How to Elope in Australia

Eloping in Australia is easy and fun!  There’s very few mandatory tasks that are required to make the wedding legal and plenty of stunning locations and options to choose from to celebrate in your own special way.

From micro weddings to secret weddings and elopements, Australia has all the options you could ever need to plan precisely the kind of small wedding you want.  And without the worry of having to pay for a hundred extra heads, you’re free to create the wedding you deserve.  

Here’s how to make an elopement in Australia everything you hope it will be... 

Decide what’s important!

Why are you eloping? It may be to skip the fuss of a huge wedding ceremony and perhaps you’re keen to keep costs down. But there’s also a vision you want to achieve that involves a more intimate audience.  

Elopement Guide Australia
Plan an elopement that fits with who you both are. Image: Cavanagh Photography

Talk to your partner about what you both value and what getting married means to you.  Think about what you’re going to say with your wedding and what it says about you. Then find people who share your values to help you bring your wedding vision to life.

Find a celebrant

To put it simply, the celebrant is the most important person at your wedding aside from you and your future spouse. All Australian weddings need at least five people present: the people getting married, two witnesses and a celebrant. Your witnesses can include your photographer, videographer or anyone else you invite.  However, it’s the celebrant who sets the tone of your wedding ceremony and joins you together in marriage.  

Choosing the right celebrant is crucial to having a meaningful celebration that resonates with everything you believe in together.  Think about who they might be. Fun? Easy going? Speak another language? Warm hearted?  LGBTI friendly?  Willing to travel?  

Find Elopement Celebrants

When you elope, there's no crowd of guests to rely on for atmosphere at your ceremony. For this reason, it's important to choose an experienced elopement celebrant as they know how to create an intimate atmosphere with just a handful of guests present. Find a celebrant from this list of Australia’s most recommended elopement celebrants.

Choose your invitees

Yes, you might have chosen an elopement so that you don’t have to worry about who gets invited quite as much, but you still need two official witnesses. If you haven’t already decided who to bring with you, consider what’s most important to you when choosing who needs to be at the wedding. 

There are no real hard and fast rules for who to invite or how many to invite. Generally, a guest list of under 8 is considered an elopement, under 20 is a micro wedding and 40 or under is a small wedding.

Any of your wedding vendors, with the exception of your celebrant, can act as a witness to your wedding. 

Book a photographer

Your elopement will be one of the biggest moments of your life, so you’ll want to make sure all the wonderful feelings & moments that you experience on the day are captured beautifully. 

Elopement in Australia
Australian elopement captured by Cavanagh Photography

Australia has a huge range of amazing wedding photographers, including some who have been named amongst the world’s best by leading international publications. You may be surprised by how affordable these elopement photographers are. 

Another option to consider is the addition of a wedding videographer to capture your special day.  They can create a short highlights reel that you can publish and share online.  You can even have the ceremony live streamed for family and friends to watch as it all happens.  Video packages range from simply filming your wedding ceremony to the addition of pre & post wedding footage and drone imagery - which is definitely something to consider if you’re having a destination wedding in one of Australia’s landmark locations.

Tell those who need to know

You’ll probably want to tell your family and closest friends about your wedding.  Think about when, where and how you will share this information.  Will you tell them before, during or after the big day?  

How to elope in Australia
Sydney Harbour elopement captured by Cavanagh Photography

Whoever you tell, tell them directly!  Hearing the news directly from you will help them feel included in your big moment.  They may be curious as to why you are choosing or chose to elope.  Have an explanation you’re comfortable with at the ready and be prepared that some people may require time to digest the news.  If this happens stay positive and be understanding.  

Decide on a budget

Weddings are pricey, even small ones. To give you an estimate of how much your Australian elopement will cost, here’s a rough guide on pricing. 

How much does an Australian Elopement cost?

