Choosing your wedding venue will be one of the very first decisions you make as an engaged couple. That is, after setting the date for the big day.
So I’ve put together a bit of my own advice as well as some advice from one of my favourite wedding venue owners, Chey Stead from Thorner Country Estate (which, if you don’t already know it, is an amazing wedding venue just outside of Camperdown).
In our search for wedding venues, back in 2012, Christiaan and I looked at only two – Netherwood and Providence, in the Midlands. Providence won hands down the minute we drove up the driveway and were welcomed on the lawn. The elegant countryside vibe suited our theme for our wedding completely, and the deposit was paid that very afternoon.
The scenery and venue itself plays an important role in your photographs and setting the tone for your guests.
Choose a venue that fits the idea of what you want for your day. If you’re going with an elegant wedding with pretty blooms and classic touches, go for a simplistic venue with clean decor. Or if you’re going for a rustic country vibe, choose a venue that suits that with its natural surroundings.
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).
“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. 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. Most venues do have an indoor and outdoor option for guests.
“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 a year to two year 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.”
And because 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
My list of favourite Durban and Midlands Wedding Venues (Some I’ve photograped at, some are still on my bucket list!)
- Netherwood – bucket list!
- Thorner Country Estate
- Providence Country Weddings
- Camp Orchards – bucket list!
- Collisheen Estate – Orchid House
- Bellwood Cottages
- Cranford Country Lodge
- Crystal Barn – Bucket list!
- The Venue – Fontana – Bucket list!
- Granny Mouse Country House
Durban and Midlands Forest Wedding Venue Ideas:
I would love to hear your thoughts about choosing a wedding venue. Is finding the perfect venue something you do with your heat? I feel it is! Let me know which venue you’ve chosen in the comments below!
If you would like to read more tips and get ideas for your wedding day, check out my guide here. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries regarding Midlands wedding photography or Durban wedding photography