Whitsundays: wedding paradise

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If paradise suits you just fine as a ceremonial backdrop but the whole overseas thing is worrying you into a pretzel, we think we’ve found a superb solution that could quite possibly be the best kept secret of the century. Just off Queensland’s tropical coast are a breathtaking copse of islands that serve as ideal locations for weddings and honeymoons. The Whitsundays are a stretch of true paradise with beauty that unfurls well beyond the horizon. We took a trip up there and brought back six stunning venues that would make any wedding an event to behold.

 

Coral Sea Resort Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach nestles in its midst a newly-refurbished sweet spot; a wedding venue that seamlessly traverses the eye from land to jade sea. The Coral Sea Resort presents an oceanfront wedding location where vows can be made against the best backdrop Mother Nature has to offer. With its own tropical gardens and access to a beautiful beach and marina, photo opportunities are abundant. And when sunset eventually burns a trail across the heavens, that feeling of enchantment invariably blooms. From the Coral Sea Resort’s private jetty, the deepening sky morphs captivatingly as you share an unforgettable culinary experience with the only faces you want to see on such an important occasion. And with staff who treat you like the only wedding party alive, it’s an experience you’re unlikely to ever forget.

Coral Sea Resort, Airlie Beach. Resort photoshoot: 11-16 June, 2012. Coral Sea Resort

 

Villa Botanica Airlie Beach

For the ultimate experience in boutique weddings, Villa Botanica is a venue that presents, in its entirety, a jaw-dropping experience. Surrounded by native Madagascan plants and views out to sea, you could almost believe yourself elsewhere in the world. The Balinese-influenced architecture throughout the establishment adds to the illusion and leaves you wide-eyed and rather excitable; step through the intricately-carved dragon’s mouth to the arresting splendour beyond.  Staff at Villa Botanica pride themselves in hosting a limited number of weddings each week, leaving them free to extend to each wedding party their undivided and inexhaustible attention. The delicious food—impeccably presented—is one thing; the attentive service quite another, but the childcare facility is what convinces you of the well-run, well thought out establishment it is. And since all it offers is yours for the duration, nothing less than a screaming good time will be had by all.

MAIN VILLA DOORS (2) RECEPTION FOOD (2)

 

Qualia Resort Hamilton Island

On the southern-most tip of an island overrun by fun, nippy, golf buggies, Qualia is a high-class venue that sits gracefully overlooking the vast expanse of blue sky and ocean. Beautifully designed rooms boast quality in every detail, from the smallest fixtures to the wide retractable glass panes that open out onto a polished wooden deck beyond which is a private pool. Hamilton Island’s postcard perfect white wooden chapel offers a beautiful ceremonial location as does the outdoor alternative of Pebble Beach. Receptions can also be held at Pebble Beach or in the privacy of Qualia’s Beach House Pavilion. Either way, luxury is at the heart of all this resort has to offer.

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Lover’s Cove Daydream Island

At the foot of a short flight of concrete stairs is a hidden cove you would scarcely believe existed had you not been told about it. Nothing but a wide and beautifully-crafted boardwalk separates you from the coral beach and the eddying shoreline beyond. When darkness falls, an arrangement of lanterns and fairylights softly illuminate the short expanse of board walk like dim fallen stars. You can’t see the sea, but its reassuring sigh lets you know it’s there. It all adds to the enchantment of the place; a versatile location that is beautiful by day or night, and perfect for ceremonies, receptions or both. As part of Daydream Island Resort and Spa, it’s the location for intimate parties and one of the best recreations of a night-time wonderland we’ve seen.

gallery22c Lover's cove

 

Hamilton Island Golf Club

A quick ferry ride from Hamilton Island or an even shorter helicopter flight away, Dent Island acts as host to magnificent views and Hamilton Island’s Golf Club. Atop a gentle rise with a vista that slips into the sea, an idyllic ceremonial location beckons. A quick buggy ride away is an equally perfect reception venue complete with friendly, attentive staff, beautiful décor and food that easily rivals that of any 5-star restaurant. Like most things associated with Hamilton Island, the Golf Club is another fine example of the sort of luxury you feel rather unwilling to leave behind.

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Hayman Island Resort

Hayman Island, Australia’s most awarded private island, is dedicated almost completely to luxury resorts and private beach villas. It’s the epitome of natural, restorative beauty and little else rivals its place of refinement and upmarket standing. Opulence is a staple, as is impeccable service. With a variety of locations for your wedding—beaches, chapel, gardens and tropical rainforests—you’ll doubtless find a spot that’s implicitly you. Hayman also has restaurants and outdoor settings that make ideal reception venues, as well as a beautiful spa that takes care of all your pampering needs. And when it comes to accommodation, we need only mention the option of sprawling penthouses and private villas with outdoor showers to make our point.

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