Planning Your Wedding in Paradise (aka Queensland, Australia)

destination wedding paronella park australia
Paronella Park, photo by Matthew Evans Photography

Deserted sand keys in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest hideouts in The Daintree, Spanish castles overlooking the ocean – in Queensland, Australia, the options for a one-of-a-kind wedding are limitless.

Having so many truly spectacular options in one state is great, until you’re forced to pick just one. To help you do that, and everything else that goes along with planning a destination wedding, there’s local website Register Your Wedding. We sat down with Melanie Blight, one of the founders of the site, to find out more about planning a destination wedding in the Cairns, Queensland, area of Australia.

cairns wedding chapel hilton
The Hilton Blue Horizon Chapel in Cairns, photo courtesy of South Pacific Bridal

D42: How did Register Your Wedding start?
Melanie: This is such a popular destination area for weddings. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. We’ve got The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, which is the oldest rainforest in the world.

But there needed to be one place to bring everything together. This site is a one-stop shop, so you can see all the local wedding suppliers in one spot. When you are sitting on your sofa in Melbourne wondering ‘I want a tropical wedding, but where do I start?’ Here’s where you can.

D42: How can brides make use of the site?
Melanie: The website [acts as] your own free wedding website. You can upload photos, post your story, use it as a social platform, have a gift registry and share plans with your guests.

When they’re ready to send out their save the dates or invites, we send them little pretty cards that go into the invite and direct family and friends with their own personal private code. So their website is completely private. And it’s theirs forever so if they want to post about the honeymoon or anything after they can.

palm cove destination weding chapel
Angsana Great Barrier Reef Chapel in Palm Cove, photo courtesy of South Pacific Bridal

We also have a helpline. So if they have any special needs or requests they can call and we know the area and the hotels and we can guide them.

And we’ve got all the different vendors, you name it, we’ve got it. Photographers, florists, cakes, etc. So you get an understanding of what they’re like and then you can call them direct. And family and friends can use it as well.

We have fantastic rates on everything too. We’re not a discount site but we’re about providing cheaper rates at all spectrums.

D42: How do you ensure the vendors on your site are high quality?
Melanie: There’s an application process and within the process we get references. We want people who are really involved in the industry and we do the reference checks.

Also, we are local, we’ve all been working in tourism and weddings for a long time, so we know the suppliers and we speak to all our couples as well.

paronella park wedding australia
Paronella Park, photo by Matthew Evans Photography

D42: Of the hundreds of options for weddings here, what are some of your favorites?
Melanie: We’ve got some really special chapels in Cairns, Palm Cove, and Port Douglas with amazing water views.

If you’d like to, you can even get married scuba diving. People do it more than you would think.

[Another idea], you can take a helicopter out to a sand key and get married in the middle of the ocean.

We also have the rainforest where you can get married.

Another spot is Paronella Park. It’s this castle built [by Jose Paronella] in the 1930s. It’s magical. ,It really is out of this world. There’s a lovers tunnel that leads to waterfalls and picnic grounds and these lovely trees with seats built into them.

With The Great Barrier Reef, you can get a charter boat out and do your wedding on the boat, do snorkeling, the whole works.

It’s basically what can’t you do out here. You can get married bungee jumping if you want.

kuranda skyrail australia
View from the Kuranda Skyrail, photo by Sarah Carrillo Riswick

D42: If they’re already getting married in one of these amazing locations, do many couples just stay for the honeymoon as well?
Melanie: A lot do stay, especially if they’ve got a lot of family and friends traveling for the wedding.

But I’ve heard girls saying they’re going to Europe, or Fiji or Hawaii after the wedding.

[And if you do stay] this is a very unique area. There are not many places where you can do rafting, scuba diving, take the Skyrail or train through the rainforest. We can really do it all here. We have some amazing spas up here too.

We always tell people to tell their family and friends to plan on staying before or after the wedding because there’s so much to do here.

For more help planning a wedding in Queensland, Australia, check out registeryourwedding.com.au

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