Planning a Destination Wedding in South Africa

Expert Advice for Planning Your South African Destination Wedding

Are you considering having a destination wedding in South Africa? We are spoilt with an abundance of natural beauty, so you can pretty much have any type of wedding you’ve ever dreamed of. Be it a beach wedding, a wedding by the vineyards or a safari wedding, just to name a few. On top of that, South Africa has so many professional and dedicated service providers that specialise in creating bespoke weddings that will tailor fit your every need. But where do you start with such a big endeavour? Pink Book has teamed up with some of South Africa’s specialist wedding planners to find out what you need to know before hosting your wedding in S.A.

  • Why choose South Africa for your Destination Wedding?
  • Where do you start with planning a destination wedding?
  • How do you choose suppliers for your destination wedding?
  • Should you visit the destination before the wedding?
  • What is the best time of year to get married in SA?
  • What should you budget for when planning a destination wedding in SA?
  • More Do’s or Don’t’s for planning your international wedding.

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Why choose South Africa for your destination wedding?

We might be slightly biased, but South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This makes it one of the most popular weddings, and honeymoon, destinations. And because of our financial standing, compared to stronger currencies – hosting a wedding in ZA might end up bean more cost-effective.

Apart from the beauty of our country and everything SA offers (sea, sun, mountains, safaris, world-class service, and restaurants!), we are spoiled with professional and dedicated service providers that specialize in creating bespoke weddings and 100% personalized events.” – Madri le Roux-Moriz, The Event Planners 

Where do you start with planning a destination wedding?

I think the first step should be to make contact with a wedding coordinator. I’m not just saying this, because we are wedding coordinators, but I believe that with the right information, your wedding coordinator can create a shortlist of venues that will suit your style and budget.  If you choose to book it directly, you should definitely look at accredited websites, like Pink Book and SA Venues to find a variety of options. Thereafter pinpoint the time of year you’d like to get married in and lock down a wedding date.  Most venues should also be able to assist you with other service providers they enjoy working with. – Jaco van Loggerenberg, Just Jack

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How do you choose suppliers for your destination wedding?

Anyone can go online in search of wedding vendors, but how do you know that the suppliers are trustworthy and will not let you down? With such a large amount of money and time being invested, it is very important that you find people you can trust. Face-to-face meetings are not so easy if you are based in different countries, so how do you decide on your vendors?

South Africa is a wonderful destination for our couples living outside of our borders or abroad and we have so many awesome suppliers who advertise online and who have great social media platforms to advertise their work. The best recipe would be to work with a reliable planner who knows all the best service providers and who has experience working with them. They can advise the clients on the best people to suit the couple’s personality. My tip to couples living abroad is to do enough research with the planner and ensure that the company or person offers a personal service as I do and that you have access to that person or company as often as you need. Arrange for multiple meetings online or over Skype, until you are comfortable with the planner. – Tracy Brandford, Trunk Events

Wedding coordinators in South Africa

Should you visit the destination before the wedding?

Visiting the destination beforehand is a good idea, so you can get a feel for the scenery and weather. But this might not always be a possibility and it isn’t always necessary. If you have a wedding coordinator who is a local and knows the area well, you can get a good feel for a place by seeing lots of photos or even live video tours.

I would recommend that couples who plan destination wedding source a Wedding Planner and coordinator from the area. The best way to plan is to research the area, and if you cannot fly up yourself ask the coordinator to take as many photos of the area as possible. Most of my couples are from SA living abroad, or South Africans marrying foreigners and living abroad and wanting to come home for their nuptials. – Tracy Brandford, Trunk Events

African Safari Wedding with Elephants

Photo by Daniel West Photography

What is the best time of year to get married in SA

Most Couples get married between September and May.  I personally prefer the beginning of the year and would say between March and May have some of the best warmer weather days, but normally not a scorcher either.  In May you do run the ‘risk’ of a bit of rain, but the weather is usually great. The most beautiful days in Cape Town are warm winter days, but you have a much higher chance of it raining on your wedding day. An ideal venue should have some form of bad weather back-up, even if it’s not, a separate venue instead of your outside ceremony, but maybe a covered veranda.  Some tent companies might be happy for you to book a backup tent in the event of unfavourable weather with a 24-hour confirmation clause. – Jaco van Loggerenberg, Just Jack Weddings & Events

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What should you budget for when planning your destination wedding?

The budget might seem like the biggest hurdle when it comes to planning a wedding in another country. It is thus very important to know the following: What is the average budget for a destination wedding in South Africa? And what can you do to prepare your guests for the trip? Are there any ways to save some cash when planning a wedding overseas?

Our clients pay R300 000 – R1.2 million for a wedding for 70 – 150 guests.  This excludes guest accommodation, flights, and transport. – Madri le Roux-Moriz, The Event Planners

If you are living abroad or far from your wedding destination or venue, and you would need to travel to the destination along with guests, you would need to give them enough notice to buy airline tickets and book accommodation. Destination weddings can be very pricey for your guests so try to choose an “off-peak” season to book your venue and destination wedding so that they can find reasonable accommodation and ticket prices. After all, the wedding day is about an awesome experience for you as the couple but also for your guests attending! – Tracy Brandford from Trunk Events

Beach Wedding South Africa

Do’s & Don’ts for Planning your SA Wedding:

Lastly, we asked the coordinators for any other tips or words of advice for couples planning their destination ceremony in South Africa.

  • start planning your wedding one year in advance
  • find a venue, ensure you understand all the costs and all “hidden” or added costs
  • send out a save the date about 9 months before your wedding
  • work with an experienced coordinator who understands your vision
  • consider visiting SA to choose your venue and meet some service providers
  • consider a venue with nearby accommodation for your guests
  • get inspiration from local websites
  • make a trip out of it and book fun activities and outings while you’re visiting
  • stress – you are in good hands if you’ve booked a reputable wedding coordinator!
  • wait too long to invite your guests, they need to make arrangements to travel
  • forget to double-check that everything is booked and confirmed
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