There are few girls who don’t dream of one day having their wedding in the winelands. The romance of the surrounding vineyards, historic buildings and mountainous landscapes is the stuff of fairytales.
A plethora of wedding venues are situated in the Cape – ranging from offthe- beaten-track gems to five-star luxury – and each will immerse your guests in beautiful scenery. The list on the pages that follow is by no means a definitive guide to the hundreds of venues, but highlight some of our favourites, including a small selection of Johannesburg venues that go out of their way to create a winelands feel for those brides who aren’t able to get married in the Cape winelands.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT VENUE
Without a clear idea of what you are looking for, it can be daunting to begin browsing through a wide range of venue options. Christina Holt, owner and MD of Wedding Concepts, experts in wedding planning, suggests that you start by setting yourself an overall wedding budget that leaves some room for personalisation and areas you may not initially have considered. It’s vital to be realistic about finances before starting your site-inspection tour. Once you are on the road, she advises that you make sure your favourite venue ticks the four main following points:
Are all spaces right for your group size, i.e. neither too big nor too small once suitably set up? Does it have accommodation or a honeymoon suite on site?
Are you happy with the level of luxury and the standard of service offered?
Does the general ambience and interior suit your design ideas?
Ensure your don’t break the bank with a venue fee that exceeds your funds. You still have a lot of other expenses to consider.
Christina encourages brides to start planning at least 10 to 12 months before the planned date as many venues fill help well in advance.
Marquees are ideal when you’re looking to create a space which you can personalise according to your exact specifications, says Christina. They are, in essence, a blank canvas that needs to be painted. They can be tailored according to size, appearance, layout and, most importantly, they can be erected pretty much anywhere. Although, if you’re planning to consider a marquee celebration it is advisable to approach a professional planner as the technicalities may become quite demanding.
RAISE YOUR GLASS
Wine is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when planning your wedding and should never be an afterthought. After all, you spend a lot of time on finding everything from the right spouse to the right venue, dress and menu, rounding it up with a decent selection of wines is nothing less than appropriate.
Start by finding the middle ground – you don’t want to serve overly complex wines with too much in the way of tannins and alcohol. Chenin Blanc is always a winner, and so is a crisp Sauvignon Blanc (not everyone appreciates a wooded Chardonnay).
On the red side, be sure to serve wines that offer delicious drinking now. To lower costs – and if you are allowed to bring your own wine into the venue – investigate entry-level wines of celebrated wine farms such as Saronsberg, Boekenhoutskloof, Chamonix and Tokara.
People are there to have a good time, so don’t worry too much about finding an exact food and wine match. You don’t want to offer people too many choices – but you also don’t want the choice to be too limited. A basic selection of red or white should always be offered. Depending on budget you might want to expand this offering to include a selection of four whites and four reds, plus bubbly. Ask the events coordinator for a tasting of the wines to be served on the night, paired with the menu you plan to serve, to ensure that guests don’t order wines they dislike and that will ultimately be wasted. And feel free to have a more exclusive wine list for the main table!
How much wine you serve at your wedding depends on your budget. However, some people allow themselves to be guided by other principles – are you offering wine so that people can raucously party or do you merely want them to have a good time? If you are planning a conservative wedding, go for half a bottle per person; however if you are planning a bigger, longer party go for more. Two bottles per person should do the trick (running out of wine at a wedding is never a good plan). Work on six pourings per bottle.
Also, keep in mind that some wine farms do not allow you to bring in your own wine, but will offer you a choice of their wine. Then there are some farms that allow you to bring your own wine, but will charge you a corkage fee. And then there are farms that allow you to bring your own wine for free. Either way, be sure that you know what you are dealing with.
I CAN PLAN MY WEDDING MYSELF – WHY ENGAGE A COORDINATOR?
Most couples could probably design their own wedding however, what people now understand is that in the same manner in which they use professionals for other services in their lives, they need expert help when they start planning their weddings. Due to work pressures and a general lack of time, they increasingly opt for experienced wedding management support. Others simply can’t envision the style of their wedding come to life without innovative assistance.
Creating the perfect look and feel for a wedding has today moved into the realm of conceptualising an event – often celebrated across a few days – down to its last detail. This includes anything from the more obvious services of choosing your menu, bar and musical requirements to creating floor plans, advising on lighting, seating and staging solutions. Planning weddings today involves serious project work and having a coordination team on board guarantees you a wedding day, from A to Z, to perfection.
