Luna Park may be one of Melbourne’s most iconic locales, but few people realise it’s also one of the city’s most magical wedding venues.
Located by the beach in trendy St Kilda, the century-old fun park is better known for its roller coaster (which wraps around the entire Park), its stunning hand-crafted carousel (one of the last remaining in the world) and, of course, Mr Moon, the unmistakable 16-metre high smiling face whose giant mouth thrill-seekers enter the Park through.
However, located at the top of a hidden set of stairs set at the back of the Park lies a doorway to one of Melbourne’s most lovely, most romantic and, certainly, most breathtaking spots to get married.
Like the rest of Luna Park, the heritage listed function room turned 100 years old last December – and the architecture simply cannot be matched. From the tall ceilings and exposed wooden beams to the stunning giant, circle top windows that overlook Port Phillip Bay, you can feel the room is dripping in history.
It can seat 250 people for an elegant sit-down meal or up to 400 for a cocktail wedding, and your guests can dance the night away on a huge, polished wood floor that was once a dodgem car track and they can order drinks at a bar that has served tens of thousands of Melburnians from early last century, through two wars and even a Depression.
But, just because the room is oozing with history and lovely historical details doesn’t mean it’s old fashioned or Old World, for that matter. The spacious room is surprisingly versatile and, because the Park has a century worth of props and gear to call upon, its experienced events staff can easily transform it from elegant and stately to modern, colourful and, well, utterly cool.
“If there was one word I’d use to describe Luna Park as a wedding venue, it would have to be magical, absolutely magical,” says Sam Henry, Luna Park’s events co-ordinator.
“I can’t even describe how heartbreakingly beautiful this place is especially at twilight with the twinkling carnival lights of the Park in the background and the sun setting over the Bay, all wrapped in the sound of fun and laughter and joy in the fair ground below.
“And to watch a couple make a promise of a lifetime surrounded by all this magic? Well, it’s something you and your guests won’t ever be able to forget and that’s what a wedding day is about: magic, joy and memories.”
Henry, who has worked in hospitality and events for more than a decade and now teaches the next generation of Events Co-ordinators, says that Luna Park is also one of the most unique places to have your wedding photos taken.
“There is just nowhere else in Melbourne with Luna Park’s atmosphere and there certainly isn’t anywhere else you’ll get pictures like these.
“Wedding photographers, in particular, love it because they have a chance to capture the bride and groom in a really fun light – and their photos certainly aren’t the usual ones where a couple trots off and stands in front of things,” he says.
“I love seeing the look on a newlywed couple’s faces as they clamber onto the Ferris wheel or roller coaster. You simply can’t take a bad photo here. And, of course, the look on their faces when they pull up in front of Mr Moon’s giant mouth, well, it’s priceless.”
The best bit is that, depending on which of the Park’s many wedding packages a couple chooses, their guests can have the run of the park and enjoy the rides while they’re off having their photos taken and, says Sam, ” it’s like letting group of kids loose in a chocolate shop.”
Henry adds that one of the other advantages of holding a wedding (or any event) at Luna Park is that it is so versatile.
It suits couples who are after elegant affairs just as well as fun couples who want to be creative on their big days and want to treat themselves – and their guests – to something truly different and one-off.
“We’ve organised weddings with circus themes, vintage themes and barn-style themes, as well as more laid-back weddings, but we’ve also held very traditional sit-down weddings where there are lots of wonderfully coiffed people decked out in tuxedos and ballgowns,” adds Sam.
There is no set menu as every event is tailored to the couple and the choices vary from grazing platters and antipasto towers at a cocktail wedding to cheese stations and candy bars, as well as buffets and whole roast lambs and even suckling pigs.
“We really are only limited by the couple’s imaginations but even if they aren’t creative, we’re a pretty imaginative bunch. Just tell us how you see your wedding running and we’ll make it happen and ensure your wedding day truly is one of the best and most magical days of your life.”
For more information, visit www.lunapark.com.au