In our humble opinion of course! But as one of the busiest wedding bands in Melbourne we've played literally hundreds of wedding venues, eaten their food, worked with the event managers, seen the way they operate back of house, treat suppliers and staff, and how they put on a perfect reception for the couple and their guests.
Let the countdown begin...
5. Coombe The Melba Estate
One of Melbourne's newest venues, but not without a fascinating history. Positioned on the highway in Coldstream, Yarra Valley, the estate of Dame Nellie Melba includes a restaurant and function space in the converted stables, a providore and cellar door. There are also many perfect spots for photos, both around the building and overlooking the valley and vineyards.
Given the quality of the events they produce you'd be forgiven for thinking that they've been around for years. Sarah and the events team are friendly, efficient, organised and make it easy for the client. We recently had a client, based in Hong Kong, marry at Coombe and Sarah and the team made it a breeze for them to organise the wedding from overseas.
Onto the food! Arguably the most interesting and imaginative food being created for functions in the Yarra Valley, the Coombe kitchen is making a name for itself. As for the wine? Surely it's a given! Top quality small batch local wines under the Coombe Farm name, you can enjoy reds and whites in all the renowned varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as the very popular Pinot Gris and newly planted Shiraz.
For more info on our number 5 check out Coombe the Melba Estate here.
4. Leonda by the Yarra
Unlike the fresh-faced Coombe, Leonda is a Melbourne institution when it comes to weddings. Situated on the Yarra river in Hawthorn, it's an easily accessable location with even the option for the bride and groom to arrive or leave by boat!
Leonda are a well-oiled machine when it comes to hosting weddings, especially those with a large guest list. We've done receptions of over 250 guests in their main reception room. They also have many nice touches that only experience can bring: well-equiped bridal suite, optional (quality) cocktails on arrival, and L'Occitane soap in the bathrooms.
Where they really get their reputation though is the food on offer. Three, four, five courses - from antipasto to oyster platters, steak and mind-blowing desserts, Leonda takes function food to another level.
But why do we love them so much? A huge dancefloor, lighting and brilliant acoustics makes our bigger band options sound incredible in this space.
For more info on our number 4 check out Leonda by the Yarra here.
3. Zonzo Estate
Yes another Yarra Valley venue and a little further away but what you get in return for your journey are views to die for! You'll enjoy a glass of vino (or several) overlooking the rolling hills of Yarra Glen.
Zonzo Estate has won numerous Best Restaurant Reception awards with ABIA and continues to win over Melbourne couples with its Italian family-style platter meals. This is not your run-of-the-mill reception venue. Here you get the freshest local ingredients, served up in antipasto and unlimited traditional pizzas, all for the families to share. It's a super fun way to host a wedding and always sets the tone for partying later on.
Zonzo also feels like a big family affair. Every time we go back we're greeted by the same lovely kitchen and floor staff and they go out of their way to make the guests and the suppliers feel at home. There's a certain buzz at Zonzo that makes us excited every time we get to play there.
For more info on our number 3 check out Zonzo Estate here. Or the lovely team at Ivory Tribe recently posted a brilliant selection of photos from Dan and Michelle's wedding at Zonzo courtesy of Stefani Driscoll Photography
2. Sault Restaurant, Daylesford
Ok so it's not strickly Melbourne. Ok it's not Melbourne at all. But it's absolutely worth the trip. Sault is so unassumingly brilliant that we felt it deserved number 2 for this blog. We'd happily drive the 1 hour 40 mins to Sault every weekend over many venues in Melbourne, so you should too!
Owners and happily-married couple Damien and Jodi are the loveliest of hosts ensuring your wedding day at Sault is as perfect as theirs was (yep even they got married there). Acres of lavender, a chapel, a lake, a balcony and a Spanish chef named Santiago Nine-Fernandez - does it get any more romantic than this?
It's also a credit to Jodi and Damien's leadership that we get to enjoy friendly and happy staff who obviously love Sault and love working there. This is certainly not always the case in the hospitality industry!
Finally, to the most important part about a venue - the food. Head chef Santiago is turning local produce into mind-blowing morcels of food they call entrée, main and dessert.
And the winner is…
When it comes to ticking all the boxes for what couples look for in a venue, Maison takes the cake. In our experience it’s hard to find a venue in Melbourne that can host large numbers and still create a beautiful, elegant atmosphere fit for a wedding. Maison is the exception: a stunning Georgian façade, perfectly landscaped gardens, and an immaculately presented ballroom that can seat over 300 guests. Maison creates that dream wedding atmosphere without either being over-the-top or feeling like you’re at a conference.
It’s not looks alone that gives Maison our number 1. Mark and the team understand the unique nuances of putting on a wedding compared with just another event. Their attention to detail and pleasant manner with both guests, suppliers and particularly the bride and groom ensures the night runs smoothly, and ultimately keeps everyone happy. It’s not often we perform for a 300 person wedding and enjoy personalised service and top restaurant-quality food like we do at Maison.
If you’re looking for a venue that does everything to perfection; brilliant and interesting food, large capacity with style, easy location (with free parking - again rare with large-capacity venues), beautiful gardens and a stunning ballroom, then you can thank us for helping you find it!
If you’d like to find out more about our number 1, check out Maison here.
Honourable Mention: Red Scooter
This venue probably deserves a top 5 listing, but Red Scooter is somewhat of a divider amongst couples. And this is purely on aesthetics alone. It's really, well, red. But if you LOVE red or you don't want your wedding to look like everyone else's then you've just found your venue.
The team at Red Scooter are absolute pros at putting on events. Friendly and efficient, they go out of their way to give you what you want, and they do it to perfection. Top-notch food, a big selection of drink packages, an exciting bar, funky vibe, cool bridal suite - we wish more people booked their weddings at Red Scooter.
If you're umming and ahhing about venues, just take a drive to Balaclava. If you go on vibes rather than following the trend then Red Scooter might be your answer.
For more info on our honourable mention check out Red Scooter here.
Disclaimer: this article is completely the opinion of the author and no venues were contacted or consulted prior to posting.