Contact Wedding Concepts on 021 426 5783 or go to www.weddingconcepts.co.za
If you are searching for a picturepostcard setting, then look no further than Constantia Uitsig and its diverse venue options (Palm Room, Constantia Uitsig restaurant, La Colombe, The River Café and The Vineyard Terrace). Rolling lawns, vineyards and towering trees make the gardens a romantic setting for a large or small ceremony and the various restaurants, gardens and function rooms cater for any number of guests.
Whether large or small, your reception is guaranteed delectable cuisine at each venue and accommodation is available on the premises.
Hold your ceremony in the sundial garden, which has capacity for 150 people, then celebrate in one of two restaurants which are positioned on the historic farm and offer phenomenal views of the Groot Constantia Vineyards and the False Bay coast.
The estate’s restaurant, Simon’s, caters for up to 180 guests in its function room and packages include the hiring of chairs, crockery and cutlery. It offers two set menu options which take their cue from traditional Cape cuisine. The elegant Jonkershuis Constantia has capacity for 120 guests, lawns that accommodate 250 and a private dining room for 60.
A Victorian bath, situated in a quiet, leafy setting at the top of a gravel road, is perfect for photos – and is also an option for ceremonies.
Exuding opulence, Steenberg is a decidedly romantic setting. Ceremonies can be held in the picturesque gardens, while the award-winning Catharina’s restaurant, set amid manicured lawns and vineyards, is equipped to accommodate a private reception for just the bridal couple or a party of 70 people. The hotel will even handle all the admin, including the necessary paperwork, fi nding a marriage offi cer and arranging the photographs, so all you need to do is relax and enjoy your special day.
Accommodation and a spa are available for guests and the bridal couple at the Steenberg hotel at an additional cost.
With its imposing building and modern lines, Durbanville Hills is the perfect venue for a contemporary couple looking to host their guests in a striking setting. Large glass panels and double-volume ceilings guarantee beautiful views of vineyards and, on a clear day, all the way to Table Mountain in the distance. Opt to have drinks outside next to the water feature, or on the large veranda outside the function hall.
An appealing feature of this venue is that the vast interior spaces create the illusion of a big wedding, when in reality it can host a maximum of 100 guests. Equally appealing is its proximity to Cape Town, with numerous guesthouses in the area providing accommodation.
Ceremonies can be held in the lush gardens, in the intimate Jonkershuis, with its roaring fi replace and pitched ceilings, or in the Owner’s Cottage – perfect for a celebration with just 10 close friends and family.
The contemporary art gallery, accommodating up to 120 guests with dancing outside, is ideal for a bride wanting an on-trend reception, while the elegant restaurant and sculpture garden each lend themselves to luxurious weddings of up to 60 guests.
Grande Provence is all about glamour and luxury – and if you have the budget, it won’t disappoint. Packages include wedding night accommodation in the honeymoon suite at the Owner’s Cottage. Gourmet cuisine, is prepared by chef Darren Roberts, paired with Grande Provence wine.
A Eucalyptus-lined entrance leads to white thatched buildings on this 1690 estate. Allée Bleue abounds with sprawling meadows of olive trees and expansive lavender and rosemary fi elds, a river, and views of the Drakenstein Mountains.
This estate offers a diverse selection of venues: within the gardens, the Bell Tower Lawn is appropriate for 60 people; the Manor House Lawn seats 300; and the Palm Gardens has infinite space. If your wedding takes place in summer, the mass of trees provides protection from the sweltering sun and the Southeaster, but if you’re not one to take any chances, a 220-person tent can be erected. Smaller indoor rooms and cellars exist for 20 to 50 guests, and packages for both the main reception courtyard, which accommodates 190, and the main indoor reception venue (up to 250 guests) include use of the garden lawns for the ceremony and a one-night stay for the bridal couple in the Allée Bleue Kendall Cottage.
An archway of old trees leading to flower-fringed lawns welcome guests to Backsberg. Ceremonies can be held in the Vat Cellar (which is also suitable for smaller receptions), where guests are flanked by giant oak barrels, while the beautiful gardens are a wedding photographer’s dream. The estate offers numerous opportunities for outdoor receptions in Bedouin tents or marquees.
