10 Questions to Ask BEFORE A Venue Visit

The Dairy Shed 010

Hello lovely ones! I’m super SUPER excited today, because I finally get to start rolling out the brand new, all-singing, all dancing (okay, it doesn’t sing and dance, but it’s still pretty awesome) SBB Collection, our new directory specifically for venues. We’ve been working with the best of SA’s places and spaces over the last few months, and we’ll be adding them in small groups over the next couple of weeks so that you get a chance to ‘meet’ them all properly, before the full directory is in place. At which point you’ll also be able to download it as a pretty (and handy) magazine! Yay! (Be sure to check it out HERE.) And here’s one of the reasons I love our new directory so much – we’ve tried to make sure that the listings are not only pretty but extremely functional – we’ve included all the info you need to know before making an enquiry or heading out for a site visit. After all, we know what it’s like – you get engaged, you see some gorgeous places online, friends are throwing recommendations at you every day… ack! It’s overwhelming! And while there’s the exciting stuff (the style! the features! that adorable place for photos!), it’s the practical aspects you need to keep an eye on because the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a venue that’s too small for your guest list, for example, or isn’t available on that date you’ve already carved out as yours. Because let’s be honest, some things are just going to be a non-negotiable, but those things vary from couple to couple. So, to help you out, we’ve compiled the essential list of questions to ask when researching venues (take a peek at the bottom at how our new listings answer them!).

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Downloadable Worksheet: Venue Planning

Source: Ine & Riaan’s Wedding at Clouds Estate (Photography: Lauren Kriedemann)

Hello friends! Aren’t you glad the first Friday of 2013 is almost done? I know I am, but this weekend I’ll be working away to bring you fantastic content for the coming week, and make some changes and tweaks behind the scenes. We’ll be returning to our normal blog schedule on Monday, so expect the usual set of inspiration boards, real weddings, couple shoots, styled shoots, etc. Can’t wait! First though, I have some practical help for those of you just starting on your planning journey.Read More

A Bride Abroad #3: The Venue

When you start planning your wedding, friends and guides will tell you there are three things you need to book first: venue, DJ and photographer; the first of these being the venue. Finding one in the Western Cape is not a difficult task – they are there in abundance! Finding the right venue for your wedding (and that from a distance) = not so simple. More so if you’re picky. And Chris and I are picky. Boy, are we picky!

We had a whole list of requirements. The venue had to be beautiful, of course. It had to be a one-stop venue with ceremony and reception site in one place. It had to have onsite catering and accommodation. It had to be available until after twelve. The chairs at the venue had to be nice so that they didn’t have to be covered (I despise a seat cover). Linen, crockery and cutlery had to be included in the venue hire. And, last but not least, it needed to be available for the date we had chosen. Well, that narrowed down the search all right!

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Let Them Eat Wedding Cake #3: The Venue

From the moment the ring is slipped onto your finger and your betrothal gleefully announced, a couple is advised to quickly find and secure two things that can become booked up over a year and a half in advance – the venue and the photographer. Indeed, not only are these some of the first tasks in the wedding planning process, but also some of the most important.

Being a tad wedding crazy (as mentioned in prior posts), I had already spent endless hours looking for venues online and had seen many a beautiful property, but nothing ‘us’. Staring at my computer screen, nothing had made me shout “THAT’S IT!” at an audibility common only to those of us with farm upbringings, or childhood operatic aspirations. Well… that’s not entirely true. We had found the perfect place months before the engagement. A place that would have effortlessly pulled off the theme in question and that we both loved. But it had only been able to seat 80 guests, which despite my initial fairly deep denial, I soon came to realise simply wasn’t realistic for us.

And so with the realisation that our wedding was only a year away, the euphoric “it’s my birthday everyday” engagement feelings began to be replaced by a rather palpable anxiety felt right in the centrepoint of my chest. Waste time and lose the perfect venue. We had to find a venue!Read More

How to Choose a Venue

Source: Mehtap & Paul’s Tintswalo Atlantic Wedding (Photography: Zarazoo)

Hey hey, it’s Friday! And it’s the best kind of day for me, as I’ll be heading over to Cambridge as you read this so I can attend my lovely friends Kerenza & Matt’s wedding. Yay! Not only do I love weddings, but Kez and Matt are the loveliest. Anyway, never fear, because not only do I have a lovely bonus inspiration board for you this afternoon, but this morning I’ll be leaving you in the very capable hands of my friend Theresa of Creation Events. Theresa is a full service wedding c0-ordinator based in Cape Town, and as one of our treasured SBB sponsors, I’ve been keeping a close eye on what she’s been doing this season. Recently, Theresa has been sharing her extensive expertise in planning on her own blog in a series of ‘how  to’ posts, and I’ve convinced her to share one of them exclusively with you here today. And it couldn’t be a more important one, since the venue is the cornerstone for any design you are going to put together, and probably the first thing you’ll book after saying ‘yes’. Over to you, Theresa!

PS You can download a free worksheet to help you follow Theresa’s advice in this post HERERead More

Real Life Bride #3: The Venue

The venue… Aah yes, this has to be one of the hardest parts of the whole wedding planning process! After visiting what felt like all of the hundreds of beautiful venues around the Cape Winelands, and still not finding exactly what we were looking for in our perfect wedding venue, I became quite desperate. After all, we are getting married in March, peak wedding season, and being a wedding photographer I should know better than to be leaving this vital part of the wedding so late! I began to have visions of hopping on a jet plane, just the two of us, and eloping to some far-off island getaway – something like Bora Bora would have been nice… but then our family and friends wouldn’t have been there to share in our special day. So back to the venue hunt we went!Read More

Inspiration Board {1 Colour 3 Ways}: Hawaiian Honeysuckle

This week we’re featuring three inspiration boards including hot Pantone colour honeysuckle and inspired by Cape venues, to show how a single colour can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Which one is your favourite?