The average cost of an elopement in Australia is between $8,000 - $15,000. This includes the following expenses:

  • Ceremony Venue Hire: $0 - $5,000 
  • Wedding Celebrant: $650 - $1,800
  • Wedding Photographer: $600 - $5,000
  • Flowers: $300 - $1,200
  • Wedding Videographer: $600 - $5,000
  • Champagne & Nibbles: $150 - $400
  • Hair & Makeup: $120 - $300
  • Planner &/or Stylist: $400 - $3,000

On top of these costs you’ll need to budget for outfits for both of you, the rings, the reception venue or restaurant for celebrating after your ceremony, travel costs and accommodation. Most couples who elope in Australia choose one or two items from this list to ‘splurge’ on, and look to save on the budget in other areas. Your wedding is a very special moment in your life. So think about what you want the most from your special day and be generous to yourself in those areas. 

Elopement Location in Australia
Australia has many beautiful places to elope. Image: Aleksandar Jason Weddings

Choose a location

If you haven’t chosen your wedding location yet, you can start with these 24 amazing places to elope in Australia. Once you’ve decided on a region, you’ll want to look for wedding venues that offer the kind of aesthetic you have in mind. We have a huge range of elopement venues right here on Wedlockers. Simply filter by ceremony spaces, views, location etc to see what each elopement venue has to offer.

Elopement Venue Location Australia
Australia has plenty of small wedding venues for an intimate elopement

Check on legalities

The legal requirements to get married in Australia generally include: not already being married, not be marrying a person who is immediately related to you, be at least 18 years old, understand what marriage means and freely agree to be married, use the specific words required during your wedding ceremony as directed by your celebrant, submit a notice of intended marriage via your celebrant between 1 to 18 months before your wedding and be married by an authorised marriage celebrant.

You’ll need to provide proof of identification and place of birth, as well as a divorce if there have been previous marriages. Documents your celebrant may ask you for in order to submit your paperwork to legalise your marriage include an original birth certificate or extract and an original passport.

Find the perfect gown

Australia is home to an industrious industry of internationally renowned fashion designers including those who create wedding suits and couture gowns. And in addition to the industry’s big names, there’s many local city-based design houses where dream gowns, pant suits, two pieces and more can be tailored, by the designer, off the rack. 

Elopement Wedding Gown Australia
Australian wedding gown designer Suzanne Harward 

Any of the designers listed on Wedlockers will provide you with a custom fitting on your arrival in their city. Make sure you enquire early to get the required appointments prior to your wedding. Australian designed gowns generally start at $1,500 off the rack and custom tailored couture ranges from $5,000.

Don’t forget the rings 

When it comes to the rings, narrow your options down to the metals and gems you want to use, then consider what style fits best.  Do you want simple bands, brushed metal, single stones or something more embellished? As a rule, don’t worry too much about whether your rings match or not. You can each have your own unique design that fits with your lifestyles in mind. 

Having your wedding rings designed locally is a wonderful experience to enjoy together in the lead up to your wedding. Small Australian jewellers will walk you through the process, discussing who you are and what matters to you, to create designs that speak to your personality and relationship. If you’d like recommendations for small, local jewellers who offer this service in your area send us an email.

Think about what comes after

What will you do after the wedding ceremony? What kind of wedding reception do you want? A candlelit table for two catered in a private location, dinner at a restaurant in the city or an outdoor table under the stars at your private country venue?

Elopement Planner Australia
Elopement in Australia styled by E Squared Design Co

Hiring an elopement planner to take care of all your wedding logistics is a good idea if you’re not getting married in your home town. They’ll organise your wedding ceremony, book your chosen suppliers and get you the best table at our most popular venues. You can find Australian elopement planners right here.

Announce your marriage

Even if you’ve given a lot of people close to you the heads-up, you should still think about how you’re going to make your introduction as a married couple. Your wedding photos and video can be used to help you share the news on social media.

You can also create stationery or other custom-made wedding favours to send to your nearest and dearest so that, even though they weren’t there, they have something to celebrate the big day with. Feel free to make a big fuss about it. It was a big moment in your lives together!

It’s easy to elope in Australia! There’s a multitude of beautiful elopement locations, fabulous wedding celebrants, very few restrictions and lots of venues that cater to small elopements and weddings. Decide on your favourite Aussie destination and enquire with an experienced elopement celebrant to kickstart your wedding plans in Australia.

