Many couples dream of exchanging their vows under a big sky, with a fresh sea breeze and a soundscape of murmuring waves. In Cape Town we are lucky enough to have numerous options for making this dream come true. Here it is possible to get married amongst yachts in harbour, on the beach with your feet in the sand or even on a boat cruise. Christine Hogg looks at a range of fabulous venues next to the ocean.
Awarded the title of Sanlam Top Destination in 2018, The Krystal Beach is said to “exude a quiet sophistication without any trace of snobbishness”. Located on the idyllic Harbour Island peninsula in Gordon’s Bay, with panoramic sea and mountain views, it has an in-house art gallery, spa, hair salon, restaurants and bars, all integrated through an open-floor design. Located around 50km from Cape Town, the venue is close to many attractions, activities and adventures that the Western Cape has to offer.
Wedding packages vary, depending on season and the wedding party’s specific needs. That said, you can expect excellent service, day rooms for the bride to get ready, access to beautiful locations for photo shoots, the honeymoon king suite for the couple, and a “Romantic Turndown” with rose petals, candlelight, chocolates, flowers, and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine.
Catering is prepared by experienced chefs, and cuisine ranges from contemporary, international, and haute cuisine to traditional home-cooking styles, either plated or buffet-style. Menus can be designed for particular culinary needs and dietary requirements, and the venue has an extensive wine list.
Location: Breakwater Lane, Harbour Island, Gordon’s Bay, Cape Town
Services offered: accommodation, catering, special wedding guest room rates
Guest capacity: Up to 240
BLUE BAY LODGE
Located in Saldanha Bay, Blue Bay Lodge is approx 120km from Cape Town. And it’s certainly a worthwhile trip: the ceremony can take place just metres from the beach. In addition to being right next to the ocean, Blue Bay Lodge has an elegant, luxury style and there’s a beautiful courtyard just in case the weather plays up. Guests can sleep over and spend the entire weekend in tranquil, untouched nature and watch whales and porpoises from the terrace of the en suite rooms. After the wedding, many couples choose to stay on for their honeymoon in a suite overlooking the beach, relaxing, playing tennis and getting pampered at the beauty salon.
Location: 48 Gracillaria Cresent, Blouwaterbaai, Saldanha Bay
Services offered: accommodation, catering
Guest capacity: Up to 100
Formerly a whaling station, the Black Marlin is located in Simon’s Town, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, and is a perfect setting for an idyllic lunchtime or evening wedding. The venue has glorious mountain and sea views, a garden and indoor restaurant, and – since the ocean is just a few metres away – easy access for a beach ceremony. The owners insist that the bride and groom will enjoy “splendid scenery, exquisite cuisine and a sense of serenity”. Catering-wise, The Black Marlin has a number of set menu options available with a variety of seafood, chicken and red meat options. All can be tailored to specific requirements, from small to larger wedding guest lists. A cash bar as well as an extensive wine list is available.
Location: Millers Point, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
Services offered: catering, cash bar
Guest capacity: Up to 100 without a dance floor and 60 to 80 with a dance floor
The renowned restaurant Bertha’s overlooks the the False Bay yacht marina in historic Simon’s Town, where fishing boats and pleasure boats vie for attention against looming navy ships – a fabulous backdrop to wedding photos. In this warm, romantic ambience, seal sightings are an added bonus, while guests tuck into superb cuisine with seafood, chicken and red meat options. Bertha’s is suited to all sizes of wedding, whether intimate or large, and can provide waiters, tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, napkins as well as glasses etc.
Location: 1 Wharf St, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
Services offered: catering
Guest capacity: 50 to 360
Instead of next to the water, how about having a wedding on the water? The first of its kind in Cape Town, the Alba is a fine-dining restaurant-boat measuring 22 metres in length. It’s designed to be smooth and stable in the water, with air-conditioning and large glass windows to make the most of the spectacular views of the V&A Waterfront and its mountainous surroundings. An on-board dancefloor is even an option and a dedicated wedding co-ordinator will make sure everything runs like clockwork. Wedding packages include white linen, fresh flowers, champagne, a premium open bar, personalised menus, a wedding cake (groups of 30 or more), and a complimentary one-year anniversary cruise for the happy couple.
Location: Pierhead, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Services offered: catering, wedding co-ordination
Guest capacity: Up to 48 with a dance floor, otherwise 60
With glass sliding doors opening onto the beach, Seatrader is a go-to for an oceanside wedding with a West Coast flair. Located on the Cape St. Martin private nature reserve in St.Helena Bay, the venue has a built-in dance floor, a mini stage, and a wooden deck overlooking the beach. The setting is private and the function hall, with its large wooden doors and high ceilings, exudes a romantic ambience. For themed weddings, there’s enough space to let your imagination run wild. Offering buffet-style or plated options, the restaurant specialises in South African cuisine and – as a honeymoon option or for the bridal party to stay over – there’s luxury self-catering accommodation within 30 metres of the wedding venue. Winter weddings are an option, although the ceremony is then held in a nearby church or in the function hall.
Location: Cape St Martin Rd, Duyker Eiland, St Helena Bay
Services offered: catering, accommodation
Guest capacity: 50 to 180
PANORAMA WEDDING VENUE
Located about a two-hour drive from Cape Town in Franskraal, Panorama Wedding Venue combines three popular wedding settings: countryside surroundings, a forest backdrop and panoramic ocean views. The ceremony can be held outside, amongst trees and overlooking the ocean. And – inside a castle-style building with a bridge leading over a pond – wooden oak tables, classic chandeliers and big windows create an elegant atmosphere for the reception. For newly weds who decide to stay on, there’s a charming on-site guesthouse and plenty of fun activities, such as picnicking, hiking and 4×4 trail tours.
Location: Panorama Farm 709, Franskraal, Western Cape
Services offered: accommodation
Guest capacity: Up to 200