which makes for great photo opportunities.

Rustic Wedding Venue Terara
The love sign at Terara Riverside Gardens. Image: The Paper Fox

Beachfront properties include the affordable and underrated Culburra Beach Surf Club. This blank canvas space is easily styled to suit most palettes, is fully DIY & BYO and offers 180 degree ocean views. You can get married on the white pearl sand here and have your photos at the beach.

Jervis Bay venues Worrowing and Paperbark Camp are not a far walk from the beach, and neither is Mimosa Wines on the far South Coast. A sandy lakefront alternative for a rustic waterfront wedding is the festive Bawley Bush Retreat which has all the feels of an oceanfront venue. 

Barns & Sheds

There’s a huge range of rustic barns and sheds on the South Coast where you can have your wedding ceremony and reception. Here’s some of the most popular options but there’s several more on our complete list of Rustic South Coast Wedding Venues.

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Two rustic style wineries offer all-in-one wedding packages on the South Coast. One is Crooked River Wines on the rich volcanic soil of the Gerringong hinterland. The venue is a picturesque 2 hour drive from Sydney, that rewards with stunning views across its vineyard and neighbouring farming land to the horizon where blue sky meets the Southern Ocean.

The 2nd rustic venue is Mimosa Wines on the Sapphire Coast. This 200 acre beachfront property is surrounded by national parklands. The onsite restaurant was designed by architect Daryl Jackson and sits above the vines with gorgeous views of the surrounding nature. Bifold glass doors open to an expansive deck that features raw wood pylons and recycled timber furnishings. It’s not hard to visualise your wedding at this beautiful venue.

Bush Venues

Rustic bush wedding venue south coast
The gorgeous Mimosa Wines with 250 acres of forest. Image: Cloudface Wedding Photography 

In addition to the bush-surrounded Mimosa Wines on the far South Coast, there’s also a self-contained weekender for the entire guest list in the quaint holiday location of Tathra. At the heart of Kianinny Cottages is a freshwater lake on which you can use the provided kayaks, and a pier that serves as one of the property’s wedding ceremony locations. On it’s 100 acres are two outdoor, fully covered event spaces that cater for up to 150 guests and sufficient self-contained cottages to sleep all 150. The property is particularly child friendly with a flying fox, archery, mini putt and a swimming pool onsite. Pre and post wedding casual events can be held in the event spaces and BBQ and kitchen facilities are available to guests. Keep an eye out for the goannas that reside near the lake.

Affordable Venues

The other great thing about Kianinny Bush Cottages is that weddings here are budget friendly. The venue has changed owners several times in the past few years, but is consistently well maintained and offers all inclusive packages for well under $100/head.

Other affordable venues include Bewong River Retreat, Bawley Bush Retreat, Terara Park Farm, Nowra-Culburra SLSC and an unique option - The Harvest Bar in Milton. This cute little brick clad bar also has a mobile drinks van at your disposal which can be utilised for pre and post wedding events at accommodation nearby. 

Off-The-Beaten Track

If you’re looking for a rustic wedding venue that’s off the well trodden path, Wildwood at Kangaroo Valley could be of interest to you. The property caters for up to 90 guests in total with space outside for a festival style wedding under the stars. The indoor reception space has a maximum capacity of 60.

Rustic wedding venue south coast nsw
The ceremony deck at Wildwood Kangaroo Valley

Wildwood has a wonderful ceremony platform overlooking acres of pristine Australian rainforest and couples often come here to elope due the complete privacy and quiet ambience of the location. Bawley Bush Retreat is another great option for a wedding location that’s off the beaten track.

Eco-Friendly Venues

Paperbark Camp in Jervis Bay offers secluded, onsite wedding ceremonies in the bush and treetop wedding receptions for up to 100 guests in the onsite eco-friendly restaurant - The Gunyah. The venue is usually promoted as a romantic escape for couples and offers accommodation for up to 38 guests in luxury safari tents. If you want to have your wedding here, you’ll need to book all the safari tents. You can also have your wedding ceremony at the nearby beach.

The Gunyah Rustic Wedding Venue
The Gunyah at Paperbark Camp. Image: Red Berry Photography

Other eco-friendly wedding venues with a rustic vibe are Wildwood at Kangaroo Valley and Worrowing in Jervis Bay. Worrowing is an historic 250 acre exclusive-use property with onsite accommodation that includes boat sheds, wilderness huts and farm cottages. You can have your wedding ceremony by the dam in the middle of the property and in the late afternoon you’ll find yourself sharing this space with the local wallabies. There’s plenty of space for outdoor wedding receptions which offer the benefit of the region’s famous sunsets and the venue has you covered for indoor spaces with the hay shed suitable for ceremonies, and light filled Hereford Shed for receptions.

