It’s not every day you will find an amazing wedding venue with a 150-year-old homestead and barn set on over 1000 acres, with gardens comparable to Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, a farmyard of animals, a rail bridge backdrop for stunning photos, a relaxed but regal style AND the all-important X factor. But here it is. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from Melbourne, in the Yarra Valley.
IT’S GOT HISTORY
Olinda Yarra Estate, in the Yarra Valley hamlet of Yering, is over 150 years old. The massive property fronting the Yarra River and Olinda Creek was founded in 1868 by the innovative Kerr family, who not only created a successful dairy, they built the site’s iconic silos and were the first in Victoria to install an electric plant that was used to chill milk. It made Olinda Yarra Estate the most modern dairy of its time.
Their custom-built Edwardian/ Queen Anne villa homestead is a masterpiece in itself – with stainedglass windows, delicate chandeliers and magnificent verandas. And the family was also big on community, with the property being a popular place for markets, fundraisers and events – people, laughter and good times. Imagine being part of this magical history while creating some of your own, too.
In fact, it is this rich history that has inspired Shelley Hughes and her partner “Farmer Rob”, who have owned Olinda Yarra Estate since 2008, to once again share it with the world. While Rob breeds angus cattle and harvests hay crops, Shelley is busy managing and maintaining their gorgeous venue. Not everyone can say they have been to a wedding at a working farm, but this is what makes Olinda Yarra Estate so special.
IT’S GOT THE ICONIC RAIL BRIDGE
If you’ve ever wondered at the sight of the historic railway bridge along the Melba Highway on the way to Yarra Glen and thought it would make a stunning photo backdrop – this is the place to experience it. Situated within the property’s grounds, it is one of the few remaining structures that showcase the Yarra Valley’s transportation corridor. And it is so popular that Olinda Yarra Estate gets regular requests just to use it for photos.
IT’S GOT ONE-OF-A-KIND GARDENS
Of course, it’s not just the history of the property that makes it magical. The 1000 acres of space includes a stunning garden created last century by Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens designer William Guilfoyle. With Magnolia Grandiflora (white flowers as big as dinner plates!), rare Chilean wine palms, and cork oak trees that were used by the Kerr family for bottling food and drinks, it’s the perfect place for relaxing between ceremony and reception, and will definitely be a talking point among guests. Plus, you won’t have to travel into the city to experience a unique garden sanctuary.
IT’S GOT ANIMALS
Then there’s the “extended family” of animals – alpacas, cows, free-range chickens, ducks and even cheeky miniature ponies. What could be more unique than having a farmyard “photo bomber” as part of your wedding pictures? They are known to join in ceremonies, too, and end up being a great talking point. So, you could also think of it as added entertainment.
IT’S GOT STYLE
Indeed, it’s definitely not a formal affair at Olinda Yarra Estate. But it’s not completely down-and-dirty, either. Think relaxed but regal. You can have your photos taken in the formal dining and sitting rooms but also have a break in front of cosy firepits. You can get up close to those farmyard animals but keep your wedding clothes clean.
AND IT’S GOT THE X FACTOR
Plus, if that’s not enough, you and your guests could skydive, or get a helicopter or hot-air balloon into the ceremony. That’s right, the property is next to Lilydale Airport, so you can jump from a plane into the paddock next to the marquee, or land in a more stylish way. If a balloon is more your thing, Global Ballooning can help you make that spectacular entrance, too. But don’t just take our word for it. Olinda Yarra Estate is being heaped with praise for its location and experience.
Ashley and Chris fell in love with the property on their first visit. “The grounds are absolutely stunning with the beautiful homestead, the barn, the cottage, the old silos, marquee and lush gardens. The photos are all amazing with such scenic backdrops everywhere.”
And Yen and Michael say it is “such a special venue” and the way Shelley and Rob “love the plants and animals around you also means so much. The barn, marquee, palm trees, cottage, furniture, photo opportunities and sunset are just a dream.”