If you want a wedding that is different, then you’re not alone. Most couples that walk through our doors for our hourly consults are looking for some venue ideas and inspiration.
Taking the bespoke wedding to the extreme is getting married on one of Sydney’s Islands. The more popular islands are: Shark Island, Rodd Island and Clark Island (I haven’t included Fort Denison as it is a full service venue). Bespoke as it may be, organising a wedding of this kind is definitely not for the faint hearted, or even for those on a budget much to the surprise of many couples who are attracted by cheap(er) venue hire. Before you go ahead and secure your island wedding, there are a couple of things you may want to think through first.
- Loading in your guests. Arranging guest transport for all your guests will either mean booking several water taxis or arranging one large ferry or the like. Our favourites are COAST Harbour Cruises and Rosman Ferries. This means a lot of organisation. Making sure your guests are there on time to embark, making sure you have a plan for any late comers (yes there will always be late comers), and most importantly covering the expense. If you have a wedding planner (we would suggest at least a half day coordination), naturally this is something that they can manage for you, but be prepared to budget for the additional transport.
- Bumping your vendors in and out. Bumping your vendors in and out to an island can also be quite the exercise on your budget. Any vendors you book will require earlier access to the island which is an additional expense for you to cover (water taxis, barges etc). Because of the extra labour involved in getting across to the island, this is usually reflected in an increased set up and dismantle fee. It may also involve slightly more staff to get in and out of the public wharf quickly. If a public ferry needs access to the wharf while you are loading the water taxi, they have right of way!
- Your celebrant. Your celebrant also needs to arrive to the island. They can either travel with guests, but they would probably prefer to arrive in a private water taxi to allow them to set up, check the PA and make sure everything is ready in anticipation for the guests. They also need to get back to wherever they came from. So you’ll also be responsible for this as well.
- Wet weather back up. Several of the islands don’t have sufficient shelter in the event of a down pour. So please be prepared! Being stuck on an island with nowhere to go in a heavy shower is not a great look for anyone. Having a backup plan could be as simple as getting married instead on the same ferry or yacht that your guests arrived on. But again, you may need to consider additional catering, or at least drinks to make sure your guests are looked after on board. Speak to us about our Rainy Day Protection Program.
- Rubbish Removal. If you are trying to do it true DIY style, you need to remember that there are no rubbish facilities on the island. Whatever you take on, you need to take off, including empty bottles and decor! This is a service that Girl Friday Weddings can do for you, but in the event of doing it yourself, if really helps if bottles are stacked neatly back into their original boxes they came in. Trust me, it will save you time when you’re bumping out!
- Beating the light. Depending on the time of year you’re getting married, the days can be quite short. If you are cutting it down to the wire with your event conclusion, remember you still need to finish early enough so that there is enough daylight for your vendors to bump out, otherwise you could find yourself up against a whole new set of problems. Including overtime charges.
An island wedding in Sydney is not cheap and definitely not easy. It is an event we would always suggest having extra assistance with. Island weddings can be the most beautiful intimate events with some of the best vistas Sydney has to offer, but when you book your island wedding, just remember to be realistic about your budget and the amount of planning you’ll require and you’ll enjoy the event from start to finish.