Destination weddings are quite trendy right now. If you’re planning your big day and looking for a few ideas, why not consider KwaZulu-Natal? Some don’t explore this option due to costs, but don’t let budget concerns put a damper on your big day!
Wedding and events planner Sonal Patel, the owner of Shaadiscape, gives us a run-through of how to be a beautiful bride on a budget in 2019, while Sharmila Ragunanan, Marketing Manager of Dream Hotel and Resorts, pinpoints affordable venues in South Africa’s Garden Province.
Where’s a good place to start if you want to stay within budget? “The best place to start is your guest list. Decide how many people you will be inviting, but also how many you anticipate will be able to attend,” says Sonal.
“Once you know your approximate numbers, start shortlisting suitable venues and start getting quotes. This will give you an idea what will fit into your anticipated budget. Make sure you reserve 25% as a buffer for unexpected expenses, include VAT and service charges too.”
How can couples balance affordability without going ‘cheap’?
Sonal advises that bridal couple should first short-list what the most important elements are for them as a couple.
She says: “Typically, the five most important elements are venue, food & beverages, music, the wedding dress and photography. Allocate the majority of your budget to what you value most so that the look and feel of the wedding reflect who you are. In each category, set about collecting quotes and select the vendor that inspires confidence and offers value. It’s always a good idea to ask for referrals from people who have recently gotten married.”
What are some of the significant wedding trends for 2019?
Sonal pinpoints the Pantone colour for 2019 as being ‘Living Coral’, a fun, unmissable, effervescent shade. “It is guaranteed to bring a pop of colour to any palette, so we can expect to see that making an appearance at this year’s weddings and events, most especially in the warmer months,” she adds.
She also lists outdoor ceremonies as being a top choice, especially during Spring and Summer in Cape Town and almost all year through in KZN. “In winter, jewel shades such as emerald, burgundy and dark purple, and luxurious textures, such as velvet, are timeless and bring a romantic warmth to indoor weddings.”
What’s important to consider when choosing a venue?
Most venues offer peak, mid and low-season rates, and if you’re happy to host your wedding in the low season, Sonal advises that significant discounts are likely to apply on venue hire.
“It is best to select then a venue that can accommodate your numbers and has indoor and outdoor options so that there’s a back-up plan in the case of inclement weather conditions. Mid-week weddings have also become quite popular, and there’s no harm in inquiring if discounts apply.”
Another money-saving tip from Sonal, is to choose a well-maintained venue in a beautiful location that comes with standard tables, chairs and tableware so you can save on decor and hiring costs. “South Africa’s natural beauty speaks for itself, and there’s an almost endless supply of venues that are surrounded by the country’s vibrant flora and fauna,” she concludes.
Wedding Venues to consider in KZN
Jozini Tiger Lodge & Spa
With years of experience coordinating weddings and functions, the team at Lake Jozini can be utterly relied upon to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Overlooking magnificent views of Lake Jozini, the dam wall and the splendour of the Lebombo Mountain range, weddings here are indeed something special.
“Couples receive a complimentary breakfast and can choose between open-air ceremonies on the lake deck, the upper deck or the outdoor boma,” says Sharmila. “There is also the choice to have your service on a barge, right in the middle of the lake.
“To get a feel for the venue beforehand, it’s a great idea to head up there on an upcoming weekend to experience the ambience for yourself.”
Where? Lake Jozini
Little Switzerland Resort
Nestled against the Drakensberg mountains, it’s hard to beat the countryside setting of Little Switzerland Resort.
Sharmila describes the beautifully manicured grounds and horse stables as breathtaking photo opportunities for the bride and groom, while the resort’s authentic thatched roofing, crackling log fires and wooden frame of the main building create a charming Alpine ambience.
“There are ample options for both indoor or outdoor ceremonies, and if your heart is set on a winter wedding, the Little Switzerland country setting realy is something special during the cooler months.”
Where? Oliviershoek Pass, Bergville
The Blue Marlin Hotel
It’s hard to compete with an ocean sunset, especially one from The Blue Marlin Hotel 40 minutes south of Durban. The iconic KwaZulu-Natal hotel transforms into an excellent venue for a beach wedding, with special honeymoon packages available too.
“Effortlessly relaxed and romantic, it has comfortable sea-view accommodation, and a range of modern facilities for a wedding party of any size,” says Sharmila.
“With the lure of stunning subtropical gardens, a private on-site spa, a sparkling pool and the warm Indian Ocean on your doorstep, that perfect wedding among sand and sea has never looked so good!”
Where? Scottburgh Beach, South Coast
Tala Game Reserve
If romance means immersing yourself in the beauty of nature, far, far away from anyone else, Tala Private Game Reserve might be the most romantic choice.
This sought-after wedding venue sits alongside a watering hole, with magnificent wilderness views over the Tala Valley. As Sharmila describes, it has exclusive accommodation with a variety of lodge styles, flexible spaces, traditional outdoor bomas, bright skies and the hum of nature all around.
“On the morning after the wedding, couples can enjoy breakfast in bed or at Le Tala Restaurant, surrounded by special friends and loved ones,” she concludes.