Did you know that South Africa attracts over 3.5 million visitors each year?
From the stunning wildlife and landscapes to the eclectic culture, it’s no wonder why so many people put South Africa at the top of their travel bucket list.
If you recently got engaged and you’re looking for the best places for destination weddings, getting married in South Africa can be a dream come true for both you and your guests.
Do you want to know how to plan a destination wedding in South Africa? Keep reading to learn 7 expert tips that can make the process easy and fun.
1. Set a Budget and Think About Your Priorities
Going to South Africa won’t be one of the most affordable destination weddings, but you can still have an impressive wedding on a budget with some planning. Figuring out how much money you’re comfortable spending first can make planning a lot easier.
Once you have a range in mind, you can start thinking about which aspects of your wedding are the most important to you and your partner. Your guest list, food, entertainment, venue, lodging, transportation, and wardrobe are just a few of the many things you’ll have to rank. The details that are most special to you can have the largest cuts of the budget and you can get away with skimping on less significant things.
One of the best tips for planning cheap destination weddings is to trim your guest list as much as possible. Aside from saving on stationery, fewer guests means you can book smaller venues, serve less food, and book fewer hotel rooms.
2. Send Your Invitations as Soon as Possible
Flights all the way to Africa aren’t cheap, so you’ll have to give your guests as much time as possible to try to hunt for the best deals available. In addition, your guests will also have to request time off from work or school and find the right sitter for their house, pets, or children.
The latest you can send your wedding invitations is 3 months in advance, but the earlier you can send your invitations the better. Giving your guests at least 6 months to prepare is ideal, but giving everyone up to a whole year can make planning less stressful. Giving more notice can also increase the number of people who can attend your wedding since they’ll have a goal to save up for.
3. Work with Local Vendors
While it is possible to fly out vendors you know and love, doing this will drain a lot of your budget. Since you’re going all the way to a new continent, you should make the most out of your trip by getting the full South African experience. Working with local vendors can lead to a cheaper and much more unique wedding even if coordinating long-distance can be tricky.
This is why hiring a reliable South African wedding planner can make your life easier. Not only will they be able to take all of the stress out of planning, but they can also find the best vendors at competitive prices that you might not be able to find on your own.
4. Do Your Research on Visas and Recommended Immunizations
Although people from America and many other countries don’t need a visa to visit South Africa, you might need to get a visa if you plan on taking a tour of other African countries like Egypt, Zimbabwe, or the Comoros Islands. Most countries allow travellers to plan short visits without a visa, but it’s important to research in advance in case you want to travel somewhere that requires a visa to enter.
South Africa is generally safe and clean, especially if you stay in larger tourist locations like Johannesburg and Cape Town. However, some vaccines like Hepatitis A are recommended to people who travel anywhere abroad because food or water contamination can happen even in highly-rated areas. Booking an appointment with your doctor can help you understand which vaccines you should consider.
5. Book Your Venue, Lodging, and Transportation
Even small destination weddings can be challenging to coordinate when it comes to booking venues, lodgings, and transportation. The best scenario would be for all of your guests to stay together in one hotel to make things easier. Finding a hotel that offers group discounts can help keep costs low.
Since there are so many breathtaking venues in South Africa, you should have fun exploring all of your options. Since your venue will be the backdrop of all your wedding photos, make sure you’re absolutely in love with the location.
6. Consider Making a Wedding Website
Since going to South Africa will be a huge deal to most if not all of your guests, it can benefit everyone if you make a handy wedding website to help people prepare. On your site, you can include a gift registry, an itinerary of activities you’ll all do on the trip, information about your hotel and transportation services, and packing tips.
7. Pack Smart and Be Prepared for a Long Flight
One common mistake people make when they’re getting ready to go is pack their dress, tux, or other important garments in their checked bag. Although checked bags are more spacious, you always run the risk of losing it in transportation. To save yourself the stress of having to find a replacement outfit days before your ceremony, try your best to pack it in your carry-on luggage.
Flying to Africa can take many hours, so it’s also helpful to pack lots of entertainment to make the flight more bearable. Books, music, movies, games, and comfort snacks are a few things that can help you stay relaxed.
Now You Know How to Plan a Destination Wedding in South Africa
If you follow these 7 tips, you’ll be able to plan a destination wedding in South Africa that you and your guests will never forget.
Are you ready to make your dream wedding a reality? If so, Bride Guide is your ultimate resource for helpful wedding planning information in South Africa. Check out our wedding directory to find tips and reviews on venues, wedding planners, food, and so much more.