How to Plan a Hunter Valley Destination Wedding
Hunter Valley Destination Weddings
Are you engaged and trying to plan a Hunter Valley destination wedding? The Hunter Valley is a great destination for those whose idea of a dream wedding is great food, great wine and world class wedding venues in some of the most spectacular landscapes in Australia.
The Hunter Valley is such a popular wedding destination. Every week couples flock from Sydney and Newcastle to get married in this amazing wine country. As a wedding photographer I absolutely love shooting weddings in this region. In fact it is the whole reason I started this website.
Benefits of a Hunter Valley wedding
Tying the knot in the Hunter Valley is an experience of a lifetime. One that you don’t get every day. Imagine running through vineyards, drinking award winning wine and marrying the person of your dreams. And celebrant all of this with all of your very best family and friends. The Hunter Valley is not only is the perfect place for weddings, but also for honeymoons. Here is why it is so good.
- Location – The Hunter Valley is so conveniently located in NSW. It is only 2 hours from Sydney and less than an hour from Newcastle. The M1 and the Hunter Expressway make this journey easy & stress free. It is also well connected by plane and by train.
- Breathtaking scenery – The stunning vineyard landscapes is what the Hunter Valley is know for. Rows and rows of vineyards across hillsides. All surrounded by the impressive Brokenback Mountain Ranges. You get married in the Hunter Valley because you love the rustic, country atmosphere and the natural surroundings.
- Perfect weather – If you choose your destination wedding in the Hunter Valley during the right season, you will experience amazing weather. The Hunter gets much less rain than Sydney, the days are warm and the nights are cool. Many couples are able to get those outdoor weddings out under the stars and fairy lights.
- Delicious Cuisine – The Hunter Valley is home to some of the best restaurants and the best chefs in the world. There are hatted restaurants everywhere in the region. There is also a wonderful paddock to plate mentality where everything is sourced locally. Many venues and Chefs grow much of their own produce onsite. It is not unusual to see Chefs picking herbs and vegetables from the garden in the afternoon as they begin to prep the food.
- Accommodation – There is no shortage of accommodation options in the Hunter Valley. There are two big resorts that can host thousands of guests. Then there are hundreds of small boutique villas, homesteads, farm stays and cottages for you and your guests to choose from.
- Activites– There is so much for you and your guests to do in the Hunter Valley apart from attending your wedding. It is a major tourism destination in not only New South Wales but for Australia. There are over 150 cellar doors, breweries, distilleries, restaurants and cafes. There are gardens, golf courses, ballooning. galleries, horse riding activities. As well as the huge Hunter Valley Gardens and Hunter Valley Zoo. There is so much for people to do and see.
The Cost of a Hunter Valley Wedding
The average cost of a wedding in the Hunter Valley is around $30,000. Some people will obviously spend much less and some people will spend much more. The largest expense for couples is the reception venue and food. The more people you have attending your wedding, the more it will cost you.
For a wonderful wedding venue in the Hunter Valley, expect to pay $160 to $200 per person.
Best time of year for a Hunter Valley Wedding
Couples choose a wedding date for a variety of reasons. It could be a date that is special to them. A date that is available from their preferred venue. Or they might choose a particular season to get married in.
You can get married in the Hunter Valley all year round. But there are definitely better times of the year to get married than others. Here are some facts that might help you in choosing your perfect wedding date.
Hunter Valley Rainfall
According to Bureau of Meteorology, here are the facts.
Month with the most rainfall – February. With an average of 105.1mm of rain. Followed by March with 87.9mm
Month with the least rainfall – July. With an average of 32.6mm of rain. Followed by August with 36.5mm
When looking at the data, there is an obvious wetter and drier part of the year. November to March have the most rainfall. While April to September have the least amount of rainfall.
Hunter Valley Temperates
According to Bureau of Meteorology, here are the facts.
Hottest month of the year – January. Where it averages 30°C. On 26/01/2021 it reached 38.1
Hottest day ever – 21/03/2017 where it reached 47°C in the Hunter Valley.
Coolest month of the year – July. With an average daytime temperate of 17.8°C. Average night time temperate of 4.6°C.
Spring Weddings (Sept to Nov)
Spring weddings are the most popular season to get married in the Hunter Valley with October always seeming to be the busiest month every year. This means that demand for venues and wedding suppliers will be limited during Spring. Particularly on Saturdays and particularly dates during school holidays or long weekends. It’s not unusual to book out 18 month to two years in advance for Spring.
Mild temperates and less rain make Spring one of the best times of year to get married in the Hunter Valley.
Autumn Weddings (March to May)
Autumn weddings are just as popular for weddings in the Hunter Valley. March is always the busiest month in Autumn. Everyone seems to want March dates. Again this means that demand for venues and wedding suppliers will be limited during Autumn. Particularly on Saturdays and particularly dates during school holidays or long weekends. It’s not unusual to book out 18 month to two years in advance for Autumn.
Temperatures are perfect but there is a lot of rainfall in Autumn. But I really love Autumn weddings because of the colour of the trees and often the vines as well.
Winter Weddings (June to August)
Winter weddings in the Hunter Valley are the third most popular season for weddings. And Winter weddings are increasingly becoming more and more popular, particularly in the Hunter region.
For areas like the Southern Highlands and Sydney, Winter is the least popular time of year due to temperates and rainfall. But for the Hunter Valley, Winter has the least amount of rainfall and the temperates are quite mild. Perfect weather for a three-piece suit and a massive wedding dress.
Winter also has the best light of the year. The sun remains low in the sky and due to the temperate in the atmosphere, the sunsets are more dynamic and the light is softer and more golden. An average, ordinary sunset in Winter is better than the best sunset in Summer.
