Here are my top picks so far:
1. Mosman Art Gallery
I love the classy vibe of this place even though we haven't actually been there yet. The wooden floors and exposed brick walls would make it seem really cosy in winter (and we may be able to do something with draping on the ceilings to make it even more intimate). So far the Mosman Council website has been very informative and upfront about venue hire and optional extra costs. The best thing is that we can provide our own catering, do our own decorating and the hire cost is charged at an hourly rate. We'll be having a look next weekend, so fingers crossed it all works out as this has been one of the few places we've both immediately agreed upon.
2. St Anne's
A friend of mine recommended St Anne's Ryde (even though she wants to have her own wedding there one day!) as it is a beautiful old church with a newly built function centre. I checked it out last weekend with my mom and Phoenix (who set the alarm off accidently) and we really liked the look of the church. The lady who came to check up on us after the alarm incident said the centre has become popular for tea after the ceremony and there have been a few receptions there too, so I think it definitely has potential. Photos on the site show a well-equipped, modern commercial kitchen so catering wouldn't be a problem. Plus we'd save transport costs by not having to travel between the ceremony and reception venues.
I don't think we've got prices on this on yet, but it looks like a pretty good view and I love that the sunshine will be streaming in on a potentially cold winter's day. Much attention is drawn to the fact that alcohol is permitted on the premises and that full moon weekends are especially beautiful..
I can't really tell much about this venue (which is part of the Collaroy Services Beach Club) from the photos, but it's reasonably priced for venue hire, only costs $10 to become a member of the club and is close to where a fair proportion of our guests live.
Also a nice-looking venue, but drinks can only be purchased from the bar and it looks as though it's on the ground floor.
When I found this venue through a council site, I got really excited that this was the one. It's cheap to hire, relatively new and in a good location. But when Phoenix and I took a look one weekend with my mom, she wasn't very impressed. It's really not bad but walking in up the ramp you can see out over the backs of apartment blocks. The ramp is a bonus though as we may have a few grandparents attending. The image is from the wedding of Hope and Gavin featured on Offbeat Bride.
Dating back to 1783, this house is Australia's oldest European dwelling. I actually can't believe they let people use it as a function venue. The only problem is that the dining/drawing room and colonial kitchen each have a seated capacity of only 40. And there's a set caterer. Well, I can always dream. I think this would be such a pretty venue and really tie in with our vintage theme.
That's all for now! (A shot from our engagement party..more photos and DIY ideas to follow)