Advice Archives | Tanya Jacobs Photography
What’s important when choosing a wedding venue | Durban and Midlands wedding venues

What’s important when choosing a wedding venue | Durban and Midlands wedding venues

Choosing your wedding venue will be one of the very first decisions you make as an engaged couple. You may even start with looking at Durban and Midlands wedding venues.
That is, after setting the date for the big day!

In our search for wedding venues back in 2012, we looked at only two – Netherwood and Providence. We wanted a venue in the Midlands because who doesn’t love the Midlands and we wanted somewhere that was elegant and unforgettable. Providence won hands down the minute we drove up the driveway and were welcomed on the lawn.

So I’ve put together a bit of my own advice from years of shooting at Durban and Midlands wedding venues, as well as some advice from Thorner Country Estate‘s Chey Stead (which, if you don’t already know it, is an amazing wedding venue just outside of Camperdown).

Choose a venue that fits the idea of what you want for your day. If you’re going with an elegant wedding with pretty, soft blooms and classic touches, go for a venue with clean, natural features that aren’t too overbearing. Or if you’re going for a rustic country vibe, choose a venue that suits that with its natural surroundings. If you’re wanting light and airy, rather than dark, look for big windows and light walls.
Visiting your prospective venues and then looking online at getting ready photos, creative session & reception photos will gave you an idea of how that venue and the light is used in photographs.

As a photographer, I love a wedding venue that draws nature in and a venue that has loads of light.

Unconventional can be a win too – so don’t be scared to explore various options (hotel, outdoor, church, bed and breakfast). Some of my favourite weddings have been under bedouin tents and fairy lights in back gardens.


“Consider accommodation, guests don’t want to have to drive home after the wedding and it’s vital that there is accommodation nearby.  Another important factor is that the dance floor and bar are near each other, you don’t want the men standing around the bar on one end of the venue while ladies dance at the other end.”  – Chey Stead, Thorner Country Estate. 

“Make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t included in the venue hire, ask for a detailed list. Are barmen included in venue hire? Is there a surcharge per hour after midnight? Ask for a bar price list.”

Things to consider: 
Is draping included?
Is catering in-house or does this need to be outsourced?
Is there a corkage fee?
Is there a day-after cleaning fee/ cut off time?
Most venues include cutlery and crockery, table cloths and napkins, chairs (with cushions), glasses and a few other options, so an additional cost may be to hire underplates etc that you may want for your reception to suit your theme for your day.

Also, remember the time of year when you plan to say I do may change the way your venue looks. Lush green trees may be bare. Some venues may have an album to share with photographs of the different seasons which will help you in deciding if your venue is the right one for you during whichever season you’re getting married in.

Consider where you want your guests to hang out while you’re having your photos taken after your ceremony. Thorner Country Estate has a beautiful big tree right outside their old stone chapel where guests mill about, snacking on canapés and merrily drinking during the 45 minutes – an hour that the bridal party are away. You don’t want your guests entering your reception venue too early, and most venues won’t allow this. Some venues have an indoor and outdoor option for guests and it may be a good idea to ask about plan b options in case of bad/cold weather.

“We strongly suggest substantial canapés after the church ceremony. Often, guests haven’t had lunch and canapés keep them going while the bridal party are having their photos taken.”

And importantly, planning a wedding can be an overwhelming and long journey, so it’s vital that you get along with the service providers you invest in.

“Form a relationship with the owner of the venue. If you can’t, then the venue isn’t for you. You want to be made to feel special and that you can contact her at anytime with any questions.”

Wedding dates get booked up fast, ensure you book your favourite wedding venue at last 9 months – a year in advance.

