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Some of South Africa's best summer wedding destinations

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By Jesica Slabbert

For a bride swamped with other details and hundreds of options, choosing the perfect wedding venue for a summer wedding can be a daunting task. There are just so many good wedding venues and destinations offering a diverse range of facilities and services.

In South Africa, summer starts from around mid-October to mid-February and is characterised by hot, sunny weather - often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly, leaving a warm, earthy, uniquely African smell in the air. It's a good time to tie the knot.

To get you started on your summer wedding venue hunt, I endeavoured to compile a list of some of the best summer wedding locations found in South Africa.

Bear in mind that this is not an exhaustive list; there are probably hundreds of great wedding venues scattered across our beautful nation - so this list probably only reflects the choices of your correspondent, with input from friends and colleagues.

Every bride, by the way will have their own idea of the perfect summer wedding venue while the wedding venues themselves might have good reasons why they should be on this list. 

In compiling this list, I looked at the location of the wedding venue and how ideal it is for summer weddings. Consequently, I considered from beach, to picturesque mountain, riverside and farmstyle wedding venues.

Again, this is not a comprehensive list and it is not in any particular order - if you know of a great summer wedding venue that you feel should be on this list, please do not hesitate to email me at journalist4@ricochetpublishing.co.za.

Having said that, here are some of the best summer wedding venues in South Africa to look at as you hunt for your ideal wedding venue.

Palm Dune Beach Lodge

The Palm Dune Beach Lodge is one of the premier wedding locations on the Kwazulu Natal Northern Coast. The ultimate beach wedding of your dreams can be attained here. A spa is available to pamper the bride before her big day, and a variety of menus that cater for every taste. A wedding coordinator is available to work with the bride in order to make her wedding day memorable and beautiful.

To make a booking at this luxury venue call 032 552 1588 or email stay@palmdune.co.za or visit their website at www.palmdune.co.za.

Cape St Francis Resort

Located in the Eastern Cape, the Cape St Francis Resort’s stunning location offers a number of options for summer weddings. Whether you're looking for a relaxed beach wedding or a traditional chapel wedding, they have the perfect place for you to tie the knot. Accommodation is available to suit all budgets, from apartments, family cottages through to their 5-Star beach villas. Their highly skilled staff will assist with everything and ensure that your ceremony goes smoothly.

To make a booking at this amazing venue, call 042 298 0054 or email seals@iafrica.com or visit their website at www.capestfrancis.co.za.

Bona Dea Private Estate

Found along the Cape Whale Coast, the Bona Dea Private Estate is the perfect picturesque luxury location for your summer wedding. When reserving your wedding with them, you are assured of a private and intimate summer wedding near Cape Town.

The entire Dendrobium wedding venue is for you and your guests, exclusive and private use. Their professional and experienced wedding planning team’s exemplary standards and dedication, coupled with your aspiring ideas, will guarantee that your day amounts to everything you dreamed it would be, from start to finish.

To make a booking at this fabulous venue call 079 949 5918 or email info@bonadea.co.za or visit their website at www.bonadea.co.za.

Whispering Thorns

Situated in White River, in Mpumalanga, the Whispering Thorns Guest Farm is located in an area of considerable scenic beauty. The climate is said to be one of the best in South Africa and not too hot in summer when rainfall is at its highest. Their wedding venue is designed to make the most of its picturesque natural setting amongst the farms.

To make a booking at this fairy tale-like venue call 083 276 1206 or email whisperingthorns@yahoo.com or visit their website at www.whisperingthorns.com.

Emily Moon River Lodge

Set on the banks of the Bitou River in Plettenberg Bay, Emily Moon River Lodge is an exclusive boutique hotel with a quirky attitude and a distinctly African air. The lodge is equipped with a multi-purpose venue set in a tranquil garden available for summer weddings. Picture a river winding through a beautiful valley, a romantic reception under the sun or the stars and a luxurious honeymoon suite waiting. Feast in style and remember your special day forever.

To book your wedding at this memorable venue call 044 501 2500 or email events@emilymoon.co.za or visit their website at www.emilymoon.co.za.

The Venue @ Pearl Mountain

The Venue @ Pearl Mountain is situated on the Retief Family’s wine farm, high against the Paarl Mountain. The location is the perfect combination of contemporary design and carefully crafted cuisine and breath-taking views. The Venue enables you to entrust your special occasion to a team committed to service excellence. Efficiency and attention to detail are guaranteed when leaving your special day in their capable hands.

To make a booking at this stunning venue call 072 391 8936 or email thevenue@pearlmountain.co.za or visit their website www.winefarm.co.za.

Blue Horizon Estate

Found in Simons Town, the Blue Horizon Estate overlooks majestic ocean and mountain views offering only the best for your summer wedding day. Take your pick with either a relaxing Garden Ceremony with a breath-taking ocean view, a Beach Ceremony on the nearby beach that is only a short distance away from the venue, or take your pick of one of the many churches in the surrounding area. You will have your very own event planner; who is also professional table stylist & décor specialist who has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with you.

To book this exclusive venue, call 073 083 7069 or email enquiry@bluehorizonestate.co.za or visit their website at www.bluehorizonestate.co.za.

Moncherie

Located in Dendron, the Moncherie Wedding Venue is a stylish and elegant wedding and function venue located in the heart of the bush. Here a great variety of game and wildlife abounds, providing guests with a true Bushveld experience in style. The Soetdorings dam, where game is often sighted, promises breath-taking views. Their experienced events co-ordinator will advise you on all aspects of your function, taking the stress out of the planning of your dream day. Catering is handled by a professional in- house gourmet chef, who painstakingly prepares the dishes of your choice or from thier succulent menu. 

To make a booking at this gem of a venue, call 082 888 4548 or email info@moncherie.co.za or visit their website at www.moncherie.co.za.

Heavens Gate Venue

Like the name suggests, Heavens Gate Venue is a little slip of heaven that is perfect for summer weddings. Located in Boksburg, a Heavens Gate wedding can be a classical fairy-tale or a story of rock n roll decadence. The venue is situated on a wetland that is home to one of the largest swan collections in the world and has a secure and private parking area with direct access to the venue. The venue also provides in-house catering, their own décor and event specialist and to round it off, a quality sound and lighting rig. They also have in-house DJ's to cater for your musical needs.

To make a booking at this unique venue, call 079 498 8657 or email info@heavensgatevenue.co.za or visit their website at www.heavensgatevenue.co.za.

La Colline

La Colline is a unique wedding venue situated on a privately owned Country Estate that is set in the lush greenery and unspoiled natural beauty of the Theescombe area overlooking the Port Elizabeth city lights. In a safe and private environment, 3km from Port Elizabeth, La Colline is the ideal venue and is the perfect setting for summer weddings. The wedding venue boasts an ambience of tranquillity in its country surroundings and will accommodate for a variety of tastes.

To book your wedding at this lovely venue call 041 379 5548 or email la-colline@telkomsa.net or visit their website at www.la-colline.co.za.

Cabrières

This exquisite venue, nestled within the natural splendour of the Karoo, has set Cabrières apart as one of the R62’s most coveted summer wedding spots. The wine cellar venue dates back to the 1800’s and is characterized by its authentic charm as well as shabby chic glamour. The perfect Karoo wedding venue tucked away in the sleepy town of Montagu. The Team works on locations away all over the Western Cape region to make sure that you’re staffing, bar and food services are taking care of in a budget and professional manner.

To make a booking at this glamourous venue call 072 415 1007 or email info@cabrieres.co.za or visit their website at www.cabrieres.co.za