The Mornington Peninsula is a stunning coastal region located about an hour south of Melbourne. It’s the home to some of the best wineries, beaches, restaurants, and epic scenery in all of Victoria. We may be slightly bias but it’s true, because we’re lucky enough to call it home! Which we think makes us pretty *expert* worthy to be sharing all the T about how to plan the ultimate Mornington Peninsula elopement!
From stunning cliff tops, to epic back beaches, to fine dining, winery hopping or intimate picnic experiences. Plus an array of epic accommodations and activities like soaking at the hot springs, or hitting up the many rock pools. The Mornington Peninsula is the perfect spot for your epic elopement experience. Whether it be a one day adventure down from the city, or a week long celebration getaway! Allow us to show you everything you need to know, to start dreaming up your Mornington Peninsula elopement today!
Perks of Eloping on the Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is home to an array of unique landscapes, meaning if you are after almost any natural environment, you’ll most likely be able to find it here! *besides the desert – we’re not “that” cool*. From epic coastal cliff tops, to black sand beaches, to white sand beaches, to forests, to epic bush walks, private farm property oasis’s’, lake side views, and everything in between. There is so much diversity to offer, that you will be sure to find your perfectly unique and true to you location somewhere special right here on the MP.
There is so much to do and see here on the Peninsula. Whether you are planning an epic day with a nice away. Or you’re looking to extend the celebrations to a week long honey moon. You have so many amazing experiences to chose from. From soaking at the most amazing Peninsula Hot Springs, rock pool hopping around the coast, hitting up the delicious cuisine, checking out the fine dining resorts, partaking in a wine tour, checking out the local wildlife or going on epic bush walks. You could even take a ferry ride across to Phillip Island, French Island or Queenscliff to explore another region for a day! You can perfectly tailor your elopement experience, filled with the things you love to do, to make it the most incredible experience of your lives.
To say the Mornington Peninsula is lacking epic places to stay, would be an absolute lie. There are so many incredible accommodation experiences awaiting your special day. From a stylish getting ready location, to a romantic cabin for a private *chef made dinner*, to epic resort getaways. You’ll be sure to find an accommodation, that ticks all the boxes, and makes you feel right at home on your elopement day!
How to plan an Mornington Peninsula elopement
Step 1: Brainstorm your vision
Before finding inspiration of what’s been done before. We recommend taking some time aside and sitting down with your partner and having a brainstorming session together. Make it fun, like a date night together, where you dream up your best day together. Whether that be over drinks, snuggled up on the couch with a cuppa tea, or on a picnic at the beach. Diving deep into all the possibilities and finding out what you REALLY want will truly allow you to create your very best elopement experience.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself during your brainstorming session:
- What have been the best days that we have spent together as a couple? Where were you and what did you do together?
- Describe how your dream elopement day would feel — are you relaxed? Excited? Free of any stress and obligations? Dive deep into the feelings you desire on your day
- What does the scenery look like? Do you see mountains? A city skyline? A waterfall? An ocean? Cliffs? A desert? A lake? A cabin in the woods? A winery? A beach?
- What about the weather, temperature, and what you are wearing?
- What would be the most comfortable and the most you?
- Who do you see there with you on your day? Your friends? Family members? Your fur baby? Or are you craving a “just for us” experience?
Try not to put too much pressure on yourselves to have it all figured out at this stage. Instead, try to explore all the possibilities, with nothing being out of bounds. Explore what feels most aligned with who you two are, and then narrow down your ideas later on!
Step 2: Research & find vendors who can help
The next step, is too research how to bring your vision to life. It’s time to discover who do you have to hire and what do you have to book in order to bring your vision to life. Which areas of your day can you DIY yourself? Which areas do you need some help?
Be wary that not everything will go perfectly to plan. Be flexible and be okay with pivoting. Most of the time it turns out even better than you originally planned! Remember to stay positive and enjoy the process. You only get to plan your best day once, so make it fun, go with the flow and enjoy bringing your dream to life!
Also remember, that you don’t have to do it all alone, remember there is industry experts who can help! If you don’t have a photographer who can also guide you through the planning process (like ourselves). Reach out to a planner, a friend, ask people out in the community, on social media, or even a local company. Think about who would have the knowledge to the insight your after, and just simply ask!
