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14 October 2009

Lots of FREE and beautiful public wedding venues in Canberra ACT

Hello, and welcome
Last week I said I’d write more about weddings in ACT public places. We have so many marvellous options, like huge gardens, native (the National Gallery gardens ) or exotic (like the rhododendron gardens in Commonwealth Park). We have superb sites of historical and international significance, like the Carillon and Nara Park. (Did you know that Nara Park symbolises the friendship between Canberra and her sister city Nara, in Japan?)  
From so many free and beautiful options, it can be hard for a couple to choose. The favourite spot used to be Aspen Island, with the wedding near the Carillon. Now it’s probably Nara Park in Lennox Gardens. The new rose gardens at Old Parliament House are also very popular, and they’re often booked out well in advance.

Because public places are public places, no-one can actually use them exclusively. You can however. make a booking to use a public place which will (ideally and hopefully) give you precedence in using that place for your private function at a particular time on a particular day. You book with the National Capital Authority and they send you confirmation, or they let you know that the place you want will not be available.
Here’s a quote from their very helpful website:

Venue Bookings on National Land

Event organisers can now book venues on national land though the NCA website. The form, which can be completed at any time of the day, asks a series of questions about the proposed event.  Once submitted, it is sent to the NCA for processing and then if approved, the event organiser will receive a confirmation email.
The NCA manages all venues on national land within Canberra, which are available for public use at no charge. A small works approval application fee is applied if structures are erected, and a refundable bond may also be required.
 Over 900 events are held on national land each year from wedding bookings,   through to major public events.

You can print the booking confirmation you get from the NCA and show it to anyone who turns up because they want to have a picnic or barbecue. Most people will understand and give you the exclusive use of the place you’ve chosen. Even though you may have a booking, I would always recommend that you send a guest early to ‘stake out’ your spot.

Not only will the notification from the Authority give you strong bargaining power, there’s another advantage of making a booking. I have heard over the years that if you ask nicely, the Authority will see that the lawn is mown and the place tidied close to your wedding date. Now that private contractors look after public gardens, I’m not sure that this offer still holds. It’s certainly worth a try though.

From the many photos on my hard drive of weddings in ACT public places (that I have the permission of all appearing in the photo to publish) I’ve chosen some from a unique wedding held at the top of Black Mountain in February last year. 
Shuang and David were married on February 23. It was a typically hot late summer day and the wedding had a real 'Aussie' feel to it. David was from the US and Shuang originally from China.
The reason I chose this wedding to illustrate my blog about public places is its reference to Canberra as our national capital, especially for visitors from overseas. When you get married in Canberra and invite guests from interstate, their visit is enriched by the opportunity to see and visit our national icons and treasures, like the Captain Cook water jet.

I’ve got some other ideas to share with you about weddings in ACT public places. Next week  I’ll show you photos of an exquisite public place for a wedding with up to about forty guests. It would be a perfect venue for a wedding on the October long weekend, any year. I think you’ll get a surprise to see the elegance and loveliness of this public, yet sheltered and private, wedding place. And of course, like other public places in the ACT, it’s free to anyone from anywhere who makes a booking.

I also intend to write more about unique elements in David and Shuang’s ceremony. If you’re planning a wedding ceremony, their wording may inspire you to be braver about your own input into the wording for your own wedding. Remember always, it’s your day. Once you’ve met all legal requirements in your ceremony, the rest is up to you. When choosing your celebrant, it’s a good idea to make sure that they are comfortable with whatever wording you choose and can help you create exactly what you want. (As I totally love to do!)

I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions, and you'll get a prompt reply. If you'd like to email me about your wedding, please click here.
Till next Tuesday


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