Located 45 minutes from the Adelaide CBD, the Gawler & Barossa Jockey Club is one of the first major landmarks you see when driving into the town of Evanston. Its appeal to fans of horse racing is obvious, but it also caters to a variety of tastes with its lush green lawns, pretty rose gardens, and new modern function centre called The Terrace.
There are three main locations where ceremonies can take place:
- The Rotunda – Probably the most popular option, a quaint paved path leads to this quiet rotunda, wrapped with trailing rose bushes. The season will determine whether these provide vibrant greenery or striking pops of colour; both varieties are lovely. Up to 1000 guests can gather here, but the site works just as well for much smaller ceremonies, too.
- 1879 Beer Garden – Permanent outdoor umbrellas in the beer garden can provide ample shade for up to 150 guests. Intimate ceremonies can take place amongst the gardens, beside stately pencil pines and manicured rose bushes. Relaxed cocktail style or seated receptions can also be hosted here.
- Wolf Blass Pavilion – This trackside area has open-air but undercover space – perfect in the case of unpredictable weather. It can fit up to 1000 standing guests, or if also hosting a reception, 360 seated guests, plus a dance floor and room for pre-dinner drinks. From here guests will enjoy sweeping views across the race tracks, lush green lawns and large decorative wine barrels.
Receptions can also be held in The Terrace or Gallilee Room. The Terrace caters for 250 seated guests, the Gallilee Room 120 guests – or they can be combined to fit 370 seated guests. They can both accommodate larger numbers in the case of cocktail style events. Both of these rooms overlook the racecourse, with great views through the bright floor to ceiling windows. Sliding doors can be opened to a wrap-around balcony and outdoor area, where guests can look out over the rolling foothills of Gawler.
The Gawler & Barossa Jockey Club offers affordable all inclusive, set price packages for 50 guests, including 2 hours in your choice of ceremony location and 5 hours in the Gallilee Room. They also offer more flexible, customisable reception packages such as the “Blank Space Reception Package” and “Bells and Whistles Reception Package.” Ceremony prices are discounted if combined with a reception package. A dedicated function coordinator will work with the bride and groom to ensure everything is just how they want it, and that everything runs smoothly on the day. They can also put them in touch with nearby external wedding professionals.
A unique perk of the Gawler & Barossa Jockey Club is that wedding photos are allowed to take place on the actual race track – something that few racecourses allow due to the potential grass damage. Photos can also be taken using backdrops of the Rotunda, the rose gardens, the decorative barrels, or the sprawling lawns.
This venue is only 15-20 minutes from the Barossa Valley, meaning an array of world-class vineyards and picturesque townships aren’t far away for alternative photo opportunities. There are several hotels, motels and Airbnbs in nearby Gawler, so the bridal party and guests can make a weekend of it rather than having to drive back to the city.
The Gawler & Barossa Jockey Club website has thorough information packs available online about what they can offer for wedding events. With their friendly, enthusiastic staff available to help and see through customised requests from start to finish, the venue has gained rave reviews from previous wedding couples. Whether you’re a fan of horse racing or not, this wedding venue might be just the easy, affordable wedding venue with a rural charm that you’re looking for.