Australian Elopement Celebrants

Cover image: Cavanagh Photography

 

 

Best Affordable Wedding Venues on the NSW South Coast

Affordable wedding venues on the South Coast of NSW are located in some of the most picturesque locations in Australia. Many of the cheap venues in this region are waterfront properties with ocean, river or harbour views. Other options include private properties on acreage that usually come with onsite accommodation.  You can hire these properties for your exclusive use and enjoy the privacy of your very own farm or bushland wedding. 

Almost all wedding venues from the Illawarra to the Shoalhaven and far South Coast, offer cheaper wedding packages midweek and in the off-peak winter season. Prices usually hit peak from mid August through to mid April, so if you’re aiming to save on your budget it’s worth considering planning your wedding either side of these months.

Affordable wedding venues nsw south coast venues

Some venues on the South Coast provide affordable and all-inclusive food & beverage packages.  The other cheaper options are DIY venues where you simply pay a venue hire fee and supply your own drinks and catering. With a great range of food trucks and mobile bars in the region, organising a wedding that fits your budget is not as difficult as you might think.

Here’s where to find budget friendly wedding venues on the NSW South Coast, or skip to our recommended list of affordable South Coast venues...

Wollongong 

Around 1.5 hours drive from Sydney in the 4th most populated city region in NSW, you’ll find a concentration of affordable venues that range from the well-priced (with plenty of inclusions for the cost per head), to bargain basement cheap. 

The waterfront city of Wollongong enjoys a wonderful topography with cliff top and sea level views across the South Pacific Ocean, both from its urban suburbs and farming surrounds. There are affordable wedding venues in Wollongong where you can take full advantage of the landscape and get married in a stunning setting - without the stunning price tag.

Panorama House Ceremony at gazebo
The Gazebo at Panorama House in the Illawarra. Image: Pure Breeze Photography

Panorama House is a budget-friendly cliff top venue near Wollongong that offers 180 degree ocean views for weddings of between 40 to 380 guests. Wedding packages are around $70 per person and include all canapes, drinks (including alcoholic), a 3 course meal, cake cutting, music, table florals & fairy light decorations and room hire. The package inclusions provide an opportunity to save on your hire & decoration budget, so that you effectively receive a food & beverage service of less than $50/head. The views you get from either of the reception rooms at Panorama House would cost $250/head in Sydney!

There’s also a white gazebo at Panorama House where you can have your wedding ceremony with uninterrupted ocean views as your backdrop. The hire fee is $750 for an hour and includes chairs, red carpet and signing table - which again, saves your budget from furniture hire & delivery fees. In the event of rain, they’ll shift your wedding into one of their indoor spaces so you don’t need to book a back-up venue. The downside of Panorama House is that it’s very popular! If you’re wanting an exclusive-use venue with privacy, there are better options.

Other affordable wedding venues in the Wollongong region include event centres, restaurants and hotels which commonly offer packages between $110 - $150 per head. If you’re looking for wedding venue packages under $50 - $70 per person, there are several DIY & BYO options including halls, community centres and beachfront clubs where you can hire the premises and choose your own styling, catering and drinks providers. You’ll find a list of affordable wedding venues in the Illawarra here.

Kiama

A further 40 minutes south by car is the popular holiday township of Kiama. The town and surrounding clifftop escarpments offer 8 venue choices that range in price from budget-friendly to upwards of $200/per person.

affordable wedding venue illawarra south coast
Wedding Ceremony at The Sebel, Kiama. Image: Charlotte Exton

Conveniently situated in the heart of the town is The Sebel Kiama Harbourside. As its name suggests, the hotel is located in prime position on the gorgeous Kiama Harbour.  You can have your wedding ceremony, a reception for 50 to 200 guests, your photos taken here, plus you and all your guests can be accommodated in rooms onsite. 

View All Affordable South Coast Wedding Venues

The Sebel Harbourside offers a touch of luxury with a more affordable price tag. Packages are all-inclusive and start at $119 per person. Garden ceremonies are held on the waterfront or in one of the indoor spaces in the event of wet weather. The Assembly Hall is a wonderful indoor ceremony space and provides an intimate reception area for smaller weddings. With the minimum 50 guests, you can have a wedding reception for under $6,000 here.

Berry

The historic village of Berry provides a handful of wedding venues within the town itself, and is surrounded by several properties on its outskirts that offer DIY, country weddings. These beautifully renovated properties require you to book the accommodation that’s available onsite and you receive exclusive use of the property to plan your wedding using whichever suppliers you wish.