Wilderness wedding venue south coast
The Boat Sheds at Worrowing

The South Coast of NSW has a wonderful selection of rustic wedding venues that all offer something a little bit different. Explore the complete list here. 

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Cover Image: Alex Jackson 

Other venues in this series...

Rustic Wedding Venues in the Hunter Valley 

Gone, but not forgotten

Weddings are one of the biggest days of your life, and probably one that you’ve imagined since you were a kid. When you pictured your wedding day in your mind, you always expected that certain people would be there at your side, smiling and laughing with you, and making happy memories. 

It may sadly be the case, though, that that special person is not able to be there in person on your wedding day because they have passed away. Instead, they’ll be there in spirit and if you want to make their inclusion in your wedding all the more special you can pay tribute to them throughout the day. 

Knowing how to include them, however, can be a little tricky! You don’t want to make the day feel sad, or take away from any of the happy memories you’ll be making. So - how do you pay tribute to them in a way that has meaning, but also feels appropriate for such a joyous occasion?

Passed away
Grandma's hanky and pearls. Image: Bec Essery Weddings

How to include loved ones who have passed in your wedding day 

One of the first things to ask yourself is whether you’d like to create a private moment just for yourself to remember and celebrate with them, or whether you would like to make a public celebration in their memory, that your bridal party and guests can share in. If the person was well known to your guests and their absence will be felt strongly, it could be a lovely touch to add their presence in a more public way, which not only celebrates and honours them, but encourages your guests to share that memory and celebration with you.

Here are some suggestions on how to include a loved one who has passed in your wedding day celebrations.

Ceremony Ideas

  • A locket can be a long-lasting token that you can keep with you even after the wedding finishes. Lockets allow you to carry photos of your loved ones close to your heart. Grooms can thread this onto a pin, and pin this inside their suit jacket. Brides can attach this to their bouquet as a charm, and feel that they are walking down the aisle with the support of their loved one, who walks alongside them.

    family members white wedding photographers
    Heirloom jewels can be incorporated into your wedding day. Image: White Wedding Photographers

  • If your loved one had an accessory or outfit that you always associated with them, this could be incorporated into your wedding day attire. It could be a vintage hair comb to pin in your hair, Mum’s pearl bracelet on your wrist, or you could have an old wedding dress recut to a more modern shape. It could be Dad’s original wedding suit tailored to suit your own measurements, or using Grandpa’s Sunday-best tie.

  • If you love the idea of using one of your loved ones’ outfits to include them in your special day, but the style of the garments don’t really match the style of your wedding, consider using leftover material in a clever and more discreet way. A piece of lace from your grandmother’s wedding dress could be used to wrap the bouquet stems. Dad’s favourite checked shirt could be used to line the inside of your suit jacket. 

  • Did your loved one use handkerchiefs? Having a handkerchief embroidered with a special phrase or a saying that they were known for and tucking it close to your heart is a lovely way to feel close to them on your wedding day. Adding a spritz of their perfume or cologne onto it will make you feel they aren’t so far away, every time you breathe it in.

    loved one florals
    Favourite florals are a great way to give the nod to loved ones

  • Did your loved one have a favourite flower, or were they an avid gardener? It could be particularly meaningful to you to add a rose from Grandad’s garden to your bouquet, or use a sprig of lavender for the groomsmen’s boutonniere, in honour of a friend who liked the fragrance so much.

  • It can be a very touching gesture to set aside a seat for your loved one at your wedding ceremony, out of respect of where they would be seated if they were there in person. You can place a framed photograph of them on the seat, or a card with their name and a short message about why the seat has been saved.

  • Consider setting aside room for a small table where you can place a framed photograph and a candle, which will burn for the duration of the ceremony all the way until the end of the reception. 

Reception Ideas

  • After the ceremony while you and your partner are taking photographs, it’s often a nice touch to have a cocktail hour for your guests. Why not add a signature drink to the drinks service which is a nod to your loved one? On arrival to the reception, you could ask guests to have a sherry in Nan’s honour, or serve Dad’s favourite whiskey. If you wanted to create your own signature cocktail, you could name it in honour of your loved one, either in a subtle way, with a nod to something they loved, or in a more overt way, using their name.

  • If your loved one was a keen baker you could use one of their recipes as part of the meal service (with the help of your caterers or venue). Perhaps you could serve Nonna’s biscotti with tea and coffee at the end of the night. Or even choose something they would have loved as one of your choices – you might know that your friend would have loved any dessert with chocolate in it, for example.

