If you’re looking for some left-field options for throwing a party, or you’re dreaming of a wedding that no one will forget in a hurry, we’ve found some unusual locations around the city. Some of these venues don’t openly advertise their availability for weddings, so keep the secret safe until yours is booked.
With the romance of an old-fashioned train station, Carriageworks offers a number of options for those to be wed. The Elston Room and Bay 25 are its most popular venues. The Elston offers heritage features, polished-concrete floors and a private entrance. Bay 25 retains original 19th-century features, is lit by natural light and has a high apex ceiling.
The venue offers catering packages by Fresh Catering (a good option because there are no kitchen facilities on site).
The Turbine Shop at Cockatoo Island
Only two weddings have ever taken place at the Turbine Shop on Cockatoo Island. It was built in 1945 and at that time was the largest building in the Southern Hemisphere. An exposed steel structure, overhead gantry cranes and cement flooring create a raw, industrial feel.
A smaller (and less pricey) heritage-listed venue on Cockatoo Island is the Navel Store, which holds 130 people. Every venue on the island is “dry hire”, meaning you can only hire the space if you have an approved events company running the operation.
Sydney College of the Arts
The sandstone Victorian complex of Kirkbride provides a little Hogwarts mystique for the big day. The luscious grounds at the Sydney College of the Arts can be leased at an hourly rate. Be photographed by a large oak tree and use the wide grass patches for your ceremony. The college only offers dry hire, with no packages or preferred caterers.
Kitchen By Mike
For a particularly delicious wedding, head over to Kitchen By Mike. Ceremonies can take place in the outside garden. Inside, warm lighting sets the scene for its canapé, buffet or sit-down options.
On the menu is baked bass grouper fillet bourride, kipfler potatoes and aioli, or cured blue mackerel, orange, chicory and pistachio salad.
For dessert, try poached pears, red wine, and ginger with buttermilk, or the strawberry shortcake.
Sydney Harbour’s portable party location can also been used as a spot for nuptials. It’s a barge converted into an open event space, and can be docked either at Farm Cove or Athol Bay. Guests are picked up from Double Bay Wharf in a 48-seat water taxi and taken to where The Island is anchored.
Offering venue hire and a minimum bar spend, the space does not provide catering but has a range of preferred options, including Icebergs and Barrio Chino. Closed from May to August, this venue is only available during summer.
One of Sydney’s most eclectic studios, Studio Neon brings together retro and industrial aesthetics. With space for 50 sit down and 100 standing, the eclectic furniture and décor fills the sun-washed space on the top floor of a nondescript Waterloo building.
If you don’t want to venture out on your own, it offers a number of packages including event styling and catering by Studio Neon chefs.
Archie Rose Distillery
There haven’t yet been any weddings at Archie Rose Distillery because it’s only open for three months, but the industrial interior and warm glow of the bar is an ideal setting for nuptials.
With space for up to 120 people, the distillery is connected to the bar by a three-metre walkway. The guys are happy for you to organise your own caterer or to use their recommendations: Black Star or Kitchen By Mike. Pricing is case-by-case, and if you have a smaller guest list you can make use of one of the three areas of the bar, perhaps the private area in the mezzanine.
The Mint offers indoor and outdoor venue options. The sandstone courtyard – that glows in the evening – is a prime spot for a ceremony. Receptions often take place in the auditorium.
The venue allows for 100 people for sit down and 250 cocktail. The packages include the required use of the venue’s caterers, however menus are tailored to suit each wedding.
Rose Seidler House
This 1950s venue provides a backdrop full of character for an outdoor wedding. Because the house itself is too fragile to host guests, the grounds is the only option for those who want to be in close proximity to what was once the most talked about house in Australia.
Doubling as the location for the 20-year running Fifties Fair, you can set up a marquee and enjoy a guest list of 150. There is flexibility in catering and set-up options.
Tamarama Surf Club
Situated between Bondi and Bronte, the location of Tamarama Surf Club is perfect for those who love the surf and ocean views. The hall has space for 120 cocktail and 80 sitting, and is generally only available from 6pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, making it an ideal venue during summer.
With the freedom to decorate and cater how you wish, this venue is well suited to those keen to plan the details of their own event.