Step 3: Narrow down your details
Once you’ve discovered who you are thinking about hiring, and explored all your unlimited possibilities. It’s time to set the details in stone. From here you’ll want to set the date. Somethings you may want to consider when choosing a date, could be…
- Which time of year do you love the most?
- Is there a date or time of year that has significance to the two of you?
- When is your favourite time of the day? and what time of year will allow your timeline to fall during those times?
(ie. sunrise, golden hour, sunset, etc.)
- Does it work for your dream vendors?
- Is there events or holidays during that time that will conflict with your date?
Since you know you’ll be eloping on the Mornington Peninsula, you won’t have to worry too much about setting the exact location just yet. As you can pretty much plan your vendors, accommodation, meal and post elopement celebratory spot (if applicable) with under 30 minutes drive anywhere within the region!
From here, you’ll want to narrow down which vendors and experiences are absolute must haves, and begin booking them in! It’s important to work out which vendors and experiences you value most, and which areas of your elopement day you are capable of doing yourself! Perhaps documenting the experience and staying in the perfect cabin in the woods is at the top of your list and you feel like you could put together your own bouquet and your families happy to help with dinner. Use your budget to book the vendors you value most and then delegate the rest. Remember your dream team can usually most definitely help you with all those nitty gitty details. So once you’ve booked them in, be sure to ask for help!
How to legally elope on the MP
To legally marry on the Mornington Peninsula, you will need to follow the steps below…
First, you must:
- Not be married to anybody else
- Be older than 18 years of age
- Have a great understanding of what marriage means and freely consent to marriage
- Have a signed Notice of Intended Marriage form (NoIM) filled out by each partner, and witnessed by a legal celebrant at least one month prior to marriage
- A registered celebrant must conduct the ceremony and submit the paperwork on your behalf
- You need two witnesses over the age of 18, to sign your marriage certificate and witness your ceremony (This can be a family member, friend or a vendor present, such as photographer or videographer)
Step 1: Find a celebrant or a registry office
To begin your search for a celebrant, you may want to start on the Attorney General’s website. This is where all legal celebrants in Australia are listed and you can refine the search by specifically typing in Mornington Peninsula. Or alternatively, a great way to find vendors is through instagram or a quick google search. Simple search “Mornington Peninsula Celebrant”. Immediately, you will be met with a large list of options and you can get to know them right off the bat from their profiles and website! It’s important to find a celebrant that you connect with, is also passionate about elopements and understands your intentions for the day.
Alternatively, if you wish to have a symbolic ceremony on the day without a celebrant present. You can legally file the paperwork beforehand. This is a great option if you wish to have minimal people there with you on the day and want to have a private vow reading. Or if you are opting for more of an adventure, perhaps a bush walk or in the sky in a hot air balloon?! Symbolic ceremonies are no less special. If anything they are more intimate, and allow you a safe space to say your vows, commitments and promises to one another in possibly a more authentic way. All this means, is that you will have two ceremonies. One legal, and one symbolic. You can still celebrate your anniversary on the day you had your true elopement experience, and conducted your symbolic ceremony.
Step 2: Complete a Notice of Intended Marriage Form (NoIM)
A NoIM form must be filled out at least one month, and no more than 18 months prior to your elopement date. These forms collect all relative information from both partners, and must also be signed by both partners. Your celebrant or local registry office can also assist in the process of completing your NoIM form.
Step 3: Aquire all legal Permits
Depending on where you elope on the Peninsula, you will most likely be required to have permits. These permits cover a ceremony on public or state land, as well as media coverage for your photographer and/or videographer. If you are unsure which permits you may need, it’s best to contact the local council in your area, or ask your vendors as they can always help if you need!
For most Mornington Peninsula locations, you can inquire for your permit here: https://www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/Activities/Event-Planning/Weddings
Step 4: Submit Your Paperwork and Pay Any Fees
After your elopement day, the next step is to submit your marriage certificate. This can done by your legal celebrant or through your local courthouse. At your elopement ceremony, your celebrant and 2 witness’ will sign 3 marriage certificates. Within 14 days of your legal ceremony, your celebrant will file your paperwork to the “registry of births, deaths and marriages” on your behalf. It’s important to also consider any fee’s that may be included in your ceremony. Whether you chose to go through the court house or through your own legal celebrant. There are fee’s included in filing the paperwork. These fee’s typically range from $300-$500 AUD.
