In case you missed it on Instagram, I’m in the midst of planning a destination wedding in Cape Town. Well kind of. Since we are South Africans and I’m from Cape Town, I’m not sure if it’s classified as a destination wedding.
But we’re currently travelling and trying to plan our wedding from abroad, so I’m calling it OUR destination wedding.
My fiance (Yay) and I got engaged back in February – in Sri Lanka, on the beach, at sunrise. It was so perfect. I always dreamed of getting married on the beach and imagined it would be on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere. But when the time came, my heart chose Cape Town. My place of birth and still my most favourite place in the world.
I know that Cape Town is a popular wedding destination for many couples from abroad. I thought it would be a good idea to share the planning process in case it can help anyone else who is planning a destination wedding in Cape Town.
Cape Town as a Destination Wedding Location
Cape Town, affectionately known as The Mother City is one of the most, if not THE most, beautiful cities in the world. And it’s not just me that thinks so – many locals and foreigners agree. It’s topped numerous travel lists, including being named as the most beautiful city in the world by the Telegraph back in 2014.
With its world-class beaches, exquisite natural wonders, breathtaking mountains, and the appeal of its diversity, Cape Town collects awards from all across the globe.
If you’re looking to plan a spectacular destination wedding, Cape Town offers many picturesque backdrops to celebrate your special day. From beach to vineyard and forests to ocean views, there is a huge variety of magical venues to choose from.
Cape Town is one of the top wedding destinations in the world and for good reason.
Destination Wedding in Cape Town: Finding Our Venue
Choosing a venue for a destination wedding is overwhelming. The biggest concern for us was finding a venue without visiting any. We’re currently travelling Southeast Asia and will only be back in South Africa in November.
Thankfully, one of my best friends lives in Cape Town and I have my family in Pretoria. Cape Town is only a 2 hour flight from Pretoria so my mom took a trip down to check out the venue for us.
But I first went through at least ten venues – communicating with employees and getting quotes – before finding Monkey’s Valley Resort in Noordhoek. I looked at and researched far more venues.
Our only real criteria was a beach wedding, or at least an ocean-view venue. Beach weddings involve a lot of paperwork and can get quite complicated. The beach wedding options in Cape Town are also fairly limited. I quickly abandoned the beach wedding idea. But the venue had to have an ocean view.
I researched the various beach wedding venues in Cape Town by doing a lot of googling and using location specific hashtags on Instagram (#CapeTownBeachWedding). When I came across a venue I liked, I would also go check Instagram photos tagged to the venue. In some cases these photos showed me that it wasn’t what I was looking for.
I kept chasing my Cape Town dream wedding idea, and eventually I came across Monkey Valley Resort. It was perfect. They offer accommodation, a wedding venue, and all necessary wedding services. The best part is that it has a beach view, and our wedding photos can be taken on the beach.
Visiting the Venue for the First Time
Peter and I have not yet seen the venue with our own eyes. Many people probably think this is stupid, but we just had a feeling that this was the one.
We also had my mom and good friend who went to check out the venue for us. They sent us plenty of photos, videos, spoke to the wedding coordinator, and let us know that it was so beautiful. My mom has been wonderful. She has been in constant communication with the wedding coordinator and has played a huge part in the planning process.
Peter and I will be back in South Africa towards the end of November. We have booked a trip to Cape Town for January – when we will finally visit the venue and meet the wedding coordinator for the first time! (Eeek). We plan to sort out a few wedding things during our trip.
If you don’t plan on travelling to Cape Town to check out the venue before, or aren’t able to, just make sure that you choose a venue that is able to take care of all the key things. There are many venues that are catered towards couples from abroad so you should easily find one that suits your needs.
Things To Consider when Planning a Destination Wedding in Cape Town
To kickstart planning, you will need to define a few key aspects. Here are the top things to think about when planning a destination wedding in Cape Town.
Time of year
The first big decision to make is the wedding date. Summer in Cape Town runs from November to March. With summer comes long hot days, warm nights, and little rain. Naturally, this is the “high season” of weddings in Cape Town.
