Your Wedding Venue
An essential component in creating your dream wedding is the venue, which should ideally coordinate with your décor and overall theme. Whether you’re looking for a charming romantic wedding venue or the splendour of the African bush, South Africa offers a host of wedding venues in all 9 provinces. Once you have settled on a wedding venue, it is important to look into the fundamentals of coordinating the reception events to ensure that everything runs efficiently so you can unwind and enjoy your wedding day.
Venues in KwaZulu-Natal cover a wide diversity of locations, from coastal or country charisma to city style to majestic mountains and meandering rivers. The choices are endless between country manors, golf estates, seaside resorts, private game reserves and boutique hotels, as well as top restaurants and conference centres. The venue you choose should have special meaning for you and your fiancé as well as meet practical considerations and requirements such as can the venue accommodate all your guests, does it have a chapel and do they offer catering services. Keep in mind that popular venues book up months or even a year in advance, so make sure you start looking as soon as you’ve decided on the number of guests you’re inviting to your wedding.
Formal venues, such as hotels, country clubs and restaurants are able to cater for just about any sort of reception and bring a professional touch to your wedding day celebrations. Some venues offer complete and specialized wedding day services including events organizers to make certain that everything goes according to plan. Your chosen venue should be able to cater to your needs and offer the attention to detail and personal touch that you require.
You’ll need to ask many questions about your potential venue and you can’t go wrong with lists.
- Can the reception area accommodate the number of guests?
- Is the price within your budget and what does it include (e.g. VAT and service charges) ?
- Are there any special package deals?
- Does the price include the bride and groom’s first night accommodation?
- Is there enough parking?
- If the venue is out of town, how far off the main road is it and is the road acceptable to drive on?
- Will there be enough accommodation for guests wanting to spend the night, either at the venue or close by?
- Is the site accessible for aged and handicapped guests?
- Does the venue have in-house caterers with an appropriate menu that can accommodate vegetarian, Halaal and Kosher?
- Do they have a liquor license or can you bring your own?
- Are items such as linen, podium, PA system and dance floor provided?
- What is the time-frame for setting up and vacating the venue and will you receive help from the venue staff?
- To what degree can you decorate the venue yourself?
- Are you allowed to move furniture or pictures and statues.
- Is the venue child friendly and does it have childcare facilities?
- If the venue is outdoors, is there a back up plan in case of bad weather?
- Will the venue be heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer if required?
- Are you allowed to have confetti, a band, candles and fireworks or a marquee?
- Will the venue be hosting other events on the same day?
- Where are the allocated smoking areas and how late can you play music?
- Does the venue have insurance cover?
Do a recon of the venue, look around the premises, including bathrooms and kitchen and think about whether it suites the theme and atmosphere you’re eager to create at your wedding. It’s important to note things such as light quality and the availability and position of electrical outlets for your DJ or musicians. It might be helpful to visit the venue when another wedding is being set up or ask to see photos of the venue when laid out for a wedding reception.
Once you have booked the venue, have regular meetings with the manager or wedding coordinator and make sure they’ll be there on the day to supervise the events and mediate with service providers. Be sure you have everything that’s been agreed on in writing.
The passion and dedication of the people who work there can have just as much of an impact on the success of your wedding as the right venue.
For an outdoor wedding, KwaZulu-Natal’s superb climate and impressive scenic beauty makes for some of the most successful outdoor weddings. A unspoiled stretch of beach, serene forest glade, botanical garden or mountain vista has a romantic appeal all of its own.
Holding the reception outdoors can often work out more expensive than hiring a formal venue once you’ve added up catering and equipment costs. It’s also a lot of work. Nevertheless, the fulfillment of getting married in your dream location may well be worth the extra effort.
An alternative might be to have the wedding in the grounds of a hotel or private estate. That way the location is already set up for functions and there will more likely be onsite catering as well as other services and equipment for you to use.
With venues such as public parks and beaches, there are permits and legal requirements to consider as well as your hiring and equipment requirements such as a marquee, parking and toilet facilities. If you’re out in the elements you also need to take extra care with the menu to ensure food doesn’t melt or spoil and floral arrangements are kept fresh.
There are legalities of the Marriage Act which requires wedding ceremonies to take place in a church, public office or private dwelling with open doors. For this reason, most couples also arrange a civil service in a magistrate’s court in addition to a ceremony at the venue of choice.
Although outdoor weddings are generally considered to be more work, you might save on décor by choosing a gorgeous spot where the surroundings create the ideal backdrop for your wedding day.
A destination wedding can be a relaxed celebration as it feels like a holiday. Tropical islands and sun-kissed beaches are popular locations. Surrounded by a small group of family and friends this may well be the perfect setting for your dream wedding day. If you and your groom come from different cities or countries it’s the perfect compromise for both families.
There may also be less hassle and stress bearing in mind that many resorts offer tailor made all-inclusive packages as well as a wedding consultant to assist in the organizing of your wedding. There are special deals especially out of season and you will most likely have fewer guests to cater for. When the weddings over, there’s no need to rush off as you’re already at your honeymoon destination.
You should be aware of any potential obstacles that may come to light and secure a good on-site planner who’s familiar with the venue as well as local sources for any extras you might need. Find out about the legal requirements for marriage at your chosen destination, you might need to get there early to sort out paperwork and/or stay for a minimum period of time.
While a number of resorts offer all inclusive weddings remember to read the fine print regarding “free” weddings as these usually only cover a simple ceremony, bouquet, small cake and bottle of champagne leaving you to pay for any additional requirements.
The venue of your reception may be inspiration for your wedding theme, so take a walk around the location to see if any particular feature or aspect sparks your imagination. It might be an impressive mountain back drop, a breathtaking ocean view or the quiet beauty of an indigenous forest. You could also look at the architecture of the venue and consider a theme such as Victorian, African or Art Deco.