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A Moment With ‘Parnassus Function Centre

ABIA meets Dannielle Peta, Wedding and Events Manager, of this popular Drouin East wedding reception venue


T One Image

Couples looking for a wedding venue that offers a rustic setting and scenic photographic backdrops just over an hour from Melbourne have been flocking to Parnassus Function Centre since 2015, when the property started hosting weddings.

“Parnassus became popular due to its budget-friendly, all-inclusive options,” Weddings and Events Manager Dannielle Peta says, but points out that the spectacular location and family-run attention-to-detail also add to the venue’s appeal for many couples.

We wandered the well-manicured grounds with Dannielle to chat ceremony locations, reception styles and inclusions which extend from decorations to onsite accommodation and guest campsites.


Country Mile Photography

Tell us about your venue and wedding services?

When Parnassus was taken over by Tracy Reed and Rhys Morris in 2015 it was a cellar door and winery, but they saw its potential as a wedding venue and function centre. Drawing on Rhys’ decades as an executive chef, and Tracy’s extensive retail management experience they developed Parnassus into a hugely successful wedding ceremony and reception venue, popular for its budget-friendly, all-inclusive packages which offer everything from onsite accommodation to catering and decorating.

How did you get into the wedding industry?

Parnassus is a family-run and owned business, and as Tracy’s daughter I’ve been the Wedding and Events Manager for nearly seven years. During that time I’ve gained a thorough understanding of the industry and developed a passion for making each couple’s wedding day run seamlessly.


Courtney Dwyer Photography

How many weddings have you hosted?

Parnassus hosts between 50 and 80 weddings a year, so we have had upwards of 500 weddings to date.

What styles of wedding can you accommodate? And for what event sizes?

We offer sit-down and cocktail-style weddings, catering to up to 100 seated guests or 200 for cocktail receptions.


Country Mile Photography


Rebecca Farley Photography

What wedding packages do you offer? What’s included?

We offer all-inclusive packages, which include a wedding ceremony on the property, catering packages, reception furniture, décor, a bridal suite to get ready in and spend the wedding night, free camping for guests and the support of an event coordinator.

What spaces do you have available for wedding ceremonies and receptions?

We have multiple ceremony locations on the property — the hill arbour, the pier, the vineyard and the windmill — and we have an indoor reception venue with a large wooden dancefloor and fully-stocked bar.


Sarah Harris Photography

How far in advance should couples book their wedding with Parnassus?

We generally suggest two years in advance if they require a specific date, or one year before if their wedding date is more flexible.

What advice do you have for couples looking for a wedding venue? What should they consider?

We suggest they always read the fine print, as there may be a hidden charges at some venues, such as cakeage. They should also firmly establish what’s included and what’s not, check there is someone to help on the day, confirm set-up and pack-down arrangements and generally try to get as much value as they can for the cost.


Immerse Photography


Courtney Dwyer Photography

How can couples add their own flair? Do you have suppliers you can recommend?

We like to keep the look of our venue clean and minimalist so our clients can add their own touches to make the venue theirs for the day. We also offer a set-up day the day prior, provided we don’t have another wedding booked, so that couples can add any final touches to the venue. If we do have a wedding booking the day before, I set up decorations — like place cards — then send photos and videos to the bride for final approval.
We also have a list of recommended suppliers, that we’ve used before and know are reliable and professional, and we email this to clients upon booking.

What photographic opportunities are available onsite?

Parnassus has an abundance of photo opportunities — there’s a love swing, the vineyard, an old truck, a hay trailer, lush gum trees, a hidden garden overlooking the dam, a pier and paddocks overlooking the rolling hills of Gippsland.


Rebecca Farley Photography

What makes your wedding venue and service unique?

We feel that being family-owned and run gives us more passion for what we do, and the small team that run our weddings offer a wealth of experience.
Our business means the world to us and our clients are our number one priority.

We also know that planning a wedding can be stressful, so one of the most important things we tell our clients is that we want to make their day stress-free and are always available to help, from the start of planning to the day itself.

What was your favourite wedding? Could you paint us a picture?

It began with bagpipes playing as the bride walked in a spiral to her groom then, following the ceremony, the couple serenaded their guests with bagpipes and invited them to choose a shot glass from a wall to find their table number.

Upon entering the reception the couple performed a beautifully-choreographed dance which switched to a group dance, kind of like a flash-mob. It was different, it was unique and it involved all the guests and that’s what we love.

How would you describe the couples you connect with the most?

I find we connect with all our couples because we’re down-to-earth and our couples have so much trust in us. A lot of our clients have either been to a wedding with us or heard about us through word-of-mouth, so they trust us from the outset and know they’re in good hands.


Jody Louise Photography

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