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:
This week, I launched my rebrand and I’m so excited about all the feedback I’ve received.
It took me FOREVER to take the steps to let go my old branding but now that I have, I’m loving it and it just feels like more me.
My website also got a bit of a facelift so now I’ll be sharing some more work from a few recent weddings that I haven’t yet had the chance to share.
Niklas & Jana live in Australia and travelled to South Africa, Jana’s birth country, to get married at Vulintaba Country Estate, just outside of Newcastle.
I grew up in Newcastle, so it’s always nice for me to travel back home, eat my mom’s cooking, and photograph beautiful weddings with mountains as a backdrop.
Vulintaba offers exactly that – five star views and exceptional service on your wedding day from Carla and her team.
Jana and Niklas chose Vulintaba for its mountains and had guests fly in from all over the world. It truly was an international celebration!
I also got to work with an awesome team: Venue & catering:Vulintaba Country Estate Hair and Make Up:Paula Moore and Antique Bride’s Dress: Custom made dress by Estelle van der Merwe Flowers & decor: Drakensberg Decor & Draping Cake: Yolanda De Lange from Yollies’ Cupcakes Marriage Officiant: Christine McLachlan Videography: Jaco Luus
Take a beautiful Midlands wedding venue, and a dream couple… and what you get is something that makes my heart so happy!
Jason and Kerryn got married at Bellwood Stud Farm; one of my favourite venues on the Midlands Meander.
Kerryn lives and breathes her two horses, so it was a definite YES when they first viewed Bellwood and although she loved the beautiful chapel and forest wedding venues, it was the stables that felt true to her.
With the works of E by A Weddings, the stables were transformed into a beautiful ceremony setting! Go have a look!
I am so happy for this couple, and can’t wait to see them grow together.
They’re two of the most sincerest and generous people I’ve ever met.
Clint & Carla remind me of why I love what I do.
For the love.
And for the happiness.
These two dished that up in bucketloads on their wedding day at Sweethome (Eston) and with all their closest friends & family surrounding them, it was an absolute pleasure to photograph.
These are the ones I’ll remember forever.
Getting to work with such a power team was a sweet little cherry on the top.
PS. Carla won the Hooray Weddings ‘Win a Wedding Competition’ which included some amazing prizes for her wedding day (listed below).
Whether it’s brushing their teeth, building forts in the lounge, or sleepy moments with a tired toddler, photographing families in their real life is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my photography career.
I love, truly love, this new way of embracing the traditional family photoshoot and I love that families are realising the importance of having photos taken.
The idea behind a documentary family photography session is that you carry on as normal, while I come over and document your life. Kids get to be kids, pets get to come inside the house, and I get to kick off my shoes while I capture the chaos/ crazy/ tears/ laughter/ happiness/ sadness/ tantrums. I’m coming to hang out, with my camera, and I’m going to be part of your family for a little while.
My goal is to capture genuine, RAW MOMENTS.
Documentary sessions mean you don’t have to worry about the kids posing or behaving badly. We’ll pick a few of their favourite activities and things to do, and we’ll go about doing them, as normal. While I will interact with kids and assist with flowing into activities, my approach is very relaxed.
How should I prepare for this type of shoot?
There is absolutely nothing you need to do. Although in saying that, I know you’ll probably start tidying up your spaces the minute your session is in my diary. Don’t.
I know all about clutter and I have one of those chairs where I dump everything, too. Don’t stress about it. This is the way your kids know their home. And they love it.
Why should you do a session like this?
Because now is all there ever is.
Little moments happen every day.
And you’re likely to forget them.
The way they sit at their table and eat their cereal.
The way they colour-in with so much determination to stay in the lines.
Or the way they play with their favourite bath toys amid a sea of bubbles.
These are the moments you want to remember.
Where do these sessions take place?
In your home. In your garden. At your child’s birthday party. During bath time. During dinner time. During breakfast. During your grocery shop run. In fact, anywhere that feels special to you.
What will we get?
Fun, joyful, sometimes sad and sometimes funny photographs of your family in a shareable online gallery and a slideshow to bring on the tears. All the photos delivered to you are in high resolution and fully edited. I also offer photobooks (just in case you’d like to do one these sessions yearly and record each year).
How do we book/ view your packages?
By getting in touch using the form below. I’ll send you my packages and we can get started on planning your session straight away. I’m currently taking bookings for June – September 2018.
You know these kinds of people who are so warm and kind, that they just surround everyone in their love?
That’s Ashley and Kayleigh.
From the very minute I met them at Kayleigh’s brother’s wedding, they’re been two of my absolute favourites.
Of course, it also helps that they’re both so beautiful to photograph!
Ashley and Kayleigh’s day was FILLED to the brim with pure love, laughter and warmth.
Oh, how I wish I could have bottled that for them.
I hope these photos capture all of that love.
I love this age. Sophie has just turned one and is at the most adorable, adventurous age of learning about everything around her.
Everything is new and exciting.
I got to meet Sophie and her parents, Adrian and Lauren in their home in Plantations where we got to jump on a jumping castle, blow bubbles and play with all of Sophie’s favourite toys.
She’ll be walking very soon, and these photos of her crawling will be a distant memory soon enough, so I captured Sophie just as she is now.
Oh, how time just flies.
When Daphne emailed me to ask if I’d photograph her Drakensberg elopement, I jumped at the opportunity!
I don’t think there is any place I love more in KwaZulu-Natal than the Drakensberg.
When she mailed me a few months later to say they’d booked a helicopter, I very nearly dropped out from panicked excitement! 😀
Can you tell I’ve never been in an helicopter before?
