Prepare to be swept away! Award-winning South Coast photographer Anna Blackman picks her favourite wedding locations. (All photos courtesy Anna Blackman Images.)
1. The Escarpment
Anna says: Panorama House has been around for a long time; it’s got a nice little pergola and a fantastic view. Altitude 1148 has got an amazing deck. It’s a more modern space; it doesn’t have a ‘feel’, so you create your own. Then you’ve got five-star dining at Tumbling Waters. It is exclusive and beautiful. Sublime Point is a bit more “country”, it has a quirky feel. To get married with a view, make an appointment with all of those. One will be your fit as they are all quite different.
The details: From Stanwell Tops south to Bulli Tops, the venues are: Tumbling Waters (02 4294 1888); Sublime Point (02 4267 5443); Panorama House (02 4268 3388) and Altitude 1148 (02 4267 5443).
2. The Beach
Anna says: Tuckerman Reserve at Little Austinmer is a lovely place to get married.
The grass is right next to the beach. You can go down to the rock platform, it’s fantastic for photos, even at high tide you can still get to it and it’s safe.
The details: Call Wollongong City Council (02 4227 7111) to book Tuckerman Park. Anna recommends receptions at Austinmer Surf Club.
3. The Surf Club
Anna says: Sandon Point is beautiful. You can go down a little secret pathway to where the boat sheds are, it’s north-facing, so you don’t have to worry about the wind. Sandon Point Surf Club is a great little place for receptions.
The details: Hall hire at the surf club is $1000, plus a $500 bar minimum. To book, call Michelle Hamill on 0448 899 566.
4. The Georgian Manor House
Anna says: Ravensthorpe is a big mansion with a tennis court and a pool, on an acreage. The house is beautiful, with wrap-around verandahs. They’ve done the gardens amazingly, so there’s different spots for photos – lines of trees, a big old gate, a field next door. People want to be photographed with grass up to their knees and late afternoon sun. That’s my No. 1 place in the Illawarra for a wedding and reception.
The details: Ravensthorpe is at 56 Tongarra Road, Albion Park (02 4257 6096).
5. The Garden
Anna says: The Rhododendron Gardens are a little Wollongong secret. It’s up Mt Ousley, hidden away. It’s got a duck pond with a little pergola, Japanese style, it’s like a mini Botanic Gardens. Just beautiful. I got married there.
The details: Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens (Parrish Avenue, Mt Pleasant) are open weekends and public holidays, 9am to 6pm in summer, 5pm in winter. It is $200 to book a ceremony spot, $100 to reserve the shelter shed and $50 for photos only. Phone Vi Worth on (02) 4284 8041.
6. The Church
Anna says: There is a beautiful little church at Bulli, on the corner of Point Street. It has very old sandstone and lovely stained-glass windows. It’s romantic. And the pastor [Rev. Steve Parker] is really nice. Even though it’s a Uniting church, anyone’s welcome to get married there.
The details: Northern Illawarra Uniting Church weddings are $1100 (includes flowers, organist, minister’s fee and more, call 4268 2111). Built in 1865, the historic church seats 130 + 20 standing.
7. The Park
Anna says: Austinmer’s Glastonbury Gardens is really pretty. There is a giant, old fig tree you can get married under. I’ve seen people hang all different messages from the tree, hearts and lanterns, streamers, you can really dress it up and make it look great. Only problem is parking, it’s on the street, so I wouldn’t do it in peak summer.
The details: Call Wollongong City Council on (02) 4227 7111 to book a park spot. Wollongong Botanic Garden is another popular venue.