Indoors, Neville’s Place offers versatility with French doors opening onto the gardens. Sliding partitions manipulate the size of the room to accommodate groups from 50 to 250 guests. Various fireplaces also make this a suitable winter venue..A charming courtyard is ideal for a lounging area for guests or dancing into the night.
Rickety Bridge capitalises on a scenic setting with breathtaking views over vineyards towards the mountains framing the Franschhoek Valley.
Ceremonies are held in the Rickety Bridge chapel or on the rolling lawns, while the elegant banqueting hall, with a separate dance area and bar, is home to most receptions and can seat up to 85 people. For larger weddings a marquee can also be erected in the Manor House gardens to take full advantage of the beautiful surrounds.
The well-priced wedding packages include use of the Manor House, which sleeps six, and bridal changing room for one night. Menus are compiled in consultation with the bride and groom to suit taste and budget.
Although this is a versatile venue, very little décor is needed to turn it into your dream wedding.
Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate
A luxurious French-style ballroom with chandeliers, elevated glass sliding doors, a bamboo laminated floor and a 200-person capacity demonstrates this venue’s ability to host large-scale glamorous weddings. In addition to the ballroom, other venue options at Val de Vie include the Wine Cellar Garden, which dates back to 1825, and the large polo field with its magnificent view of the lake and the lush mountain surroundings. (A polo match can be arranged for your enjoyment!)
Venue hire charges include Bohemian crystal glassware, complete air-conditioning or heating, as well as lighting and sound equipment and also incorporates the services of wedding organisers.
While you party the night away, a kids’ room equipped with a television will keep the little ones entertained and a team of security guards will also be present to ensure your safety throughout the wedding.
Rietvallei Wine Estate
Ideal for an outdoor summer wedding, Rietvallei is a venue for a bridal couple looking for something a bit off the beaten track. Covering 370 hectares, the estate can comfortably hold up to 200 guests and a marquee can be hired, if required. Morning, afternoon or evening weddings are possible and the menu is equally flexible, although only Rietvallei wine can be used at the event.
As Rietvallei is situated just outside of Robertson, numerous accommodation options for both your guests and your honeymoon are available.
South Hill Vineyards
On the eastern side of the scenic Elgin Valley, tucked away in the Kogelberg mountains among pine forests and nearby orchards, lies South Hill Vineyards. Up to 150 people can be hosted in a marquee outside, while the 70-person barn restaurant, which features a fi replace and views of the rugged mountains and extensive vineyards, suits a warm winter wedding.
The wedding party has exclusive use of the venue from 08:00 until midnight and menus can be personalised with chef Gordon Manuel and complemented with a local wine list.
The on-site wooden honeymoon suite is located on the water’s edge and has an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Cascade Country Manor
Nestled alongside a river, with walkways to cascading waterfalls, olive groves and grand cypress and palm trees, Cascade Manor is truly entrancing. An Old-World feel is created by Roman pillars and stairs, which lead onto a verandah overlooking vineyards.
Menus are compiled especially for each wedding and encompass European cuisine as well as local specialities. The Manor comprises of a number of venue options able to accommodate extremely intimate ceremonies for just the bridal couple to a larger occasion of up to 100 people. Small to medium-sized weddings can be held next to the waterfall, on the patio or in the courtyard, and a larger event can be held in the main hall or in a marquee on the lush lawns. Included in the package is a night in the on-premises honeymoon suite.
This recently restored Victorian homestead tucked away in the heart of the Wellington winelands lends itself to a romantic wedding with its graceful white interior. An antique stairway leads to a verandah overlooking manicured lawns and magnifi cent views of the vineyards. When lit up at night, the verandah is perfect for pre-reception drinks.
With a capacity for 250 people, the venue is geared towards bigger weddings, although there are options for smaller, more intimate celebrations; both the foyer of the historical house or the verandah furnished with couches and coffee tables can be used.
Kleinevalleij utilises an external caterer and is willing to working with a service provider of your choice.
This 66-hectare farm is new to hosting weddings, however its understated grace and breathtaking views over its vineyards and dam as well as the dazzling Paarl valley and the Du Toits Kloof mountains has quickly established it as a much sought-after venue.
The 80-person boutique wine cellar and function venue consists of newly built cement tanks, while a fi replace adds warmth and ambience. The sophisticated cigar lounge is the ideal location for pre-reception drinks and canapés for an intimate and exclusive wedding.