  • Were they always at you to learn something? Maybe Mum always teased you about your two left feet, so you could get a wedding dance lesson as a private joke between the two of you. Maybe your auntie always complimented your natural curly hair, so you could leave your curls out, as she would have loved to have seen it that way. Maybe your brother was always a natural public speaker, so you could put extra effort into delivering the perfect speech.

    The Vintage Stylus AustraliaIncorporate your loved ones' favourite music in your wedding day

  • Was there a favourite book or song that your loved one had? You could do your wedding dance to a song from their favourite band, or use a tune that had special meaning to you both. If they had a favourite book, could you include a quote from their favourite author in one of the ceremony readings or reception speeches.

  • Was there somewhere they always wanted to go? Maybe your uncle always talked about finally going to Europe, or making a trip back to their birthplace. This could be wonderful inspiration for your honeymoon destination, and would allow you to tick off something that was on their bucket list.

  • Instead of a wedding favour for each of your guests, you may like to do something charitable in honour of your loved one. Consider making a donation per person to a charity you hold close to your heart, instead of giving out bomboniere. This could be a cause that they held dear, or it could be a charity connected to the way they passed if this was due to illness. This can be a very practical way to honour a loved one’s memory, as instead of spending money on a gift which may not be wanted or needed by your guests, it instead can make a big difference to a charity who will gratefully receive your donation, and put it to good use.

  • An easy way to add a nod to a departed friend or family member is to raise a glass to their memory, during the champagne toasts and speeches. If you feel that you can handle the emotions, this could be a really poignant time to speak freely about your memory of that person, and what you think they would be thinking as they watch down on you today.

When your loved one is a pet

Pet Loved Ones Folk and Follow
Image: Folk + Follow 

We haven’t forgotten about your beloved pets – the death of a pet can be no less heartbreaking and there are ways you can include pets who have passed away in your wedding day too.

  • In lieu of wedding favours, make a donation to an animal charity in your pet’s name. You can add a card to each place setting advising that instead of receiving a bomboniere, that an animal shelter or charity has received a donation in honour of your pet.

  • If your pet had a collar with an identity tag, you can thread the tag onto a safety pin and pin it inside the groom’s suit, or add this to the bride’s bouquet as a trinket.

  • Set aside room for a small table at your reception with a photo of your pet and a burning candle. If you wanted to make a positive contribution, add a small collection box, or even your pet’s water dish, with a note advising that you will be accepting guest donations to your favourite animal charity.

It can be very upsetting to know that someone who should be there on your wedding day, will not be. But by incorporating some of these small personal touches into your ceremony and reception, it may make it feel like your loved ones’ memories are still at the top of your mind. They may not be able to be with you in body, but their memory will be in your heart as you make that special trip down the aisle.

White Magnolia Article

This article was written by wedding planner Nicky Oliver from White Magnolia Events.  Cover Image: Olguin Photography


New Wedding Traditions

In no other life event have traditions endured so stubbornly as they have with weddings. Brides are still being given away. Dowry’s remain a thing. There’s the aisle, the vows, the rings, the first dance, the Dad dance and the list goes on. Some of these moments you wouldn’t give up for a modern quid. But where’s the shiny new traditions? The italic-fonted neon sign version of the ceremonial to-do’s?

In this article, 4 industry professionals share how their couples are creating their own wedding traditions. They describe how modern couples are striving for a more relaxed wedding day filled with fun and laughter. This is often being achieved through ceremonial ideas that are more inclusive of wedding guests. 

There is also a movement among modern couples to inject more meaning into their wedding ceremony, and the ideas shared by wedding professionals in this article offer great inspiration for couples who wish to create their own traditions in this regard. Here’s some of the new ways that couples are formally expressing the meaning of their relationship...

Walking up the Aisle

For some couples, it is one of the biggest moments of their life. Walking up the aisle to the person you’ll share your life with, in front of all your family and friends is something you won’t forget. And yet that moment is but a mere minute of your future together. 

A big fan of inclusive weddings, Hobart celebrant Kath Tilly believes it adds to the day when guests play an active role in the ceremony. “One of my favourite ways to include guests at the start of the wedding ceremony is to surprise them with a ‘communal bouquet’.” 

New Wedding Tradition
A communal bouquet tied together with lace

Kath explains, “when guests arrive, they are greeted with a basket of flowers and invited to each take one. Guests are then creating the aisle way as the music starts and the couple/bride walks down the aisle collecting a flower from each of the guests as they go. Once the couple/bride arrives at the altar, the colourful bouquet made with many well wishes from their loved ones is tied with a keepsake ribbon.”

