Guide to Luxury Weddings in the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best luxury wedding destinations. From the region’s centre of Pokolbin, spans a wonderful selection of places to stay and things to do for an extended celebration with your closest family and friends.

Most well-known for its world-class wineries, the Hunter Valley is also an international destination for popular music concerts and festivals. With a year-round calendar of events and it’s close proximity to Sydney & Newcastle, the region sustains a wonderful selection of amenities and services. You’ll find plenty of premium venues, award winning restaurants, luxurious accommodation and spa facilities in the area. 

If you want to celebrate your special day in the fresh country air, enjoying 5 star views with premium cheese & wines and indulging in luxurious experiences from spa treatments to hot air ballooning, the Hunter Valley is the perfect wedding destination for you!

So where to get started planning your wedding? Below is a selection of top quality wedding vendors that service the Hunter Valley area. From luxury wedding venues to high-end photographers and stylists - here’s everything you need to create your dream destination wedding in Australia’s most picturesque wine region.

Luxury Wedding Venues in the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley has a great range of 5 star resorts, wineries and hotels that offer premium wedding packages. One to consider is the award-winning Château Élan. With 3 ceremony and 3 reception venues to choose from, plus luxury accommodation, a full-service spa and a premium golf club, it’s one of Australia’s finest resorts.

Château Élan

Luxury wedding in the Hunter Valley

Luxe setting, great food and indulgent services. No matter if it’s a micro-wedding or a nuptial for hundreds of people, Château Élan’s in-house wedding team works closely with Brides, Grooms & planners to create events of excellence. Chefs are at your disposal to discuss any culinary requirements, on-site salon and spa therapists are there to assist with all hair and make-up needs, and the wedding coordinators make it all a flawless process.

Be it floral arrangements, a wedding rehearsal, beverage packages or theming, all the details are considered, and each venue is unique. Ceremonies can be held in the Carriage House - a unique sandstone chapel, on the Movie Lawn or at the Fairway Rotunda, while receptions can take place in one of two rooms or in a marquee on the expansive lawns.

There’s plenty of wide open space at Château Élan, so you can arrive at your wedding by helicopter. Share relaxed moments with your family and friends while enjoying local world-class  wines in one of the spa’s two Jacuzzi’s or relax in your luxury accommodation or at the wine bar.

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Arcadian Retreat

luxury wedding hunter valley Arcadian Retreat is a picturesque country getaway ideal for intimate weddings of between 40 and 60 guests. The entire 110 acres is exclusively yours for your wedding day and there are 5 self contained cottages that can sleep up to 16 guests.

A true country oasis, the property boasts breathtaking views of your own private valley, 4 bush tracks, a hidden dam, two friendly cows, an outdoor fire pit and free range chooks that deliver fresh eggs daily for breakfast.

Couples who get married at Arcadian Retreat love the privacy and secluded valley views from each cottage. There’s a swimming pool to cool off in and plenty of stargazing opportunities while you enjoy stargazing next to the fire.

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Cypress Lakes

luxury resort hunter valley
Image: Curly Tree Photography

A breathtaking backdrop, superb facilities and impeccable hospitality awaits you at Cypress Lakes Resort. Surrounded by lush, native hinterland, sprawling vineyards and manicured golf greens, the resort blends outstanding ceremony and reception venues with beautifully appointed onsite accommodation. Premier leisure facilities include an 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, 3 pools and restaurant and bar. 

Cypress Lakes caters for weddings from 2 - 800 guests, with indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception spaces. The grounds offer spectacular photo settings, ‘just married’ golf buggies, excellent menus and luxury villa accommodation. There’s a dedicated wedding team who will also organise pre-wedding events for you including an engagement party, indulgent high-tea, pampering in the day spa, a traditional day on the green or bachelor & bachelorette parties.

The wedding packages at Cypress Lakes are all-inclusive and you also receive a complimentary night of accommodation on your first anniversary plus a voucher towards your honeymoon when you book. Friday and Sunday weddings come with added value inclusions. 

