Once you’ve said yes to the engagement ring, the next step in planning your dream wedding is finding a place for you to exchange your ‘I do’s. And, with so many options out there, it may actually be harder to find the ideal venue than it was finding your Mr (or Miss) Right! To take the pressure off, we’ve put together a list of top local wedding venues, from modern-day Edens to metropolitan wonderlands.
WEDDING IN THE WINELANDS
MolenVliet Oosthuizen Family Vineyards, Stellenbosch
Since the 2016 airing of Sia and Rachel Kolisi’s big day on Top Billing, MolenVliet has become a sought-after South African wedding destination. This 14-hectare wine venue is perched on the banks of the Dwars River in the heart of Stellenbosch.
If saying, “I do,” surrounded by the beauty of nature fits your idea of a dream wedding then put 33° 54’47.63” S 18° 56’27.05” E on your invitation because this is a venue par excellence. Towering mountains, sprawling vineyards and a glistening river set an idyllic scene, far removed from the pace of city life. The venue at MolenVliet can accommodate up to 250 seated guests with a dancefloor, and the on-site chapel can accommodate up to 150 guests. Expect five-star treatment – nothing less.
ROOFTOP GARDEN PARTY
The Living Room, Maboneng
In 2018, Maboneng ousted New York’s Manhattan and London’s Soho to become one of Forbes magazine’s coolest neighbourhoods in the world. Its bustling streets play host to big names in arts and culture. And somewhere in the middle of this network of quaint galleries and artisanal cafés, is the Living Room – a rooftop venue that embodies the energy of the urban revival of inner-city Johannesburg.
Its terrace, a lush, living plantscape adds a touch of organic splendour to the Jozi skyline. Taryn and Franco Habib, winners of M-Net’s first season of Wedding Bashers made The Living Room the venue of choice for their rose-gold and green themed wedding in 2017. Its wooden deck can accommodate 90 formally seated guests.
To visit Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville is to enter a realm of possibility.
Katy’s Palace Bar, Kramerville
To visit Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville is to enter a realm of possibility. Tropical-themed décor – with orchids in shades of magenta, Great Gatsby-esque feathers and fedoras, brass, and bell jars in a nod to the Steampunk sub-culture – this venue’s seen it all.
It opens its doors and invites you audaciously to “do as thou wilt.” Katy’s Palace Bar is a destination for the adventurous. Its 500m2 floor space is made up of various adjoined areas that can accommodate 500 guests, cocktail-style and 220 guests, banquet-style.
If you’re looking to add your signature to a blank canvas, Katy’s Palace Bar is the venue to book.
There are those among us for whom wedding venues need to feel like an escape from the everyday. Then there are those who need a wedding to blend seamlessly with the essence of twentieth-century city living. For the latter type of couple, Randlords in Braamfontein is a suburban Shangri-La.
Located on the 22nd floor of South Point Towers, the Randlords rooftop bar and lounge provides guests with a panoramic view of the City of Gold. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows create the illusion of being suspended in a glass box in the sky – just enough of course, to not ruffle the feathers of guests with a fear of heights.
The venue can accommodate 120 seated guests or 450 in a cocktail-style setting, layout dependent.
Val Bonne Country Estate, Modderfontein
The Modderfontein Reserve on the East Rand of Johannesburg is home to rolling, green hills and savannah-like grasslands. At its centre, is the picturesque Val Bonne Country Estate, only a sho’t left from Sandton.
This expansive estate captures the allure of the countryside with its manicured lawns and sparkling streams. Val Bonne is home to five venues, each with its own unique appeal. Its Beretun Hall, once a farmer’s wheat barn emanates a sense of history in wood and stone features. Dobbs House, with its wrap-around verandah says “country café,” and overlooks a dam and pristinely maintained lawns. The Grange, a rustic structure with steel and wood finishes allows for a more informal setting. And the Gardens offer the perfect, sun-kissed. setting for an outdoor ceremony.
Muldersdrift, fondly referred to as the “wedding capital” of Gauteng, is renowned for its rich natural history and captivating cultural heritage. Inimitable, set against the backdrop of the majestic Zwartkop Mountains, is the actualisation of a lifelong dream of founders, Zavion and John Kotze-Brereton. This power couple made Inimitable the destination for their own wedding, which was covered by Top Billing in 2016.
The venue provides couples and their guests with an holistic, world-class experience from its 12 executive suites, a Bridal Suite with private gardens and a Riverside Reception Hall. Its Glass Marquee, the pièce de résistance, can accommodate 400 to 1 000 guests in a magical, starlit setting.
A COASTAL AFFAIR
The Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga
Allow the enchantment and bliss of the Umhlanga beachfront to set the tone for your wedding ceremony at The Oyster Box Hotel, set alongside the Indian Ocean with its trademark lighthouse.
Opulence is the order of the day at this five-star establishment, designed to offer guests a bespoke experience. A Victorian Gazebo, the focal point of its small garden amphitheatre, provides an ideal setting for intimate ceremonies with seating for 100 people.
Venetian crystal chandeliers echoes the grandeur of a bygone era.
Its Pearl Room, with hand-blown Venetian crystal chandeliers echoes the grandeur of a bygone era and can seat up to 120 guests, including a main table. The venue offers a range of packages including a complimentary one-night stay for your wedding night in a luxury sea-facing room.
Monate Game Lodge, Modimolle
Nothing captures the spirit of the African landscape more than an event set in the bushveld. The Monate Game Lodge is situated on a 3 000-hectare private game reserve in Limpopo, a two-hour drive from Pretoria and Johannesburg. Its vast reserve is home to a number of natural and man-made features that make exquisite settings for wedding ceremonies, including its towering Marula tree, its awe-inspiring Rock Fig tree, its natural cave and traditional onsite chapel.
Entertain your guests alfresco or dine in the reception hall. The venue hire includes a honeymoon suite for the bride and groom for the night of the wedding, bush villas for the bride and groom to get ready for the big day, as well as traditional drummers at the reception.
LOVE IN THE TROPICS
Comedian Jason Goliath and his wife, Sian Bailey, made headlines when they tied the knot wearing T-shirts and takkies, and entertained their guests with a meal at Wimpy. But that was only the beginning. After the reception, the couple jetted off to Dhigali in the Maldives.
Ringed by coral and crystalline waters, this utopian resort is a getaway of bucket-list proportions. If a destination wedding is the stuff of your dreams, then this is the island you want to get stranded on. Alternatively, it makes for a spectacular honeymoon destination complete with a spa, underwater activities, sunset cruises and an exotic dining experience. As far as beach weddings go, this piece of paradise marks the spot.