sydney harbour wedding

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I’ve grown up in Sydney and the majority of my wedding photography career has been in or around the area. Planning a wedding can be stressful at the best of times! So any tips and tricks you can get to help make your special day run smoothly, the better! I’d love to share with you some of my best kept secrets to making your Sydney wedding go off without a hitch!

1. Hit up pinterest to nail down your theme.

While facebook and instagram can be great places to find inspiration, Pinterest is going to be your new best friend when it comes to deciding what feel you want your wedding to have. Are we thinking classic elegance, boho chic, modern romantic? The list goes on… Whatever you’re looking for you will find in droves there! Just like if you were ripping photos out of magazine and hanging them up on a wall, Pinterest allows you to create ‘boards’ and attach ‘pins’ which are just photos that you like. You can make a custom board to fit your theme, which will come in super handy when you’re hunting down suppliers and need to communicate exactly what style you’re after.

If you’d like some inspiration from some of my past weddings to add to your board you can find my account @cupidandcostudios. Get pinning!

2. Set your budget.

An article in The Daily Telegraph, estimated that the average Sydney wedding costs $70,000 which is double the price of the national average. At first glance it can be hard to know where all that money goes, but when we’re talking about a day that most brides dream of since they’re little there’s no doubt emotional decision making comes into play. Whether you’ve got 70k to spend or are planning a more modest soiree, there are ways to make any size budget go further.

A good tip, if price is a concern, is to look into having a winter wedding. The summer season (generally December through to March) is peak time for weddings and as such is much more difficult to find specials. Booking in the middle of the year (June to August) means suppliers are more likely to have specials to help get couples through the door. Venues are usually the first places to look for deals around this season.
Alternatively you can always check if a supplier has payment plans on offer, but be careful to read all the terms and conditions carefully!


3. Do-it-yourself or get a professional involved?

A wedding planner can be an absolute heaven send, especially if you don’t have a lot of free time. A veteran planner knows exactly the right suppliers to turn to in order to bring your vision to life and take care all of the unforeseen stress the planning can involve. It’s not just knowing the right people to turn to, but it’s also having the creativity to bring an idea from paper into the real world. Choosing a planner inevitably comes back to your budget and how much you want them to do.

If you’re going the non-planner route, don’t feel like google is your only resource. Australian wedding magazine Hello May and New Zealand mag Together Journal are fantastic resources for not only inspiration but also to find suppliers. You can turn to Mr. Theodore for all things LGBTQ+ friendly. Alternatively online wedding directories such as Easy Weddings or Ivory Tribe can help bring every supplier you could possibly need to your fingertips. We’re talking clothing, flowers, venues, transport, entertainment, accommodation and so much more.

A lot of venues offer all-in-one packages that include not only food and beverages but also styling and sometimes entertainment. Even if they don’t offer everything, they will likely have a list of recommendations for other suppliers they’ve worked well with, so it’s always worth asking if you’re stuck on a particular planning element.


Where you hold your wedding in everything. Not only to the overall feel of the day but also to your schedule and how the day flows. My advice would always be to keep things as geographically close together as possible. It maximizes the amount of time you have in the day and ultimately the amount of time you have to get all your photographs.

For most, your schedule for the day starts with getting ready, ceremony, family/bridal party and couple portraits and then finishing with the reception. As a photographer my favourite time of the day is the portraits post ceremony. The less time spent on travel means more time to capture stunning photos. Ideally if you want family photos, capture them at the ceremony venue and then move to the portrait location with the bridal party. Giving yourself an hour and a half (or two if you’ve got to travel involved) is plenty of time.

If you’re in the CBD there’s tonnes of fantastic portrait locations – from the Sydney Botanical Gardens, The Rocks, the wharfs down by Walsh Bay, Observatory Hill, and of course Circular Quay with the Opera House. If you’re in the North there’s Milson’s Point, Bradley’s Head, Blue’s Point Reserve or if you’re closer to Manly you can head to North Head with its array of coastal lookouts and beautiful coves such as Colin’s Beach.

Most importantly, be aware that the local councils of Sydney love money and generally require permits for wedding photography. The worst offender for this is the Botanical Gardens who are notorious for booting anyone without a permit. Don’t get caught out, always double check if you need a permit before choosing a location and bring a copy on the day.


5. Picking a photographer

I won’t lie, I’m a little biased when it comes to recommendations on photographers! However there are some really important points to consider when booking your photographer to make sure you’ve got the best person for the job.

Style is so important! It’s more than just the look of the photos, but the way the photographer will work with you on your day. I shoot in a mixed documentary/ editorial style. For me that means a lot of what I capture is candid, but given that getting your photo taken can be a daunting experience (especially when you’ve never had to be in front of a camera all day) I will give you subtle direction to help you look your best. I’m not a fan of super posed couple photos, a lot of the time they don’t really show the personality of each person.

If you’re the kind of person that feels self conscious in front of a lens, choosing a photographer that shoots only in a documentary fly-on-the-wall style might have you feeling anxious throughout the day.

Alternatively if you’re a very laid back couple it wouldn’t make sense to choose a highly stylized photographer who is heavy on ‘creating moments’ instead of letting them happen naturally. Following this logic, you should choose a videographer with a similar style to your photographer. Asking for recommendations of people they have worked well in the past is a good idea.

In your initial consultation make sure that you connect with your photographer on a personal level – that you feel comfortable talking to them and they in turn make the experience fun and informative for you. Unlike other suppliers who do their job and disappear, your photographer (and by extension your videographer) are going to be spending the whole day with you – so choose wisely!

6. Just BREATHE!!!

You’ll hear people tell you time and time again how quickly your wedding day goes by and they’re not wrong! When all is said and done – no matter if it’s rain, hail or shine – stay focused on being in the moment. Enjoying things for what they are and remembering that you’re getting married!!! It’s a celebration and in the years to come you’ll forget about the inconsequential little details. So don’t get caught up in stress, take a deep breath in and out and before you know it the day will be over.

And that’s it! I’d love to know if you found any of this information helpful in your planning stages or if you have any tid-bits of wisdom of your own to share about having your wedding in Sydney. You can head down to the comment section or share this article on social media using the links below.

The Ultimate Guide To Planning A Sydney Wedding

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