The small Free State town situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains is a bridal dream, with beautiful country venues and majestic scenery making for an enviable wedding location. Nicknamed the ‘Jewel of the Eastern Free State’, Clarens is undeniably becoming a sought-after wedding hub, and here are five really stunning venues to consider.
5 of the Best Wedding Venues in Clarens
- St Fort Country House (www.stfort.co.za)
Located just 5km from Clarens, St Fort Country House comprises 2 200Ha of beautiful land on the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, and its home to the famous Mushroom Rock. The magnificent Sandstone Barn holds up to 250 people with a smaller, more rustic venue available for intimate weddings and even a bush chapel if so desired. There is lots to do in the area including hiking trails, overnight cave trips featuring historic rock art, river walks, forest ambles, fishing, cycling and birdwatching. The onsite accommodation is reserved for weddings and can host 12 guests in five double rooms as well as the garden cottage.
Capacity: 250 wedding guests
- Andes Guest Farm and Wedding Venue (www.andesclarens.co.za)
Found nestled in the Maluti Mountains foothills between Clarens and Bethlehem, Andes Guest Farm and Wedding Venue is the perfect space for a tranquil, nature-based wedding. There is a rustic, renovated barn venue with views of the stunning surroundings with wedding ceremonies possible in the bush church adjacent the dam. There are two luxurious guest rooms with private lounges and lush garden views.
Capacity: 150 wedding guests
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- Lavender Hill Country Estate (www.lavenderhillestate.co.za)
This charming farm consists of 25Ha of natural splendour with views of the Maluti Mountains and Ash River. The gardens are filled with roses and lavender with Arabian horses and exotic geese adding to the unique style of this venue. The airconditioned Hillsong Chapel has an exquisite glass front for full advantage of the views with seating for 200 guests. There are also two open-air options – the Birdsong Open-air Gazebo in the luscious gardens for 120 guests, or the Boskerk among the oak trees accommodating 150 guests. Lavender Hill also has three reception venues – the spacious Vivaldi Hall for 300 guests; Garibaldi’s Venue for 80 guests and the rustic, Chateau Rouge Hotel with water features and lantern finished for 80 to 130 guests.
Capacity: Up to 200 wedding guests.
- Oranje Guest Farm (www.oranjegasteplaas.co.za)
This valley-based guest farm is situated just 20km from Clarens near the Lesotho border. It has luxury, self-catering rooms for guests, as well as a renovated sandstone barn for the wedding venue and onsite church for a stylish country wedding. The professional team at this working farm will take care of all wedding details with an onsite wedding co-ordinator ready to assist.
Capacity: 220 wedding guests
- Mooigelegen (www.moogelegen.co.za)
This working farm caters for rural weddings that truly capture the heart of the eastern Free State. With its sandstone buildings, waving hills, grazing sheep and cattle…this is an earthy venue with a hassle-free ethos. The sandstone chapel with lead-glass windows is the perfect ceremony setting and the reception area offers breathtaking sunset views. The venue specialises in traditional boerekos but can accommodate all tastes and styles. The onsite wedding co-ordinator will ensure all needs are met.
Capacity: 180 wedding guests
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If you’re looking for a wedding venue that is unique, why not try an area out of Clarens, such as Parys. If you’re looking for the perfect country wedding venue then The Nutcracker Country Wedding Venue is the ideal location. This is an exquisite tranquil weekend wedding venue situated on the banks of the Vaal River, 90 minutes from Johannesburg. Offering all that is needed for the perfect wedding, The Nutcracker is for the exclusive use of the bride and groom and their guests for the entire weekend.