Finding and deciding on your wedding venue can be a bit of a daunting task but by asking yourself and your partner a few important questions you can quickly and easily narrow down the options and find your perfect wedding venue.

South Africa is blessed with a multitude of beautiful locations to host your wedding so the first thing to do is decide what kind of a wedding you want.

To give you an idea of what is possible I have listed the most popular types of weddings

1. Bush Wedding
2. Country Wedding
3. Winelands Wedding
4. Beach Wedding
5. City Wedding
6. Forest Wedding

7. Intimate Wedding 

Images from Tinswalo Atlantic, Mentorskraal, Zongoene Lodge, South Hill, Oyster Creek Lodge, Waterkloof.

Once you have decided on the type of wedding you want, you will need to ask yourself a few more questions:
1. Do you want to get married close to home or are you happy to travel? If you desperately want to have a beach wedding but live in Joburg you will have no option but to travel.
2. Do you want an indoor, outdoor or church ceremony?
3. What time of year/season do you want to get married?

Then very importantly – how many guests are you inviting? This will automatically eliminate some venues as some will be too small and others too big.

Once you have considered the above questions you can start searching the web for potential venues. Start a new tab in your google spreadsheet and as you go along list your favourite venues and their contact details. When you have a short list of about 8 venues start contacting them for quotes and availability. This will also help determine if the venue fits within your budget. Venue hire can be anywhere from R7,000 to R150,000 and each package will include different offerings.

After speaking to the venues you will most likely have narrowed down your short list based on availability and price. The next step is to book in site visits. If you are arranging the wedding without a planner aspects to consider are:

• If you would like a church ceremony, how far away are the closest churches from the reception venue? Is there adequate parking at both venues?

• If you are opting for an outdoor ceremony or reception is there a wet weather option? And what are the prices of the various options?

• Are there additional fees for hosting the ceremony on the property?

• What time does the venue close and are you able to extend this if you want to dance late into the night? What costs are involved? There will most likely be additional venue and staffing costs.

• Is there any onsite accommodation and how many rooms do they have? What alternative accommodation is available in the area and are there a number of options for different budgets?

• How far away is the kitchen and what is the flow of service?

• Does the venue rental include tables, chairs, linen, glassware, crockery and cutlery for your guests?

• Are you happy with the quality of these?  You may want to hire in from an external supplier so you will need to factor this into your budget.

• Do they provide a venue coordinator who will manage staff on the day and how many waiters do they provide? You may want to consider an onsite coordinator if you do not have a wedding planner to run the overall logistics on the day.

• Does your venue provide the catering or are you able to bring in an external cater? I would suggest getting references from previous couples on the quality of the catering. In most cases you will only be able to arrange a tasting once you have confirmed the booking and you are in the process of planning the menu.

We hope this has helped point you in the right direction. It will take time and you may find exactly what you want without too much hassle or there may be two or three wedding venues that you are struggling to decide between. A way to solve this dilemma is to write up a list of pros and cons of each venue to help you make up your mind.

Why don’t you have a look at our list of wedding venues to help get you started?