When browsing Pinterest or Instagram to get inspo for your wedding, it can be very easy to fall in love with elements of other couples’ big days and want to incorporate them in your own. Unfortunately, some of trends and styles you love could be problematic.
From illegal to restricted and everything in between, some of the things you see in other peoples’ wedding pics might not be allowed in Australia at all, or you might need permission to have it at your wedding.
Don’t get caught out by any of these!
1. Sky lanterns
We get it… sky lanterns look amazing. Perhaps you were inspired by the sky lanterns in the Disney movie Tangled – or perhaps you’ve just seen amazing pics of them and you’d like to incorporate it into your big day. Hold that thought.
Sky lanterns are banned in Australia. The government considers them to be like tiny, unmanned hot-air balloons that pose a risk of starting an uncontrolled fire – particularly when they float off, out of your control, and come into contact with bushland. You could end up with an infringement notice of more than $2000 or if you are taken to court, a penalty of $220,000. Not worth it!
2. Pampas grass
You’ve probably seen pampas grass – those huge stalks with fluffy leaves on them – pop up on all sorts of inspo boards and Insta posts lately. It’s been very popular in wedding styling – from table decorations, to being used in arches and even bridal bouquets.
But if you’re thinking of having it at your Australian wedding, you should be aware that this plant is considered to be an invasive weed species in Australia. Each flower head contains up to 100,000 seeds which are easily picked up by the wind – and can travel as far as 25 kilometres. If the seeds take hold somewhere else they can restrict the growth of native plants. The grass is also considered to be a fire hazard. It is prohibited completely in the ACT, Western Australia and Tasmania and other states aren’t terribly fond of it either.
3. Weed weddings
Speaking of weeds! Cannabis-themed weddings have become all the rage in some parts of the USA where the drug has been legalised for recreational use. Those having a weed wedding are incorporating it in some really creative ways – from using the plant as a bouquet or button hole, through to infusing it in food, having marijuana stations and giving it as gifts to the guests.
It turns out that weed weddings are only legal in a handful of American states – and illegal in 48 of them. In Australia, marijuana is not legal for recreational use, so if you decide to have a weed themed wedding you’ll probably not fare too well if someone decides to call the po-po.
It seems like just about every other person has a drone these days. Whether you’re hiring a wedding photographer who incorporates it in their package, or one of your guests decides to bust one out on the day, be aware that there are rules and regulations that need to be complied with.
A few months back, a guest at the high-profile wedding of TV presenters Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys copped a $900 fine after footage they captured on a drone and uploaded to social media came to the attention of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. There are a bunch of rules that you need to follow when flying a drone in Australia, including not flying them closer than 30 metres to people, flying them in restricted air space or flying them over populous areas where it could hit someone if it were to fail. And if you have a drone that weighs more than 2 kilos, a license is required.
Fireworks are not completely unusual at weddings in Australia. But if you are going to have them, you can’t rely on your mates setting them off for you. You’ll need to use a professional pyrotechnics company and follow the relevant laws in the state or territory you’re getting married in. This can also mean that if there’s a total fire ban, your planned fireworks will not be able to go ahead.
6. Photography where you haven’t gotten permission
If you’ve got your heart set on having wedding photos taken in a particular location, you might need to get the appropriate permission to have your pics taken there – or risk being asked to move on during your photo shoot on the day. The requirements to get a permit vary, but generally speaking if you plan on taking photos in a national park, state park or forest, or on any public land you should apply for a permit to do so. Some popular parks and gardens in major cities have multiple couples using them each weekend for photos – and tales abound of park rangers asking for permits to be shown and asking those without them to leave.
Likewise, if you are venturing on to private property for photos – for example vineyards, fields, orchards, plantations – make sure you have permission from the landowner to do so. Similar tales abound of unhappy landowners asking bridal parties to get off their property during a wedding shoot. Not everyone is going to be happy to be part of your big day – especially if you spring it on them unannounced.
Throwing confetti is traditional at weddings, but these days you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Australian venue that allows it. It’s not against the law, but the tiny bits of tissue paper are a pain in the butt for venue staff to clean up.
While there are other things that can be thrown such as rice or dried flower petals or environmentally friendly paper confetti that dissolves in the rain, some venues are super strict about these things too, because mess – especially if it is a popular venue with multiple weddings each weekend.
Check with your venue and warn your guests if it isn’t allowed. As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen lots of well-meaning aunties and friends “surprise” the bride after the ceremony by throwing contraband confetti. Including one bride doused in glitter before her photo shoot – you can imagine the horror – and another one who had a sandwich bag full of rice thrown in her face at close range that fortunately didn’t take her eyes out. If that’s not bad enough, venues that don’t allow confetti can slug the couple with a clean up fee – and if you’re married on public land and leave a mess behind, you could be fined for littering.
8. Noise restrictions
If hitting up the dance floor at the end of the night to some loud tunes is one of your must-haves, you need to be really careful when you select your venue. Some venues have sound restrictions that mean you can’t have music played above a certain number of decibels (in some cases it can be quite low). There are also restrictions on how late the music can be played – especially if the venue is near a residential area.