South Africa has no shortage of fantastic wedding venues…from the captivating mountains of the Drakensberg and various seaside gems along the picturesque coastline to the iconic vineyards of the Western Cape, there is a special venue for every bridal couple. But this makes choosing the perfect venue a lot more difficult, so herewith a few elements that make a wedding venue stand out from the rest.
1. Tailor-made weddings
There is no ‘one size fits all’ for every wedding and, while you have to be reasonable with requests, any wedding venue that doesn’t cater to your specific interests and preferences isn’t really playing the game. Wedding venues don’t come cheap so expect something more than just a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. Working with an experienced staff who knows what will and won’t work also makes this process so much easier. And it’s definitely worth sitting down and deciding what you are negotiable on, and what you absolutely have to have no matter what, before you decide on your dream wedding venue.
2. Great food
Even if you can live on toast and cereal, it does not mean that you guests can or want to! Food is a big deal to most people and can seriously affect the entire day. The wedding is, of course, about the happy couple, but the guests have been invited to enjoy the celebration as well, and this also means catering to their needs. A well-satiated crowd is a happy crowd, so make sure you thoroughly interview the wedding venue’s chef beforehand.
Some venues might insist on choosing from an in-house menu, while others will let you bring in outside catering. If you are opting for a wedding cake, be sure to inquire about the wedding venue’s stipulations regarding this, as some might insist on using the resident baker, whilst others might charge a ‘cakeage’ fee.
It may be an extra cost, but sample the meal you will be enjoying at your wedding beforehand so that there are no unexpected surprises on your Big Day. And be sure to get all dietary requirements well in advance so that the wedding venue can cater accordingly.
Read more here about Wedding Food Trends 2017.
3. Top-class beverages
This is particularly pertinent in the wine country where some of the world’s finest wines are produced. A knowledgeable chef will be able to expertly guide you through a selection of wines to pair with the cuisine. You don’t need to go overboard with five different types of wine, but by selecting a good red and white, you can really complete the dining experience for your guests. There will be lots of toasting happening on the day so it’s worth looking at a good sparkling wine or Methode Cap Classique as well.
This is so difficult to pin down as it’s more of a feeling than anything else, but a wedding venue must get the ambience right to pull off the best wedding possible. Visit the wedding venue and take notice of the interior décor, the size of the room, the architectural style and the lighting. Do you feel comfortable and relaxed in this environment, or is it more suited to a conference than a wedding? Are the windows dingy and small and the environment cramped and stuffy or it is more expansive, spilling onto a lush outside area etc.
With good ambience comes good acoustics. If your guests can’t hear the speeches, or if the music sounds dull or distorted, then you’re going to have a problem. Test how the sound travels through the venue. A small venue with low ceilings can be extremely loud with too many people, where a large, warehouse-style venue might have echoes, or reverberations, making it difficult to hear everything clearly. It’s best to take someone with you when visiting the wedding venue to get a second opinion.
Read more about top Wedding Venue Trends for 2017.
5. Services and amenities
It’s extremely important to find out exactly what services and amenities your chosen wedding venue includes in the agreement because anything that’s not included, becomes an added expense. Check what décor items and furniture are on offer, whether post-event cleaning services are included; the use of the audio-visual equipment as well as cutlery and crockery. Make sure you cover all the specifics and have them included in the contract before signing.
If you find a wedding venue in the right location, that ticks all the above boxes, then you are one step closer to finalising your wedding plans. And, any wedding venue that fits the criteria will make planning your wedding a lot easier.
For an elegant and picturesque wedding venue set on the slopes of a mountain and overlooking the ocean, choose Waterkloof Wine Estate. Waterkloof Estate hosts many weddings per year and is an awe-inspiring Cape Winelands Wedding Venue to celebrate your dream wedding at. Professionalism, style, elegance and sophistication are all synonymous with Waterkloof Wine Estate.
Photo courtesy of Alessandra and Joel’s Wedding at Waterkloof