CAPE TOWN, STELLENBOSCH AND FRANSCHHOEK DESTINATION WEDDING GUIDE
Planning a destination wedding to Cape Town, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek? I've planned numerous destination weddings for clients based Canada, the US and Europe, as well as clients based in different provinces in South Africa. Here are my top tips when planning a destination wedding to this beautiful region I'm lucky enough to call home.
When should I have my destination wedding in Cape Town or the Cape Winelands?
This depends on your schedules and availability, but Cape Town and the Cape Winelands' seasonal changes should also be taken into consideration. If you want to take advantage of Cape Town or the Cape Winelands' best weather with outdoor festivities, the best time of the year to have your wedding is in spring or summer, between September and April. Although these are the best months in terms of weather conditions, there are never any guarantees, this region of South Africa is known for having four seasons in one day! The rainy season starts in May and ends in August, most venues have seasonal packages with reduced rates for the rainy winter months.
When do I notify guests of my destination wedding?
Save-the-dates should be mailed eight to 12 months before the wedding. The official invitations should be sent out no later than three to four months before your big day. With destination weddings an extra-long lead time is always better and will allow guests to make the necessary arrangements.
What do we need to include on the invitation?
Your wedding invitations need to include a lot more information than traditional ones. If you're planning a destination wedding to South Africa guests will not only have to book flights and accommodation, but also have to get their passports sorted. In addition to your actual invitation, you’ll need to outline all events you’ve planned so guests can make their travel arrangements accordingly. The itinerary should include the date, time, and location of each event. My recommendation would be that you create a website or use an app to communicate this substantial amount of information.
Destination Wedding Planning Tips
Hire a wedding planner
Find a professional Cape Town-based wedding planner who has experience in destination weddings. This should be your first step after making the exciting decision to tie the knot in South Africa. Appoint an experienced wedding planner who can build a team of exceptional suppliers based on the vision for your dream wedding.
Visit in advance
Ideally, you should see your venue once before booking it. A second visit three to four months before the wedding also comes highly recommended. This is the perfect opportunity to meet with your suppliers, to have your menu tasting, your hair and makeup trials as well as your table-scape mock-up. If a second trip isn't possible, arrive at least five days early to make sure everything is in order and to avoid any unwanted surprises on the day.
Consider guest accommodation
Etiquette does not require you to cover the cost of accommodations, if your budget doesn't allow for it, ask your wedding planner to make recommendations that satisfy a wide range of budgets.
Other details to consider
Consider planning additional events to make your guests' trip even more worthwhile. This can include rehearsal dinners, interactive activities such as wine tastings, sight-seeing and say your farewells with a post-wedding brunch or lunch.
Ensure you are aware of all legal requirements to make it official! Your wedding planner will be able to guide you through this process.
The dress - travelling with your wedding dress can be tricky, here (link to wedding dress travel blog) are some of my tips.
Welcome gift for your guests is always a special touch, try to make it personal and include items that are made in South Africa.
Don't forget to let your bank know of your travel intentions, so you don't get declined transactions on your credit card.