The Ultimate Stones of the Yarra Valley Wedding Guide

The Stones of the Yarra Valley Wedding Venue – Wedding Guide by Forever and Always Photography


Are you on the search for a truly one of a kind wedding venue in the Melbourne area?

Well, look no further. Because you might have just found the perfect location to create a truly unforgettable experience for both you and your guests on your wedding day.

Imagine the air filled with the sweet aromas of wine, flowers, and sunshine, as the Yarra River meanders gracefully through a valley of breathtaking beauty. You’ve just arrived in the Yarra Valley – the epitome of romance, that will captivate your heart with its picturesque natural scenery.

And amidst the rolling hills and lush vineyards…
Rising from the rustic, weather-beaten remnants of a barn left idle for generations…
With uninterrupted, sweeping views across acres of vines to the blue-tinged Great Dividing Range…

…the Stones of the Yarra Valley’s European-inspired charm, elegant atmosphere, and romantic ambience has earned it a place among the top Yarra Valley wedding venues.

So picture your wedding in the solitude of a rural wedding theme… With historic farmhouses & barns linked by European-inspired paths across acres of manicured lawn, seemingly endless rows of vines, and Mother Nature at her finest…

If that all sounds intriguing to you, then I’m here – as your favourite Melbourne wedding photographer – to give you all the information on holding your wedding at this picturesque venue. And to help you decide whether or not the Stones of the Yarra Valley is the perfect location for the happiest day of your lives.


Stones of the Yarra Valley – Your Ceremony & Reception at the Wedding Venue of your Dreams

With a stunning rough-rendered chapel and dairy nestled in the lush green landscape, you’ll find anything – and everything – you could possibly dream of for your special day, right here at the Stones of the Yarra Valley.

They offer you multiple wedding package options for both your wedding ceremony and reception, depending on what you’re looking for. As a HUGE bonus, they’re also dog-friendly, which means your fur-babies can actually be a part of the happiest day of your lives.Add in all the mouthwatering dishes you can choose from and a selection of some of the best wines & champagnes you can get – and you just might have found the perfect location for your wedding day.

Preparations

Photo from Google

One of the best places to get ready for your special day – The Day Room – is actually located onsite!

It’s a beautiful open-plan space with its own driveway and courtyard, nestled away on the Stones property, within walking distance of all the key locations of your big day. This means you’ll get more time to soak up the magic of your venue – before the actual magic even begins.

It comes complete with your own private bathroom, multiple salon-like high chairs & mirrors, and large floor-to-ceiling windows illuminating the place with natural light. This makes it ideal to get your hair & makeup ready while shooting some precious photos before your ceremony.

So get your bridal party together and set the vibe with some music or a bottle of Chandon Brut (already waiting for you when you arrive), and immerse yourselves in the very first moments of the happiest day of your life.

Photo from Google

Alternatively, you can also choose to get ready offsite in one of the Yarra Valley’s many elegant, romantic, or cozy hotels – like the Tuscan Suite, for example!

While going offsite to get ready does give you a bit more time to prepare for your day of love & joy, remember to factor in the time it’ll take for you to actually get to your venue. Also – due to the space constraints and hotel rules – you might be restricted to getting dressed only, and have your hair & makeup artists add the finishing touches somewhere else.

Wedding Ceremony

If you’re planning your wedding at Stones, you’ll get fantastic options to hold either an indoor or an outdoor ceremony – depending on the weather on your big day, as well as your specific vision. 

If you’ve always dreamed of having an outdoor ceremony with the sun shining and Mother Nature as your witness, then here’s your chance to host your ceremony & say your vows under the canopy of the magnificent, heritage listed Elm Tree located on-grounds.

Photo from Google

Imagine saying “I do” right under the graceful arch of the elm tree, with your guests seated in the shades over the lush lawn. Oh, and don’t worry about the weather: you’ll STILL have The Chapel as a backup in case it rains!

Speaking of which: no matter how hard you look, you won’t find a more charming onsite chapel in Victoria. The Stones Chapel encompasses all of the romance and warm ambience of your special day.

You will absolutely adore the arched windows flooding the space with natural light. You’ll love how the soaring ceilings provide amazing acoustics, and how the timber pews give you an unparalleled authentic experience. Also, make sure you take some time to check out the balcony upstairs for a moment of respite with your special person straight after the ceremony.

