Ask the Expert – Beach, Vineyard, Urban and Safari Weddings in South Africa

August 14, 2014 | christine

vineyard weddings in South Africa, photo by Jean-Pierre Uys | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Jean-Pierre Uys

Premier South African wedding planner Kate Rawbone of Wedding Concepts is sharing everything there is to know about weddings in South Africa. From the beach to the winelands, and the city to the safari, South Africa offers up one of the most diverse and unique spots on the map to say “I do”. So without further adieu, here are few words from Wedding Concepts

What separates South Africa from the rest of the world is its diversity, both in its people and landscape. What makes this country so unique are the many exciting options available for destination weddings. With 9 provinces all offering incredibly picturesque landscapes, South Africa offers many varying choices, all within one country. Of course Cape Town and the greater Western Cape are the most popular choices as they offer spectacular possibilities for any kind of event – from small, intimate weddings, to full blown tailor-made designer celebrations with over 700 guests! Voted by the New York Times as the city to visit in 2014, and also voted as “The World Design Capital” for this year, Cape Town is a vibrant city in the center of a region that is world-renowned for its magnificent natural scenery, rich history, diverse cultures, and distinctive Cape Dutch architecture. Explore vast open spaces, semi-desert stretches, pulsating urban centers, and of course, a never ending, rugged coastline. As a wedding destination it provides three uniquely diverse options. By far the most popular, are the mystically mountainous winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl boasting both historical and modern wine estates. Picturesque sums it up in a word. For the more daring, the peninsula offers a number of pristine beaches, all nestled against Table Mountain and lined with dramatic boulders and glorious sunsets. The third option comprises of sleek urban 5-star hotels, designer boutique hotels, and private ocean and mountain facing villas, all to be transformed into your ideal wedding venue.

Heading further north, one can explore any of the other provinces for unique, out of this world wedding locations. In the Eastern Cape, the coastline is an untouched, rural paradise, with warm waters and idyllic beaches.  In Durban, Africa’s Zulu Kingdom’s seaside playground makes an excellence choice for those who love a year round summer and for surfers – consider this utopia! Gauteng, the ‘place of gold’, is a vibrant metropolis with so many different options. The sun always shines in Johannesburg, with a cosmopolitan, multicultural mix of people that give the city of ‘Jozi’ its own particular brand of dynamism.

Choosing provinces like Limpopo, Mpumulanga and the North West can mean only one thing: a safari wedding! Welcome to the land of the majestic Baobab tree, elephant back safaris, dinners by candlelight in riverbeds and the exciting sounds of the African wild that become part of your daily soundtrack. All three of these provinces flaunt spectacularly diverse and beautiful scenery with an abundance of wildlife. In the heart of the Mpumulanga Lowveld lies South Africa’s unsurpassable Kruger National Park – home of the ‘Big Five’ and unrivaled in its rich diversity of animal and plant life.

beach weddings in South Africa, photo by Kristi Agier | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Kristi Agier

beach weddings in South Africa, photo by Kristi Agier | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Kristi Agier

beach weddings in South Africa, photo by welovepictures | via junebugweddings.com
photo by welovepictures

beach weddings in South Africa, photo by Du Wayne Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Du Wayne Photography

Beach Weddings in South Africa

Summer in South Africa never ends! Days are marked by an average of 12 hours of sunshine, moderate temperatures and, in the Western Cape, minimal rainfalls between October and March. The combination of the superb surroundings and fantastic weather allows for memorable outdoor beach ceremonies. Cape Town is world renowned for its beautiful coastline, fantastic beaches and the option of having beach weddings and ceremonies that offer a majestic setting as well as mountains views too! The Garden Route, located on the eastern end of the Western Cape, offers stretches of beach, lakes and mountain scenery that merge to create some of the most breath-taking landscapes in the world. If it’s a beach wedding scene you are after, then you are spoilt for choice here. The Garden Route offers remote beauty and spectacular backdrops.

The Eastern Cape and Durban are home to both the Sunshine and Wild coasts on the Indian Ocean, with warm waters and idyllic beaches. With serene white beaches that stretch for miles and a mildly tropical climate; this region offers beach locations that are all unique and equally beautiful.

vineyard weddings in South Africa, photo by ZaraZoo Wedding Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by ZaraZoo Wedding Photography

vineyard weddings in South Africa, photo by Charlene Schreuder | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Charlene Schreuder

vineyard weddings in South Africa, photo by Zara Zoo | via junebugweddings.com
photo by ZaraZoo Wedding Photography

Vineyard Weddings in South Africa

The vineyard wine estates in and around Cape Town all have a unique beauty of their own. Invariably wine estates lie tucked into picturesque valleys, surrounded by majestic mountains and vineyards heavy with grapes during the summer months. There are multiple wine valleys to choose from in the Western Cape. The historic university town of Stellenbosch offers wine estates that are either rustic and perfect for farm or vintage inspired weddings, or alternatively contemporary venues that celebrate modern design and architecture for those wanting a wedding steeped in design across the board. The former French-Huguenot town and now gastronomic capital of the winelands, Franschhoek, offers venues with sweeping views over the valley and world-class menus that would be difficult to ever recreate anywhere else in the world! Paarl and Wellington also offer historic venues that pay homage to the Cape Dutch style architecture located in a part of the winelands that is none for its incredible sunsets. We call it “The Golden Hour” where in summer, the sunset stretches across the mountain range and naturally highlights the mountains in a rainbow of golds and pinks. It has to be seen to be believed! Oh and of course – did we mention the incredible award winning wines available at every single estate? That’s pretty self explanatory we think!

urban weddings in South Africa, photo by Vivid Blue | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Vivid Blue

urban weddings in South Africa, photo by Christine Meintjes Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Christine Meintjes Photography

urban weddings in South Africa, photo by Christine Meintjes Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Christine Meintjes Photography

Urban Weddings in South Africa

The two largest urban centers in South Africa are Johannesburg and Cape Town, and although currently both cities are experiencing incredibly exciting creative design movements, they could not be more different! To Africans, Johannesburg is known as the Centre of Africa as it is the economic powerhouse of the continent. It is a cosmopolitan melting pot and as the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg is also the wealthiest and most fast paced! It is a flourishing, happening city with the emphasis on succeeding. Having an urban wedding in “Jozi” doesn’t mean only amazing views of both historic and new urban sprawl, but with over six million trees, Johannesburg is one of the largest “urban forests” in the world – more so than New York! The Johannesburg inner city has been undergoing a complete regeneration. Grand and historic buildings from the 1800’s stand proudly alongside modern buildings showcasing exciting new and contemporary architecture. A relatively recent addition to the Johannesburg skyline, the Nelson Mandela Bridge has already gained iconic status, with an impressive 248m span that is lit up in all the colours of the rainbow at night. This makes for incredible photos at night and many bridal couples make their way to this bridge for memorable photos.

On the other end of the scale, Cape Town is a city brimming with inspired design from lifestyle, media, fashion and events and it is the quintessential melting pot of a city alive with creativity, colour, sounds and taste. Visitors to Cape Town fall in love with its natural beauty. Walking the city streets, all you need to do is look around you and the iconic Table Mountain will no doubt be in immediate sight. As this year’s World Design Capital, Cape Town is the most visually beautiful city in South Africa and also an extremely easy city to navigate. Most city attractions and key points of interest are only a 5 to 10 minute drive from each other. An urban wedding venue in Cape Town ranges from 5-star hotel ballrooms to custom-built wedding venues in numerous settings: overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, 12 Apostles Mountain Range, or a lush city garden brimming with indigenous Fynbos. Alternatively, city venues offer historic options with buildings reflecting architecture from the Art Deco era that lend another fantastic design element to an urban wedding!

safari weddings in South Africa, photo by Ryan Graham | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Ryan Graham

safari weddings in South Africa, photo by Tyme Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Tyme Photography

safari weddings in South Africa, photo by Tyme Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Tyme Photography

Safari Weddings in South Africa

Safari weddings in South Africa offer a range of choices from desert hideaways, exotic eco lodges, luxurious designer lodges or remote bush camps – all with amazing game viewing. For international guests, a safari wedding will be a completely unique and memorable experience and simply put, one that they will not experience anywhere else in the world! Drawing on the mystique of African explorations of a bygone era, a safari wedding affords the opportunity for visitors to experience the splendors of the African bush and get a feel for the warm hospitality of the people who live on and love the African continent. Whether you’d prefer your wedding to take place overlooking a waterhole at sunset, in a bush clearing with animals as curious onlookers, or in one of the many luxurious lodges, a safari wedding will set your celebration far apart from the rest.

safari weddings in South Africa, photo by Christine Meintjes Photography | via junebugweddings.com
photo by Christine Meintjes Photography

A great big thank you to the ladies of Wedding Concepts!

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  1. What amazing photos! I can’t get over the photo by the watering hole – just amazing!

  2. Elephant is very strong animal . I like it .

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