With the option to BYO food & beverages, it’s possible to create the wedding of your dreams here, with a fairly modest budget. For elopements and micro weddings of up to 30 people, Bundara Farm is your ideal choice. The property has several indoor & outdoor spaces suitable for wedding ceremonies and receptions, including a long table under the outdoor pergola, in the horse stables or on the homestead verandah.

Bundara Farm Affordable venue
Bundara Farm on the NSW South Coast 

Bundara Farm sleeps 20 people in the main homestead and a further 10 in two cottages. A minimum 3 night stay is required for weddings at a cost of $3,870 per night, or $129 per person. You can BYO drinks, bring in your preferred caterers and do your own styling. You will not require a huge budget for styling or florals as the property speaks for itself.

For weddings of up to 135 guests, The Entertainment Shed at Willow Farm provides a rustic option. You could also have a cost effective outdoor wedding reception here, enjoying the fresh 160 acres of farmland and fresh air. You’ll need to DIY & BYO all wedding services, including a marquee if you don’t want to use the Entertainment Shed. Hiring a marquee will add $2,000+ to your budget.

Willow Farm has a yoga barn that is used as a wet weather back-up plan for wedding ceremonies, and you’re welcome to this space for yoga or other activities during your stay. The property sleeps 10 in the Farmhouse and with two nights accommodation included, the hire fee is $12,000.

Nowra

Nowra and its neighbour Terara Park, offer a collection of affordable wedding venues on the Shoalhaven River.  You can get married in this picturesque area for less than $100 per person including luxury services.

Bewong River Retreat is a private riverfront oasis that is exclusively yours for 3 days & 2 nights when you book the 9 luxury bungalows on the property. The bungalows are $240/night in the low season and several come with a luxury spa from where you can enjoy the serenity of your very own bush views. 

Bewong Outdoor Venue
Bewong River Retreat offers affordable indoor & outdoor wedding spaces

Wedding receptions for up to 130 guests are held in the dedicated function room with adjoining permanent marquee. All furniture, crockery and table linen is supplied so the only thing you need to hire is the caterer.

Bewong River Retreat has a couple of unique features which make it a popular destination for weddings. The riverfront ceremonies here are beautiful and make a great photo opportunity in their own right. There’s a boat ramp with deep water access, a rustic golf course & games area, BBQ area, bush surrounds and plenty of wildlife roaming the grounds. Glamping is permitted on the property which is handy for accommodating extra guests, or if you want your wedding to have a festival style feel. 

Culburra Beach

The Nowra Culburra SLSC offers beachfront wedding ceremonies and receptions for the cost of hall hire. The hall is a wonderful light-filled, blank canvas venue that styles well with minimal budget. As well as a commercial kitchen and million dollar ocean views, the hire fee includes crockery, glasses and silverware. 

Sapphire Coast

The coastal holiday spot of Tathra is not one of the South Coast’s most popular wedding destinations due to its far south location. But invest the extra hour or so to get here, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning beachside destination where an affordable wedding is very much achievable. 

Affordable wedding venues nsw south coast venues

Kianinny Bush Cottages is a 100 acre property with 2 covered outdoor wedding venues and self contained accommodation for 150 guests.  At the centre of the bush covered property is a lake and jetty where you can have your wedding ceremony in the peaceful surrounds. 

Archery, a flying fox, bush walks, mini putt golf and mountain biking are just a few of the adventures on offer at the property. You can use either of the two covered outdoor venues for pre-wedding and post-wedding BBQ’s or other communal get togethers which is all included in your use of the property while you are staying in one of the cottages.

The average cost of an all-inclusive food & beverage package on the South Coast is $150 - 200 per person. There are several budget-friendly venues however, that offer all-inclusive wedding packages for less than $100 per head. Cheap wedding venues like halls and surf lifesaving clubs that allow you to DIY & BYO offer the possibility of catering your wedding for under $50 per person.

To get all the options, view our full range of affordable wedding venues on the South Coast.