Wedding Reception

Once you’re officially married, it’s time for your wedding celebrations!

The Stones of the Yarra Valley is home to two of the most iconic wedding venues in the region – The Barn and The Stables – letting you choose the perfect one for your dream wedding.

Photo from Google

The Barn is the best choice if you’re planning on hosting a big reception. After all, the historic Stones Barn can accommodate anywhere from 65 to 200 guests. The perfect space for your reception; high ceilings for all your hanging installations, exposed beams throwing back to its rustic origins, floor to ceiling windows overlooking the 200 acres of vineyards and of course an ample dance floor!

Located just a short stroll from The Chapel past elm trees and fountains, The Barn is the best choice if you’re planning on hosting a big reception. After all, the historic Stones Barn can accommodate anywhere from 65 to 200 guests, and offers everyone spectacular panoramic views of over 200 acres of vineyards through its floor-to-ceiling windows.

Its high ceilings with exposed beams will throw you back to its rustic origins, and are perfect for hanging all your installations. Oh and don’t worry about not having enough space to show off your moves – its spacious interior will give you an ample dance floor.

Photo from Google

If you’re looking to have a more intimate wedding with fewer guests, The Stables at Stones will be your best bet. It seats anywhere from 40 to 63 guests, amongst high walls with unique brickwork dating all the way back to 1868. It also comes with a vine-laden al fresco area, so it’s charming, it’s intimate – and it’s right where you want to be to celebrate your love with your closest circle of friends & fam.

During & After Your Wedding

Remember I mentioned that there’s a dairy too?

Photo from Google

Well, after your ceremony, The Stones offers a unique pre-reception area called The Dairy for your guests to enjoy canapés & drinks at, before the commencement of your reception.

With a gorgeous open-plan layout and panoramic windows, your guests can enjoy drinks, have a bite, or even have some fun playing lawn games – while you’re being swept away for photos. You can choose between several food & beverage options for your guests, and you can even arrange for some acoustic music to play softly in the background too!

Since you might not get a chance to actually enjoy The Dairy with your guests, it could be a fun idea to hire a second photographer to capture all those candid moments that will happen when you’re not around. (It also makes sense to hire a second shooter if you’re planning a larger wedding with 200+ guests)

Is there a core group of your guests that you want to extend the celebrations with either before or after your wedding?

Photo from Google

Whether you’re thinking about organising a pre-wedding banquet dinner in a newly renovated semi-private dining space called The Brewhouse…

Photo from Google

Or a post-wedding recovery lunch in space fitted with a private bar and courtyard called The Warehouse…

…Meletos – a restaurant right there on the Stones property, with one of the best views of any restaurant in the Yarra Valley – is the perfect place to make it happen.

Transport & Accommodation

Unfortunately, taxis and Ubers have proven to be quite unreliable in the area, leaving guests stuck for over an hour in the past (true story).

So, I’d recommend using one of the excellent transfer options to and from Stones – such as White Classic Jags, Enrik Limousines, or Yarra Valley Rides.

As for arranging accommodations, the Stones of the Yarra Valley has its own stay – called The Farmhouse – with 22 lovely rooms and a magnificent Tuscan-inspired bridal suite right there on the property. This makes it perfect for you and your closest circle of friends & families to stay after such a magical day.

Alternatively, you can find countless classy hotels and cozy Airbnbs to stay at in the Yarra Valley area.

How to get the best wedding photos – Photography timeline

So, now that you know the place – how should you plan your day to get all your heartwarming photos without stress

While there’s no “one size fits all” option, coming up with a timeline in advance will definitely take the weight off your shoulders, and give you one less thing to worry about on your big day.

Preparations

Estimated timespan: 2-2.5 hours

Imagine all the whirlwind of intense emotions you’ll experience while preparing for your wedding.
The anticipation, the excitement, the thrill…

Regardless of whether you want to prepare onsite at The Day Room, or offsite at one of the hotels (like the Tuscan Suite), I’ll be there to capture all.

If you’re getting ready onsite, I’ll arrive as your hair and makeup artists are finishing up (unless you request otherwise). We’ll crank the music up, pop some champagne outside in your gowns, and then I’ll capture every moment as you’re putting on The Dress that you only get to wear once in a lifetime.

Your onsite photoshoot will take about 1.5-2 hours (an hour for the bride, and about 45 minutes for the groom).

