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7 small Sydney venues for your next big celebration | A couple of travel makers

Our picks of the cosiest and most unique spaces to host a party in.

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Bride and groom and wedding party walking to banquet table set for dinner outside under tree in field

Spring is knocking on our doors and, typically, that would mean a slew of weddings coming our way. This year, though, because of the current global pandemic, most celebrations are being kept to a minimum.

In New South Wales, the numbers are down to a maximum of 20 people for gatherings. This is increased to 150 people for weddings and receptions, subject to the one person per four square metre rule.

Are you planning to celebrate a wedding, engagement, baby shower or significant birthday milestone? Well, if you can only invite a limited number of people, you may as well take advantage of it. Here are our picks of intimate and unique venues in Sydney that are available to book right now.

Stef and D

We're Stef and D, a pair of married jet setters. Together, we've visited 55 countries and we're determined to see even more – all while working full-time and paying off a mortgage. We count our dollars at home and while away, and we're here to share our tips on how you can travel on a budget.

Read new blog posts every fortnight on Mondays here. Follow us: @acoupleoftravelmakers

The best small and intimate venues in Sydney

Sea Life Events - Reef Theatre

Image: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

  • Perfect for: Wedding receptions
  • Capacity: 20-160pax in a seated capacity, depending on the event space

Was your favourite Disney princess Ariel? Perhaps you've got a love for creatures of the deep? Whatever your reasoning, celebrating your nuptials underwater surrounded by sharks and stingrays is by far one of the most unique ways to do it in Sydney.

SEA LIFE has four venues to choose from: the Great Barrier Reef Oceanarium with its floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the reef, Dugong Island, which is home to the resident dugong and has a wraparound deck that overlooks the Oceanarium, Jurassic Seas where you can spy jellyfish, lungfish and penguins, and Sydney Harbour, which has lots of local fish species to discover.


Restaurant Function Space at Art Gallery of NSW.

Image: Chiswick at the Gallery

Restaurant Function Space at the Art Gallery of NSW

  • Perfect for: Wedding receptions, corporate events
  • Capacity: 120pax in a banquet dinner setting

This light-filled space in the Art Gallery of NSW boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and views of Woolloomooloo.

Popular for corporate events, the minimalist feel means you can decorate it to your heart's content for whatever celebration you desire.

It's available to book day or night.


Wild Life Sydney Private Dining

Image: WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

  • Perfect for: Weddings, engagements, kids parties
  • Capacity: 4-100pax in a seated setting, depending on the event space

You don't have to travel far for a close animal encounter. Located in the heart of Darling Harbour, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo lets you get up close and personal with some of our furry locals.

The zoo has recently released its most intimate experience; a 10-person private dining experience which includes after-hours access, a private tour of the zoo and dinner plus drinks surrounded by koalas.

If you want to bring more than 10 people or you're looking for venue hire only, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo has other options. Its Koala Rooftop is open for large events and you'll be surrounded by the furry fellas. Or, for a more adventurous do, book the WILD Croc Deck where you can watch the resident saltwater crocodile swim below you.


Soul Trap, Surry Hills.

Image: Soultrap

Soultrap

  • Perfect for: Birthday parties
  • Capacity: 10pax per group, or 42pax for full venue hire

Hidden in the busy streets of Surry Hills is this cosy bar where the cocktails are always flowing.

Its exposed brick walls and dim lighting are reminiscent of speak-easies from the days of prohibition. Love a good theme? It's still 2020, so the Roaring 20s theme is a perfect fit for this setting.

Book the function room for smaller get-togethers or the entire venues for bigger celebrations.


The Calyx, Botanic Gardens

Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The Calyx

  • Perfect for: Weddings and engagements
  • Capacity: 100pax

Set amongst the foilage and florals of the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Calyx is a relatively new venue with a luxurious feel.

Its circular shapes and floor-to-ceiling glass walls give guests 360-degree views. For that added bit of entertainment, throughout the year, the venue features exhibitions with a floral twist that your guests can view.


Eleven at Visions in Style.

Image: Visions in Style

Visions in Style

  • Perfect for: Birthday parties and bucks nights
  • Capacity: 40-50pax, depending on the event space

If you're looking for something a little bold and a little lavish, Visions in Style has the answer. This secret Waverton venue has two rooms that it can theme to suit your style with capacities of up to 50pax.

Costumes, accessories, sound and lighting equipment and a luxury bar are also included to go with your theme.

The venue is popular for events, whiskey appreciation nights, photoshoots and poker or burlesque nights.


Athol Hall done up for a wedding reception.

Image: Athol Hall

Athol Hall

  • Perfect for: Weddings and christenings
  • Capacity? 130pax seated

Soak up views of Sydney Harbour from this fantastic little spot. It's a restored heritage building in Mosman with timber frames, high ceilings and perfectly manicured lawns where you can have your ceremony before heading indoors for further celebration.

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