WHERE THE SAND MEETS THE SEA
Between its gorgeous beaches and lush bushlands, Margaret River is one of Australia’s hidden gems, offering a naturally beautiful backdrop for the perfect destination wedding. Western Australia Wedding & Bride’s Kirrily Ireland speaks with Deb Funnekotter, proprietor of Losari Retreat, to discuss how brides- and grooms-to-be can be the ‘hosts with the most’ at this beautiful seaside location.
TAKE ME TO THE [MARGARET] RIVER
Peacefully situated nearly 300 kilometres south of Perth’s bustling CBD, Margaret River is an excellent escape from urban life and is dubbed “the perfect romantic playground for newlyweds”. Whether you plan to fly down from other parts of the state or make a road trip of it, you can look forward to a relaxing time with lively places to explore and delicious food and wine to enjoy. “The region is known for its gourmet food and wine,” Funnekotter affirms, “but what many don’t know is how much the region has to offer with its breathtaking beauty. Not only do we have the most beautiful beaches you can imagine, we are also surrounded by forests that tower over you, unique wildlife, as well as a large variety of local products from our farms. There really is something to suit everyone!”
Like with any trip, and especially a destination wedding, it’s important to consider the different climates to expect throughout the year. This could very well help you decide when to set the date and book your venue, and will also help you and your guests figure out what to pack! Funnekotter explains that Margaret River embodies all four seasons. “Summertime offers long days with gorgeous sunsets, and cool evenings. We always recommend our guests have a Plan B ready in case of rain. We can offer our beautiful stables, which is a beautiful reception space, especially with the right décor.”
If you prefer the in-between months, autumn and spring “offer a stunning backdrop with the turning of the trees”, perfect for photos. And although it’s the harshest – and coldest – season of them all, there’s no need to rule out a cosy winter wedding. “Wintertime is cold and wet, so make sure you have an indoor setting, with plenty of fires and red wine,” Funnekotter suggests. “The starkness of the leafless trees against the green, green grass is absolutely stunning.”
No matter the season and the weather it brings, Margaret River is sure to make your wedding that much more special. The festivities won’t have to start and end on your wedding day either; with so much to do and see, you can make a whole holiday out of your time there.
IT’S ALL IN THE PLANNING
With so much to offer, it’s no wonder why Margaret River is one of Western Australia’s key wedding destinations. While travelling beyond your local city to say your vows and celebrate your love with close friends and family is certainly exciting, it does involve a bit more planning than the average wedding – with not only the wedding itself to organise, but also the accommodation, travel arrangements and many other key considerations.
“It’s always advisable, if possible, to visit the area before planning your wedding at a destination,” Funnekotter says. “That way you know what you are looking for and have an idea of what some of the challenges might be.” Consider hiring a wedding planner local to Margaret River, who will have the right contacts and will be familiar with the area. “Communication is of the utmost importance to ensure a smooth-sailing event,” the proprietor affirms.
Since many of the responsibilities will fall onto the venue, Funnekotter advises couples choose a place with a supportive on-site coordinator. “We are always on-call for our brides and grooms, as we know how important your wedding day is.” The venue might even have its own connections with other local vendors to make the process of booking everyone in, from the photographer to the stylist, makeup artist and music, that much easier. “The wedding is such a personal and very important event of everyone’s life. This is why we don’t offer any package with a strict list of suppliers or vendors. However, we have a dedicated list of our suggestions with some local companies to have a look and get inspired.”
On top of organising vendors and finding a wedding planner who knows the area well, you’ll also need to book accommodation – not just the honeymoon suite, but a place for all your guests to stay too. “Margaret River has a big community based on tourism,” Funnekotter says. “Our property can accommodate a maximum of sixteen guests per night, so we always provide a list of nearby hotels, chalets or accommodation for the extra people.”
MARRIED AT LAST
All the planning and travelling might cause some stress – if not merely some fatigue – but the pure beauty and relaxation that Margaret River provides will offer that much-needed relief. Although all wedding days come with their ups and downs, once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ll want the rest of the experience to be as effortless as possible.
One of the ways to achieve such serenity is to hold the ceremony and reception in the same place. “There’s nothing more tiring than your wedding day!” Funnekotter attests. “The less travel and movement of people, the better. We love that when you have your ceremony and reception at the same place, it means that the whole place is yours. When you arrive at Losari, you can relax knowing that all you need to do is enjoy the day.”
Better yet, with places like Losari Retreat offering accommodation as well, there’s no reason to not keep your sleeping arrangements close to the main festivities too. “Having the accommodation at the same place as the reception is great as you [can] organise the day and be on-site for any last-minute changes or queries … It also means in organisational terms, that guests staying elsewhere only require one trip to the property and one trip out after the reception. And after your big day, it takes nothing to walk to your villa and enjoy the pure luxury of a lovely hot spa before dropping into bed!”
A destination wedding to Margaret River is certainly well-worth the extra efforts. What better way to say ‘I do’ than surrounded by Australia’s stunning natural landscape, far away from the stresses of your everyday life? After all, a wedding is the perfect excuse for a holiday – for both you and your significant other, and all your precious loved ones.
Image courtesy of Losari Retreat