Choosing a location
Luckily for you, the Mornington Peninsula has almost every type of location that would be perfect for you! Your elopement location should not only have some significance to you, but also be a reflection of your personalities. If you’re not an avid hiker but you both spend all your time in the ocean. Maybe you would consider an easily accessible cliff top view overlooking the ocean, or a sandy beach beneath your toes. Or perhaps, the two of you love spending weekends away at stylish airbnb’s. You may want to consider a hiring a airbnb on a scenic property to celebrate!
Some other types of scenery that may have some significance to you, could be a forest, lake-side, by a river, bay beach, back beach, clifftop, your own backyard and anywhere you could dream of! Take a step back, dive deep, and reflect on how the two of you love spending your time together. You can always be spontaneous and hit up a few spots throughout the day, or split your experience over 2 days to make the most of the environment! You could even have your ceremony at one spot, portraits at another, and post celebration meal at the next! The world is your oyster when it comes to eloping! Overall, choosing a locations based off personal significance & your personalities, will ultimately help create a more authentic and unique experience for the two of you!
Some questions to ask yourself when deciding on your location(s):
- Where do you feel the most like yourselves?
- Where is somewhere that has significance to you? (first date location, favourite holiday, etc.)
- Where do you like to spend your time together?
- Who do you want to include at your elopement, and how accessible does the location need to be for them?
Choosing an accommodation
The Mornington Peninsula, is a popular holiday destination. Which means it’s also home to some epic accommodation experiences. From luxury hotels such as Jackalope, to resorts such as RACV Cape Shanck, to Glamping experiences at the Hot Springs, to private property farm stays, such as Harts Farm, to an array of incredible Airbnb’s all around. You’ll be sure to find a stay that encompasses everything that you are.
Some of our favourite ways to discover epic stays are Riparide and Airbnb!
Adding in unique-to-you activities is the ultimate way to make your Mornington Peninsula elopement experience all that more authentic and FUN for you! There’s a reason you chose to elope, and maybe it was because of the go-with-the-flow experience, the ability to do anything you want to do on your day, or perhaps because you wanting to create a day centred around you, and not what’s expected of you. If that sounds like you, then what better way to create your dream day, then to include your favourite activities!?
Imagine anything from…
- A morning surf session at the local beach
- Evening soak and massages at the hot springs
- Going on a winery tour around Red Hill
- Rock pool hopping at a back beach
And the list could go on! There truly are so many incredible experiences you could take part in on your elopement day! For more ideas of different experiences check out our blog post “A list of one hundred + elopement activity ideas”
Choosing a meal location plus the type of dining experience perfect for you
The Mornington Peninsula is home to some incredible restaurants, wineries, and an array of small business’ with unique offerings! There are so many ways to celebrate your Mornington Peninsula elopement over a meal. A few of our favourite elopement dining experiences are,
- Hire a grazing box or platter
- Reserve a table at a local restaurant
- Ask family or friends to cook for you
- Hire a private chef at your airbnb
- Enjoy your favourite takeaway meal
- Have a styled sit down dinner at your accommodation
- a BBQ in the park
- Home cook a meal together
- Visit up a winery
To just name a few! Whether you want to keep it simple with a picnic at the beach, or hire a private chef to cook a 5 course private meal for you at your airbnb, or your taking the family out for dinner at the local winery! You could DIY a table setting in your backyard, or hire a stylist to style a beautiful tables-cape at your accommodation. The Mornington Peninsula will be sure to have a perfect location for you.
How to create an elopement timeline
Much like a traditional wedding, it’s also equally important to go into your elopement day with a plan. This will ensure the day runs smoothly, help your vendors stay on track, and overall create a stress free experience. Once you’ve planned your specific locations and the type of experience you want to have on your elopement day. Now it’s time to assess the elements you wish to incorporate on your day.
