Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Destination Wedding Venues

We love the trend that is becoming evident in modern weddings. Couples seem to be choosing to have smaller, more intimate weddings, sharing the event with close friends and family rather than large weddings where some guests are almost unknown to them! This could be due to the economic realities we live under, as well as the fact that many weddings are not the bride or groom’s first wedding, and if the couple are paying for their own wedding, they get to invite who they want to share their wedding day with.

This smaller, more intimate type of wedding lends itself perfectly to a destination wedding. We are so fortunate here in South Africa as we are privileged to have many quaint villages and stunning localities to make for really memorable destination weddings.

One of our favourite beach destination venues is Grootbos which is situated overlooking the ocean on a Fynbos reserve between Gansbaai and Hermanus in the Western Cape. Grootbos has had the honour of being named in the Top 50 Hotels I in the world. This particular part of the ocean offers the best land-based whale watching in the world. You can choose to have your ceremony in a number of places. If you have always dreamed of a beach wedding, they can set up your ceremony on the beach at sunset. The other alternative is a forest wedding ceremony amongst their 1000 year old milkwood forest trees which makes for unique and beautiful wedding pictures.

Grootbos are well-known for their excellent cuisine, and being so close to the ocean, for their fresh seafood, so you need have no concerns about your reception menu. There is a cosy, intimate underground wine cellar where they hold smaller receptions. Decorated with flowers and bathed in candlelight, the wine cellar offers a stunning reception venue. Alternatively your reception can be held on the terrace overlooking the ocean or in our cosy dining area which boasts amazing views from Cape Point to all the way round to Cape Agulhas.

For your honeymoon, their luxury honeymoon suite has its own private splash pool, private balcony and beautifully furnished accommodation. All meals are included (and these are all delicious!) and there is a plethora of activities ranging from horse riding to shark-cage diving for the adventurous, to hikes through the fynbos. Have a look at their profile on

An area that is becoming increasingly popular for destination weddings is the beautiful Eastern Free State. These venues are situated on farms outside towns that are within easy reach of Gauteng, and are thus perfect for a weekend wedding where the bride and groom and their guests wish to get away from the city and enjoy a relaxed wedding in beautiful surroundings in big sky country.

Clarens is a very popular destination with its art galleries, coffee shops and interesting stores and is thus perfect for a destination wedding. Oranje Guest Farm is a charming venue for your wedding. Have a look at their profile at

Clocolan which is situated between the towns of Ficksburg and Ladybrand has a few lovely country wedding venues. One of these is Zuikerkop which is situated on a farm surrounded by rolling green fields, flat-topped koppies, abundant game and unrivalled skyscapes. Have a look at You could consider this as a wonderful option for your destination wedding.

Another gorgeous venue with 150 year old sandstone buildings so characteristic of the area is Essence of the Highlands. This venue has magnificent views with clear blue skies in the day and amazing stars during the night. If you look at you will see what we mean! These venues offer accommodation for your guests and an unforgettable experience if you should choose to have your wedding there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weddings in Small Towns

In the past year one thing that I have noticed from our brides is a desire to get out of the city and get married in a small town. It is easy to understand why this has become so popular in this gorgeous country of ours. We have some amazing small towns to choose from not too far from the city. I also think that by having your wedding out of town you make an event out of it. Everyone has to travel to the wedding destination and most probably end up staying in town for a couple of nights. It really creates a celebratory atmosphere. So what are some of the best towns to have your small town wedding at? I have made a list of my favourite five:

1. Clarens, Free State – This is a very popular little town at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Its quaint village atmosphere, breathtaking scenery and mild climate make it a popular choice for brides to have their small town wedding from Joburg, Bloemfontein and even Durban. There is a lot to see and do in the area making great day activities for your guests. Our featured venue in Clarens is Oranje Guest Farm. I absolutely love this venue because it has an authentic Free State feel to it and its beautiful sandstone buildings bring real character to the venue. The venue can accommodate up to 170 guests and there is even an old chapel located on the farm. There is an organised team of ladies who are ready to help you with any of your needs, which is great if you planning your wedding from Joburg! For more information have a look at their profile:

2. Brits, North West – May sound like an unusual choice to most people, but I really love the area and find that it is far less hectic than its neighbour Hartebeesport Dam and so close to Joburg and Pretoria. One of our most popular venues is located here, Zakopane Country Village. With its idyllic setting and impeccable food and service, it’s easy to understand why Zakopane has fast become one of the sought after wedding venues in South Africa. Zakopane Country Village boasts an on site chapel and can host wedding for up to 160 guests. Have a look at their profile:

3. Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape – I love this little quaint village just 1 hour away from Cape Town so much. It is so unpretentious compared to its other wine route counterparts and oh so beautiful. The town is culture rich and pays host to two festivals every year, the olive festival in March and a Shiraz and art Festival in October. My favourite venue in Reebiek Kasteel is Delsma Farm and is situated on the banks of the Berg River. This farm is gorgeous and has so many ‘wow factors’ it is hard to name them all. Just have a look for yourself :

4. Knysna, Garden Route – Ok it is a stretch to call Knysna a small town, but it has SO much to offer I just had to include it. Plan the wedding off season and you won’t even notice how developed Knysna has become. The setting is perfect and the natural beauty of the place means that there are infinite lovely places to take pictures. My wedding venue of choice in Knysna is Portland Manor. It is a historical country manor with enough space to accommodate most of your wedding guests. Portland Manor really is country comfort at its very best!

5. The Natal Midlands – Everyone loves this part of the country and with good reason. There is an enchanting air to the Midlands making it an extremely popular area to get married in. With the Drakensberg mountains as your backdrop what could be better than getting married in the Natal Midlands? Our venue in the Midlands is Lastingham, offering the finest in KwaZulu Natal hospitality and class. The setting is perfect and the owners Mike and Lynne like to concentrate on the details, ensuring your wedding runs perfectly. Check them out:

So start looking into having your wedding in a small town and discover that there is so much that these little gems have to offer.


Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 – What a fabulous year to get married!

So he popped the question and you getting married! Congratulations. By the amount of people coming to our site we can tell that there were a lot of engagements over the holidays. Suddenly your status has changed to ‘Engaged’ and planning your wedding is your top priority. So many things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them. So let’s get going!

There has never been so much activity on the internet as there is at the moment. All the professionals are online right now blogging, twittering or facebooking about what they do and how they do it. To find inspiration and ideas for your wedding day you don’t even need to leave your computer. Seriously, how cool is that! Twitter I have found to be the easiest way of getting advice from the professionals. So, sign up today and you can get thousands ideas for your wedding. I also find great deals on Ebay, have a look. But you can find absolutely everything on there! Just be careful, it is extremely addictive. 

There are two royal weddings this year too. If it is not really your thing it is going to be great to see some of the trends that these two lovely ladies are going to be incorporating into their weddings and if it is your thing, well you are in for a treat! I think the whole world has been looking forward to the day when one of Lady Diana’s sons wed! Diana and Charles’ wedding was so enchanting I can only imagine what William and Kate’s wedding is going to be like. 

There are more choices than ever now. It may be daunting for some people, but for me I just think that it makes things more exciting. 

So all the best to you and your significant other in planning one of the most important days of your lives.

All the best!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 - Local and International celebrities plan their weddings!

2011 a Year for Celebrity Weddings!

2011 will be filled with bouquets and white dresses as celebrities - local South African and international - plan to tie the knot.

Headlining the local nuptial scene will be the first family. President Jacob Zuma is expected to wed his sixth bride. Gloria Bongi Ngema became his latest fiancée ­after traditional Zulu gifts were ­exchanged in December 2009.

Zuma’s glamorous daughter, Duduzile, will wed her businessman fiancé, Lonwabo Sambudla, after the traditional umembeso ceremony which took place in ­Durban last month.

Zuma’s son, Mziwoxolo, will marry his fiancée Phumelele Shange after the umembeso at the bride’s home in Lamontville, KwaZulu-Natal, in November.

On the entertainment scene ­Skwatta Kamp rapper Slikour and his girlfriend, Jill Mulligan, are speaking of taking vows after the birth of their child, and new parents model Lee-Ann Liebenberg and her fiancé, former polo player Nicky van der Walt, are also looking to marry this year.

Rounding off the SA list is former South African swimming star Charlene Wittstock, who will marry Prince Albert of Monaco in July.


Internationally, the paparazzi are licking their lips over another two royal weddings in the next year, with Prince William’s recent proposal to his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton topping the list.

Also set to tie the knot in April is Zara Phillips, Queen ­Elizabeth’s granddaughter, who is to marry English rugby player Mike Tindall.

Actress Louisana Lopilato will wed Grammy Award winner Michael Bublé in April.

The star-studded weddings will include a good stirring up of controversy as singer Shania Twain marries Frédéric Thiébaud, husband of the former friend for whom Twain’s husband left her.

