First stop…Port Douglas!
Many people who live here or are coming to the region for their wedding know it as a popular tourist destination (hey, is that Bill Clinton? Again?) The area offers a great beach, a slew of hotels and resorts, and even a cute little chapel on the water. Below are a list of some of my favourites.
Flames of the Forest
Think Phantom of the Opera meets a Tropical Rainforest and they have a love child made of fairy lights. Intrigued? A little way out of Port Douglas is Flames of the Forest. The venue has been specifically designed to hold dinners, weddings, and business gatherings and everything is there for you – the tables, chairs, linens, lighting, caterers, bar – everything. They even pick your guests up and transport them to the venue (you cannot drive separately due to parking restrictions), and more importantly, take them home.
From the moment you walk into the venue your jaw will drop. They only do showings at night and as soon as you enter, you will know why. The ancient rainforest trees are lit from underneath, a small creek gives soothing background noise, and the candelabra trees give off the most romantic lighting. Entering the dining area you see suspending chandeliers twinkling over the tables below. Past the dining venue is an area which is one of the dreamiest spots for a ceremony I have seen. The trees are lit and hanging from them are giant stars covered in fairy lights.
The place in pure magic and reasonable priced too considering you have everything in one spot (yes, even toilets). Added bonus for the partiers…no noise restrictions! That means if you want to keep the dancing into the night, you are free to do so (as long as it is arranged beforehand of course!) And if you have a large number? No worries, they can hold about 200 guests easy. Have a look at their website.
In the heart of Port Douglas, you will find a walkway with a sign marking Nautilus Restaurant. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you may miss it altogether and that would be a colossal mistake! The venue, which is only open at night, is tucked quietly into the rainforest and is divided on a series of levels making it even more intriguing. The different levels can be used to host a variety of events during the evening. You can have your cocktails in one section, dinner in another, and then change again for the dancing!
The venue offers a range of ‘Modern Australian’ menus from canapés to Five Course chefs tastings. Anything you go with here will knock your pretty little wedding shoes off. If you fancy a cocktail, they have some of the best bartenders in the area who can whip you up a refreshing Lychee & Lime Caprioska. The linens come with the venue and so do their amazing Balinese style chairs – great to save some money on your linen hire bill!
Nautilus caters to weddings up to 150 guests – have a look at their new website
Four Mile Beach
Fancy being sandy? Four Mile Beach allows weddings! The picturesque landscape is host to some amazing scenery and can be used for the ideal Beach Ceremony. Keep in mind that you are open and free to the elements out there so a wet weather option is a necessity – nobody wants to fight a rain-drenched veil.
Rex Smeal Park
If you can’t get enough of being beachfront – set up the reception at Rex Smeal Park. Because the land is Council owned it is reasonably priced but keep in mind that it is a park so you do not have exclusive use (your area will be reserved) and you will have to bring everything in – that’s ok though – you can hire someone special (hint hint) to set it all up for you. The photos that you will get from here are just magic as well.
One of the most stunning and well sought after venues in Port Douglas gives couples the amazing ability to have a blank canvas to decorate how they like. The Sugar Wharf is built over the water so you get some amazing views. Plus, you can get married outside on the decking, or at nearby St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Amenities at the Sugar Wharf are basic which gives you the freedom to add all your special details. We have a beautiful wedding coming up there with a vintage nautical theme and I cannot wait to show the images!
Keep in mind that it is a Council run property which means costs are minimal (great for your budget!) but restrictions are higher.