This could be, a first look, getting ready photos, any adventure elements (hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc), ceremony, family & couple portraits, celebratory toast, post elopement meal, and so on. You will also want to take into consideration, the time of day you wish to have these elements. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of a golden hour ceremony with sunset portraits. If this is the case, then you will have to create a timeline that ensures you have your ceremony during golden hour, and portrait’s during sunset.
Let’s explore what your Mornington Peninsula Elopement could look like.
We’ve put together a sample timeline for reference…
2:45pm – arrive at trail head to meet up with vendors
3pm – begin hike to ceremony location
4pm – arrive at ceremony location, get into your wedding attire, and do your hair & make up
5pm – ceremony, vows & champaign toast
5:45pm – couple portraits + spend time taking in the scenery as newly weds
6:45pm – hike back down to the car park
8pm – head back to airbnb for a private dinner prepared by a personal chef
8:30pm – served meal on private deck outdoors
9:30pm – campfire & first dance under the stars
Best times to elope based on seasons
Summer (December – February)
Summer on the Mornington Peninsula is the warmest time of year to elope. It’s typically when the weather is the most still, minimal winds and sunny days. It also happens to be the busiest time of year, with school holidays. If you are a summer lover, who thrives in the heat and love being near the ocean. Summer might just be the perfect time for your Mornington Peninsula elopement! If you want to beat the crowds and are after a more secluded place, we suggest hosting your elopement at a private property, airbnb or venue. Or if being somewhere out in nature is your jam, we recommend a sunrise or sunset elopement to steer clear of the day crowds.
Autumn (March – May)
Autumn is a beautiful time to elope on the Peninsula. With cooler days ahead, and the holiday makers headed back to the city for the winter. Seclusion and weather is at an all time prime. You may not want to jump in the rock pools anymore, but perhaps a soak at the hot springs will do! We’re big fans of autumn colours, tie those warm tones into your day, go on an afternoon adventure and embrace the beautiful weather, the coastal breeze and having the Peninsula to yourselves!
Winter (June – August)
Winter on the Mornington Peninsula is typically the rainiest season, with cool weather. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t have the most incredible elopement experience in the colder months. If you are cold blooded creatures like ourselves, who live for the moody, cozy, “snuggle up with a hot drink and wrap yourselves up in blankets” – kind of weather! You might be pleasantly surprised to experience it for yourself. Imagine hiring a cozy farm cottage airbnb, with your ceremony outside undercover by the barn, and a private chef to cook for you and a styled table inside for the two of you (and your nearest and dearest). You could have it all on one property with the sea mist overlooking the paddocks around you, and the softest pastel sunsets to end off your evening celebrations! We don’t know about you, but that sounds like an absolute dream come true!
Spring (September – November)
Spring on the Mornington Peninsula is much like autumn. It’s cooler, with a few warm days. But it’s still quiet, gearing up for the busy season ahead. You’ll be sure to find a secluded spot, and still be able to secure all your dream experiences and vendors for your day. The comfortable weather makes for the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, have a picnic, go for a bush walk, and celebrate your evening outside under the stars!
Our top location suggestions
With so many incredible natural areas to explore, we’ve complied a list of our top 10 favourite elopement locations for the perfect Mornington Peninsula Elopement experience!
- Cairns Bay, Flinders
- The Pines, Shoreham
- Diamond Bay, Sorrento
- Bush Rangers Bay, Fingal
- Cape Schanck
- McCrae Foreshore
- Pebble Beach, Mount Martha
- Spray Point, Blairgowrie
- The Blowhole Track, Flinders
- Devil Bend Reservoir
Ready to plan your dream your dream Mornington Peninsula elopement experience?
We not only photograph intimate elopement experiences, we help guide you every step of the way! From assisting with personalized vendor recommendations, to location scouting your dream destinations, to helping you find accommodation, and dining experiences that fit your needs! We also help you build your timeline and make sure all runs smooth. Whilst we aren’t full service planners, we do our part to ensure you can do it all on your own. With a little bit of expert advice, and our top recommendations, we will be sure to set up you for success to create your absolute Mornington Peninsula elopement experience! Ready to make your dreams come true and plan the most epic Mornington Peninsula elopement? Get in touch today, and let’s chat to discover how we can help you!