Thorner Country Estate - Tanya Jacobs Photography

A few of my favourite Durban and Midlands Wedding venues: 

Durban and Midlands Forest Wedding Venue Ideas: 

  1. Providence Country Weddings
  2. Bellwood Cottages
  3. Haycroft Farm
  4. Crystal Barn Country Estate
  5. Shalwyn
Tips to Completely Rock Your Couple Shoot

Tips to Completely Rock Your Couple Shoot

With the new wedding season, comes the super busy engagement season right on its heels too so I thought what better time to talk about engagement shoots and how to rock your couple shoot?!

The new season starts next week for me, and I am so beyond grateful that my year has been booked out! It does mean sacrificing my weekends with C and Ella, but it also means I get to do what I love with some amazing people, and share in their happiness too.

For some (most) people, having their photo taken is downright unnerving. I completely get that! I can’t tell you how awkward I am in front of the camera! But whether you love it or hate it, there’s no better way to celebrate your engagement than with a couple shoot to remember this time of your life by.

Here’s a bit of advice I’ve put together to help you prepare, and make the most of your shoot!


Being YOU is the best way to get great photos. I can only capture who you are, if you be YOU. Wearing clothes that you are comfortable, and confident in, helps to make you feel more at ease in front of my camera. Keep it simple and clean.





Whether that’s sipping on your favourite latte because you’re a coffee addict, or climbing up rock faces to overlook the sea, choose a location that encompasses your lives together. Surround yourself by what you love. Don’t have your shoot on the beach when you haven’t been to the beach in years! Or hate beach sand.  Have your shoot WHERE YOU ARE. If that’s at home, get the kettle on, I’m coming over!


Durban Fine ARt WEdding Photographer Engagement SHoot



Forget about what you should be doing, and how you should be doing it, and just be you. If you’re shy, be shy. If you’re loud, be that. I want to keep your couple shoot natural and honest to who you are, and I can only do that if you’re being true to who you are. I shared an image of my daughter having tea with a plastic toy falcon, and people LOVED IT because it was an image of her, in her environment, as she is now, doing what she does now. I’m going to treasure this image forever.


This engaged feeling. This love. It’s a kind of magic. Embrace it and enjoy it. Spend the day doing fun things together. Take a break from wedding planning. So when it comes to doing your shoot, it’s not just something you’re ticking off your wedding to-do list, but rather another magical part of an already amazing day!


horse farm engagement shoot


I promise to give you gentle guidance, so there won’t be any of that awkward ‘what do I do with my hands?’, but more natural laughing, sharing and creating. But it’s still up to you to bring YOU so I can capture you as you are.

Ready to start this adventure?
Tips to rock your couple shoot

What to look for in a florist for your wedding day

Weddings are pretty. And it’s your dream to have a beautiful day with all the lace and trimmings.
So you’ll know, flowers play a huge role on your wedding day!
I love seeing which flowers brides have chosen for their wedding day – I feel it’s something you should choose because you LOVE that particular flower. Actually, filling your entire day with everything that you really, really LOVE and brings you joy makes for the most memorable day.
Over the years, I have gotten to work with an incredibly talented and passionate floral designer who has grown to be a friend, more than an acquaintance in the industry. I love driven people, and Rowena from Buds in a Ro, is exactly that.
So I popped her a mail and asked her a few questions. I loved her answers so much, that I decided to share them here for brides and grooms planning their wedding day.
You’ll pick up on her creativity, passion, and dedication.

Seeing her in action though, is far more impressive.



What should couples be looking for when they search for a florist for their wedding day?

There are lots of industry checks to find a florist. I personally don’t agree with these, because you are dealing with an art form. You need to rather look for someone you gel with. Someone who helps make you excited when you hear the options or ideas available. Someone who gets your relationship and the style you are wanting.
My tip; don’t just send a generic email for costings, rather try meet someone in person.
With social media you can always find out more of what they can offer even before you meet them. Word of mouth is always great, especially from industry professionals who you have already booked.
Like the photographer, they know lots of different people to contact so it’s always a great place to start.

The couple have booked you, now what? Do they point out their favourite flowers?