 

 View Venues

Cover image by Translucent Photography

Ultimate Guide to Destination Weddings in Bali

Bali is one of the most desirable wedding destinations on the planet and for numerous good reasons too. Bali island is an exquisitely beautiful location with impressive wedding chapels, luxurious resorts, infinity pools, plush river valleys and well-preserved shores. With a prestigious list of jaw dropping wedding spots and gorgeous villas, Bali is able to charm and enchant every living being who sets foot on the island, especially those looking for a budget friendly and exotic destination wedding experience. 

If you’re planning on tying the knot in Bali, keep reading! This is your unrivalled guide to ensuring your destination wedding in Bali surpasses all dreams and expectations.   

Best time to have a Bali wedding

Although Bali is tropical and breathtaking all year round, the island does experience the seasonal shift between wet and dry months. Generally, couples opt to have their wedding during the drier seasons, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that a wedding in the wet months is any less delightful. Bali’s rainy season is rather short-lived, in the sense that it could be raining buckets all night long and then be cloud free and clear skies by the morning. 

If you do decide to get hitched during the rainy season, it’s crucial to prepare a Plan B, whether it be with a marquee or tent on standby. If sun-scorched beaches, blue skies and crystal waters is your wedding utopia, your big day will likely need to take place between May and September. This period is known as the dry season, in lament terms – moderate humidity, a good balance of sunshine and surfable waves. 

Bali wedding locations and venues 

Whether it’s something blue in the Indian Ocean, or something borrowed for a floral frangipani arrangement, who wouldn’t want a dream destination wedding in Bali? With world renowned beaches and villas, you won’t easily find stuffy grand ballrooms or rustic barn settings here. Instead, Bali’s most picturesque wedding venues are all about the gorgeous locations and jaw dropping views, with some of the most elegant decorations around. 

Some of the most breathtaking wedding venues include magical jungle sanctuaries, private villas, dazzling clifftop chapels and every other budget-friendly, luxury venue in between. Bali meets and exceeds all expectations when it comes to finding your perfect wedding venue to say your “I do’s”.

There’s an endless collection of all-in-one wedding ceremony, reception and after party venues in Bali that routinely come with infinity pools, hectares of manicured gardens and some of the most beautiful ocean views in the world. 

Bali Destination Weddings
Image: Alma Photography

Private luxury villas are one of the most popular venue choices – and for a good reason. The main reason couples opt for the option of a private villa is exactly that – privacy. Forget about worrying about any ogling hotel guests or party poopers with noise curfews. Instead, enjoy filling a luxurious villa with as many friends and family as you can fit and take pleasure in having the whole place to yourselves. 

A villa on Bali’s South-West Coast provides a mix of natural charm with traditional Balinese elements. With a magical backdrop provided by the Indian Ocean and expansive outdoor space catering for groups of 100 guests standing or a more intimate setting for 80 guests seated, you and your guests are guaranteed a sense of enchantment.

Best areas to get hitched in Bali 

As beautiful and magical as a destination wedding in Bali sounds, it’s almost near to impossible to imagine any part of Bali not screaming “TROPICAL PARADISE”. However, differences do exist between the various areas of Bali with each carrying their own distinct characteristics, experiences and beauty.

Here’s some of the breathtaking areas you’ll want to consider for your destination wedding in Bali.

Ubud District

A scenic hour drive from Bali’s coast and beaches, you will find the vibrant “one with nature” Ubud District. With blends of local tradition and contemporary style hidden amongst enchanting lush valleys, flowing waters and green foothills – Ubud lends its beauty to couples to make an oath and begin life together as one in an awe-inspiring intimate and romantic wedding ceremony. 

Ungasan

Seamlessly blending into the greater Uluwata area, resting on the southernmost tip of the island -  Ungasan is notoriously known as one of the most scenic areas in Bali. She offers majestic clifftops with views for as far as the eye can see. The area combines peaceful rural surroundings with some of the most élite luxury resorts and clifftop villas the Island has to offer. 

Ungasan is also home to some of the most spectacular beaches on Bali Island, with pristine white sand shores and clear blue waters. Weddings are all about elegance and comfort here. Ungasan is the epitome of a seaside wedding sanctuary, offering discrete privacy and intimacy.