Caves, a trail into the forest, natural spring water and remnants of ancient buildings and an old water mill are all to be found on the grounds of this farm. An informal picnic is the perfect way to take advantage of this scenery, with seating on the lawn for up to 50 guests or 30 seated at tables and the rest comfortably spread out on blankets next to the dam.
Palmiet Valley Wine Estate
The 300-year-old Palmiet Estate offers the opportunity for a wedding surrounded by the Drakenstein mountains and the magnifi cent vineyards in an historic setting. Celebrate in a 90-person gazebo in the fynbos and herb garden under jacaranda and oak trees, or in the Manor House Rooftop Terrace with 45 family and friends – perfect for a rainy day. The charming cellar is ideal for a winter wedding of 90 people or, if you desire a more intimate wedding, the romantic stone thatched Vineyard Chapel seats 40 people and the historic dining room seats just 24.
Following consultations with the event organisers and the on-site chef, Palmiet outlines a personalised package and permits adaptations of the various set menus. The package includes intricately designed cast iron chairs and white cushions. The honeymoon suite can also operate as a spacious preparation space for the bride.
Fancy a horse-drawn carriage through the vines? Or making an entrance by helicopter? Blaauwklippen, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, caters for mild and wild dreams allowing the wedding couple to create a truly memorable day. This establishment reflects Cape charm with gabled homesteads and doublevolume rooms echoing old-era finesse. Rolling lawns and massive acorn trees adorn the property with numerous garden nooks providing for beautiful photo opportunities.
Have your ceremony on the lawn in front of the 18th-century Manor House, with a reception at the Barouche Restaurant (seating up to 100 guests) where traditional South African and Europeanstyle cuisine is served. Outside areas can also be utilised for larger groups, with the option of a banquet, a cocktail function or even a picnic.
Situated on Simonsig, the estate which pioneered Cap Classique in South Africa, Cuvée restaurant is an apt choice for a wedding venue. Guests will be able to indulge in Kaapse Vonkel while waiting for the bridal couple to conclude their photo shoot between the vines.
Cuvée is known for its quirky but modern interior, with bold splashes of colour, but its main appeal is in the fine food served in this immaculate setting which can accommodate up to 75 guests. It is an all-season venue, with large windows and French doors opening onto the rolling lawns of the estate on sunny days, while doors and windows can be shut and the fireplace lit to create a cosy, intimate function on cold or rainy days.
Oozing country charm, Hawksmoor House is a tranquil retreat on Matjieskuil wine farm. Filled with antique furniture in a serene setting among vineyards, the guesthouse is an exquisite location for your big day. The wine cellar seats 80 people, while a marquee on the lawn can accommodate up to 150 guests.
Only hosting a select number of weddings per year, the guesthouse must be booked out by the bridal party for a minimum of two nights. This exclusivity means that you may have to wait up to a year for your wedding, but as one of the best-kept secret venues, you are guaranteed a romantic, fairytale affair.
The use of the venue is on condition that you employ the services of wedding coordination team at.Wedding Concepts, which means that you’ll be dealing with someone who has a wealth of experience at this venue and will know how best to create your dream wedding.
Lanzerac Hotel and Spa
This wine farm, dating back three centuries, is a very popular choice for weddings with a number of venue options, both indoor and outdoor, that can accommodate between 20 and 150 people. For an intimate wedding, the 300-year-old Manor House is perfect, offering two elegant rooms seating from six to 24 people.
Behind the Manor House lies a large open lawn, which is the ideal setting for weddings of up to 400 people under a marquee, looking out on the panoramic views of the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains.
In addition to the spectrum of venue options, Lanzerac’s 48-room hotel will ensure that your guests can enjoy a night of luxury. A spa is also just a stone’s throw away, perfect for some pre-wedding pampering. A complimentary night in the hotel for the bridal couple is thrown into the packages.
High on the list of the top wedding coordinators in the Western Cape, this venue in the heart of the Stellenbosch winelands with views of the Dwars River as well as the Drakenstein and Simonsberg Mountains has been cleverly designed to grant all areas an impression of space and style.
A summer’s day celebration is a popular choice; in the manicured gardens under a Bedouin tent, beneath the clear sky alongside the crystal-blue pool or even among vineyards. The venue, which accommodates up to 180 people, can also be the place for a romantic evening wedding under golden chandeliers.
Should you wish to party into the wee hours of the morning, Molenvliet has four double en-suite rooms and one guest cottage – perfect for the honeymoon couple or bridal party.
