The number one question I get asked by couples who haven’t yet set a date for their wedding is, “can you recommend anywhere good in Sydney for my reception?”. This is quite a broad topic in itself and you will have to factor in such things as food options, capacity, parking and proximity to the ceremony venue. In this list I’ve collated our most popular Sydney wedding reception venues (in no particular order), with a personal account of our experiences there and whatever information we know about them.
Parking: Plenty, free
Beware though – if you partition the room some of the noise can carry through from the other room. We had some loud Lebanese drumming from the adjacent reception which caused some interruption to our night. Make sure to check with the event manager that this will not happen.
The banquet hall in the main castle is absolutely stunning, with engraved high ceilings, a spacious dancefloor and capacity for around 300 guests. It’s a little tricky to shoot in because of the high ceilings and the fact that it’s fairly dark in the room, but we usually bring in external lighting to lift the brightness of the room up a little without destroying the ambiance.
Curzon Hall is one of our favourite places to shoot because of the variety of areas around the grounds to photograph in. In the daytime you can roam the well-tended gardens and get some gorgeous greenery, and by night the whole venue is tastefully lit so you can get some amazing wedding photos at the front, by the rotunda, and even in the garden in the back. Curzon Hall also features a grand staircase indoors which lends itself to very romantic, dramatic photos (not to mention the wet-weather convenience).
I was concerned that on our wedding day we would run into other bridal parties and ruin the magic of the day, but this didn’t happen as the staff were very efficient in directing guests to their respective rooms and keeping us all separate.
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Le Montage in Sydney’s inner west also has a number of rooms of varying sizes to accommodate most wedding parties. With the same owners as Curzon Hall, they have lots of experience with traditional and cultural weddings. A lot of Indian and cultural couples have been choosing Le Montage because they allow external catering. For Hindu wedding ceremonies, they permit lighting of a contained fire indoors.
We’ve had only good experiences at Le Montage and have heard the same from our couples. There’s a great range of areas for photographs – Le Montage is situated on the edge of the Parramatta River, which by day offers beautiful water views and jetties, and by night has fairy light-wrapped trees along the water’s edge for some moody, romantic images. There’s a grand staircase inside with a large glass chandelier, and a neighbouring park for some greenery.
Check out more of our Le Montage wedding photos
Concord Function Centre
We have photographed countless events at Concord Function Centre, and have experienced top-notch professional service and delicious food. It is run by my good friends, the Gujrals, who are seasoned Indian food caterers and restaurateurs, who cater for all diets and tastes.
Concord Function Centre staff run a very tight ship – I’ve watched in awe as they turn a theatre-style seated ceremony into round table seating for the reception in less than an hour! Their venue is also perfect for other events like engagement parties, pre-wedding events and birthday parties.
There are some stylish lounges in the actual centre for photos, but I would only use those if it’s raining. Cabarita Park nearby is one of the best parks in Sydney I’ve photographed in and is the best option if you still have some daylight. It has a stretch of beach, a long pier, old boats and lots of dense greenery which make for excellent photographs.
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If you’re looking for a contemporary, stylish venue then you should look into Sergeant’s Mess. The decor and furniture is clean and elegant, complementing the stunning panoramic views of Chowder Bay.
Your guests can mingle in the separate bar area before entering the reception, and hang out on the balcony to enjoy the views. The bridal room at Sergeant’s Mess is probably the nicest I’ve seen in any Sydney venue – the spacious room features large ornate red chairs and lounges which we’ve done whole bridal photo shoots on (a bonus on a rainy day).
Sergeant’s Mess also has a small lawn adjacent to it which is perfect for an intimate civil ceremony. I’ve also used the area a short walk down the road, for a bridal party shoot against the water and old buildings (see the slideshow below).
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Situated high on Bradley’s Head in Sydney’s North, the top room affords uninterrupted views of Sydney’s famous skyline. There’s nothing like watching the sun set over the city while enjoying some great food and company.
They have a permanent marquee behind the main building which is perfect for small (up to around 150 guests) ceremonies. We’ve photographed civil ceremonies there as well as Hindu and Malayali weddings.
You are permitted to go with a guide through the actual Zoo and get photos by the bird amphitheatre (which has the best views of the city) and outside some of the animal enclosures. As the sun sets, you can get stunning scenic photos on the long outdoor balcony.
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Situated near Parramatta, Oatlands House is a charming estate neighbouring a golf course. It’s a photographer’s dream: a broad stone facade with large ornate columns, a cosy interior with classic paintings and a fireplace, and quaint gardens with white wrought iron chairs and tables. At night, the whole exterior is subtly lit which makes it perfect for dusk and night photos.
We’ve photographed everything from grand Hindu ceremonies to intimate civil weddings at Oatlands House. The beauty of the venue is that you can do all of your photos on site – there’s plenty of variety, day and night. Being part of the Navarra Venues group (including Curzon Hall and Le Montage), you can be assured of prompt, reliable service and a well maintained venue.
Check out more of our Oatlands House wedding photos
Waterview, Bicentennial Park Homebush
We love shooting at Waterview in Bicentennial Park. The function centre is surrounded by vast photogenic forests and avenues of trees, all within minutes. There’s not much else around the area so as long as you’re happy with lots of lovely greenery and trees then this is an excellent venue.
We have photographed Indian and traditional weddings here so it’s quite versatile for small to very large (500+) groups. For Hindu ceremonies, an indoor fire is OK. The main room can be quite dark at night, but we do bring our own lighting to subtly brighten up the room when needed. The room’s best feature is its massive dance floor – more than ample space for 300 rowdy Indians.
Check out more of our Waterview Bicentennial Park wedding photos