I love the Cape longtime, and in my opinion there’s really no better place to tie the knot. There are lots of reasons why, but to break down their personal top ten I’m thrilled to welcome back the fabulous team from Wedding Concepts, an exclusive wedding planning and co-ordination company based in the heart of Cape Town. These ladies and gents are some of the most creative and friendly people in the industry, and I’ve been lucky enough to feature some of their work on the blog – look out next week for another incredible wedding from them!
As the trend in destination weddings continues to escalate, South Africa and Cape Town in particular is becoming an increasingly popular wedding choice for overseas couples. Wedding Concepts is seeing an ever increasing number of enquiries from UK couples especially, who are looking to organise their special day and wanting something different. We expect to coordinate over 40 select weddings in the next season. Says Christina, Wedding Concepts MD: “From small, intimate weddings or renewal of vows with a few family members and friends, to full blown celebrations with over 100 international guests, the greater Western Cape area offers spectacular possibilities at unrivalled value.”
- I dreamt of Africa…And so will you if you marry here. South Africa, the crown right at the most southern tip, performed strongly in both the 2008 & 2009 World’s Best Awards survey by travel magazine Travel + Leisure, with nine establishments listed among the world’s top 100 hotels and Cape Town voted as one of the best holiday cities in the world. Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica, the country’s national anthem, means “Lord Bless Africa”. One appreciates this prayer once you’ve experienced a magical continent, its abundant wildlife and romantic, secluded hideaways. Its people are proud and dignified whilst initiatives like the “Proudly South African” and “Homecoming Revolution” campaigns are aimed at bringing expats back to the country. Travel Concepts, the exclusive sister company of Wedding Concepts, will help you get to South Africa . The flight to Cape Town lasts a mere twelve hours from London and you’ll have virtually no jet lag. Arrive in the morning, freshen up with breakfast at a local deli, and then set off to the beach to work on your tan or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment before the big day.
- Location, Location, location– a world in one in one region. The Western Cape is a region of spectacular natural scenery, rich history, diverse cultures, and Cape Dutch architecture, with Cape Town, one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world, at its centre. Explore vast open spaces, semi-desert stretches, lush rain forests, pulsating urban centres, and of course, a never-ending, rugged coastline. As a wedding destination it provides three uniquely diverse options. By far the most popular of these is the mystically mountainous winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl, boasting both historical and modern wine estates. ‘Picturesque’ sums it up in a word. For the more daring, the peninsula boasts a number of safe, pristine beaches – all nestled against Table Mountain and lined with dramatic boulders and glorious sunsets. The third option comprises sleek five star hotels, boutique hotels, and intimate private villas – all to be transformed into your ideal wedding venue. The last option is ideal for the young, discerning jet setter club member. Wedding Concepts will guide you through your options by leveraging their established relationships with venue owners and their staff. We also cater to the more daring requests, like saying “I do” on the top of Table Mountain or during a shark cage diving adventure!
- Clear skies ahead…Summer in South Africa never ends. Days are marked by an average of twelve hours of sunshine, moderate temperatures (20 – 30˚C) and, in the Western Cape , virtually no rain falls between September and April. The combination of the superb surroundings and fantastic weather allows for memorable outdoor ceremonies overlooking mountain ranges, vineyards or the ocean. Lunch weddings are guaranteed to be a hit. Although more rainy, winter’s not bad either. Cape Town calls it the “secret season” as many venues offer discounted rates on the same great service you’ll find in summer. Remember to pack your sunscreen!
- Thought tents were only for camping?Well, think again. Wedding Concepts are the expert coordinators when it comes to marquee weddings. Three styles are available (Bedouin, Aluminium Frame, and the new Clear Span) in different sizes and each allows for unlimited creativity when it comes to décor and styling. Bring the outside indoors and allow your guests to mingle with nature by creating your very own venue – it really is worth considering.
- Have your cake, and eat it. The name Cape Town is synonymous with cutting edge design, décor and creativity. Respected around the world for its gastronomic and culinary delicacies – not to mention its wines – you can literally pick and choose your service providers from an array of acclaimed caterers, internationally awarded restaurants, funky musicians, polished hiring companies, and top notch, super-talented photographers. Wedding Concepts upholds the most stringent quality criteria and works with only the most professional associates in ensuring a faultless wedding. Why not get an African Children’s Choir or Marimba band to perform at your wedding and include some local dishes like ostrich or crocodile in your menu in an effort to bring an authentic African and unexpectedly beautiful element to your big day?