Overture at Hidden Valley
Positioned high up on the slopes of the Helderberg mountains, a bride couldn’t hope for better views than those from Overture, the restaurant at Hidden Valley wine estate.
Ceremonies take place in the beautiful gardens (or in the cosy barrel cellar if bad weather sets in), pre-drinks can be held by the dam or on the stoep overlooking the sunset, while Overture plays host to the reception where up to 80 guests dine on cuisine prepared by award-winning chef Bertus Basson. If you need to extend your guest list to accommodate many long-lost aunts and uncles, Overture can accommodate an additional 60 guests on the verandah under a Bedouin tent.
Given the beautiful, contemporary setting, there is an abundance of photo opportunities.
This refurbished 1786 Manor House and Cape Dutch homestead has hosted extravagant charity events as well as a wedding featured on Top Billing, so you can be certain that even the largest and most complicated of celebrations will go off without a hitch.
Whether formal black-tie or laid-back, the festivities can take place outside in a 300-person marquee. A new events venue is also available, accommodating up to 180 guests at a sit-down dinner, while smaller, more intimate parties have the option of the tasting-room terrace or the new wine cellar.
Ten suites provide accommodation for the bridal couple and their guests.
If it’s spectacular views that you’re after for your big day, then this is the venue for you. This ‘cellar in the sky’, located deep in the Schapenberg mountains, boasts breathtaking views of False Bay and the winelands. Accredited as one of the most environmentally friendly farms in the Western Cape, its array of fynbos accompanied with contemporary architecture and water features create an exceptional blend of nature and modernity.
The ‘amphitheatre of views’ can be appreciated both indoors and out, making it suitable for any season. For a garden wedding, a marquee can be erected or you can opt to have your 120-guest reception in the glass-enclosed indoor restaurant where there is a cosy, 360- degree fireplace, while double volume ceilings give a sense of space. Whichever location you choose, you will be spoilt for choice with the several set menus and canapé options, all of which are specifically created to correspond with one of the Waterkloof wines.
Morgansvlei Country Estate
Situated in the Tulbagh valley, this spacious venue with its views of the vineyards, dam and mountains, is romantic and tranquil.
The graceful 1710 Cape Dutch estate boasts a recently refurbished chapel and also offers a variety of Victorian-style venues, ranging from a capacity of 30 to 220 people, to suit whatever Mother Nature throws your way. You can therefore choose an intimate affair on one of the private patios; the luxurious, yet festive, Clear Water wedding hall, which displays chandeliers and open-plan fireplaces on either side; or the garden – and there is space for a gazebo on the lawns.
Accommodation is available on the premises.
Cloof Wine Estate
One of the best times of year to marry in the Darling region is in spring, when the flowers are in bloom. As the host of the popular 2009 Rocking the Daisies music festival, the Cloof team’s ability to hold large-scale functions is without question, while intimate functions are guaranteed undivided attention. Against the backdrop of vineyards and plains just outside Darling, you can sprawl an array of cushions and blankets on the beautiful shaded lawn for just 30 of your closest family and friends, or host an unlimited amount of guests in a marquee next to the pool. You could even throw a relaxed celebration for 120 guests inside the classy cowshed.
Cloof does not offer accommodation or preparation facilities for the bride; however both are available at the beautiful Burgherspost Wine Estate adjacent to Cloof.
If, like many other brides, you aren’t based in the Cape, the good news is that there are a handful of venues in Johannesburg and surrounds that go out of their way to create an authentic winelands feel.
Despite its location in the heart of Centurion, every detail from the elegant interior design and manor house to its huge indigenous gardens with birds and shady oak trees, epitomises traditional Cape Dutch style. Thus, as its name suggests, your guests will feel as though they are celebrating on an historic wine estate in the middle of the Cape winelands. You may choose an outdoor ceremony in the garden under a gazebo, or you can have a plush winter banquet in the hall, romantically decorated with chandeliers and candelabra.
This five-star estate is just a halfhour from Johannesburg, but still has a wonderful sense of tranquillity, tucked away on the banks of the Crocodile River. If you ever dreamed of getting married in Tuscany, this is the venue for you! Avianto offers three diverse venue options: the intimate Fireside Room which seats between 20 and 80 people and is set up with round tables and classic damask linen; the sophisticated banqueting hall and chapel for 80 to 100 people; and the ballroom for a maximum of 250 guests.