If you’ve chosen to get ready offsite, I’ll be there with you from the very start, since limited space and hotel rules means your hair & makeup artists will probably get you ready elsewhere. So, we’ll share a drink together, I’ll shoot the details of you putting on your dress, and finish off with a stunning window portrait.

Now, it’s important to note that your offsite photoshoot might take a bit longer: about 2.5 hours in total for the both of you. So just make sure to factor in this extra time when planning your big day!If we have even more time, we can take this opportunity to shoot a few family photos, bridal party photos, or couple’s portraits – leaving less items on your “to-do list” for later, meaning less stress and more fun all throughout your day!

First Look

Estimated timespan: 15-30 minutes

As I’ve mentioned in my article all about having first looks, your first look can be as long – or as short – as you want it to be. But we still need enough time to allow you to take it all in & enjoy the experience – without rushing it.

As for the location, the Stones of the Yarra Valley presents countless beautiful options for you to choose from.

If you want to go indoors, I’d recommend having your first look in the privacy of The Chapel in front of your floral setup.


Or, The Stables, Or even the doorway to the accommodations (although you might have a small audience there).

If you want your first look to be outside, I’d recommend having it under the Fig Tree, or – if it’s not waterlogged after rain – at a paddock behind the accommodations near where they land the helicopters (so you can even choose to fly to the property to save some time and be extra cool).

But again, you really do have endless options here, and you can’t go wrong with any of them! So wherever you choose to experience this magical moment together, make sure you take this time to soak in the feels of this once-in-a-lifetime moment.

Even if you’re on a tight schedule. In this case though, I’d suggest that you choose a place that’s close to your ceremony location so you still won’t have to rush through your first look. After all, you only get one first look…

But if we have some time left – and you’re up for it – we can take advantage of the beautiful natural lighting, your glamorous and still fresh hair & makeup, and the extra time to get a few couple’s portraits in as well. This will mean one less thing for you to worry about later on in the day. And less stress always means better photos!

Ceremony

Estimated timespan: 20-40 minutes

So now that your guests are all seated, there really is one thing left for you to do.

It’s time for you lovebirds to finally get married!

The ceremony is one of the most profound moments of your entire day, filled with authentic moments of both you and your guests. Laughs, tears, smiles, and hidden glances – and I’ll be there to capture them all.

Regardless of whether you’ve chosen to have your ceremony at The Chapel or under the Elm Tree
…you’ll be in beautiful surroundings, embraced by your friends & family, with your soulmate squeezing your hand.

Immediately afterwards – while your guests are still lining up outside, getting ready for your flower petal parade – I’ll whisk you upstairs to the balcony area of The Chapel for some spectacular photos in front of the famous circular window.

Hugs & High-Fives

Estimated timespan: 10-15 minutes

You’re the stars of the day, and it’s time for your rockstar moment. Imagine walking out – as husband and wife, for the first time ever – with your guests showering you in rose petals.

Now, if you’ve ever seen a “flower shower” where the couple practically drowned in petals, don’t worry – this is won’t be you! I’ll instruct your guests to throw the petals up & over, and NOT straight in your faces!

Afterwards, I’ll jump up on the fountain to take a big group photo while we still have everyone in one place, and then let all your guests approach you for hugs, kisses, and congratulations.

Family Photos

Estimated timespan: 10-15 minutes

In case you’re worried that Uncle Steve will want a gazillion shots with you, in a billion different poses, don’t worry. You’re in safe hands with me.

My key strategies will ensure that you’ll get all your cherished family photos, without dragging the family photoshoot longer than you’d like. In fact, if you’ve chosen to get ready offsite, we can even save some time here by taking your family photos (or at least some of them) earlier, in parallel to your getting ready photos!

Because what nobody else will realize is that you’ll already be excited about your couple’s portraits. And you definitely don’t want to lose even a second of it – which means we’ll have to smash out your family photos nice & quick, without missing anything, or feeling like we’re rushing through them.

And just in case you want extended family photos, you can always put aside some time from your reception.

Bridal Party Photos

Estimated timespan: 10-30 minutes

As soon as we’re done with your family photos, it’s time for your bridal party to turn the music up (I’ll bring a portable speaker), pop a bottle of sparkling, and have some fun!

Again, it’s completely possible to save some time here by having your bridal party photoshoot earlier, together with your getting ready photos. It all comes down to your own preferences, your unique vision, and your planned schedule.