- Spare me the paperwork.Legalities for getting hitched in South Africa are extremely simple. All you need is a passport valid for at least six months (with two consecutive empty pages), a copy of your SA entrance visa, and two witnesses over eighteen years of age (who also need to provide a copy of their passport/entrance visa, if applicable). Focus on the joy of your wedding and choose SA as a hassle free destination. Wedding Concepts will gladly take care of all legal arrangements on your behalf, help choose a minister and even provide witnesses if you decide to come alone.
- Show me the money. Not really, actually. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to compromise too much, you may want to consider bringing your entire wedding party to Cape Town as pounds go a long way here! And why not take a brief holiday, or buy a stunning holiday apartment as a future investment while you’re at it? A value for money haven, in Cape Town you’ll get away with paying 50% less than for a similar wedding in Europe – lest we forget that the lovely weather and unsurpassed setting come free of charge south of the equator. The same holds for honeymoon and holiday accommodation, consumer goods, indigenous arts and crafts, as well as property. The possibilities are endless and very reasonably priced throughout. Get married in the Cape and you’ll have some money left to put towards your new house upon your return to the UK .
- Fe, fi, fo, fun for me! (and your guests) Not too tired after the wedding day? Then jump up and start exploring the many activities available to you to drive away the post-wedding blues. Shopping, surfing, or sightseeing – there are so many places to go and people to meet that you’ll probably find there’s not enough time for everything! Go hiking in one of the many National Parks. Go shark cage diving in Gansbaai. Go up to Table Mountain in a cable car with your grandparents and their grandchildren. Go whale watching in Hermanus. Go play golf on any of the world class courses around the peninsula. Go wine tasting in lesser known Wellington and Paarl. Go bungee jumping at the Gouritz River . Go learn to cook traditional Cape Malay food in the Bo-Kaap. Go to Robben Island to view Nelson Mandela’s prison cell. Go eat “braaivleis” at a BBQ restaurant for a taste of certified natural South African lamb. Go charter a yacht in the V&A Waterfront. Go dancing in Camps Bay. Just go. In South Africa , the world is your oyster. Enjoy it with some good champagne.
- Honeymoon next door. What better way to start your journey together than with a honeymoon where every last detail has been thought of and taken care of? Getting married in Cape Town gives you the opportunity to combine your wedding with the ultimate honeymoon on the African continent. Travel Concepts will create the ultimate personalised honeymoon experience for you.
Once you’ve done, seen and tasted everything, get some rest. Then, with the helpful expert guidance from Travel Concepts, jet off (or drive – it’s so close) to the former Transkei region in the Eastern Cape for the honeymoon of your dreams. Internationally rated Safari Camps and Bush lodges in South Africa are the playground for celebrities, discerning business travelers, and those in the know. They’re quiet, private, and exclusive, and dotted across the country: The Mpumalanga (known for game watching in the Kruger National Park) and Limpopo provinces offer untamed bush life; KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape a subtropical combination of forest and beach; and the Northern Cape an almost desolated, mysterious ‘oasis in a desert’ charm. And those are just the best known ones. If you want to head further out, look to neighboring Namibia for the quaint Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast ; fresh calamari and chips with local beer in Mozambique , Zanzibar , Kenya or Tanzania ; more safari options and boat houses in Botswana , Malawi and Zambia ; or for tropical paradise in Mauritius, Madagascar or Reunion a short three hour flight from Johannesburg. Take some of your favourite guests along – they’ll have the time of their lives!
- Yours “Event”ually. To arrange a wedding in a foreign country sounds very complex and challenging. However, with a specialist coordinator like Wedding Concepts on board, everything will be taken care of for you. We manage all logistics, set-up meetings, site visits and conferences calls, and communicate via fast internet-based channels. Our team is fluent in all major European languages and we thrive on building personal relationships based on trust, mutual exchange of creative ideas and the execution of distinctive celebrations. We do the work so that you can enjoy South Africa in all its splendour on the most special day in your life.