"One of the World's Best Wedding Photographers", Nicholas splits his time between Australia and Paris. His photos have appeared in Harpers Bazaar, the New York Times and

Nicholas is the publisher of the School of Wedding Photography, a popular blog teaching wedding photographers around the world.

Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding in Australia

Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding in Australia

Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding in Australia


If you’re planning a destination wedding in Australia, you’re in for an incredible treat. With its pristine beaches, world-famous coral reefs, sophisticated cities, and fascinating culture, Australia is the picture-perfect place to have your dream wedding. There's no better excuse to gather all your loved ones in one of the most gorgeous countries in the world.

Plotting a destination wedding doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful, either. Follow these tips, and you’re guaranteed to have the most romantic day of your life.

Hire a wedding planner

If it’s within your budget (and maybe even if it’s not), hiring a local wedding planner is probably the best possible thing you could do for you and your spouse-to-be. A wedding planner can help you scout out locations, pick the best vendors, organize travel plans for you and your guests, and communicate with everyone so that you don’t have to.

Destination weddings come with their own unique stressors (some that you may not even see coming), which is why having a local wedding planner on your side will help ensure that everything goes smoothly and according to plan.    

Take multiple trips beforehand

Whether you’re planning an urban wedding in Sydney, a beach ceremony in Perth, or a vineyard celebration in scenic Swan Valley, we can’t stress this one enough. Take at least one planning trip before the wedding (or multiple trips, if you can afford it) to look at venues and vendors and do some important on-the-ground research.

This is also important if you plan to have many vendors involved on the day-of. While you might think it’s safe to skip your makeup and hair trial, we highly advise against that. If you don’t hire a wedding planner and you want your day to be perfect, plan one trip over a year in advance, one at 6 months and one at 3 months. This will ensure you’ve got everything lined up perfectly.

Tell your guests well in advance

Be sure to give your guests plenty of notice if you’re expecting them to travel across the world for your nuptials. Send out your save-the-dates at least nine months to a year in advance, and let everyone know as soon as you've booked the hotel and venue so that people can plan their stay. Don’t be insulted if they say no—for some guests, an Australian wedding may not be financially possible.

Factor in the extra costs

While it’s true that depending on where you live and what you want your wedding to be like, your destination wedding could end up costing less than a wedding at home, you still have to factor in extra expenses. These could include everything from the obvious, like plane tickets, to the not-so-obvious - importing décor, arranging additional activities for your guests, flying in vendors - so be sure to plan accordingly.

You also have to consider the costs for before and after the event. Make sure to budget for shipping your gifts back home, as well as any décor you might want to keep. If you’re not going to keep the décor, plan ahead of time to donate it or hire a service to come and remove the junk like leftover florals.

Dress appropriately

Australia is a huge, diverse country in the Southern Hemisphere, with different seasons than the Northern Hemisphere. Be sure to pick wedding attire that’s appropriate for what part of the country you’ll be in, and give your guests helpful suggestions on how to dress.

For example, if you're planning to get hitched in a tropical part of Australia, on the beach, you'll want to wear soft, breathable clothing as opposed to a tight, constricting dress or pants.  

Follow the legal requirements

To get married in Australia, you don’t have to be a citizen—but, just as with anywhere else, there are certain requirements you’ll need to follow if you want to ensure your wedding is legal. Keep in mind that you’ll need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage Form and give it to your celebrant at least one month prior to the wedding.

You'll also need to have all the right personal documents on hand, like your original birth certificate and passport. But most importantly, be sure to do your research and check with the Australian embassy in your own country for any specific legal requirements you’ll need to complete beforehand.  

There’s no doubt about it - your Australian destination wedding is bound to be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Follow the above tips, try not to stress too much, and soak up every minute of your big day Down Under—after all, it’s not every day you get to be surrounded by your loved ones in an exotic locale while getting married to your forever sweetheart.

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