If you are looking for the ideal destination wedding location, then getting married in Cape Town, South Africa is not such a bad idea.
Here, you can have a 5-star wedding at the fraction of the normal cost and be treated as royalty, all on an average budget. The Cape boasts with world class wedding venues and a well established wedding industry.
In this article we will give you several pointers on how you can escape the dreadful cold Northern Winter and teleport to sunny South Africa to have a spectacular wedding in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Quick Links to Sections:
- Why Choose Cape Town?
- General Information
- Where to Start?
- Culture, Food & Drink
- Wedding Costs
- Legal Requirements
Why Getting married in Cape Town is a Good Idea?
South Africa has a coastline that stretches 2800km and sandy beaches are plentiful. It has breathtaking mountain ranges, barely inhabitable deserts and lush forest vegetation. Here on the southern tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, you will find an impressive array of different cultures, languages and natural beauty as well as a unique blend of friendly hospitality and invigorating local flavour.
Cape Town is located in the most southernly province, the Western Cape, and has the infrastructure of a first world city. When the Dutch colonised South Africa in 1652, it was at the port of Cape Town that they anchored. The rich history and heritage of the city with the towering mountain at its edge is what makes it such an attractive tourist destination.
It is this unrivalled blend of nature and culture that makes Cape Town such an attractive option as a wedding destination and it is why so many couples from the UK, the USA, the Far East and the Middle East opt to get married in our beautiful city. With the weak local currency, foreigners find that the buying power of their pounds and dollars stretch much further than anticipated. Here you can have a 5-star wedding at a fraction of the cost it would set you back on home soil. Further to that, couples simply stay on for another week or two for their honeymoon – it just makes sense!
Population – Approximately 60 million
Currency – South African Rand (ZAR) – See current Exchange Rate
Languages – 11 official languages – English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tswana, Ndebele, Swazi, Tsonga, Venda
Religious Orientation – The largest in order are Christian (incl. Catholic, Zionist and Pentecostal churches), Hindu (including Tamil) and Muslim.
Major Cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban
Flight Time to Cape Town from
London – 11h30
New York – 19h55
Paris – 14h45
Dubai – 9h45
Singapore – 19h55
Sydney – 31h00
Vaccinations needed – Detailed information can be found here
Visa Requirements – Look up your county here
Where to start?
South Africa is four times the size of the United Kingdom. There are an unlimited number of attractions and activities to be found around the vast variety of landscapes and this makes choosing the perfect itinerary a rather daunting task for prospective visitors.
A good starting point would be to determine your preferred wedding type or location. Do you want a beach wedding, a romantic wedding on a historic wine farm or is it an intimate safari experience you envisage for your wedding. Once you have made the decision on the wedding type, your next point of call would be to start looking for a wedding venue.
A great resource of wedding venues in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa, is the South African Wedding directory, Pink Book Weddings. Hop on over to their Wedding Venues hub to easily browse through hundreds of listed venues, from Beach Venues, Bushveld Venues, Country, City or Wine Farm Venues. They have it all!
When it comes to wedding venues, there are so many choices. It is in and around the town of Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands that you will find most of the prestigious venues. Here you will find historic Cape Dutch Wine Estates that are surrounded by romantic vineyards with converted barns and purpose built venues. Read our blog about the Top 10 Wedding Venues in Cape Town, to see the magnificent venues Cape Town has to offer.
If the wedding planning seems too daunting for you, you might want to employ the services of some of the worlds top wedding planners that are based in Cape Town. Below, we have listed a few for your convenience:
For more wedding planners in and around Cape Town, browse through some of the top coordinators listings on this South African Wedding Directory.
You next step would be to think about all the sights you would like to see and the local activities and famous attractions you would like to experience. In and around Cape Town, you will find these amazing attractions and adventures:
Cape Town Weather & Climate
The temperate climate of South Africa is one of the main attractions for overseas visitors. Apart from a short rainy season from June to August, Cape Town has sunny , clear blue skies most of the year round.
It has four, clearly-defined seasons
Spring – (September to November) with temperatures between 15 and 22 degrees celsius
Summer – (December to February) 25 to 35 degrees celsius
Autumn – (March to May) 10 to 22 degrees celsius
Winter – (June to August) with the temperature varying between 5 and 20 degrees celsius.
Where most of the country gets rain in Spring and summer, the Cape Town region that tends to have winter rainfall. The best time for getting married in Cape Town is from November to May. From late August to October thousands of indigenous flowers are in bloom; and in Autumn, from April to May, you will experience cooler, less windy days, with the warm hues of autumn colours spreading through the landscapes.
Even though it can be a gamble to host your wedding in winter in Cape Town, it comes with the benefits of vastly reduced rates and you might just strike it lucky and get a beautiful crips winters day. This video explains what Cape Town is like for winter weddings.