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Estate Tuscany

luxury estate hunter valley Located at the foothills of the Broken back ranges, Estate Tuscany is a luxurious, boutique wedding venue with uninterrupted vineyard and mountain views. Set on 26 acres of beautiful countryside, and with a chef’s hat in 2020, this Tuscan inspired estate offers a truly spectacular wedding experience.

You can have a garden wedding ceremony overlooking the magnificent views or in wet weather head under the stunning awnings or into one of the indoor spaces. Wedding receptions for up to 200 guests can be held in The Mill - the on-site fine dining restaurant or catered under the stars in the Estate’s romantic courtyard.

With 38 rooms at the property, you can enjoy exclusive use of the grounds with your wedding guests. The cafe-style Brokenback Bar is the ideal place to relax with family and friends while sampling local Hunter Valley wines and beer. 

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For more luxury venue options, get our complete list of 64 Hunter Valley Wedding Venues.

Luxury Wedding Stylists in the Hunter Valley

Anna Wang

luxury wedding stylingImage: Kevin Lue Photography 

One of Australia’s leading ethereal wedding stylists who travels to the Hunter Valley from Sydney. Anna’s work includes extravagant florals & ceiling installations, candlelit spaces, lush centrepieces and guaranteed wow factor.

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Honey Lane

Luxury wedding stylistSpecialists in ‘blank canvas’ and private estate weddings, Honey Lane provide full service wedding planning, styling and design. Lara & her team design bespoke events working with you to produce wedding journeys that are hallmarks of unabashed joy.

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Ashdown and Bee

luxury wedding stylist hunter valley
mage: Scott Surplice 

Mel designs & styles bespoke weddings, engagements and proposals in Sydney & surrounds including the Hunter Valley. Simon creates handcrafted signs and murals. Together they have all the props you’ll need + a classic American Cadillac you can hire too.

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Hunter Events

luxury wedding installation hunter valley

Based locally in the Hunter Valley, Louise will assist your wedding plans from start to finish sourcing and arranging as much or as little as you require. From intimate family gatherings to lavish black-tie affairs, Hunter Events are your go-to experts for local wedding knowledge.

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Luxury Wedding Photographers in the Hunter Valley

Within 2 hours drive of the Hunter Valley live several of Australia’s best wedding photographers. And with gorgeous sunsets, spectacular scenery and stylish venues on offer, they absolutely love accepting weddings in the Hunter region! Here’s a couple of our favourite high end photographers. 

Olguin Photography

luxury wedding photographer hunter valleyFun, innovative and great communicators are some of the endorsements that husband and wife team Alex and Cassie have received from peers in the wedding industry. They’ve also been nominated a rising star by Rangefinder Mag - which is a pretty big deal in the wedding photography world. Alex will capture the raw emotion and feelings on your wedding day focusing on the profound, unplanned and natural interactions. 

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James Day

Luxury wedding photography

James is a wonderful down-to-earth human being who takes the type of highly emotive images that go viral on social media. He started his career shooting marquee style weddings on private country properties and his passion for these relaxed style weddings hasn’t wanned. If you are a couple who are madly in love, and who have a heart for adventure, it’s very likely James will be excited to hear your story.

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Fox & Kin

luxury same sex weddings hunter valley

Nicola (you can call her Nic) has a way with words. “I’m here for the real shit,” she says. “The raw stuff, the double-chinned laughter and the happy tears. I want to capture not only what your wedding day looked like, but what it felt like.” Nic thrives on human connection and intimacy and her images show it. Which is probably why she’s been named Capture Magazine’s Top Emerging Wedding Photographer of 2020. The accolades don’t get much bigger.

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Jack Henry

luxury wedding photos hunter valley

Jack is an international wedding photographer with an impressive portfolio of fashion photography. He has shot campaigns for well-known wedding brands including One Day Bridal, Rue De Seine and Karen Willis Holmes and his work is regularly featured in magazines such as Hello May. Jack’s clients love his warmth, attention to detail, his ‘fly on the wall’ approach and his relaxed nature which many point to making them feel comfortable on their wedding day.

