Unique, whimsical & the perfect wine country wedding venue with 550 acres of 5th generation farmland, organic wines & country cottages. Whether you’re a totally DIY couple or are looking for a venue where you can DIY-ish with some help; Stonehurst offers you total flexibility & support to create your own day, your way. Plus, they have an exciting new indoor space opening in 2018 – a stunning, converted Wine Cellar with soaring 22ft ceilings, industrial steel beams, barrel-lined walls and handcrafted Indian elephant doors. (Yes, please!)
We chatted with the Weddings Team to get the scoop on the new cellar door space, wedding trends, tips for reducing your wedding costs & everything Hunter Valley weddings. Plus, there’s a discount for anyone booking an early 2018 wedding. Read on….
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Tell us a little bit about Stonehurst Cedar Creek and its wedding philosophy.
Stonehurst Cedar Creek has been in our family for five generations, and with that comes the history, ambience and complete relaxation of a 550 acre Hunter family estate. We want our couple’s events to be as relaxed and peaceful as possible, so there is no rush with settings, decorations or wedding preparations. With no time constraints throughout the day, Stonehurst Cedar Creek offers you the unique distinction in having a private estate that is entirely yours, no back to back weddings.
We also provide access 2 days either side of your event for decorations, set up and pack down, ensuring your day runs smoothly and you can focus on what’s important – starting the day with friends, family and Champagne! With no setting limitations and complete flexibility, be inspired by our property to create a beautifully personalised and bespoke celebration.
From the poplar grove and vineyards to the creek banks, country paddocks and our industrial wine cellar with 22ft ceilings; with 550 exclusive and unforgettable acreage the possibilities in creating your perfect day are endless. We endeavour to ensure our couple’s day is exactly as they wished for, and exactly like nothing else!
Which three words best describe a Stonehurst wedding?
Picturesque. Bespoke. Romantic.
Where in the Hunter Valley are you located & what’s it like around there?
Stonehurst Cedar Creek is located in the beautiful Wollombi Valley – the most picturesque and tranquil part of Wine Country. Travel the scenic Tourist Drive 33 from Sydney, to arrive at Stonehurst within a short 1.5 hours. The popular route meanders through vibrant townships steeped in rich convict history and stunning countryside.
The natural beauty of the bushland setting is the perfect canvas for a Hunter Valley wedding. The ancient hills of the valley are spotted with mossy gullies, rocky outcrops, country farms, boutique vineyards and an abundance of wildlife. Stonehurst makes up one of the six boutique vineyards situated along the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail. All owner-operated, you will mostly likely be greeted by the owner, vigneron or winemaker themselves at the Cellar Door who will walk you through a tasting and the stories behind the wines.
Be welcomed by the very best in country hospitality in the historic Wollombi village – a meeting point for farmers, artisans and visitors! Guests can make a weekend out of their trip to celebrate your wedding and catch a gig at the Wine Bar, take in one of the regular art exhibitions, grab tickets to a play, or join one of the monthly author meet & greets to indulge in their creative sides. Don’t miss the wondrous Aboriginal rock carvings and paintings scattered throughout the valley whilst you’re here, day trips available. And sampling the world-famous Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice at Wollombi Tavern is a must!
Great eats in and around the village include Panino Restaurant, Myrtle Café or the Great Northern Trading Post. For guests not staying at Stonehurst Cedar Creek there is an abundance of accommodation located throughout the Wollombi Valley, from farmstays to B&B’s and luxury guesthouses, all within a short drive.
We’ve heard you’ve got some exciting new wedding options – what are they?
Weddings at Stonehurst just got better! We’ve been specialising in outdoor and marquee weddings for a number of years now, but we’re very excited to announce that as of January 2018 we will be offering a truly unique indoor wedding space. The Wine Cellar will be available for hire in the new year and features soaring 22ft ceilings, industrial steel beams, barrel-lined walls and handcrafted Indian elephant doors. The perfect converted industrial venue opens out onto the Poplar Grove for a magical connection to the outdoors, perfect for an evening of dancing under the stars.
For couples booking The Wine Cellar for the first half of 2018 (before July 1st), we are offering a $1000 discount! Contact Stonehurst to get all the info & terms on this offer.
Our wedding packages now include a handcrafted timber arbour, wine barrel bar, additional wine barrels for use throughout the ceremony and reception (a perfect cake setting!), lawn games, private cottage accommodation for your guests, as well as a range of vintage furniture for styling.
What are your favourite features of the property?
With 550 acres, how many can we list?! From rocky hills and moss-covered gullies, to the rolling country paddocks and lush organic vineyards. There’s so many beautiful spots across the estate.
Of course, our breathtaking Poplar Grove is one of our most treasured areas on the property; a forest of sky high Poplar trees which we hand planted 35 years ago. It’s great that we can offer couples the option of a long table feast through the trees, a marquee or tipi, and now our spectacular Wine Cellar, that all make use of this dramatic setting.
Wollombi Brook and Cedar Creek wind their way through the property and intersect on the Stonehurst estate. There are beautiful creekside locations for ceremonies and/or receptions, and a lovely 30ft deep swimming hole for friends and family to enjoy during your stay. Along with swimming, bush walking and wine tasting, we encourage guests to explore the property and working farm with deer, cattle, horses and chickens.
Guests can also experience an organic and boutique family-owned vineyard, where they can taste the grapes straight from our vines. We’re committed to sustainable farming, so we use no insecticides or pesticides, and we hand-pick all our fruit to make our award-winning organic wines.
In keeping with the rich heritage of the family farm and nearby historic Wollombi Village, all the buildings that scatter the estate are built from sandstone, timber slab and convict-brick, including: The Wine Cellar, the Cellar Door, the 7 self-contained cottages and the Homestead. They wouldn’t be complete without cottage gardens and landscaped grounds, all tenderly cared for by Phillipa, including the Homestead Gardens showcasing endless flower beds and giant Oak trees.
Where on the property can couples have their ceremony?
With 550 exclusive and unforgettable acres, the possibilities in creating your perfect day are endless – you are spoilt for choice at Stonehurst! Although we do recommend specific sites (for ease of access and power usage) the choice is entirely yours. We invite you to come and explore the property for yourself.
A few of our recommendations include:
- Poplar Grove (ceremony/reception)
- Creekside/bushland (ceremony/reception)
- Paddocks (ceremony/reception)
- Vineyard (ceremony/reception)
- Homestead Garden (ceremony only)
- The Wine Cellar (indoor)
Tell us about your cottage accommodation.
Holding your event at Cedar Creek also offers you the ease and convenience of accommodation onsite with our seven self-contained vineyard cottages, set overlooking the hills, vines and valley. Depending on the size of your celebration, we can accommodate from 12 guests to 33.
Guests can walk to and from the cottages to any location on the property. Each cottage has a wood fire, spa bath, A/C, ceiling fans, cooking facilities, all entertainment needs (TV, DVD, CD), outdoor wood BBQ and a private verandah to enjoy the beautiful surrounds. Our cottage guests are treated to complementary port and chocolate on arrival, a delicious breakfast hamper for the duration of their stay (containing bacon, eggs, tomato, bread, milk & juice), and a late midday check-out not afforded by many other places in the Hunter Valley.
Although all the cottages are slightly different in layout and furnishings, each has been styled in a rustic, country charm fashion. The cottages are built from either sandstone, timber slab, or convict brick in keeping with the rich heritage of the farm.
What services do you provide for couples leading up to and on the wedding day?
Our team can help facilitate as little or as much your day as you desire, from making vendor recommendations to providing our own marquee and catering packages and arranging bar staff. Our wedding coordinator will liaise with your chosen vendors to ensure the logistics of the day run smoothly. Likewise, our property manager is onsite late into the evening to assist with anything from extra wines to taxi pickups!
What are some of the best styling ideas you’ve seen? Are you seeing certain trends for 2018 and beyond?
Apart from watching the bride walk down the aisle, seeing the styling the day before is our favourite part! We’re loving the rustic and polished timber tables set through the Poplar Grove in a long table feast. Recently we had a bride who DIY’d her entire wedding (including bouquets!), and she picked Willow branches from trees along our creek banks to place down the centre of the long tables, as well as style her hanging arbour. It was so simple, but so elegant and beautiful!
We’ve also had a few tipis set up throughout the property as an alternative for a marquee. They are so whimsical and really create a festive celebration. Vintage lounges feature in many weddings, and are a great idea for a chill out area whether for the grandparents or the bridesmaids who need to rest their dancing heels!
Rustic but elegant weddings are certainly the hot topic for 2018, and we’ll be seeing a lot more relaxed yet modern, natural styling. Hanging greenery and flower walls; hessian runners; geometric candle holders within bunches of succulents; lots of wildflowers; timber arbours; lanterns; and vintage furniture. You will still see the bohemian, garden, barn, rustic and vintage weddings, but there has also been an increase in modern and industrial, woodland and enchanted forest themes.
We get a lot of questions from couples about how much creating a totally bespoke wedding will cost. Can you give us a rough idea of how much couples generally spend on elements like styling, catering & drinks?
As any bride knows, wedding budgets can be as high as you can go. Thankfully, there are a lot of options out there now where you no longer have to spend a fortune on a set menu and drink package, with styling specified by the venue. A venue that allows you to choose your own caterers and style, from buffets to table platters and 3-course feasts, will certainly help keep your costs down with prices starting from about $40 per person. A recent couple served pizza at their wedding and it was just perfect!
BYO is also a big draw card. Whilst at Stonehurst we ask that all wine be our own, having the option to bring in your favourite craft beers, create a unique whiskey bar or have your much-loved cocktail on pour means you aren’t only cutting costs, but you’re sharing your favourite beverages with family and friends, and you can take them home with you so nothing goes to waste.
When it comes to styling many couples choose to DIY some or all of their day, often sourcing vintage finds from antique stores and markets. There are many hire companies that can also source bespoke furniture, and stylists are great for taking all the work out of setting up, working with what you might already have and blending it with their smorgasbord of pieces for a truly bespoke setting.
We love a weekend wedding extravaganza – what are some of the coolest weekend activities couples are planning for their guests?
Before the wedding, many couples are choosing to put together itineraries for guests to explore the property and neighbouring area that the couple fell in love with. From scavenger hunts around the estate, water polo matches in the swimming hole, cross-country golf through our vineyards (there are also world-class golf courses nearby!), and relaxing wine tastings in our Cellar Door – wedding weekends are always full of fun activities for everyone involved!
One of our favourite weekend itineraries included hosting a Gatsby-themed dinner the evening prior at a local restaurant, an option to either visit the local farmer’s market the next morning or partake in a scavenger hunt across the estate, before having a private wine tasting prior to the wedding, and relaxing the next day with a picnic brunch in the vineyard complete with lawn games of bocce, hoops and badminton. Wine, food, weddings and relaxation = the perfect weekend!
How far ahead do couples need to book to secure their date and what’s the best way to get in touch to arrange a viewing?
To ensure exclusive venue hire for couples we recommend securing their date as soon as possible. We do not do back-to-back weddings and allow 2 days either side of the event for setup and pack-down, so dates are limited. Couples can phone our team on 02 4998 1576 or email us to arrange a site inspection. We look forward to ensuring your wedding is a great success, meaningful and memorable!
What do you think, could this be your venue?? Head to the site to see Stonehurst’s full wedding package info.