Culture, Food & Drink
South Africa is often referred to as “the rainbow nation” because of the large variety of cultures, languages, lifestyles, cuisines, attractions and talents; Its colourful people are a a vibrant mix who has a contagious zest for life. Cape Town, has a rich European flavour due being annexed by the Dutch and the British over the years. Then there is also the influence of the French settlers, the imported Malayan slaves and not to forget the indigenous Khoi and San tribes. Over the years these influences have formed a very unique blend of friendly and interesting people.
In recent years, Cape Town has rocketed unto the culinary scene. The Cuisine in Cape Town is heavily influenced by the European and Malay heritage. This range of cooking styles, combined with the friendly local hospitality, fresh ingredients, very well priced alcohol and award winning South African meats, makes Cape Town a mouth-watering haven for food lovers. Expect to pay only a fraction of what you normally will at their top restaurants.
In South African Restaurants one is expected to tip at least 10% of the total, but sometimes a service charge might already be included. Waitrons are paid a very small basic wage and they usually rely on tips received from customers to supplement their income. Therefore, a tip of fifteen percent is the suggested minimum. Value-added tax (VAT) stands at 15% and is payable as part of the total sum fo your spend.
The Cape Winelands region that surrounds the City of Cape Town, is one of the leading wine producing regions in the world! Here you will find a huge variety of cultivars, blends and distilled alcoholic beverages.
During the hot and humid summers, Capetonians prefer chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc wines. And during winter the red blends, aged Cabernet Sauvignons, Shiraz and Merlots are brought out of the cellar to warm up the cold winters evenings. The wine estates of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch with their historic Cape Dutch Manor houses and lush green vineyards in between the towering mountains is unrivalled in beauty. A day out wine tasting and lounging under age old oaks is a must do activity.
The cost of getting married in Cape Town can range anywhere between R40 000 and R500 000 (Convert to your currency) depending on how basic or extravagant you want to go. This is the cost for your wedding day and excludes bridal and grooms attire and travel and accommodation costs.
In recent years, many wedding venues in Cape Town have set up packages that include most of the elements you will require. These packages can work out a lot cheaper than booking the individual service providers seperately. The majority of Venues are located on Wine Estates and most of the time they also offer accommodation for a some of your guests. Keep in mind that the South African drink and drive laws are very strict and it is highly recommended that you either stay on site or get a driving service like Uber for your transport.
Some venues might not charge an outright venue fee, but rather base their price on the number of guests you will have. They work on a minimum “per-head” basis, but their fee is normally all inclusive of tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, catering and basic decor.
To ensure a good quality service, we highly recommend you book your photographer and videographer on your own and not to go with the vendors that are included in the venue package. We offer great wedding Photography and Video Packages that can also be customised to suit your needs.
Most suppliers will require a deposit of between 10% and 50% to secure your wedding date. It is also common to settle the remaining outstanding amount at least 14 days prior to the wedding date. Payment normally happens via Electronic Bank Transfer (EFT), but some vendors might accept Credit Card Payments. Few Vendors might insist on cash transactions in hard currency, but where you can, rather opt for the electronic payment option. As a precaution, it is also advisable not to carry large amounts of cash and valuables on your person while travelling around the country.
If you employ the services of a wedding planner ask, you can ask them to make the payments on your behalf. This will save you a lot of headache in setting up a multitude of foreign payment transactions and costs incurred through multiple international currency transfers.
To read more about the cost of getting married in Cape Town, hop on over to this article about wedding costs in South Africa.
Legal Requirements for Getting Married in Cape Town
You do not have to be a South African resident or citizen to get married here. That means any foreign national can get married legally in South Africa. The legal requirements for a marriage (not including customary or civil union, which falls under different legal requirements), are similar to those of most other Western countries; namely:
- You should be elegible to get married. (not currently married, no other legal impediments)
- For non-citizens, parties must complete the BI-31 form (Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage), which must be completed in the presence of your Marriage Officer.
- For legal purposes, two witnesses and the Marriage Officer sign the marriage register after the solemnisation of the marriage in the designated venue.
For more information, visit the website of the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa.
It will take about 6 to 8 weeks for the marriage certificate to be issued. The Marriage Officer should be able to provide sufficient information about the legal process for certification and registration, in addition to the website link above. Follow this link to get in contact with Marriage officers in Cape Town.
For up to date legal requirements, you should contact the South African embassy in your home country, or your country’s embassy in South Africa.
Articles and Resources
- Requirements for Foreigners to get married in South Africa – Article by Pink Book Weddings
- Wedding Venues in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands
- Marriage Officers in Cape Town
- Wedding Coordinators in Cape Town
- Wedding Advice Youtube Channel
- ZaraZoo Cine Wedding Video Youtube Channel