Oh how grand to play for a day across Lydiard Street

What would it be like to have all of Lydiard Street’s grandest of spaces open to you for one day?

Simple. It’s fun.

That’s too simple. A year of planning and more money than I care to admit led my then-fiance and I recently to enjoy an extraordinary, insightful occasion, our wedding at the Mining Exchange.

Now the exchange, home to the colonial trading of gold, and even a bus depot at one point, is luxury enough.

But about 120 guests, most from Melbourne, all had to stay somewhere.

So the night and morning before wedding bliss those guests checked into rooms from the Provincial right up to the Ansonia.

Pretty soon sneaky photos from the George Hotel’s ornate balcony, the Ansonia’s cosy fireplace, and the elegant bluestone of the Bank of New South Wales building began cropping up on social media.

The exchange, however, was the venue, the main stage for nuptials, tears and toasts.

Even without the showers of pastel-coloured confetti, vintage chairs and baby’s breath – in baby formula tins sprayed gold – the restored brick work, arched windows above booths and the iron roof that aims for heaven caught guests’ breath.

And with its heated floor the hall proved ideal for a bride and groom to take their first of many dances.

Feet sore well past midnight, my wife and I decided to return to our accommodation, a room at Craig’s Royal Hotel. 

The room, with a newspaper left at the door, marble basins, plush pillows, and furnishings flower-patterned and gold-rush-inspired offered true luxury.

A Ballarat must-do - and famous for housing Mark Twain, George V and Sir Donald Bradman at any one point - the accommodation offered exceptional comfort for souls tired, yet wedded and happy.

Chris O’Leary