If you’re looking to plan a unique and spectacular destination wedding for yourself and your guests, Cape Town, South Africa offers many picturesque backdrops to host your special day and give your guests an experience like no other! While planning a destination wedding provides excitement and anticipation, it can be difficult to plan from afar. We’ve created this helpful guide to help you plan a seamless wedding from anywhere in the world. 

To kickstart planning, you’ll need to define which of the many outdoor venues you want to have as a backdrop. Many people opt to have their wedding on one of the many pristine beaches along the Cape coastline. Alternatively, there are numerous wine farms and golf estates in the winelands that provide wedding packages that make it very easy to book and plan. 

Find the Perfect Venue

There are so many incredible venues to choose from in the Western Cape. Each one offers something a bit different. We’ve provided a few of the venues that can help guide your selection process.

This wine estate has so much to offer international wedding guests. Situated a mere 5 km from the quaint country town of Stellenbosch, it’s an ideal wedding venue for a larger wedding as it can seat 100 people. Weddings with over 50 guests can benefit from the assistance of a coordinator from the venue to ensure everything runs as it should.  However, the Pinotage Lounge is best suited for a smaller and more intimate wedding party. The country feel at the estate complements the unique design of the estate’s facilities and provides the perfect location for guests to relax and enjoy their surroundings once the ceremony is over. 

As part of the service offering at the hotel, while the bridal couple spends time capturing special moments with their photographer in and around the estate,  a wine and biltong pairing can be enjoyed by the guests. Known as being one of South Africa’s most famous snacks, this is the perfect uniquely local activity to lend a bit of local flavour to your big day.

A historical and popular wedding venue situated within the Stellenbosch wine region, for over 25 years the 2230-year-old oaks have been used as the backdrop to many special days for couples saying their I-do’s. The wine estate has facilities to host both an indoor and outdoor wedding should the occasion require it and the Cape Dutch style buildings are also home to a beautiful chapel making it the ideal place to host both your wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue.

Strandkombuis is a rustic and relaxed beach venue that is set on a stretch of secluded coastline, which is also known as a host to some of the most incredible sunsets in South Africa. It is also one of the closest beach venues to Cape Town (less than 1 hours drive from the city centre) and has accommodation on-premise for up to 57 guests. The bride and groom will enjoy the ceremony right on the beach and no shoes are required! After the ceremony, guests will enjoy a traditional West Coast seafood menu with everything from barbequed snoek and hake, mussels, calamari, and crayfish.

Situated in Hout Bay, Suikerbossie Restaurant is set with the Table Mountain National Park in the background. It can host weddings of varying sizes including outdoor weddings. The inviting atmosphere created by the backdrop of the city, and large garden area and the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean disappearing off into the distance will leave your guests speechless. Watching the sun sink behind the horizon as you celebrate your new union is a particularly special way to begin your new life together. Whether you’re looking to host a daytime wedding to take in the Cape’s Summer weather or a nighttime wedding under the glittering night sky, this venue does it all.

Select a Destination Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding from abroad can be stressful, especially when you don’t always have the luxury of seeing all the venues firsthand and meeting all your suppliers in person. We highly recommend that you focus on the fun things and hire a wedding planner to help guide you through the process, negotiate rates and coordinate the people and places on the ground. You can choose to hire a wedding planner to help with everything leading up to the big day and/or you can have an on-the-day coordinator that will make sure everything goes off without a hitch, except getting you hitched! Here are a few that we recommend:

Find the Right Photographer

Of course, you’ll want to capture every moment of your destination wedding. To be able to do this, you’ll need to ensure you have a reliable photographer and even a videographer on hand for the big day.  Capturing your experience from your arrival at the venue to final departure is something well worth thinking about and investing in. Each photographer has a particular aesthetic and approach on the day. We recommend you review the portfolio of each one to see if it fits your style and then hop on a Skype call with them to see if you gel on a social level. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time with your photographer on the day so it’s important that they understand your priorities and how much time you want to spend taking photos. vs. being in the moment. 

These are some of the talented photographers within the Cape Winelands region, all of whom enjoy good reputations for capturing extra special moments at destination weddings:

Additionally, for a modern twist on capturing your big day, you might consider hiring a drone photographer/videographer that can provide ariel shots from above. This is especially spectacular for weddings in Cape Town as the vineyard, mountain and ocean landscapes add an epic backdrop to the festivities.

Arrange Unforgettable Activities for your Guests

Your guests have traveled far and wide to come celebrate you on your special day. Ensure they make the most out of the trip by planning additional tours and activities to enjoy on the days they are not directly involved in the wedding activities. There are many activities that cater to a variety of interests so you won’t have to worry about bored guests or people without things to do. From wine tasting to shark cage diving, there’s something for everyone. For the more adventurous activities like hiking, abseiling, surfing, or even paragliding could form part of their itineraries. Cycling and even horse riding are also popular experiences in the vineyards. For those looking for a slightly more relaxed approach, wine tasting, foodie tours and cultural visits could form part of your guest’s itineraries. Winery visits, cellar tours, food pairings, gallery visits and artist meet and greets all form part of the extensive offering for visitors to the Cape.

Something to think about too is the bridal party and what they can enjoy when they arrive in Cape Town. Consider hosting a hen party at your destination location or enjoying an immersive day tour as part of the rehearsal for your wedding. Here are some unique activities to get you started:

Of course, we can’t forget about the groom and his party. If you’re looking for activities to do for the groom’s bachelor party or the day before the wedding, why not consider some of these adventure activities to keep them entertained?

  • Sunset boat cruise with sundowners
  • Surfing and Wine Tasting
  • Jet ski in front of Table Mountain

To make it easy and special for your guests, Explore Sideways can provide a personalised discount coupon code for your exclusive bridal party to enjoy some of the magnificent immersive tours on offer.