If the legislation is passed by parliament before it rises for the summer break, as promised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, then it will be an early Christmas present for gay couples.
While overseas visitors are huge fans of wedding photos around Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, there are lots of other stunning places to hold a romantic wedding ceremony.
We asked marriage celebrants around Australia for their top picks for a wedding. Here’s what they had to say.
Stephen Lee has been a marriage celebrant in Sydney for five years.
He recommends a wedding near the water, or Sydney Harbour Bridge.
There are so many beautiful spots in Sydney. There are the typical spots down by Sydney harbour, or Bondi Beach.
I’m a big fan of the hidden gems not many people would really think of, like Lavender Bay in Sydney’s north.
One of my favourites is Bradfield Park in MacMahon’s Point in Sydney’s north. You have a beautiful view of the bridge, and for a group under 60, you don’t need to make any prior booking for the area. You can just turn up and get married.
I’ve conducted ceremonies in interesting places such as a bar on Sydney’s Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, and in the New South Wales State Library in Sydney CBD.
Merren Wilkinson is a marriage celebrant based in Tasmania.
She recommends these spots:
Bruny Island Lodge. It’s wild, rustic, and a stunning homestead-like private venue that caters for large groups. Guests can stay in the amazing wooden cabin rooms. There’s a wide choice of ceremony locations on-site: on the beach, in the bush, or inside the wooden lodge. Self catering is a plus. The staff are awesome and go out of their way to accommodate couples and their guests.
Shene Estate in Pontville. Located close to Hobart, Shene has a majestic feel with its incredibly beautiful stable and barn. Shene is a family run business that warmly welcomes couples and their guests. A variety of ceremony locations on the property to choose from: Farmland, outside the stables, or inside the old barn. Packed with history and charm… and you get to taste Shene’s amazing gin.
Thalia Haven in Little Swanport (for intimate weddings). The most stunning place in Tasmania for private, intimate weddings. Set on a wild coastline, there’s stone buildings, an outdoor bathtub and is fully sustainable as it is off-grid. Thalia is perched on the east coast of Tasmania with expansive views of the ocean and sky, overlooking Freycinet and Maria Island. It’s self-catered. I suggest staying for a few nights to unwind.
Avalon Coastal Retreat in Rocky Hills. It caters for large groups, and easily organises buses from Hobart or Swansea to transport guests. It has beautiful accommodation for couples. Open, expansive contemporary house, sitting on a cliff above the ocean, overlooking Freycinet. Private beach access. Self catered.
Frogmore Creek Wines in Cambridge. It can cater for large groups, is close to Hobart and has wonderful vies overlooking the vineyard. There’s a choice of ceremony location too: the vineyard or the Barrel Room next to the roaring open fireplace. Perfect for winter weddings.
Peppermint Bay restaurant in Woodbridge. It’s an awesome location. You catch the boat from Hobart to the wedding venue instead of driving. It’s a beautiful outdoor setting overlooking Bruny Island. Great staff and a great place to party.
Home Hill Winery in Renelagh. It caters for large groups with choices of ceremony location: in the garden or Barrel Room. Great staff… Fantastic food… an fun place for a band to setup and party.
Mary Ord is based in Sydney.
She also recommends anywhere around the water
I’m a celebrant for a gay wedding booked at Watson’s Bay Hotel in January, and it’s a great venue with a reception area as well.
Bather’s Pavilion in Balmoral [Peter Fitzsimons and Lisa Wilkson married there 25 years ago] is also beautiful.
My favourite place to wed a couple would really be under a big old tree. Or, even in someone’s own backyard, or the backyard of a family member or friend.
Melbourne-based Kate Mac has been a celebrant of 7 years.
Here are her picks:
The George Ballroom in St Kilda. It’s grand, elegant and stylish and has some very interesting history.
Zonzo Estate, Yarra Valley. So picturesque, so many different spots you can choose from to have your ceremony; vineyards the rustic barn or the modern light filled chapel.
Rupert on Rupert in Collingwood. Industrial inner city vibes here.
Ruth Prince is a celebrant of 7 years, in Port Stephens, 3 hours north of Sydney. .
She recommends making the most of the area’s stunning water views.
Although there are some spectacular vineyards in the Hunter Valley that make for a beautiful ceremony, I would recommend somewhere near the water in Port Stephens.
Fingal Bay or Zenith Beach are very popular, if you don’t mind walking onto the sand.
But my favourite spot is the Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse.
Caitlyn Davey is a celebrant based in the Northern Territory.
She recommends anywhere outdoors due to beautiful weather Darwin enjoys year-round
Crazy Acres Mango Farm in Berry Springs is just beautiful. Imagine lines of big beautiful mango trees, and a canopy of leaves. I’ve done several elopement ceremonies there.
Dripstone Cliff in Darwin has a gorgeous alcove in the cliff, where you can see the cliff formation and it’s a really secluded spot and is perfect for smaller weddings.
Burnett House in Myilly Point is a stunning old historic house built in 1938 for use during the war, and is a really romantic spot.
Melanie runs Two Tie The Knot Celebrant Services in South Australia.
She recommends out-of-the-way and hidden gems.
Stangate house in Aldgate is a really lovely historical house where you can have the ceremony indoors or book and indoor sit-down ceremony if you like. The surrounding gardens are just enchanting, with beautiful tall oak trees that were planted in 1830. The price is quite affordable, and it gets you hire of the whole property so you have access to the house and the gardens to yourself.
Burbrook forest in Kutipo has what is known by locals as a “magic tree” — a huge stunning gumtree planted right in the middle of the forest. It’s a private property that you can hire. My suggestion is to hire a clear marguee that you put in the middle of the forest so you can enjoy the surroundings. It’s also not too far out of the city, so it’s easy to get to.
Mandalay House and Garden in Callington is a spectacular venue. You can really only hire it in spring and autumn though. It’s full of amazing deciduous trees that cover the ground with beautiful autumn colours. It’s not a very well-known spot.
Michelle Whichello is a celebrant of 8 years in South Australia.
One of my top marriage locations in South Australia would have to be Old Woodhouse Manor in Piccadilly. It accommodates approximately 50 guests, has a large spacious ballroom, outdoor amphitheatre that’s perfect for ceremonies, plentiful parking, huge trees and established gardens, and ample kitchen for catering staff.
Brisbane-based Emma Turvey travels to the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba to officiate ceremonies.
Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast is a beautiful lookout point. Out between the trees you can see around the curve of the beach, and there’s a huge park if you like a big wedding with a lot of people.
Lighstspace in Brisbane is a warehouse that you can hire out. The great thing about this space is that you can really bring your own character to the ceremony, because you can deck it out how you like.
Mt Coot-tha lookout point is great too and gives a view of the whole city of Brisbane.
Darren Roberts is a celebrant in the ACT.
The most popular places for me are the Carillion, Aboreturm and the Botanical Gardens.
A unusual but pretty cool spot is Mt Stromlo Observatory. It has the burnt-out ruins of one of their observation domes. Very picturesque and different.
Weston Parks have hidden treasures around the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. At sunset it is magical.
Telstra Tower has amazing 360 degree views of Canberra.