Keep in mind that December is the height of the tourist season. So it’s not ideal if you’re looking for a private and relaxed wedding occasion. Cape Town is exceptionally busy during December and into January.
March and April are top choices since these months are interseasonal. It’s no longer the boiling hot summer weather, but it’s still warm. While summer is the more popular choice, a winter wedding could also work. Winter is the rainy season in Cape Town, but there are still many clear days and romantic winter wedding venues. Just make sure you keep it in doors.
October is also a good month to consider. This is the beginning of the traditional wedding season. Spring weddings offer beautiful florals and blooms across the Western Cape.
Daytime vs Evening
Weddings can be as simple or elaborate as you like, and as traditional or quirky as you wish. It’s one of the things that make the planning process so much fun. Daytime weddings offer gorgeous weather and stunning scenic locations. Evening weddings are great for creating a unique atmosphere.
In most cases, you would have a combination. The ceremony at early to late afternoon and the reception running into the evening. But if you want something truly spectacular, you could have a sunset wedding in a beautiful outdoor location. The possibilities are endless.
This was a big one for us. Since most of our guests were coming from Pretoria, South Africa, and some from overseas, we wanted to make sure the venue offered accommodation for our guests.
Accommodation is an important part of planning any destination wedding. A number of venues offer an all-inclusive package that includes accommodation, venue, reception and even wedding services, all in one place. Another option is to find a villa, hotel or other accommodation options near to the venue.
When planning a destination wedding, you want to send information out to your guests as soon as possible so they can make travel arrangements. With most guests travelling from afar we wanted to make sure that they have enough time to book flights and accommodation.
If you have chosen a venue that is separate from accommodation, you may also want to organize transportation for the day.
The Best Way to Book a Destination Wedding
While doing our research I came across so many wedding planning companies based in Cape Town. A lot of these companies take care of absolutely everything for you, so it can be a very worthwhile expense.
Since we found a venue that is basically an all-in-one, I didn’t see any point in hiring an external wedding planning company. But if you don’t have anyone in Cape Town to help you or if you have many services that need to be outsourced, i.e. catering or accommodation, then you might want to look more into this option.
We booked the venue and paid the first deposit back in March. Our wedding date is set for 7 March 2020 (Eeek!).
We sent our save the dates out in April already so that guests can start booking their travel and accommodation. Our wedding is taking place over the weekend of the Cape Town Argus. This is an annual cycle race of about 109 km in distance. People come from all over the world to participate in the Argus. This means that flight prices are heavily inflated over this time.
The Argus was one of my biggest concerns when planning our wedding. Monkey valley resort is in quite a remote location and won’t be affected by the event. But I didn’t want guests to have to spend a fortune on flights, which is why we sent out wedding information so long in advance.
Other Wedding Venues in Cape Town
Since there are so many different venues to choose from, I wanted to give you a list of a few top venues to check out if you are looking for a wedding venue in Cape Town.
- Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa: Situated in Camps Bay and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Twelve Apostles hotel is an exquisite wedding destination.
- Suikerbossie: Situated on Victoria Drive in Hout Bay, Suikerbossie offers a magical forest setting and spectacular views.
- The Conservatory: Found in the scenic Franschhoek valley, The Conservatory offers a beautiful location for a winelands wedding.
- Nooitgedacht Estate: Located in Stellenbosch, Nooitgedacht is a beautiful estate offering a choice of both indoor and outdoor venues.
We past the six month mark to our wedding date a couple of weeks ago, so things are definitely starting to feel more real. I think finding and securing the venue is one of the overwhelming parts of the process and I’m glad that’s out the way now. We’ve also booked a photographer and hair and make-up people, which I will share more information about soon.
It’s an exciting time, and I can’t wait to start shopping for my wedding dress. When we arrive back in South Africa in November it will be time to finalize a few more details.
I will share as much of the process as possible with you as we go, for any fellow brides-to-be.
Love & Light Always
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