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Custom Wedding Couture

One of the other exciting items on your wedding to-do list is likely to be finding your perfect wedding gown or suit. At Wedlockers, we have a wonderful range of wedding gown designers based all around Australia from the most noted names in the industry to up and coming labels. You can use our style filters to view suits & gowns and find designers who have a creative aesthetic you love. 

The Hunter Valley is a wonderful destination to celebrate your wedding with family and friends in style. The beautiful landscape makes an incredible backdrop for your special day and offers the finest in services for total luxury during your stay. 

If you’d like help finding other suitable suppliers to make your luxury wedding in the Hunter Valley come true, please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at We’re always delighted to help.

12 Wedding Ceremony ideas for introverts

Weddings can be a bit overwhelming for lots of people, but especially introverts, as it combines some of their least favourite things: being the centre of attention, getting their photo taken repeatedly, engaging in small talk and having minimal alone time.

A lot of modern wedding traditions are built for extroverts: the first dance, photo shoots and personalised hashtags all serve the purpose of making you the star of the day. That works for some, but not for everyone.

There are a lot of introverts and more private people out there who don’t feel comfortable with this level of attention—but that doesn't mean that they can’t have the most amazing wedding day.

If you're an introverted, shy or sensitive person, that gives you extra reason not to conform to standard wedding traditions. You don’t have to relent to family pressure or conform to the latest wedding trends either. Like all wedding planning, you have the power to make your wedding ceremony work for you. It’s wonderful to do things your own way, on your own terms. 

Here’s 12 wedding ceremony tips for introverts...

Wedding Ceremony Ideas for Introverts
Relief after the wedding ceremony - Matt Ashton Photography

1. Choose the right Celebrant

There’s a huge choice of wedding celebrants in Australia and they all bring a unique personality to your wedding. Some celebrants are a bundle of energy and chat a lot. Others are quite the entertainers. Some are more renowned for their sensitive and caring natures. When you meet celebrants in the lead up to your wedding, you'll want to assess if their personality is the right fit for you. 

Your perfect celebrant will be sensitive to your needs from your very first meeting. They will have the ability to see and meet you where you are at and help you feel comfortable throughout the wedding process.

A good celebrant will be able to pick up from your initial interactions if you are more on the introverted side of the scale and be able to adapt their communication style. They'll may also offer you a quick, no fuss ceremony to limit the amount of time you are standing in front of your guests.

By the time your wedding ceremony rolls around, you will have built a strong and trusting relationship with your celebrant that will calm your nerves & help you enjoy yourself on your wedding day.

View celebrants near you who offer quick/no fuss wedding ceremonies.

2. Consider having a first Look

This quiet moment before the wedding ceremony allows you to get out the jitters and nerves so you feel and look relaxed and comfortable for the rest of the day. It can also slow everything down and help avoid a frenzy.

Give yourself an hour between getting ready and your wedding ceremony to meet your fiance for a secret first look. With no other eyes on the two of you, you’ll be free to have this special moment together out of the spotlight. 

This is also a wonderful opportunity to capture intimate and emotive photos of a moment that you will cherish forever. From the first look, you could even walk to the ceremony and up the aisle together. 

3. Pre-ceremony meditation

Meditation is great to help ease the nerves before your wedding ceremony. You can either play a guided meditation some time during your morning, or your celebrant may be able to offer this service. 

Julie Muir, who services the Newcastle & Hunter Valley in NSW is one such celebrant who can run proceedings for you. She will arrive early and guide a meditation for both you and your wedding party, before you walk down the aisle. Julie believes it’s a great way to ground and bring you back into the moment.

Wedding Celebrant for Introverts
Pre-ceremony meditation by Julie Muir - Celebrant. Image: Jack Chauvel Photography

4. Photo Policy

An unplugged ceremony can help you to avoid the paparazzi feel that often accompanies the wedding ceremony. Your wedding photographer will love this too as they’ll have fewer heads, bodies and cameras to navigate around when getting the perfect shots of your ceremony. 