Couple’s Portraits

Estimated timespan: 40-60 minutes

You know how sometimes you come across a truly beautiful wedding shot on Instagram and say – “Damn, that’s beautiful. I wish that was me”?

Well, the time to make that dream a reality has finally come!

Unless we’ve had an extended first look with your couple’s portraits – or maybe even if we’ve done those already…
…this is your chance to get some of the best photos you’ll ever have in your lives together on one of the most beautiful properties in the country.

We’ve got so much to play with here…
…classic photos around the chapel, running off together into the vines, circling back to the Stables.

Drop in your hero shot in the sunset and a few truly emotional photos of the two of you on the magnificent Stones driveway – there’s simply no way we can go wrong here!

Reception

Estimated timespan: 4-6 hours

Photo from Google

Before you enter your reception area, feel free to take some time to freshen up, take a breath, and have a sip of water too.

And once you’re ready, it’s time for your second rockstar moment: your big entrance into your reception.

Regardless of whether you’ve chosen The Stables or The Barn, you’ll be greeted with a thousand twinkling fairy lights, illuminating your way to where your guests are already waiting for you.

Photo from Google

Now, Stones has the incredible option to add in a champagne tower for your reception, regardless of which venue you’ve chosen. And trust me: you’ll want to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Photo from Google

They’ll build their stunning 5-tier champagne tower with your choice of bubbles cascading down 55-ornate glass coupes – leading to dropped jaws, stunning photos, and a whole lot of fun.

As we head on to your champagne tower, you can stop for a moment to take it all in (and for me to snap a few breathtaking shots of you too), and maybe even raise a toast to your guests.

Afterwards, I’ll leave you to enjoy your wedding. But don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere just yet. I’ll be floating around making sure to capture the lol’s, the tears, and the shape cutting on the dance floor. I’ll also let you know if it looks like we’ll get a mad sunset, or I’m also happy to take you out for a night shot if you’re keen.

Now, to make the most of your reception photos at the Stones of the Yarra Valley, I have a few extra tips for you.

  • Have the bridal table at the head of the room facing all the tables. This way you won’t have your back to anyone, and you’ll get a “front row seat” to see all the action unfold.
  • Make sure you’re not walking in from the side door (that’s near the toilets) and slink into your seats. That’s very “un-rockstar-like”. Instead, take the longer route around and then parade in-between the tables together, all the way to your seats. Alternatively you can also enter via the dance floor double doors at the back of the venue.
  • If you want to get amazing shots of your cake, make sure you don’t put the cake directly underneath one of the strong yellow lights, as that completely ruins the lighting for those photos.
  • Don’t keep the cake in the corner of the room! Instead, move it to the center-top of the dance floor so your guests can get a good view of you (and so I can also get some amazing shots of you two cutting the cake in front of everyone).

If possible, don’t have formalities planned over the sunset period. It’s such a beautiful property, and the sunset views are so epic that it would be kind of a waste to have everyone listening to a speech inside while the sun is out there painting a van Gogh on the landscape and the sky.

Fireworks Finale

Estimated timespan: 10-15 minutes

Photo from Google

What better way to end your reception than with one final grand display? Just sit back and relax to enjoy your own private show within the wedding, while I grab some spectacular photos of you both. Hold hands, kiss, or cuddle up – I want the two of you to “just be” in this moment. And I’ll work my magic.

Sparkler Exit

Estimated timespan: 10-15 minutes

Photo from Google

An epic end to an epic day – a guard of honour with sparklers!

Let your guests send you off to your new life as a married couple with thousands of twinkling little stars, glimmering lights, and flying sparks. The Stones crew are masters at organising your final farewell, so leave it in their capable hands. And just walk out when I say “Go!”


Photo from Google

Hopefully by now, you believe me when I say that every inch of Stones is just so tastefully curated, it’s an absolute pleasure to behold – and a privilege to attend. Beset among rows of vines and century-old oak trees, the unmistakable history of the 19th century buildings brings a timeless charm that will endear itself to all.

I hope this wedding guide helped bring some clarity to how this stunning venue can easily be home to the best day of your lives. If you’re intrigued and ready to make it happen, make sure to get in touch with the team at Stones to book your date as soon as possible! And if you’re on the lookout for a photographer that knows all the nitty-gritty details of shooting breathtaking wedding photos at the Stones of the Yarra Valley – get in touch. I have a hunch you’ve just found The One.