What a special journey it is to start this walk with my clients. I love to meet with my clients to know what their dream flowers and style would be. It is in this meeting that we start to work on bringing their dream and their budget to reality. Don’t apologize if you don’t have a big budget, but be open to suggestions.
If you have image ideas that is always a plus but something to keep in mind that we work with what is locally available before we try to import.
Locally grown flowers are always a winner for both look and budget.


Cranford Country Lodge Wedding Photography

If the couple wanted to save costs, how could they do this?

Never cut out the flowers… haha, said as only a true flower lover can!
It’s difficult to give exact ideas to save on costs but as a floral designer this is a part I love the most. People think all florist hear the word “wedding” and just put up our costs and this is definitely not the case for most of us. We know what is in season and what will work well for you, so be open, trusting and honest.
Let us help you work to your budget. Myself personally, I want you to love your flowers, not regret spending money.

Flowers always bring that extra something to an event and I love showing my clients how to love flowers again.


How long in advance should a couple book their florist?

I have had brides contact me in tears a week before their big day, right up until being booked over a year in advance. Just remember that dates get booked up so I would start looking as soon as you have your photographer and venue (maybe even before).
For my brides who don’t have much notice, I always say that the flowers are still growing themselves so there is always still time.
Those brides who book in advance, this is a great chance to involve the floral designer in your, “possibly changing” ideas or colour samples for fabric etc. As a designer, I love to use this to help put forward different design ideas before we work on the final design plan.

How much should couples budget for their wedding flowers?

This is always difficult for me because I deal with couples on all budgets, so I would rather say don’t price flowers on what you may see at Woolies etc. There is a lot that goes into the cost of your wedding flowers. Your florist is an artist, from how they pick your flowers to preparing them and the final end product.
Their time, knowledge and artist flair are worth it.
Especially when you trust them to do what they do best.. speak love in flowers!


Buds in a Ro 
Rowena Arnold
Floral Designer

082 304 6495
Email Rowena here.
Buds in a Ro on Facebook.
Thorner Country Estate Wedding Photography


 I’d love to know, what flowers are you having for your wedding day? Let me know in the comments below.


THE WEDDING JOURNEY – Part 2: How to get the best wedding photographs

THE WEDDING JOURNEY – Part 2: How to get the best wedding photographs

Okay, it’s your wedding day, you can expect a whole lot of camera in your face. Your jaw will ache, your smile will wobble and despite being the happiest you’ve ever been, you’ll beg for a second to take a break from smiling. I’m not even kidding.

But when you’re surrounded by your family and friends and your new husband and all the beautiful details of your wedding day, you’ll smile.

And it’ll touch the corners of your eyes.

And you’ll be beautiful. 

Because that’s what brides are; beautiful, smiling versions of themselves dressed in an exquisite gown.

If you’re loud, spontaneous and out-of-this-world excited about everything, be that!
If you’re quiet, shy and a little more conservative with your emotion, be that too!
If your family is a little wild, and got me running around during a shoot, let them be that!

Don’t be afraid because you see photographs of people kissing, laughing or being natural in front of my camera and that’s not you.

Umdloti Beach Wedding Photographer

What I have learnt over the years as a photographer, is that it’s the moments that make a photograph beautiful.

Packages differ from photographer to photographer. Prices range & styles vary.

What is important to you, may simply be ‘photographs of your wedding day’.

But it’s more than that.

It’s this.

Choose a photographer on more than just their work. Choose them. Choose their personality, make sure you click with them. Because if you’re comfortable in front of your photographer, you’ll relax, knowing your photography is in good hands. And a relaxed bride is beautiful. 

Your photographer will love the confidence in them and will photograph all those spontaneous moments without you even realising.

I love giving photographs to a couple and hearing afterwards how I captured moments they weren’t even aware of. 

Tanya Jacobs Photography Durban Wedding Photographer Woodridge Country Estate_0021


Your photographer is there to tell a story. Your story.

