South Africa’s enviable climate and captivating natural beauty have made the country a destination of choice for many couples looking to tie the knot. This has led to the emergence of a number of exceptional wedding venues, from high-end hotel settings to beachside options, there really is a perfect fit for everyone. But one genre that continues to prove popular with many bridal couples is the rustic wedding venue. Contrasting the fast-paced, technological lifestyles of the modern age, these rustic venues allow wedding parties to take a step back, draw from nature and really take a moment to celebrate the union of love. Here are 5 of the best rustic wedding venues.
Rustic Wedding Venues
- The Cowshed (www.thecowshed.co.za)
For a really special venue to represent this union, The Cowshed is a great choice. Situated between Lydenburg and Dullstroom, as the Highveld ends and the Lowveld begins, is this majestic venue which boasts traditional country living, genuine hospitality and breath-taking scenery. Bridal couples can exchange vows under the old Tipuana tree or in the open-air framed chapel overlooking the hills and plains of the Badfontein Valley. The wedding reception can be held in the simplistic Old Shed, the perfect canvas for any couple to create their own décor and design. The white cement floors underfoot are complemented by the overhanging hand-made, wire chandeliers creating a memorising wedding setting. The Cowshed team is on-hand to create a truly unique wedding for the bride and groom, with accommodation available in any of the four vintage houses on the farm – The Cowshed, The Boarding House, The Mountain House and The Farm House. There is also a stunning new Bridal Suite overlooking one of the farm’s many dams.
- The Nutcracker Wedding Venue (www.thenutcracker.co.za)
Bridal couples looking for an exclusive, rustic venue with unending scenery and a complete sense of serenity should look no further than The Nutcracker. Located in the heart of Vredefort Dome, 15 kilometres outside of Parys and a simple hour-and-a-half drive from Johannesburg, The Nutcracker is the perfect setting for a rustic wedding that promises warmth, hospitality and high-quality cuisine with an in-house executive chef and catering service. This working pecan nut farm, which sits alongside the serene Vaal River, accommodates up to 150 guests with rooms available for 30, including the beautiful bridal suite. The wedding ceremony can be held in the charming chapel or outside on the lush lawns. The elegantly-designed Reception Hall, with its Oregon-framed windows, antique wooden tables and chairs, glass chandeliers and riverine view, makes the perfect wedding reception venue. The Nutcracker also prides itself on tailoring weddings to each couple, from cosy indoor ceremonies to glorious outdoor events, each wedding is truly unique. To make sure of this, The Nutcracker only books one wedding at a time, encouraging guests to enjoy a weekend retreat.
- The Stone Cellar (www.thestonecellar.co.za)
Within the Heidelberg farmlands on the slopes of the Suikerbosrand River Valley is The Stone Cellar, a beautiful farm-style wedding venue which is just a 45-minute drive from Johannesburg. Tailoring weddings to the client’s needs, The Stone Cellar promises a modernised farm wedding for an unforgettable experience. The on-site chapel has been carefully re-modelled from the original milk parlour, complete with overhanging chandeliers and seating for 150 guests on the handcrafted benches with optional hay bales. For those preferring an outdoor option, there is a dedicated wedding chuppah within the beautiful gardens and ample seating for all. The reception venue is a newly-built complete with wooden finishes, glass chandeliers and other modern design elements that contrast beautifully with the wooden tables and vintage dining chairs. There is accommodation available, exclusively for wedding guests, and the in-house chef promises high-end cuisine with a range of menu options. The re-built wine cellar, underneath the main function hall, stocks wine from South Africa and further afield, and provides a lovely photo opportunity for wedding couples.
- The Rose Barn (www.therosebarn.co.za)
Those looking for floral splendour to brighten up the rustic wedding should check out The Rose Barn based in Jeffreys Bay. The owners have creatively transformed the barn while retaining its rustic charm. This lovely reception venue is situated within the most glorious gardens that include some 500 rose trees on the meticulously-tended lawn. The local floral studio, Must Love Flowers, can assist in all floral requirements for that special day, taking advantage of these home-grown blooms. The bridal party can get ready in the chic dressing room located near the ceremony venue, and guests can enjoy pre-ceremony drinks and entertainment on the patio overlooking the Seekoei River Valley, keeping warm by the fireplace while watching cattle and ponies grazing on the lawns. Garden weddings are a first-choice option with ceremonies catering for anything from 50 to 350 guests seated among the fragrant lavender and white rose bushes. A waterproof, white Bedouin tent can be arranged to add a touch of glamour to the wedding. The ceremony will be something to remember with extravagant décor pieces, fairy lights, velvet drapes and oversized crystal chandeliers.
- Cranford Country Lodge (www.cranfordcountrylodge.co.za)
Located in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands is the country-chic wedding venue, Cranford Country Lodge, which is surrounded by enchanting gardens, rolling hills and lush forests. Cranford boasts a country charm matched with elegant facilities and photographic natural backdrops that work to create a truly special day. The chapel, which seats 150 guests, overlooks the trout dam and picturesque midlands countryside. Bridal couples are also welcome to have their wedding in the beautiful gardens with pre-reception drinks available at the lapa. Cranford has two reception venues – The Barn and The Great Room. The Barn consists of rustic open rafters, stone arches and fireplaces that create a uniquely country feel while The Great Room is a ‘blank canvas’ of white walls and roof with subtle, yet charming details for a stylish wedding. The food is prepared by a highly-trained chef who can design menus to match all budgets and the stunning B&B accommodation sleeps up to 60 guests including a Honeymoon Suite. The enchanting landscape, giant oak trees and grazing horses provide the picturesque backdrop for a carefree wedding in the country.
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