But in the weeks leading up to the day, I got more and more excited and the only time my fear kicked in again, was when I saw the tiny helicopter in front of me! 😀
Buckled in, there was no time to be scared and before we knew it, the helicopter was in the air and gently perched us atop a huge mountain in front of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre!
To say this was an incredible experience, is an understatement!
It was AWESOME!
Thank you Daphne and Justin for allowing me to experience this with you (all of us for the first time!) and thank you to Westline Aviation for keeping us safe! 😉 Our pilot was super in-control (not going to lie, I did ask him how long he’s been flying for when I first jumped in! :D) and knowledgeable about the area.
Daph and Justin decided to have a very intimate ceremony with just their sisters and parents and chose South Africa for its beauty. They all flew in from Toronto, Canada and it was so special seeing guests to our country, truly enjoy it and experience it for the first time. Montusi Mountain Lodge did a fantastic job at hosting them and the berg did its thing as only the berg knows how to.
I had so many favourite images from this wedding, that it was hard for me to choose which ones summed up Michael and Megan’s day in just one blog post. So it’s a bit of a long one… but here goes!
Michael and Megan got married on Megan’s family farm in Normandien, KZN. It was the brightest, sunniest day and one filled with so much love, and family.
Farm weddings are fun – lots of fun – and they’re a real taste of how a wedding can be done almost anywhere – but they’re lots of work.
I don’t think there was a single family member, bridesmaid or groomsmen who hadn’t done some sort of DIY or hard work on this day. And it all paid off because JUST LOOK AT IT!
Foliage was handpicked on the farm, little Nguni bulls were crafted and painted by Megan’s grandad, the bull design used throughout the decor was created by her cousin, the cake was baked by a family friend and Megan’s gran… there’s just so much to mention! They were even married by a friend who played a role in getting them together in the first place! And when the music stopped playing during their first dance… their guests started singing! It was the stuff of goosebumps!
It really was just a huge family and friend effort and that’s the recipe for THE BEST WEDDINGS!
The shed (which should really, REALLY be turned into a wedding venue for Newcastle) was SPECTACULAR and every little detail was thought of, organised and cared for.
Megan is an old school friend and we spent days on end at the farm as kids, running through fields to dams and hiking up hills and reading girly magazines till late at night. Some of my most treasured childhood memories are from this farm, and it was awesome to be back!
But enough from me… here’s a little peek into Michael & Megan’s beautiful farm wedding…
Hair and Make Up: Paula Moore Make Up Artist & Delilah
Bride’s Dress: Bride&Co
Groom’s Suit: Pierre Cardini
Florist: All done by family, sourced from the farm.
Catering: Lennox Guesthouse – Salome Froneman
Marriage Officiant: Eddie De Nobrega (Friend)
Cake: Denise Halgryn & Renèe Schwikkard
Videography: Studio Elle (Hennie)
You know, I love the weddings that move me. I mean, truly, deeply move me. It’s not something I can always explain or put my finger on, why I love one wedding more than the other, it’s not always the pretty details or the beautiful love. I see a lot of that at weddings. A LOT of that. And I love my weddings.
But then there are weddings like this one.
Where, from the very minute I arrived at Shalwyn, I was moved.
I loved the stories of how mom and daughter (and dad, and groom, and brother and an entire list of creative people) hand made almost every detail. Or getting to see the light that radiates out of Chantal’s face. Gosh, this girl radiates love and kindness and then she sings and you’re convinced she must be an angel!
Nelson and Chantal, you are two of the most beautiful people I have ever had the privilege to meet and photograph. Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for sharing your joy with me.
Oh, I’m so excited to share Dev and Amanda’s wedding with you today!
Devlin and Mandy planned their South Coast wedding at Selborne Golf Estate from Johannesburg, and with the help of a few important people, their day was absolutely perfect from start to finish.
Mandy’s beautiful make up, dress and bubbly personality match Devlin’s calmness and together, they’re a powerhouse of love, enthusiasm, determination and friendliness.
Posing them was a breeze – Mandy is a professional ballerina and dancer and Dev, whose had years of experience in front of the camera, made me completely shutter crazy! I could have spent hours shooting them on their creative session!
But it was more than that that was so striking about these two – it’s their warmth and the way they make everyone feel like family. From the minute we arrived, Nats and I were made to feel like we were just part of the fam and at the end of the night when we were saying our goodbyes, we got to feel that all over again with the biggest hugs from everyone.
Thank you Dev and Mandy! Enjoy a peek at a few of my favourites from your day!
Venue: Selborne Gold Estate, Hotel and Spa
Hair and Make Up: Leandri Hattingh for Accentuate Hair and Make Up
Bride’s Dress: Stella York Dress, RK Bridal in New York
Groom’s Suit: Zara
Decor: Cindy De Vries, Dee-Tale, Snooks
Cake: Mother of the Bride
Marriage Officiant: Father Joe Thompson
Photographer’s Assistant: Nats dos Santos
I met Ashley and Kayleigh in January last year at Kayleigh’s brother’s wedding where they formed part of an awesome bridal party. I knew the minute I met them, that what they share together is magic. When Kayleigh smsed me to say she wanted me to photograph her wedding – I was BEYOND STOKED! YESSSS!
These two are the best of friends and have the cutest smiles that they share with one another. From the way they look at each other, to the way they do life together, they’re just downright awesome. I LOVE photographing them, and the way they laugh, love and relax together!
Ashley and Kayleigh wanted to do a sunrise beach engagement session at Ushaka beach so we hit the beach suuuper early and had some fun. I’ve wanted to do a shoot here for ages and it sure did deliver on a fresh Sunday morning.
Enjoy this peek! It’s going down as one of my favourite engagement sessions, ever.