And they’ll want to do it in the most creative way possible.

If you’ve hired the right photographer, trust them. Listen to their ideas and suggestions and trust them when they ask you to venture down an old path or off the beaten track. The more open you are to your photographer’s suggestions, the better the results will be.

Chat to your photographer ahead of the time if you’re a little uncomfortable in front of the camera. I’m incredibly shy in front of the camera and I’m all double-chin and awkward faces the minute I see a camera pointed in my direction. You don’t want that on your wedding day.

An experienced photographer will be able to help you relax and make sure you get natural, beautiful photographs.

Know that if you make your day truly ‘you’, and you’re celebrating together in all that love and joy, you’re guaranteed a beautifully captured story.

See Part 1 of The Wedding Journey here. 

Free Download – Guide to Planning your Wedding Day Timeline

Free Download – Guide to Planning your Wedding Day Timeline

If there’s one thing I love more than beautiful flowers, pretty details and a gorgeous couple on a wedding day, it’s an organised bride!
So much on the day comes down to the bride’s organisational skills and her (their) choice in service providers. As if walking down the aisle and committing your life to another person isn’t enough stress, right?!

But a wedding day that is organised, runs smoother and leaves the bride and groom completely stress-free and gives them more time to enjoy their day. Who doesn’t want more time on your wedding day?

So I’ve put together this handy little guide to help brides with their wedding day timeline!

This time is going to be a complete rollercoaster for you, and with this guide, I hope I can ease some wedding day stress or timeline fears you may have for the big day!

Not sure how many hours to hire your wedding photographer for? Pop me a mail here and I’ll send you my timeline guide that I send to all my brides and grooms.

Download your FREE GUIDE HERE. 

wedding day timeline

Five Tips For Handling Rain on your Wedding Day

Five Tips For Handling Rain on your Wedding Day

I’ve had my fair share of rainy wedding days.

But this last wedding season, has been something else.

While there certainly was a lot of love and happiness to warm every day, there was loads of rain, mist and chilly breezes to remind everyone to snuggle a little tighter.

As a backup, I always carry five black umbrellas in the boot of my car and they’ve seriously been put to work this season! More than once, brides were worried about the rain and all hoped they wouldn’t have to have their creative shoot done in the rain.

But put a bride into her dress, let her say her vows and BAM! She’s ready to tackle any weather, come hail or high water!


Here are my top five tips for surviving the KwaZulu-Natal rains on your wedding day.

Rain gives you an excuse to cuddle

Real tight. Let your groom cuddle you close while you both squeeze under an umbrella. Let your bridal party pull in tight. Simple black or transparent umbrellas add a nice timeless touch to wedding photos.
Your photographer will love the closeness and you’ll love the pics.


Keep your spirits high

It may be because everyone is all cuddled up, or it could be because no one wants to upset the bride. But rainy weather always puts everyone in good spirits as they huddle around fireplaces and gas heaters.
Don’t let the chill get you down and you’re guaranteed to still have amazing photos.

Stay warm

Make sure your venue caters for cold weather and think about getting shawls for your bridesmaids and yourself. Even a jacket will do and you can put it on between photographs to keep yourself from turning blue.


Be prepared to move things about

Your schedule may take a complete turn as weather can delay guests arriving, travel time between venues may be lengthened, or you may even be forced to enter your reception a little earlier than planned.
Be flexible on your wedding day and any re-scheduling won’t stress you out.


Don’t worry about frizzy hair

Your wedding day is a story and if your hair is frizzing from the rain, there’s no use in trying to hide that part of your story. I have just had a bride who gave up on carrying an umbrella, her dress and a bouquet and she just embraced it all.
Dancing in the rain, and all that! Her photos of her laughing naturally and being truly happy and unfazed, came out beautifully.

We were together.
I forget the rest.
– Walt Whitman

Enjoy your wedding day – and remember to dance in the rain!


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