Also sure to keep people talking is Playboy boss Hugh Hefner, 84, who will walk down the aisle for the third time with Playmate Crystal Harris, 60 years his junior.

Former couple Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey will also be getting married - but not to each other. The actress will wed former football player Eric Johnson, while the former singer weds his actress girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo.

Singer LeAnn Rimes has become engaged to CSI Miami hunk Eddie Cibrian. The Can’t Fight The Moonlight singer’s actor boyfriend reportedly popped the question over the Christmas period while they were on holiday in Los Angeles.

Singer Lily Allen has also ­announced her engagement after boyfriend Sam Cooper proposed to her on a beach in Bali on Christmas Day.

Oscar winner Natalie Portman has announced she is both ­engaged and pregnant. The ­actress is set to wed ballet choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

And the ever-controversial Britney Spears has set off engagement rumours after she tweeted a photo of herself sitting on Santa’s lap - with a ring on her left hand.

In the photo, Britney has a ­diamond ring on her ring finger, which has prompted several websites to suggest that perhaps her boyfriend, Jason Trawick, proposed to her over the festive ­period.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The West Coast

The West Coast has to be one of the most magical places in South Africa. Pristine beaches are complimented by unique Fynbos making it one of the most desirable areas in South Africa to get married. There are plenty of wedding venues to choose from too stretching from Yzerfontein to the northern region of the country. There are many reasons to choose to get married on the West Coast and here are some of them…
Want to get married right on the beach? The West Coast is one of the few areas in South Africa where it is possible to get married with the sea lapping at your feet. There are many amazing wedding venues located right on the beach to give you a true West Coast experience. The beaches are picture perfect too, ideal for your wedding photographs, just watch out for the cool Atlantic Ocean. Get married in the beautiful towns of Lamberts Bay, Langebaan, Saldanha Bay and Partenoster.
The weather on the West Coast is dry and hot in summer making it the ideal wedding destination. The best time therefore to get married on the West Coast is from November to April when the days are long and warm and dry. The evenings can get quite chilly owing to the fact that you are right next to the cold Atlantic so take that into consideration when planning your wedding. The West Coast becomes a floral wonderland from August to September. This is also a perfect time to get married on the West Coast.
The West Coast is the perfect backdrop to plan your understated beach wedding that will have your guests in ore. Have a look at our West Coast Wedding Venues here:

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo in Soweto

After the excitement of the World Cup, life for South Africans has calmed down a bit and we can all start thinking about thing other than soccer and where to watch the next game. So it’s time to play catch up and start planning that wedding!

A great aid when it comes to wedding planning is to attend one of the many wedding expos that are held in South Africa. The next Bridal Expo to be held in South Africa will be in Soweto. This is very exciting for many reasons and after the World Cup it seems Soweto is going to be the venue for many events in the future!


In the aftermath of the World Cup, South Africans are becoming aware that it is possible to realize our dreams. Since June, places like Soweto and Rustenburg have become household names around the world. Now, South Africa has the opportunity to highlight our abilities – and not only on the football field. We are an extremely talented nation and our endeavours epitomise what our colourful, unique and vibrant country is all about.
But it’s not only overseas visitors who are realising our full potential. We’re realising it ourselves. Locally we have the opportunity to showcase our talents, and to shine. And events like the first ever Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo in Soweto is proof of this. For the first time ever, talented local designers, artists and caterers will be showcasing what they can do to make couples’ wedding dreams come true.

One of these people is K. Mosimane, or Sister Bucks as she is known, a talented designer whose ranges are colourful and traditionally inspired. She opened her first Sister Bucks store in Rosebank, Johannesburg over a decade ago, and was one of the first to open up shop in Maponya Mall when it launched in 2007. Today, she is also one of the Bridal Indaba’s new breed of exhibitors, and is bringing her special touch of Africa to the wedding expo. “I’m promoting my African culture and traditions at the Soweto Bridal Indaba,” she says proudly. “Although I don’t specialise in wedding dresses, I do design them on demand. My store in Soweto proved that there is a big market here, and I’m hoping the Bridal Indaba will bring even more customers.”