Bali Destination Wedding Location
Image: Alma Photography

Bali wedding packages & prices 

The total cost of a Bali wedding is dependent on factors such as; the time of year, type of venue chosen (whether it be a wedding chapel, resort hotel, private villa or an event venue such as a restaurant), number of wedding guests, beverage arrangement, the menu to be served and even the type of entertainment. With hundreds of exotic venues and wedding packages of offer in Bali, you can have a cliff top, chapel, beach front or a rooftop venue – it’s all do-able, irrespective of a big budget or not. 

How much does it cost to get married in Bali?

With a budget of AUD $8,500, you can expect a budget friendly wedding package in Bali, to offer the following inclusions:

Ceremony 
  • Package for 30 - 35 guests
  • Private ceremony space with hire for 2 - 3 hours
  • Chairs & hire decorations
  • Personal assistance during the ceremony 
  • Pressing service for Bride & Groom 
  • Preparation room for Bride & Groom
  • Hair & Makeup for Bride
  • Fresh flower arrangements at the altar, aisle & signing table
  • Wedding bouquet & boutonniere
  • Balinese Gong to announce the bridal procession 
  • English speaking marriage celebrant
  • Commemorative wedding certificate 
  • Beverage Package
  • Standard sound system for music use
  • Photographer for 3 hours before, during and after ceremony with a wedding album and all photos on a flash drive 
Reception 
  • 3 course set menu 
  • Beverage Package for 3 - 4 hours
  • Standard furniture & decorations
  • Gift/souvenir for the couple

Saying “YES” to a wedding planner?

Planning a hometown wedding presents enough trials and tribulations. Add a tropical destination wedding into the mix, and you officially need the assistance and services of a wedding planner. Wedding planners know the local area and customs, what is and isn’t included in packages, and are able to circumvent issues that may arise from assumptions you make based on the way things work at home. Things in Bali, work the Balinese way.

Bali Weddings
Typical Bali wedding location with views of the Indian Ocean. Image: Alma Photography

Hiring a wedding planner reduces the risk of going over budget, eliminates your need to manage and delegate smaller tasks, ensures you comply with the legalities required in a foreign country and typically ensures your expectations are met and you receive what you pay for. 

Finding someone who is familiar with local vendors brings cost-effective ideas to the table  so you can enjoy creating a unique and perfectly you wedding, and have the planning process run smoothly.

Bali wedding legalities 

Getting married in a foreign country is a great way to celebrate your special occasion with loved ones. More and more couples opt to pack their bags and jet off to an exotic wedding destination to experience an event of a lifetime.

Getting hitched overseas however, does involve some extra paperwork and know-how. To ensure that you are legally married once you return to Australia, it’s crucial that you comply with the local Australian law. You can have your dream Balinese wedding, but to make it legally binding with the Australian Consulate, you’ll need to submit the required Australian paperwork. 

What you should be aware of when getting married in Bali

Here are some interesting pointers to be aware of when considering getting legally married in Indonesia. 

  • If you wish to be legally married in Bali, you will be required to have both a civil and religious ceremony. Easily enough in recent years as the civil ceremony is often consolidated with the religious ceremony. 

  • It is a compulsory requirement for couples to file first a “Notice of Intention to Marry”. This is done at the Civil Registry Office in the regency where you are staying in Bali. Couples are then also required to present a “Certificate of non-impediment”. This document is generally obtained from your consulate or embassy in Indonesia. 

  • Generally, persons of any nationality can marry in Indonesia, providing they hold one of the five religions recognised by Indonesia (Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Protestantism). 

  • Not only are you required to declare your religion, under the Indonesian Law – you and your partner must declare the same religion. Before you go down this path, keep in mind that it is a mere formality to verbally declare to be of the same religion as your partner. The vast majority of international couples get married in Bali under Protestant faith. 

  • Couples of the Catholic Faith face are often restricted by law to marrying in a church. Bali allows you to take advantage of their Island’s beauty and tie the knot almost anywhere. Whether it be on a scenic clifftop, your private villa, on the beach, in between rice fields or at a fine dining restaurant.

In a nutshell, with the help of a Bali wedding planner, a tropical destination wedding in any of Bali’s wonderful districts is more than achievable. With an abundance of luxury villas and breathtaking wedding spots, Bali remains an unbeatable and affordable wedding destination. 

Cover image: Alma Photography 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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