Not everyone wants to walk up the aisle however. And many couples these days elect to do away with this tradition, particularly if they don’t want to be ‘given away’. On this topic, Sydney celebrant Amy Watson shared with us “sometimes it's not only what you include in your ceremony that makes it unique, it's what you leave out and there are many old traditions that just don't resonate anymore with modern couples.” 

First Look
First Look by Lulu & Lime 

We’ve seen a growing movement recently, with more and more couples walking themselves down the aisle, either the Bride alone, or together as a couple. This is sometimes preceded by a ‘first look’ prior to the wedding ceremony. At a first look, a couple gets to see each other for the first time in a more intimate setting away from the eyes of all the guests.  It’s a great opportunity to share a special moment together before the big event, and couples often stroll hand in hand into their wedding ceremony from there. It’s worth considering the value of first look photos too - they can be highly emotive and are a wonderful reminder afterwards of the feelings that were shared together in that moment.

Adelaide photographer Bridget Quain is a big fan of the role parents are playing at weddings these days. “As the world moves towards greater equality for women, I love the role reversal I now see at Weddings.  Dad traditionally walks the Bride down the aisle, but in some cases Mum will join.  In other examples the father has maintained the walk down the aisle, but Mum has given the opening speech at the reception.

New Wedding Traditions
Mums love signing the marriage documentation. Image: Bridget Quain

Gone are the days when the focus was on the ‘Father of the Bride’ with a string of duties to deliver and Mum silently in the wings.  These are now shared roles between parents (together or divorced) in a sign of unity.  I especially love it,” says Bridget, “when the Mum’s are joint witnesses and you can see their happiness spilling over as they sign the certificate.  I think this is a simple way that couples are modernising their celebration to align with social expectations and I look forward to seeing more of it!!”

The Order of Service

Amy Watson loves seeing couples put their own spin on tradition and incorporate elements into their ceremony that reflect their personalities. “Some of my favourites are a signature drink on arrival, or shot/toast as the couple are introduced as newlyweds. This always goes down a treat with guests and is often a twist on a culturally significant tradition. 

I love seeing couples use the tired old 'order of service' as a way of injecting some fun. It could contain funny bios or a roasting of the wedding party, instructions for a treasure hunt or group sing session or some cute pics of the couple. It can also be used as a way of communicating your values as a couple. Perhaps you have donated to a worthy cause instead of buying your guests a gift, a new tradition I absolutely adore and hope to see more of.”

Mum and Dad aisle
Both parents are gracing the aisle these days

The Exchange (of vows & other things)

Aside from the legalities which you are required to say during your wedding ceremony, you can exchange whatever other words and things that you like. “The tradition of exchanging vows,” says Amy, “has also been turned on its head (in a good way). More couples are now writing personal vows and some even taking it further by exchanging 'ninja vows'. What the?! I hear you say.

Ninja vows are simply vows that you write for each other rather than for yourself. When the time comes you exchange cards and are forced to read all those lovely promises your partner has written for you and the result is generally a whole lot of fun and your guests left in stitches. You can do the same thing with The Asking which is traditionally the part where you say I Do.

My couples often ask their guests to do their own vows, maybe a vow of support for the couple, or a promise to commit to the party that's about to follow. The more you include your guests and make them feel part of the whole experience, the more memorable the experience will be for everyone.”

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to exchange rings if you don’t want to. Amy suggests that you can exchange something else or nothing at all.  Incidentally, you don't have to carry flowers either if it's not your thing.

Wedding shots
Wedding shots - Bridget Quain Photography

The Witnesses

Penelope from Celebrations by Penelope encourages couples to think laterally when choosing their witnesses. “People get stuck on their witnesses being from their wedding party. A witness just needs to be over 18 and not under the influence! Pick your mums, your granny or your best mate. Share the wedding love around and give the honour to someone that you want to give a unique job or task to.”

Another option that’s inclusive and fun for guests is to randomise the signing. “More people are doing a ‘lucky dip’ of sorts where they pick their witness name out of a hat/bag. Sometimes they put in 20 or so names of people they might like to pick or sometimes the whole guest list. But at the end of a ceremony to say, ‘And the winner is...come join us at the signing table’ creates so much excitement and just a little extra flair to the day.”

Use these ideas as inspiration to create your own unique wedding traditions. You can personalise virtually every element of your wedding ceremony to create special moments throughout that are filled with meaning to you both. To amp up the fun, incorporate inclusive elements that your guests can get involved with. And remember, if it doesn't feel right for you, kick that tradition to the curb and create your own!

Cover image: Elsa Campbell Photography 


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