A SECURITY guard is being used to control wedding guests at historic Lindesay House at Darling Point after complaints from well-heeled neighbours including the media tycoon Kerry Stokes.
It comes as residents of the exclusive harbourside suburb, including Mr Stokes and the retired car dealer Laurie Sutton, take legal action against Woollahra council over weddings at another location near their homes, McKell Park.
The row has fuelled debate over the use of Sydney's public spaces for weddings and other private activities.
Lindesay, a heritage-listed property with manicured grounds and harbour views, is a prized wedding location. But after residents' complaints last year, wedding receptions must finish one hour earlier, at 9pm, with security on duty to encourage guests to leave promptly.
The director of properties for National Trust NSW, Gerry Hayes, said neighbours' issues included parking and "people leaving a function at night and making a racket as they walk up the street".
Weddings were already limited to 12 a year and guests capped at 100. Lindesay was "the most restricted of all our properties in NSW", Mr Hayes said. "It is a heavily built-up residential area. What we're doing … can work well in a residential environment. Not everyone sees it that way," he said.
A spokesman for Mr Stokes and Mr Sutton confirmed they had been involved in talks over Lindesay, which he said involved "proper consultation … unlike the council with the park".
The two men are leading a lawsuit against Woollahra council over McKell Park, claiming ceremonies disturb the peace and create traffic and parking problems.
The residents claim use of the park as a "function centre" breaches the Crown Lands Act, and that weddings should be less frequent. Two weddings a day on weekends are permitted.
Stan Howard, brother of former prime minister John Howard, has also been linked to the lawsuit. The spokesman said Mr Howard lived nearby but would not confirm his involvement.
The row divided Fairfax Media readers this week, with many sympathetic to the millionaires' plight. Liam O'Sullivan, of Ashfield, complained he and his family were picnicking in Watsons Bay near Dunbar House last month when they were moved on to make way for a wedding.
"It was a really hot day, we were sitting under a tree. We had young kids and we had to move out of the shade in a public park for a private function," he said.
He also cited concerns over the Royal Botanic Gardens, where ''you often get big marquees set up all over the place''.
The gardens management said there had been no complaints about private functions in the past two years.
Readers also complained about personal trainers in parks and the open-air cinema at Bondi Park.
A Waverley council spokeswoman said it received "a small number" of complaints about the cinema and noise monitoring was done to minimise disruption.
A Woollahra council spokesman said functions were allowed in some parks but sections could not be reserved.