Tips for Planning a Cape Town Wedding

pano Delaire

Do you need a few Tips for planning a wedding in Cape Town, South Africa? Well, you’ve come to the right place! with its vast variety of venues and well established wedding industry Cape Town has become the wedding paradise for couples from all over the world.  The beauty, the weather and the exchange rate make it a very attractive option for those wanting to elope, make a holiday out of the whole celebration or ex pats looking to come home to get married.  The abundance of venues range from stately wine farms with a backdrop of majestic mountains to beautiful white beaches.  Extravagant or understatedly simple – what every your needs are you will find it here in South Africa.

The bulk of my weddings that I have photographed over the years have been international clients.  They range from weddings of 350 guests that fly in from all over the world to enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer to small weddings where the couple have eloped and I get to act as witness.  The nature of technology means that you can plan an entire wedding without actually being here.  Many of my Skype conversations with clients have been even more proactive then actual face to face meetings but mostly my clients just book me based on my work or reputation, many without even having met me personally.  I have been lucky enough to have a few wedding couples hire me for the entire week to document every aspect of their stay.  If you decide to do this make sure that you connect with your photographer and limit the time you spend with your photographer to just to a few hours  a day so you can have some alone time.

Destination weddings in South Africa:

There has never been a better time have a destination wedding in South Africa! No matter where you are from you are likely to get excellent value for money, far better than you do at home. I’m proud to say that our South African level of photography is among the best in the world. As with any industry we have different levels of photographers. Given that international currencies are so strong at the moment means that you may very well be able to afford a top level photographer in South Africa with ease.

If you have any doubts as to what you can get for your currency have a look at what your currency is worth below.

USD in ZAR (click to see current) (South African Rand)

GPB in ZAR (click to see current)

EUR in ZAR (click to see current)

AUD in ZAR (click to see current)

Currency perspective:

An average meal in a decent restaurant will set you back between R250 – R500 per person (R500 is expensive for us!), that includes drinks / wine. If you get the urge visit www.zomato.co.za  for even more food info. And finally a to use burgernomics! A McDonald’s Medium McChicken meal with a medium milk shake will set you back about R40.00 that’s $2.60, £1.84 or 1.34 How can you not come to South Africa!! have your wedding here too!! Your guests will LOVE South Africa! Oh and if you weren’t convinced yet!?!? We’re an awesome bunch of people!

World class Wedding Industry standards!

We have a world class wedding industry here in South Africa, as a photographer I’m continually aware of what other photographers are doing. I notice the backgrounds and styling and believe me The South African Wedding Industry knows it’s stuff! We are equipped to make your day awesome from beginning to end to the photos and video afterward.

Do you need a wedding planner?

This depends entirely on how much time and budget you have and how good you are at letting go and trusting somebody with the responsibility.  Top wedding planners are on the cutting edge of trends and have exceptional organizational skills that will arrange everything from a payment schedules, appointments, bookings, deliveries to the tiny little details that make your wedding unique to you.  They have relationships with service providers in the industry that have an excellent work ethic and reputation but not all their suggestions need to be adhered to.  When it comes to your photographer or videographer source your style independently so that your options are more vast than a small recommended suppliers list.

Wedding planners have a “list” don’t always let them choose.

For example, photography style is a personal choice and should not be left to the wedding planner most of them have a list  of service providers and they seldom deviate.  This could be great but it suits you but also means you may not be given a wide variety of choice either. Before hiring a wedding planner start by chatting to the various venues you have in mind and see if they recommend the need for a planner.  Some venues have planners who are part of their packages.

Choosing a photographer

There are a number of different styles and wedding photographer personalities in South Africa and you need to find the exact fit for you and your partner.  This is the one area where you should do your own investigation by using google, Pinterest and even Instagram, word of mouth etc.  Wedding planners and venues all have their preferred service providers who they have built up relationships with and while they all work well with the planners and venue staff, they also need to fit you and your favoured style.  It is very important that you actually get on with your photographer.  He or she can bring a huge element of fun and special moments to your day.