The original Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo was started by Corine Scheepbouwer 15 years ago in Johannesburg. Her sister Liz Vrijenhoek joined her in 2007, and they formed Dalani Marketing, an events company that also concentrates on Bridal Indaba Wedding Expos at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways. Now the two are adding another new project, the first-ever Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo in Soweto, to be held at historic Walter Sisulu Square on the weekend of July 31 and August 01. The management of the square is extremely excited about this venture. “I cannot wait to explore this new adventure with Liz and Corine, “ says its Marketing Manager, Charlotte Msibi van Staden. “The Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo will not only bring many local visitors here; it will also offer small businesses and local entrepreneurs incredible exposure.”
Since Corine’s very first Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo many have tried to replicate her success – in fact, there are now over 16 similar exhibitions held all over South Africa every year. Initially, Corine’s wedding expo’s were held at the Balalaika Hotel in Sandton. However, when the venue became too small, they moved to the Indaba Hotel in Fourways.

Corine’s loyal following of exhibitors are all delighted at the prospect of bringing the concept to Soweto. Says Wikus Louw, of WM Studios wedding photographers, who has exhibited with Corine since her very first show in 1993, “I’m looking forward to moving with her into the Soweto market.” Wedding cake expert Kate de Waal of Sugar ‘n Ice is also very excited about the Soweto show. “I’ve been exhibiting my cakes at Corine’s shows for the past 10 years, and I am very excited at the prospect of exploring a whole new market with her,” she says.

The Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo Soweto will showcase a superior selection of wedding specialists, many of whom will be local to the area. They range from wedding dress designers to photographers, cake makers to event planners... all those who can assist in creating the perfect wedding. A highlight will be daily 45-minute fashion shows as well as superb catering for the hungry crowds, which is being handled by the well-known Sakumzi Restaurant on Vilakazi Street.

FNB is one of the sponsors to The Bridal Indaba Wedding Expo in Soweto. These financial partners for life offer cheque, savings accounts home loans and more. They will be exhibiting at the show in Walter Sisulu Square Hall. Entrance is R50 per person and tickets are available at the door.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weddings on a Budget

Weddings on a Budget

Wedding expenses can run totally out of control ending what should be the happiest day of your lives into a nightmare of debt, arguments and stress. Even for those of you lucky enough to have parents in a position to pay for your wedding, watching costs and keeping within a budget is essential in these economic times.

A good place to start would be to organise your wedding outside of peak holiday months. If this is difficult to do, then see if you can organise your wedding for during the week, a Friday evening or on a Sunday. Most wedding venues are willing to offer specials or discounts on the days and evenings they are traditionally not so busy. Photographers and other service providers would also be more flexible with their prices on days viewed as not so busy.

Many venues have fantastic specials during the winter months so this is a great way of saving on venue hire. Traditionally winter is “off-season” so service providers would also be cheaper.

The time of day you plan your wedding can have a massive impact on your budget. Instead of a lavish 3 course dinner in the evening why not consider a lighter lunch wedding reception, or even a champagne breakfast? Breakfast also translates into a lower bar bill! You could have a chic cocktail party with classy tapas style snacks and other delicious finger foods, but the more complicated the snacks the more expensive they would be. Remember too many drinks before the guests have anything to eat leads to everyone getting tipsy early on! So it is a good idea to offer something to eat early on in the celebrations. You can have a big bash for all your friends when you get back from your honeymoon.

Keep your food choices simple and choose cheaper meal options like delicious chicken dishes served with fresh salads instead of expensive meat cuts like fillet steak.

As far as music is concerned, a DJ is cheaper than a live band. Make sure that he/she has background music that you like to play when you make your entrance and during dinner.

For flowers and décor on a smaller budget there are a few ways of saving money, For table arrangements try and keep your tables small so that you don’t have a vast empty space in the middle of the table to fill with flowers. A way around this is to present your food on platters placed in the middle of the table from which guests would help themselves. Beautifully presented food can act as the décor for the dinner.

Choose vases with narrow tops as these do not require as many flowers to fill them as wide vases. Use small arrangements of flowers interspersed with lots of candles so cutting down on the number of flowers you will need. Another idea is to fill beautiful glass containers of different shapes and sizes with coloured water at different levels, float candles in these and this can be a very effective way of décor without using expensive flowers. In fact candles and lovely candle holders are a great way of adding loads of style to your wedding décor at minimal cost.

Your wedding favours are a place where you can trim your budget because to a large extent, you can put them together yourself. Consider buying a variety of sweeties in the colour of your theme and displaying them in stylish glass containers, or make up organza bags for your guests to take home.

Some brides are opting to make a donation to a charity of their choice. Have a look at to get some good ideas. Give the men a gift of a lotto ticket – you never know, one of your guests may be lucky enough to hit the jackpot!

Please add any cost cutting ideas of your own here! Lets share these brilliant ideas we may have with other brides.