If your plans to get hitched were upended by coronavirus, the Altar Electric has just unveiled a luxe new ’80s-style chapel of love that has “shotgun wedding” written all over it.
Three unconventional marriage celebrants – Sarah Dobson, Anthony Cribbes and Dee Brinsmead – started the business in late 2017. And they’ve been throwing Vegas-style ceremonies ever since, first in laneway bars, then in a grunge-glam space at Collingwood’s Schoolhouse Studios.
“It was a bit like a nightclub, with no natural light,” says Dobson. So when a natural-light-flooded studio in the same building became available in February, the trio decided it was time for an upgrade.
With the help of some creative mates, they renovated it during lockdown. Good Day Club creative director Kate Forsyth styled it like the lounge room of an ’80s Hollywood movie star (there’s a zebra-print aisle runner); artist Clare Scanlan splashed the walls in peachy-pink, a shade custom-made for the space; and Ross Jenkins (aka florist Bloom Boy) twisted together a technicolour sort-of arbour made from dried pampas grass. The result? “It’s a bit sexier than the old space,” Dobson says.
Wedding guests can cosy up on plush, red velvet couches underneath a canopy of disco balls, which have been hauled over from the old space.
The Altar Electric was on the small-wedding bandwagon long before Covid-19 hit (the trio has married more than 200 couples). But Dobson says the past two weeks have been the busiest ever for bookings, with lots of couples forced to cancel their weddings and/or reassess their finances because of the very unromantic pandemic.
She’s even marrying a handful of couples who had planned to tie the knot in actual Vegas. “The [couple] that got married on the weekend bought a life-sized cut-out of Elvis,” says Dobson. “We’ll be releasing a new package soon where you can add on an Elvis impersonator.”
The Altar Electric usually has wedding packages for up to 70 guests. But due to government restrictions, only The Shotgun (for up to 10 guests) is currently available. Prices start from $650.