It is worth noting that the vines in the vineyards all die off during winter. There are no leaves on the vines and they are just sticks. The leaves come back to life in Spring.
Summer Weddings (Dec to Feb)
Summer is the worst time to get married in the Hunter Valley. Period.
Most people won’t tell you this, but it is a fact. Summer is too hot and too humid. And the light is much harsher and less flattering. People don’t realise, but the Hunter is alway much hotter than Sydney in Summer. It is also storm season and late afternoon thunder storms are common in Summer.
Last Summer I was routinely doing weddings around 35°C and I even did a 40°C day. Unless you are in a pool, it’s not pleasant. And unfortunately, couples are always a bit shocked at how hot it is.
The plus side is that the vines and the vineyards are looking their best in Summer. If you really have to do a Summer wedding, here are a few tips to get you through it.
- Dress appropriately for a hot Summer wedding. This means don’t wear a three piece suit or have a massive dress with ten layers. You will melt.
- If you are having an outdoor ceremony, choose one that offers some shade. The shade of a tree works well. Provide parasols and water for your guests to protect them from the sun and keep them hydrated.
- Have your ceremony later in the day. A 2pm or 3pm ceremony is pretty early for a Summer wedding. A 4pm or later ceremony will be slightly cooler and you still have four hours of light before the sun sets.
- If you are having your ceremony in a chapel, try to choose one with air conditioning or one that is open aired.
- Choose a venue that has air conditioning or has an open air option. Night can stay very hot and humid.
- Schedule time for sunset photos. The sunset times vary, but it can set at 8pm or later. The light in Summer in very harsh, but by doing some photos at sunset means it will be cooler for you and the light will be much better. Give yourself the best chance of getting beautiful photos of the two of you.
Find Your Wedding Venue
The first thing you have to do when planning your Hunter Valley wedding is to choose your perfect wedding venue. This is probably the most important step in your journey because it will dictate the whole event. your whole experience and will be the backdrop for your wedding.
There are so many awesome Hunter Valley wedding venues to choose from. Maybe it is because I shoot weddings there every week, but I find the venue staff and management in the Hunter to be so much more passionate and friendly than many other parts of the country. They really work hard to make sure couples are looked after and they know what good customer service is.
One tip in choosing your wedding venue. Try to choose a venue where you can spend the entire day there. My ideal venue is a place that has onsite accommodation for both of you. A nice location for your ceremony. A bit of land where you can take some beautiful photos on. With wedding receptions, I love venues that have a bit of character and are unique. I passionately hate venues that look like functions rooms that could be any hotel, anywhere in the world. Find somewhere with charm and character. Here are a few of my favourites that tick all these boxes.
The Convent & Circa 1876
Circa 1876 is a beautiful rustic restaurant that is part of The Convent Escarpment Group. It has 1.5 acre organic kitchen garden and this enables the chef to offer a paddock-to-plate cuisine. Your wedding will be beautiful, the food amazing and the backdrop for your wedding photos is endless.
There is on-site accommodation and beautiful outdoor ceremony spot. This place can accommodate up to 150 guests. This is one of my favourite wedding venues in the Hunter Valley.
Address: 64 Halls Rd, Pokolbin NSW
Adams Peak Country Estate
This is the ultimate country estate for your wedding as it has the most magnificent views of the mountains and its surrounds. This retreat is exclusive to you for your wedding day. It is a family-run business, hence you get nothing but the best of service and with the biggest smile on earth. There is onsite accommodation and locations for your wedding can be held just about anywhere on the estate. Adams Peak can cater up to 160 guests and it is amazing.
Address: 66 Adams Peak Road, Broke
Enzo Weddings Hunter Valley
Enzo Weddings Hunter Valley at IronBark Hill vineyard is a modern venue with rustic elegance. They have a fully air conditioned chapel overlooking the vineyards. And the wedding reception features high pitched ceilings, sandstone fireplace and it also overlooks the vineyards.
Mel and Aimee run the place make it their mission to make the day extraordinary for you. The stunning location, wonderful food and amazing service make it another one of my favourite wedding venues in the Hunter Valley. And I highly recommend you check them out.
Address: 694 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
Peppers Creek Chapel & Barrel Room
A long time favourite venue of mine, you really can’t have a bad wedding at Peppers Creeks Chapel & Barrel Room. It is a gorgeous property that has been doing weddings for 20 years.
The Chapel is a sandstone chapel set amongst the vineyards. The sides of the chapel open up to accommodate more people and to let a lovely breeze ventilate throughout. The Barrel Room. features three-metre-high Indian elephant doors at the entrance to the reception. And a rustic country interior that is perfect for a country wedding and can accommodate up to 180 guests.
Address: 1946 Broke Rd, Pokolbin NSW
Bimbadgen Palmers Lane
Bimbadgen in the local indigenous language means ‘Place of Good View’, and this place seriously has some of the most beautiful landscape in the Hunter Valley.
Onsite accommodation is available at Bimbadgen Palmers Lane, with some properties just a two minute drive away. Ceremonies can take place on top of the hill overlooking the vineyards and the Brokenback Mountain Range. Or you can have it down by the dam in front of the reception venue.
For the reception you can choose to have it indoors or outdoors under the stars and festoon lights. A pretty amazing venue that is becoming very popular.
Address: 790 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Wedding Planning Conclusion
Once you have your wedding venue, you are well on the way to planning your Hunter Valley destination wedding. The next two big suppliers you should book in are your wedding photographer and your celebrant.
We hope this page has helped you along on your wedding planning journey. The Hunter Valley is an amazing region and so perfect for weddings. And I hope this article has started you on on your way to planning your Hunter Valley destination wedding.
And if you are still planning your wedding and looking for a fun, relaxed and candid wedding photographer for your big day, we would love to be considered. Check out more of our work and get in contact if you like what you see.