How to choose the perfect wedding venue for your big day

Updated: Aug 5, 2019


This is so exciting! You've said 'yes' and now you need to find that perfect spot for the 'I dos' and wedding celebrations. The Western Cape has a vast array of venue options, with new venues popping up annually. Although having a variety to choose from, narrowing down the best venue for your day can be a daunting task to say the least.


Most couples decide on their date and venue before securing their other service providers, so we can't really provide guidance / steer you towards the best fit for your day. Therefore I’d love to share some ideas, practical tips and considerations which should be in the back of our mind, when visiting possible venues and before securing your dream location.



LOCATION



Where your venue is located in proximity to your possible service providers will have a great impact on your budget - more rural areas can feel like the perfect ‘elopement’ inspired spot, but the distance to get to the venue will have an impact on how we quote. Most service providers charge an additional fee per kilometer for venues more than 1.5 h drive from their home base. If a venue is more than 100 km from where your team is based, a night’s accommodation will be required for your planner, photographer, videographer and DJ. Please be considerate and don't assume that we will be comfortable to share a dorm room. Some of us are married / in a relationship and sharing a room with someone you don't know is just awkward.


LIGHTING


As a natural light photographer, this is probably one of the most important elements to consider before booking your venue - Does this venue offer a variety of light options and does it have ample natural light?


If not, especially pertaining to your reception area, additional ambient lighting will have to be arranged (adding to your budget), but it is necessary to ensure you have enough light for us to document your celebration. I aim to capture a celebration with the least amount of intrusion - numerous camera flashes can get distracting for you, your guests and looks unappealing in your wedding video.


Also ensure your venue has a generator on site!




WEDDING DAY FORMALITIES


The best way to encourage a relaxed wedding day is to minimise travel between venues as much as possible. The best decision is to book a venue offering accommodation for the bridal party on the premises. This can be used for your pre-ceremony prep. Getting ready on the estate decreases the likelihood of your guests / bridal party / service providers getting stuck in traffic or lost.


Be practical about your vision. If you wish to get married in a church, select a reception venue located within 15 min driving radius. Less driving and rushing equates to a more relaxed wedding celebration.


Yes, the day is about you, but I think clinking champagne with your friends is so more sentimental than sitting in traffic.




FLEXIBILITY + VARIETY


Having your reception outdoors during the summer is magical. The evenings are balmy enough and it is fun to dance under the stars. That said, always have a Plan B if the weather changes.


Venues which offer a variety of setup solutions on the estate will be able to accommodate any emergency changes. If you have secured or want to secure a venue, do enquire about their plan in the case of power failure. Nothing worse than not having electricity half way through dinner service!


LITLLE EYE SORES


When walking through your venue, keep an eye out for the little eye sores which have an impact on your wedding photos; emergency signage, black mounted speakers, weird swinging kitchen doors. Plan your reception layout to avoid these being in the way. Most venues are open to brides covering the signage / requesting white speakers socks when booking the DJ.





I hope that this insight will help with selecting your dream venue. Below I've provided a few venues I love to work with;


VENUES ACCOMMODATING ALL FORMALITIES ON-SITE

These are the places where you check in on the Friday, spend the full weekend celebrating your nuptials with your friends an family, and jet off on the Sunday for your honeymoon.



VENUES WITH ACCOMMODATION CLOSE BY

These are the places where get ready for your ceremony off-site at a Guesthouse / AirBnB, which will require some driving, yet offer flexible areas for your various formalities;


THEME OVER ALL ELSE

Are you planning a wedding according to a specific theme look and feel regardless of the logistics? Then the following suggestions will assist in narrowing down the search for your perfect wedding venue;


Boho - Rustic: Beloftebos | De Uiljenes | Die Woud | Olive Rock | Rockhaven | Montpellier |

Modern: Cavalli Estate | Modern Heirloom | Bosjes | Anura | Old Tannery

Adventure Weddings: Elgin River Lodge | Pat Busch | Wolfkop Camping | Cathedral Peak

Karoo Weddings: Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontein | Karoo 1 Hotel Village

Romantic: Belair Estate | Diamant Estate | Langkloof Roses | Simondium Country Estate | Towerbosch | Liepzig Estate


Have questions or need input from me? Feel free to drop me an email and let's start planning your dream celebration!




STORIES INSPIRED BY LOVE | ADVENTURE | BEAUTIFUL LIGHT





#elopesouthafrica #weddingvenuescapetown #documentaryweddingphotographer #planningawedding #venuehunting #capetownvenues #bestofcapetown

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MARLI KOEN

CAPE TOWN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Cape Town, South Africa  |  marli@marlikoen.com  |  @marlikoenphoto

© Marli Koen Photography 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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