There’s no one size fits all when it comes to your wedding venue. While your best friend might want a lavish wedding with 150 people, the traditional white dress, a quaint chapel, and gorgeous gardens. You might want a beach wedding where everyone wears flip flops and shares a beer and braai afterwards – and the way that each wedding fits the couple is what makes attending them so special.
When you’re picking your wedding venue, it’s important that it fits your style, budget, and unique wishes for the big day. No matter how expensive or affordable, how offbeat or traditional, there’s a venue to suit every type of couple and every type of wedding. Here are some of our favourites.
The Farm Wedding
The Cowshed is a venue that oozes country charm in between Dullstroom and Lydenburg. This is where to go for a wedding with fresh country air, open spaces, old-school hospitality and an atmosphere of yesteryear. There’s four vintage houses on the property to host your nearest and dearest, as well as a bridal suite overlooking one of the dams. As you’ve come to expect from the Dullstroom area, it’s delightfully charming and tranquil. Say your vows in the open-sided chapel or sheltered beneath clumps of ancient trees before welcoming your guests to a reception at the Old Shed. A pair of resident barn owls perfectly compliment the white floors and handmade wire chandeliers suspended from the roof.
The Beach Wedding
With our thousands of kilometres of coastline, South Africa has no shortage of beach wedding venues for brides and grooms who want to say their vows with their toes in the sand. Strandloper in Langebaan is an amazing budget open-air venue for those who want a really down to earth beach wedding with seafood cooking on open fires, and stunning views of the Langebaan lagoon.
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Another option is the Strandkombuis in Yzerfontein for a true West Coast experience. The décor is rustic but elegant and you can have your ceremony either barefoot in the sand or in a wooden deck with panoramic sea views. Plus you’re totally guaranteed to have amazing food with the Strandkombuis handling your catering.
The English Countryside Wedding
Hartford House in the Midlands is the place to be if you want rolling hills and manor houses reminiscent of the English countryside. It’s beautiful when the mist rolls in over the hills but equally gorgeous in summer when golden hour brings soft sunlight to the surroundings. Think dappled horse’s coats, historic surrounds, blush rose blossoms and ancient trees swaying in the wind. They’re known for their gastronomic delights too so you can be assured of delicious, satisfying country-style fine dining which your guests will love.
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The Budget Wedding
Let’s face it, not all of us can – or want – to spend hundreds of thousands on a wedding day. If money is tight or you’d rather save it or put it towards the honeymoon, a house deposit or other purchase then a budget wedding is the way to go. You can still have a beautiful day surrounded by people you love without throwing money at your big day. Luckily, there are budget venues in just about every part of the country. Some of them are lovely and some not so nice.
For something that’s beautiful as well as affordable, why not check out Featherwood Wedding Venue in Pretoria? It offers packages from R45,000 including wine, champagne, catering, venue, flowers, DJ, and staff. Still in Gauteng is Glenburn Lodge in Muldersdrift; an elegant, country style venue overlooking the mountains and dams. In winter, venue hire is free with menus starting from around R380 per person for a three course meal. Houw Hoek in the Overberg region offers venue hire at only R3,000 with a fully flexible three course menu from R340 per person. Plus, you can even bring your own wines at minimal corkage fees.
The All-Inclusive Wedding
Some couples just don’t want the hassle and stress that comes with planning every little detail. Luckily, there are plenty of wedding venues which offer all-inclusive packages. The includions vary slightly but it normally covers the venue, catering, staff, and décor. In some places it might include the DJ, accommodation, or a set amount of drinks per person. The big benefit is that there’s less “little extras” to worry about so that you have far less admin to handle.
Often, these packages can actually work out cheaper and they’re definitely a good option if you’re short on time; either because you’re planning on getting married soon after engagement or just because your spare time is best spent doing something other than worrying about what catering company to use! Some of the best are Rickety Bridge in Franschhoek, De Haven Oost in Pretoria East and Brahman Hills in the Natal Midlands.
The Modern Wedding
Who’s to say that you need old chapels and traditional buildings for your marriage? If you want sleek buildings and something modern and fresh then go for it! Look into rooftop bars, art galleries, hotels, and quirky restaurants that would be able to host your dream day. With South Africa’s ever-expanding architecture, there’s a plethora of venues to choose from.
Good options? There’s loads, but Zeitz Mocca/The Silo Hotel in Cape Town is perfect for a city wedding with astounding views and breathtaking art and architecture. The photos will be some of the most eye-catching you’ve ever seen. Then there’s The Living Room in Maboneng, Johannesburg for a vibey rooftop inner-city wedding with so much greenery that you’ll be hard pushed to believe you’re in the depths of Jozi’s urban jungle.
The Winelands Wedding
A Winelands wedding is always beautiful, and it’s no wonder that an increasing number of locals and foreigners alike are choosing to say their I Dos in one of many, many vineyard settings available. You’re absolutely spoilt for choice in the wedding capital of South Africa. In fact, it’s almost overwhelming!
For a classic Winelands wedding, you could always look at a big, traditional venue such as Lanzerac in Stellenbosch or Vrede en Lust in Franschhoek. If you don’t fancy having your wedding at the same venue as at least a handful of people you know, look at Brenaissance in Stellenbosch. It’s classy, beautiful and has a gorgeous view over the surrounding vineyards.
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The Bush Wedding
Imagine saying your vows to the soundtrack of crickets chirping and dancing the night away under the stars with lions roaring in the distance. There’s nothing more South African than a bush wedding, but cost can be prohibitive if you want to get married at a Big Five luxury lodge. A good option for those who want the bush and game drive experience on a budget is Mongena game lodge in Dinokeng. It’s a short drive for people living in Joburg and Pretoria, and is big enough to accommodate large parties. Sundowners and photos near the watering hole make for the perfect African memories on your wedding day.
If you prefer something intimate but luxurious, try a five-star lodge like Ulusaba Rock Lodge, Chitwa Chitwa, or Tau Game Lodge.
The Traditional Wedding
If you want something gorgeous, stylish, and timeless then you absolutely cannot go wrong with Shepstone Gardens. The gorgeous glass hall and stone chapels are nestled amongst beautifully kept gardens in Houghton, Johannesburg – but you’ll feel like you’re miles away from the city. Rose bushes, glass-stained windows, ivy-covered stone walls and ornate lampposts make you feel like you’ve walked into a secret garden from an Enid Blyton book. Your photos will look as beautiful now as they will in twenty years’ time thanks to classic surroundings and warm palettes. It’s one of the more popular venues in Joburg, so book early to avoid disappointment.
What are some of your favourite wedding venues? Let us know in the comments section below!