The art of marriage
words ROXANNE WILSON
There is something magic about mist slowly rising over rolling hills as the sky turns into a deep orange. It’s a natural phenomena that most South Australians are accustomed to. Now, an increasing number of newlyweds from around the world are choosing the stunning landscapes in Adelaide’s backyard to capture wedding photos they will forever remember.
There is no doubt, when it comes to saying “I do”, Adelaide’s wedding scene extends far beyond the old “city of churches” stereotype. Of course, finding an architecturally spectacular church in which to tie the knot is an easy feat, but our city – exploding with vibrant laneways and new eateries covering cuisines from all edges of the globe – offers an abundance of picturesque locations to tie the knot.
Then, there’s South Australia’s famed wine country. And for those who want to get hitched with the sand beneath their toes, some of Adelaide’s best coastal escapes are less than a 45-minute drive from town.
Award-winning photographer Ky Luu, of B Captured by Ky Luu, says Adelaide’s many landscapes are helping him tap into a new market that’s on the rise: destination wedding shoots.
Mr Luu says he’s photographing an increasing number of overseas couples, mostly from Asia, who come to Adelaide for post or pre-wedding photo shoots. He has already booked 10 overseas couples this year and is now looking into expanding in that area. “We have so much faith in this market my intention in the future is going to be more and more overseas photos than wedding photos,” he says.
Mr Luu says overseas photoshoots were common in many Asian countries. “Because there is so many people now going to Europe, Italy, Paris, the photos are getting a bit repetitive, so now they are branching out to places in Australia,” he says. “SA only just started, in the last couple of years, to become a big player for them. A lot of them are targeting Adelaide more as an alternative to Melbourne or Sydney.”
My Luu says Adelaide’s smaller population, which makes it easier to get around, combined with its varied backdrops (think canola fields, almond blossoms, vineyards and secluded beach destinations like Second Valley) is adding to its popularity. “We’ve got a lot of really nice natural landscapes that, in my opinion, … are just as nice, if not better, than Melbourne and Sydney,” he says. “The only thing we don’t have is the Opera House or Harbour Bridge, but we do have a lot of nice churches.”
Newlyweds Nhan Nguyen, 34, and John Maragondakis, 40, travelled from Paris to Adelaide for a post-wedding photo shoot with Mr Luu in May. Ms Nguyen, who grew up in Adelaide, says SA was chosen partly for its natural scenery. “We did consider Paris at the beginning because that’s where we met and where we are based now, but we decided against it because it’s a little clichéd … and has been done over and over again,” she says. “Adelaide is a hidden gem and we really saw this side with Ky during our shoot … (it) offers access to such diversity in such little travelling time: sandy beaches, dramatic rock faces and cliffs, enchanting forests, sweeping vineyards, rolling valleys, quaint countryside scenery and abandoned fields.”
Besides destination wedding shoots, tying the knot in SA is also gaining momentum among visitors. Glen Ewin Estate events sales manager Ally Medhurst, whose venue hosts about six weddings every week during peak season, says at least one client a month is from interstate or overseas. “There are a lot of fantastic venues in South Australia that are really trending,” she says.
National Wine Centre wedding sales executive Olivia Makrid says the number of interstate couples – most of whom have some connection to the state – choosing their CBD venue had increased since last year.
So why Adelaide? “Outdoor weddings have become popular and particularly with the vintage rustic scene that has really come through in the last couple of years, it definitely bodes well for Adelaide and South Australia,” Ms Makrid says. “The produce is really important, too – we’ve got some amazing produce in South Australia that people really come over for.”
While data from the Australian Bridal Industry Academy shows SA couples spend an average of $22,534 on a wedding, Ms Makrid says their clients are spending between $30,000 and $40,000 on average. “We’ve definitely found it has picked up, particularly from the start of 2015,” she says. “We’re tending to have those weddings of 200 to 250 guests, and they are getting quite extravagant again.”
7 Popular Wedding Venues
GLEN EWIN ESTATE
This Adelaide Hills hotspot features two picturesque venues on site – The Pulpshed and The Gatehouse – and caters for intimate gatherings and sit-down receptions for up to 300 guests.
Animal lovers can include giraffes, pandas and lions on their guest list if they choose to marry at Adelaide Zoo, which offers several garden and undercover ceremony locations.
JOHN DIFEDE RECEPTION CENTRE
For couples with a big guest list, this reception centre has two rooms available: the Alto and Maria Pia. Book two to three years ahead to secure the Alto, which can cater for up to 450 guests.
Rolling hills covered in vineyards offer brides and grooms a picture-perfect backdrop for their ceremony at this rustic venue.
Ooh la! It might be situated in Port Elliot on the Fleurieu Peninsula but this property, featuring accommodation for up to 22 people, has a real French provincial vibe.
The Library’s Victorian era-style Mortlock Chamber will take you back in time – it’s definitely a winner for bookworms.
One of several CBD hotel options, The Playford can tailor its packages to suit individual tastes and requirements.