Style:

Firstly decide if you prefer a more traditional or contemporary photographer or more cutting edge creative photographer.  You get photojournalistic photographers who just capture the event as it unfolds and you get edgy, dramatic photographers who create art.  This kind of photographer’s style tends to be quite stylized and fashion like.   Remember it is an event so in the end the photographer should direct, stylize and make art in the couple shoot and the bridal and groom portraits and then turn to a more photojournalistic approach during the ceremony and remain as unobtrusive as possible.

Book your photographer early:

  • For popular times book your wedding photographer 9 months to a year in advance.
  • Weekday weddings, Sunday’s or winter weddings are easier at short notice.

Research your photographers online presence:

As with any industry there are scams or photographers who have just started out who steel images and showcase them as their own.  A lot of photographers have youtube videos of them shooting from behind the scenes or giving photographic tutorials or the like.  This as well as a large portfolio of weddings at well-known cape town wedding venues is a sure way to know you in good hands.  Have a look at what kind of presence the photographer has on his website.  Use your head and evaluate if the photographer is legit or not.  Seek references and get a feel for your photographer over skype or email.  You will soon find your fit.

Avoid hiring a family member or friend who is starting out and offers to do capture your day for free:

This can be tempting but relationships have been destroyed because of this very thing.  Even professional fashion photographers or landscape photographers who are brilliant at what they do are not a good idea.  You need a photographer who understands the fast pace and unpredictability of a wedding.  If somebody offers tell him or her that you would prefer to have them as a guest to your special day rather than being behind a camera for ten hours.  You want a specialist wedding photographer.

Choosing a venue:

Choosing a wedding venue is such a personal thing.  It depends on so many factors for example: amount of wedding guest, bush, beach, farm, wine farms, city, small and intimate, large and extravagant.  I could go on but here are a few top notch wedding venues with brilliant reputations and experiences that blow me away every time I work there.  Photographically they are all more than worthy.

Legal implications/marriage officer

It is stress-free to get married in South Africa.  All you need is a Marriage Officer (please see recommendations below), a couple of witnesses (I as the photographer have been one) and somebody who wants to marry you J

Marriage officers are usually very helpful with guiding you through all the legal details and are up to date with any document requirement changes that occur.  At the time of writing this article if you don’t have a South African Identity Document you will need to complete an affidavit called a BI-31.  Your marriage officer is a Commissioner of Oaths and can complete this with you.

Updated information directly from the Department of Home Affairs:  http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/civic-services/marriage-certificates

Documents required to enter into marriage:

On the day of the marriage a couple must present the following documents to the person officiating at the wedding:

  • Identity documents(for each person getting married)
  • If a foreign national is marrying a South African citizen, they should both present their valid passports as well as well as a completed BI-31 Form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage, Letter of no impediment)
  • If the wedding is for a minor (a person under the age of 18 years), the written consent of both parents/ legal guardian or the Commissioner of Child Welfare or a judge should be submitted on Form DHA-32 as well. If the minors getting married are under the ages of 18 for boys or 15 for girls, the written consent from the Minister of Home Affairs will also be required
  • If any of the persons getting married are divorced, then the final decree of divorce should be furnished
  • If any of the persons getting married are widowed, the deceased spouse’s death certificate must be submitted.

Here are a list of highly recommended marriage officers that are not only experienced and reliable but have a way with the couple and guests that turns the ceremony into a spectacular commemorative service.  Thought provoking, sentimental, personal and entertaining are a few of the descriptive words that come to mind when I think of these marriage officers.

Roger Horwood – rhorwood@netactive.co.za

Patrick Bouche – 0826418700 – patrickb@cybersmart.co.za

Peter Fox –  www.peterfoxcounseling.com

What time of year is best to get married in South Africa?

South Africa’s Summer months are from November till about March with average temperatures of 25 degree Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) and highs known to reach 32 – 38 degrees Celsius and beyond especially in the Paarl, Franschoek and Stellenbosch areas where there are an abundance of wine farm wedding venues.  The south east wind can be known to blow quite hard in summer months so make sure the venue is prepared for that.  Our winters are wet and chilly but there are some gorgeous winter sunny days.  The advantage of getting married in winter in South Africa are many.

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