The beauty of getting married here is there are so many idyllic locations in close reach – you could have the ceremony with one amazing backdrop, your photos with another and a reception somewhere else, and it’s seamless,” says Emma Lilly, an event stylist at AVPartners and just one of the on- island wedding experts. “The co-ordinators and stylists know every tiny detail, every angle, and all lighting conditions, at every time of day, for all of the places.” And so there’s the elegant deck of the Yacht Club in the fresh, clean light of the morning or a balmy, golden afternoon. There are the breathtaking views from Catseye Beach or the elegant marquee on the Outrigger Lawn. Vows under an arch at One Tree Hill have spectacular 360 views. Or there is the picture- perfect, white, wood-clad All Saints Chapel and gardens, the prettiest in all the Whitsundays. Cast off, or take off in a helicopter, and arrange something incredible on the iconic silica sand of Whitehaven Beach, or enjoy the sweeping views from Dent Island. “The weather’s predictably perfect, even in winter, when it’s still 20-something degrees and sparklingly clear,” Lilly adds. Outsource everything to an expert and emerge resplendent on your detail-perfect dream day.
The island’s wedding specialists will do anything for love.
Forget the tired pick-a-package deal. Personalise your table settings, menus and ceremony to make things unique. “Bringing cultural traditions together with this iconic Australian scene is also really special,” says Lilly. “We’ve done some beautiful Asian tea ceremonies.” Need some starter inspo? “There can be up to 350 weddings a year on the island, so we’ll share what’s been beautifully done before, show photos of a space at exactly 3pm, then 7pm,” Lilly explains. “There are packages that make it easy, though nothing’s set in stone.” Make a mood board from snaps on [Instagram account for all weddings not just AVPartners].
The fun factor makes the day unforgettable. Arrive via chopper or sail off into the sunset on a gleaming yacht. Active weddings are an emerging trend. Hike to Passage Peak for sunrise photographs, paddle a canoe or snorkel with your wedding party. “I love when the bride and groom strip down and run straight into the water or celebrate ‘trash the dress’, especially out at Whitehaven,” Lilly says. “Underwater photos of the white gown in that clear, bright turquoise ocean are just incredible.”
THE WEDDING FEAST
Food helps set the mood. Romano’s restaurant plates up gorgeous Italian dishes, Mariners syncs seafood with the island atmosphere, but if casual fish and chips on the sand is more your speed, go forth and buffet. At Coca Chu, overlooking Catseye, the chef serves signature, spiced dishes (beg for the son in law eggs, trust us) share-style on a long table. That’s a celebration.
Love a tumbling flower chandelier, a low-key posy or a flower crown? Hamilton Island’s local florist is a specialist in preserving blooms in the heat. Local tropicals look beautiful with the natural setting, but your favourite imports can be sourced, too. Have a consultation on palettes, shapes and what’s seasonal – bright freesia and alstroemeria in summer, heliconia or bird of paradise for autumn, sweet william in winter and perfect roses for spring. Oriental lily blooms all year up here.
Time to think about the music. If you fancy a five-piece, a rock god or perhaps a solo harpist who also does pan flutes, the wedding planners here have talented local musicians and DJs on speed dial. And if you’re flying in your favourite, AVPartners has audio gear on the island to cut down on the hassle and costs. Go with a specialist island photographer, too – they know the light and shadows best. “Do a walk-through with the photographer a day or two before the ceremony to nail the look you want,” says Lilly.
DRESS YOUR SPACE
Lilly’s best advice: “Investigate how different lighting options will transition from afternoon through sunset into the evening and how each will play back in photos.” If floral installations and decoration are part of your vision, consider the Outrigger Lawn your spot. “It’s our most creative space and has an indoor-to- outdoor flow from the marquee to the lawn that can be set up beautifully.”
The Clownfish Club can look after little ones during day weddings, or carers can provide crayons and run games at the children’s table at receptions, while the island babysitting service comes to rooms and private houses. There is a jumping castle at Fun Zone, which is a perfect way for kids to bounce off all that energy.
For further information, visit hamiltonislandweddings.com and avpartnerswhitsundays.com