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).
TIP NUMBER 1:
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.
TIP NUMBER 2:
“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.
TIP NUMBER 3:
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.
A few of my favourite Durban and Midlands Wedding venues:
- Thorner Country Estate
- Providence Country Weddings
- Collisheen Estate – Orchid House
- Bellwood Cottages
- Cranford Country Lodge
- Crystal Barn
- St Ives
- The Venue – Fontana
- Granny Mouse Country House
- Sweethome Wedding Venue
- Shalwyn Wedding Venue
Durban and Midlands Forest Wedding Venue Ideas: