Destination I Do
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Adventurous South African Wedding

Words by Camryn Dilger
Photos courtesy of Mathias Fast

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

When it comes to choosing the most unique and adventurous location for your destination wedding, South Africa takes the cake. For Tanya and Alex, the mix of mountains, wine and rolling vineyards South Africa has to offer immediately came to mind after getting engaged. The destination felt close to nature and close to home for the bride, a native of the country.

bride and groom in greenhouse
barn in South Africa
bride and groom walking through cactus
More Photos

“South Africa has always held a special place in our hearts — the warm people, the stunning landscapes — and we always dreamed to share it with our loved ones,” the bride says. “It also felt great to be able to give back to the many vendors in South Africa who continue to innovate and make us proud of our African roots.”

However, hosting a wedding in a foreign country involved some strategic planning for the pair. To ensure everything runs smoothly leading up to the big day, Tanya recommends that couples find a planner they trust to make executive decisions and negotiate deals throughout the process.

“Yes, there were hiccups, but we stayed organized and worked through each one as it came up,” Tanya says. “We tried to always remember to enjoy the process. Even the small things that seem like annoyances are things you will only get to do once if you do it right, so enjoy every moment.”

The couple also advises confirming that all travel logistics are in order prior to going to the airport. Before the wedding, the groom’s family was denied access to board the flight to South Africa because they were unaware that one of the younger guests needed to provide a birth certificate.

“Luckily, with a few new bookings, we got everyone over in time for the wedding, but that was a stressful morning,” Tanya says. “We learned to always check visa statuses and any travel documents in advance if you plan on bringing in a big international crew.”

Lastly, Tanya and Alex suggest that other engaged couples consider a welcome barbecue or other fun activity before the actual day of the wedding. In addition to the ceremony and reception, Tanya and Alex’s five-day extravaganza included two “warm-up nights” that gave guests the opportunity to form new friendships with other guests. Tanya says this contributed to the intimate feeling of the wedding, even with a guest list of 90 people.

“We kind of felt we had to do more since it was destination and our family and friends came from all over the world to be there, and we likely would have only done one day if it had been a hometown wedding,” the bride says. “In the end, having the whole week was totally worth it for us, and it became a holiday of a lifetime for so many of the people we love in our lives.”

Vendors: Photographer: Mathias Fast; Wedding Planner: Jadee McGowan; Ceremony/Reception Site/Florist/Cake: Babylonstoren; Stationery: Secret Diary; Hair and Makeup: Langaro; Gown Designer: Kaviar Gauche; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Monokel

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