I just love the concept behind today’s board, the last in this week’s series showing how a colour or theme can be interpreted depending on the venue. When I was a teenager, I fancied myself a bit of a waxie chick. (Although I never actually tried surfing, just wore Billabong and perved over a lot of surfer boys. It’s a PE thing.) But I do have a lot of love for surf culture, and along with my love for all things retro, I am crazy for the whole Beach Boys vintage surf vibe. I think it would make an amazing wedding theme, and today’s colours – beeswax yellow, aqua blue, and the vibrant but feminine honeysuckle – would be just perfect for it. The venue I’ve chosen is laid back Boesmanland Farm Kitchen, where you can get married on the beach and then enjoy some down home West Coast cooking. Think bare feet, sandcastles, an old Volkswagen minibus and a special surfboard ‘guest book’. I can guarantee it’s one that your guests won’t forget in a hurry!

Colours: Honeysuckle, aqua and beeswax

Top row (l-r): Place setting Tinywater Photography); signpost – Boesmanland Farm Kitchen; couple (Adria Peaden); bride with fabric heart (Our Labor of Love); lantern
Row 2: Volkswagen bus; bridesmaid dresses (Joy Thigpen); airline ticket invitation; Hawaiian air freshener (Brandon Scott Photography); lollipops (Lisa Lefkowitz)
Row 3: Retro surf Save the Date; surfboard guest book; sandcastle table information (Cari Eksteen); Boesmanland Farm Kitchen (Picasaweb)

Note: None of the posts in this series have been sponsored by the featured venues, including Boesmanland Farm Kitchen.

Inspiration Board {1 Colour 3 Ways}: Honeysuckle Garden

This week we’re featuring three inspiration board including hot Pantone colour honeysuckle and inspired by Cape venues, to show how a single colour can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Which one is your favourite?


Today’s board moves away from the clean coastal preppiness of yesterday’s inspiration to a sweet garden tea party. Honeysuckle pairs beautifully with peapod green, soft pink and just a touch of earthy brown. Pick whimsical details like handkerchief save the dates, ruffled bridesmaid dresses and tea caddy vases, and emphasise the theme using bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and other garden creatures. Everything is soft and lush and lovely. No question, the spot I had to pick to show off this theme was Natte Valleij (showcased in this recent wedding) – that little round hole in the wall really gives that secret garden feeling (emphasised of course with the key motif – my current style crush, in case you hadn’t noticed!). It’s the perfect place to get lost with your guests on a perfect summer’s afternoon.

Colours: Honeysuckle, pale pink, peapod green, brown

Top row (l-r): Peony bouquet (Ashley Garmon); hydrangeas (Steve Steinhardt); chair with number (Lisa Lefkowitz); argyle socks (Green Apple Photo); flower girl with key bubble blower (Lisa Lefkowitz)
Row 2: Hummingbird escort cards (Lisa Lefkowitz Photography); handkerchief invitation; note with key (Larissa Cleveland); flowers in tea caddy (Yvette Inufio); bee necklace;  Natte Valleij (Abigail K)
Row 3:  Natte Valleij (Abigail K); downloadable invitation (Blush Printables); place card with leaf (Studio 28 Photography); bridesmaids (Heather Cherie Photography).

Note: None of the posts in this series have been sponsored by the featured venues, including Natte Valleij.

Inspiration Board {1 Colour 3 Ways}: Henley Honeysuckle

Every so often I like to show how you can take a particular theme or colour and interpret it in a number of different ways, depending on your style or venue. Last year we looked at an oranges and lemons theme (see the boards here, here and here), and this time I’m taking another look at Pantone’s colour of the year, honeysuckle (which also featured in this vintagey board). Honeysuckle really is a great colour – it’s so versatile and has such a different feel when combined with other colours. I’ve chosen just three possible looks for this week inspired by Cape venues – let me know which one is your favourite!

Kicking off today is a bit of preppy shoreline chic. I LOVE preppy weddings, and I love the whole yachting and boating vibe. Inspired by another Pantone colour, Regatta Blue, I’ve created a fun but still super classy palette for your very own ship shape wedding. Harbour House in Kalk Bay is the perfect venue with its whitewashed walls and big windows looking out over the water, and lots of photo (even ceremony) options on the pier below. Think seersucker suits, fresh nautical stripes and soft flowers like peonies or ranunculus. And how adorable are the boat centrepieces? As long as you don’t go overboard (sorry!), you can have a lot of fun with this decor and it’s ideal if you love the beach and the sea, but don’t want to do the whole barefoot on the sand thing.

Colours: Honeysuckle, Regatta and grey

Top row (l-r): Bride and groom in seersucker suit (Eric Kelley); honeysuckle invitation (& Kath­leen Design);  Harbour House
Row 2: Blue shoes (Clary Pfeiffer’s); cake (Amy Cakes/Heather Cherie Photography); boat centrepiece (Verdi Photography); watermelon gazpacho shooters; menu/place setting (Verdi Photography)
Row 3:  Harbour House; stripey straws (Scobey Photography for Carla Ten Eyck); seersucker bridesmaids’ dressesStudio This Is); Just Married life buoy (Studio 28 Photo); bride and groom (Verdi Photography).

Note: None of the posts in this series have been sponsored by the featured venues, including Harbour House.

Swan Wedding #3: The Venue

The search for the perfect venue is tricky. Especially if you are still based in Pretoria and looking to get married in the Boland right in the middle of wedding season… within five months of getting engaged! Eek! AND, with Dirk and myself knowing exactly what we like visually and what we don’t like, my poor mom and dad had quite a hard time finding the perfect fit. Oh dear, and then we still have our long list of conditions:Read More