Tips to Make Your Day Flow Smoothly
If somebody asked me what the biggest factor was that made a wedding shoot go off without a hitch, my answer would be “having enough TIME to think”. Most jobs are less stressful than a wedding photographer’s. The standard of quality expected of us is high, and we don’t get second chances at opportunities we’ve missed.
FORMAL GROUP PORTRAITS
So often I have seen brides on their wedding day looking totally smashed even before the wedding has started. Its a very emotional day, but just relax and take things as they come. I can guarantee that not everything will run exactly on schedule.
I've seen a wedding venue nearly burn down, flower girls refuse to co-operate, wedding dresses not want to fit and rain wash away any opportunity to shoot outside. Dont think that these things are bad, these are things that make your wedding day unique. Have fun, you only get married once.... ;)
I have photographed well over a hundred weddings in my time, so I have been to many wedding venues in and around cape town, and also to many locations that are excellent spots to have an engagement shoot. To follow are some of the places I’ve been to that stick out in my mind. Not all of these venues are in the top 10 of all venues in the Western Cape, but they all impressed me in various ways.
This list is a work in progress, I will add and remove as my personal opinion changes.
THE BAY HOTEL IN CAMPS BAY
Beach Wedding Venue
021 430 4013
The Bay Hotel is on Victoria street in Camps Bay, right ACROSS THE ROAD from the world famous blue flag beach and popular paparazzi photographer hangout.
If you are going to get married in Cape Town close to a beach that faces west, you are going to have beautiful light during sunset. I have done two weddings at this venue to date, and on both occasions the quality and the colour of the light during sunset was excellent.
One of the advantages to this venue is that you have several churches and other places of worship in the area that you could choose from for the ceremony, this is an advantage because during peak hours of the day, especially on a weekend, the traffic in this area can get hectic, and is something that you are going to have to take into consideration when deciding on the timing of your schedule.
There are many locations here to do a couple shoot, besides the beach across the road and one or two more beaches further down the road to choose from, the interior of the Hotel lends itself to the creation of beautiful imagery. I cannot attest to the quality of the accommodation of the hotel, but I know for a fact that the food here is delicious, the reception venue has a beautiful view of the beach across the road and the setting sun, creating a warm, yellow glow indoors before night falls.
I would say that the Bay Hotel is very photography friendly, a good venue to create beautiful imagery.
Wine Farm Venue in Wellington
021 864 1014
I have done several weddings here, once I did two weddings on a single weekend here. There was enough material to work with at this venue that on both weddings on the same weekend, I used totally different locations and environments for each wedding. There are a few horses on the premises, and so the stables makes for a good photo spot, also there are vineyards that always make for good images.
If you enjoy the old rustic look you will love the chapel they have at Langkloof, the warm colour inside and the beam of sunlight that streams down on top of you during your ceremony is beautiful.
The dance floor is situated outside, which makes for a different kind of environment in which to shoot your first dance, they have surrounded the dance floor with lights which is very eye catching.
I like shooting a wedding here, the grounds have ample places to shoot in while at the same time the venue feels cozy and is not too spread out.
GROOTVLEI GUESTHOUSE IN LAMBERT’S BAY
Beach Wedding Venue
027 432 2716
This is one of those venues that takes some time to drive to, take may advice here, don’t follow your GPS to get there, instead follow the N7 to take the R364 westwards into Lambert’s Bay.
Grootvlei is one of those venues that is situated on a west facing beach, so the sunset light that can be used for photography here is beautiful. The accommodation here is cozy and comfortable, I was impressed, I was equally impressed with the food. There was just something about this reception venue, it aided in the relaxed, beach atmosphere of those whole place. The town of Lambert’s bay which is only ten minutes away, has a lot of high quality accommodation too, a good thing if you a very large wedding party who also need to sleep over.
I would definitely consider booking my wedding here.
VREDENHEIM WILDLIFE AND WINERY
Garden and Wine Farm Wedding Venue
021 881 3878
Vredenheim is your typical ‘Wine Farm’ Styled wedding venue. The food is delicious (I know for a fact), and there are all kinds of local South African wines here to choose from. I have done a wedding in each of this venue’s reception halls, they are all spacious enough, especially the two bigger ones which have enormous dance floors.
There is lots of space here to do a photoshoot, there are gardens, an alleyway made of trees which is alongside a small lake, so you don’t need to drive anywhere to get nice pictures because its all in one place here.
One of the downsides of having a wedding at a wine farm too far away from the beach is that you most often don’t get to see the setting sun, Vredenheim is one of those rare inland places where you are fortunate to get those last fifteen minutes of golden light before night falls, which is always a good thing.
I enjoy shooting here a lot.
CAPE HERITAGE HOTEL
Just a wedding Idea
021 424 4646
This list that I am creating here is meant to be my thoughts as a photographer on good places to get married from a photography stand point. I dont know if the Cape Heritage Hotel is also a wedding venue or if they are in the wedding business, but I did a wedding couple shoot at this hotel once and I was impressed with the location so much that I had to include it in this blog post.
The interior of this hotel is beautiful, I’m not expert but it looks like a very old building that has been converted into a modern hotel, so it has that very old Cape Town feeling.
Like I said, I don’t know if the Cape Heritage hotel is in the wedding business but if I was looking for a picturesque/photogenic place to stay on my wedding and maybe get a few shots here, this place would be on the top of my list.
I will just leave this here…
CAVALLI ESTATE IN SOMERSET WEST
Garden Wedding Venue
(021) 855 3218
When asked in which areas the best wedding venues are in the Western Cape, Somerset West would be close to the top along with places like Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington. Cavalli Estate in Somerset West is probably one of the better upmarket venues in the whole province. It is a very modern, contemporary looking venue, and spacious on the inside with ample room for a large dance floor.
It is a wine farm too so there is lots of open space to do your wedding couple shoot. It has a varied environment, from the vineyards and well-kept garden, to very modern architecture that can be used to the photographer’s advantage.
This is another one of those venues at which you can take advantage of the warm, soft and yellow light of setting sun. On the day that I was there, there happened to be a veld fire in the far distance, which as terrible as veld fires are, turn the already yellow sunlight to a darker reddish brown colour, which is freaking awesome.
Another venue that has it all, you won’t need to drive anywhere on your big day to have a couple shoot.
IN THE VINE, STELLENBOSCH
Outdoor Garden Venue
021 855 1821
I’ve done more than one wedding at In the Vine, the venue itself is very spacious, the grounds are quite compact but still offers a wide variety of shooting environments, a beautiful and very well kept garden and dam. Shooting your couple shoot from the vineyards with the view of the Helderberg mountains is amazing.
The interior of the hall is beautifully decorated, if you have a few too many guests, some of the tables can be placed outside but still under-roof, which on those boiling hot Stellenbosch summer days makes for a cool and relaxed evening dinner and dance party.
I think that In the Vines is probably the best all-round venue I can think of, it has a little bit of everything that a wedding photographer looks for in a venue.
kavir and Yogini were quite possibly the nicest couple I ever worked with, so glad I was able to shoot their wedding :)
A fantastic wedding spanning from Cape Point and Simonstown to Camps Bay. Gale force wind all day, but that didn't even matter!