Depending on who you talk to, Brisbane is either weird, secretly becoming Perth, a new world city, or it’s the place the rest of the world will respond with a “huh” when the Olympics are hosted there. For me it was always seen as the headmaster’s office of the state – the place you went if you were sick, in trouble, or if the boss needed to see you. That all changed when Britt and I moved there in 2012 and we discovered it’s actually a valid, lovely, and overly decent city on its own right.
Brisbane is also where I started my full-time career as a marriage celebrant after my boss – the general manager of the radio station I was at – asked me to quit weddings and dedicate myself to commercial radio! Since 2013 that radio station has pretty much died and I’ve been lucky enough to travel the globe and marry thousands of people in about 20 countries.
But Brisbane will always have my heart. She was my first.
Brisbane’s also home to some of the most talented wedding creators on the planet, whether it’s the MacMillans, Toddles, Amey, Tina, Morgan, Marcus, Nicole, Steph & Maurice, Amber, Andy, Kate, plus the hundreds of other talented people that don’t only live in town, but the surrounding areas of the Gold Coast, Sunny Coast, and Toowoomba.
Let’s just say it’s a good place to get married. And when you do, you can arrive to the ceremony on scooters you rented on your phone which is something we couldn’t do a few years ago.
“It’s a bit trashy and that’s where its potential lies. Think of what Gehry did in Los Angeles with what was nearly trash.”
So here’s my top seven list of the best places in Brisbane you can tie the knot with a quick note: I judge a venue on the balance between looking hot/aesthetics, feeling good/vibe, and the staff being awesome. I really have no idea how much they charge, and what their packages are. I’m also in zero financial relationships with any of the venues, which is apparently a thing these days, so they don’t get paid for recommending me and I don’t get paid for recommending them.
Famous for being mispronounced by the Queensland Premier, but more-so for being the nicest hotel that you wouldn’t imagine to be in Brisbane, The Calile is a banging spot to have a party. And if you’re a guest there, take the chance to stay the night and try a poolside lamb wrap.
I’ve not worked a wedding at The Refinery yet but everyone keeps on banging on about it, especially my friend Tessa. So this recommendation comes off the back of friends and apparently the main reason you book here is so your guests don’t have to go through a Maccas drive-thru on the drive home.
Every time I walk into Cloudland for a wedding or event I feel like I’m at Potato Head in Seminyak, it’s so lush and cockail-y. Plus it’s just a great place to let your hair down and put on a dress.
Photo by my friend Kate.
I love a good clean slate that you can paint a wedding onto, and the Joinery is that – plus great staff and food. It’s in West End so you’ve got no trouble getting an Uber home or a coffee beforehand.
When I was last in The Lussh it was called The Lushington and we were all in there for Scotty and Kim’s wedding, all a little salty that we weren’t in New York as we planned for before ol’ mate covid hit. Despite not being able to spend a day in a Qantas jet so we could hug Scotty and Kim in Central Park, we were pretty damn happy with The Lushington. That day the wedding co-ordinator said they were about to paint it white and I really don’t have a vision for that kind of thing. So when I saw their photos on Instagram of the renovation, it all made sense. It’s looking lussh af now.
I was last at Factory 51 for Sam and Ryan’s wedding and we had too much fun in the sweet little space the Coorparoo wedding venue offers up. It’s something different in the burbs but it did not disappoint.
Hillstone St Lucia
There’s something about lasting in the wedding industry that no-one really appreciates. See, if you’re getting engaged today all you know of the wedding industry is who is operational today. You don’t know about the years past, or the years after your wedding, you do’t have to – but I know, those of us who have been around long enough know what it takes to be in business longer than a wedding season – and longer than a pandemic.
Hillstone St Lucia is one of the few wedding venues in Brisbane that has been doing it longer than all of us, and they still turn up with excellence, joy, and whimsy every wedding. I was just there last weekend and they’re still renovating, value-adding, and smiling at every chance.
If nothing else, enjoy a vino rosso at the 100 Acre Bar.