You can hire a sign or have a personalised one made for you as part of your wedding ceremony styling. You can also ask your wedding celebrant to announce that you’re having an unplugged ceremony before the formalities begin.

If privacy is important to you, it is perfectly acceptable to ask guests not to post any photos of your wedding to social media.

5. Wedding Party Size

If you are shy or introverted, consider minimising your number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. You may think a large wedding party means more people for your guests to focus on during your wedding ceremony, but in fact, a larger bridal party can create a bigger sense of occasion and possibly more fuss & things to manage.

The fewer bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, means the getting-ready part of your day will be quieter and less hectic. Keeping the time before the ceremony calm and not frantic, will help you remain present, soak up the moment and enjoy this special time.  

6. Ceremony Rehearsal

Rehearsals are all about practising choreography, timing and positioning. Having one can make you feel more in control on the day and ease your anxiety come ‘show-time’.  Rehearsals can also be a welcome addition to your ceremony preparations and provide an intimate moment to enjoy with your partner.  

If you feel a ceremony rehearsal is just another thing on your to do list - don’t have one. There’s no rules here, what’s right is what feels right for you.

7. Ceremony Positioning

If the idea of standing up in front of friends and family for the wedding ceremony makes you feel uncomfortable, rest assured your celebrant will take some of the heat off you. They’re there to engage and entertain the guests.

You might be surprised to hear, you can get away with minimal speaking during your ceremony. The only thing you need to say are the legal vows. If you don’t feel comfortable facing your guests, you can face each other and pretend it’s just the two of you up there. If you want to take it down a notch further, you could even consider sitting during the ceremony.

8. The Personalised Vows

If the idea of exchanging vows makes you break out in a cold sweat, your celebrant will have plenty of strategies to coach you through it including helping you write your vows and practicing them out loud.  But if you are dead-set that you don’t want to do personalised vows, that’s fine too. Your celebrant can ask you vow questions instead, where a simple ‘I do’ or ‘I will” is all you have to say. Or you can skip that part completely and you can write a private letter to your partner instead.   

9. Include Pets

Ceremony ideas for introverts
Sharing the spotlight with your furry friend takes some of the heat off you. Image: Popcorn Photography

If nothing makes you feel more comfortable than having your favourite furry friend nearby, then consider including your pet pooch in the ceremony or as a wedding guest.

There are pet minding services that specifically cater for weddings, where your minder will take responsibility for your pet at some point during or after your wedding ceremony so that you can mingle with guests or continue with your day without having to worry about your furry loved one.

Animals are a great way to distract attention from yourself on your wedding day.  If you’re an animal lover you could even consider hiring a llama or two.  They make a gorgeous addition to your wedding photos.

10. Congratulations Post-ceremony

After your wedding ceremony your guests will want to congratulate you. Consider allocating a short time for this part of the day if you think it might be taxing for you. If it’s all too much, ask your photographer to take a group photo and that will get you moving swiftly on to the photo shoot with just your bridal party so you can avoid having to receive congratulations from every single one of your wedding guests.

11. Recharge Time

After your wedding ceremony and congratulations from guests, factor some recharge time into your schedule. Identify a quiet and secluded space that you can retreat to so you can have a break before the next item on the agenda. Even a few minutes alone time with your partner can do a world of good and help you reset. And what better time to enjoy a private and intimate moment with your brand new spouse.

12. Cut the Guest List

Small weddings are a growing trend in Australia. And a small guest list can help you feel more comfortable and less under the spotlight. Smaller numbers also add to that low-key yet intimate feel that will put you and your partner at ease.

Lastly, try to keep at the forefront of your mind that the eyes on you are from those that love you the most. Being the focus of everyone’s attention can be a bit intimidating, but remember, the ‘audience’ loves you and wants only the best for you.

And if your head is still spinning, you could always consider eloping !!

This article was written by Wedlockers vendor - Julie Muir Celebrant.  Cover image by Popcorn Photography.

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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 

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