This Day I will marry my friend. The one I Laugh with, Dream with, Live for, Love.
As we wrap up the annual month of love, we look ahead towards beautiful autumn with its cooler weather and golden light. We are grateful for reduced lockdown restrictions which bring with it a sense of rebirth after a long Covid-induced hibernation. Suddenly the notion of “the perfect wedding” becomes possible again, after all the restrictive Covid compliant hybrid ceremonies which couples had to navigate over lockdown.
A wedding is the ultimate public display of hope. In this time of uncertainty, anxiety, global conflict and financial instability, the very notion of two people promising their eternal love and devotion to each other is a bold, triumphant life-affirming, gesture deserving of the utmost praise and admiration. The very act is retro and defiant, and has a sense of old fashioned nostalgia; a reminder that for some, happy ever afters are indeed still possible.
We think of course that every wedding should take place in the 1000 Hills – we of course think it is the most romantic place to celebrate your big day. We can offer a myriad venue options for ceremonies and receptions; reliable service providers; perfect weather; close proximity to Durban and Pietermaritzburg; accessibility from main roads and uShaka airport and plenty of places to stay.
The fabulous, bubbly, uber-helpful Jacqui Neumann, the Editor in Chief of the really comprehensive wedding planning resource guidebook “Marriage Meander, KZN” is both a wedding industry professional and herself a lockdown bride. Her detailed, well researched and thorough 100 plus page manual, looks at every aspect of wedding planning and is compulsory reading for any couple planning their big day. Many of her chosen service providers are either from the 1000 Hills area or are close by and happy to support weddings in the 1000 Hills catchment area.
Jacqui shared some of her insight and ideas with us of weddings in a post-Covid world.
Wedding re-focus: Weddings went back to basics over Covid, with the spotlight on ceremonies. The focus shifted from the pageantry back to the vows.
Invite lists: As a result of micro-weddings, couples had to learn how to refine their guest lists to best friends and close family only and it was not automatically assumed that invitations included a plus one and children.
Re-budgeting: Now that the guest list has been pared down, there are fewer mouths to feed. This has budgetary and decision making implications – a slightly more intimate venue may now be appropriate, and that fancy dessert might now be possible.
Importance of planning: Jacqui suggested 15 key considerations to be mindful of once you start planning your wedding.
Paint a picture of your day: Both decide on the look and feel of the day, and spend time actively looking for inspiration, so that our theme reflects your joint style, vision and budget.
Budget: Money affects many of the decisions to be made, so start with drawing up a budget which of course can be modified and evolve, but basic bottom line figures should be agreed and stuck to.
Guest List: Who to invite always involves complex family discussions and careful decision making. Start by calculating the number of guests to invite, and then work on a guest list which can be modified in due course.
Confirm date and venues: Work on a short list of dates and venue options to distill down to one suitable date and perfect venues for ceremony and reception.
Book your marriage officer: Select a marriage officer who identifies with you beliefs, theme and vision
Select service providers who resonate: Be careful in selecting the team to work on your wedding. Check references and ask for a portfolio of work to make sure that your vendors are all bona-fide, reliable and deliver on quality.
Contract a wedding planner: Someone who plans weddings for a living can help you with selecting a respected and professional team who work well together, bring to life your look and feel – and probably save you money by avoiding costly mistakes.
That personal touch: Many couples choose to craft their own decorations and gifts. Choose projects wisely and strategically as they are labour and time intensive.
Wedding party: Pay careful attention, and choose wisely the inner circle of friends and family who will provide emotional and practical support up to an including the special day.
Read your contracts: It sounds obvious, but carefully check over all service provider contracts before singing them. Ask questions and be comfortable with all terms before agreeing to them.
Invitations: Once the details of your big day are in place, it is prudent to send out your invitations. These days it is acceptable to do this digitally.
Ceremony: The ceremony is the crux of the big day – don’t let the micro details of the reception overshadow the ceremony itself.
Self-care: With all the planning and busyness, be mindful of each other. Jacqui suggests for your own sanity, build in time to be together, without talking about the wedding.
Make your marriage a priority: Always remember that nothing about the wedding is as important as the marriage that follows
Jacqui reminded us of the benefits of what she calls a “destination wedding” – a notion which is gaining popularity with couples looking beyond their immediate geography.
Some reasons why a 1000 hills wedding would be an elegant solution are:
You are not limited to venue options in your hometown
It feels like a mini-vacation with all your favourite people
You have the opportunity to spend extended quality time with your special guests
Being away together for a few days with the wedding party means the union is stronger than just the couple.
To avoid logistical challenges, it makes sense to hire a wedding planner familiar with service providers in the area and has contacts with local suppliers.
It can actually work out cheaper for the couple, as many of our destination wedding venues are so beautiful they require minimal décor – and in our case, they have the best views!
A destination wedding is a meaningful place to celebrate milestone anniversaries. 1000 Hills is so close, you can enjoy an anniversary weekend away every year!
A big part of a wedding reception is the menu – it should reflect the things which make you happy. Discuss with your caterer the various dining options and food styles. For example look at the pros and cons of a buffet meal or a plated one; family style table boards or cocktail bowl food.
Once the venue and meal are in place – the next biggie is what to wear. For 2022 brides, trends include traditional and non-traditional looks – from a minimalist ensemble to an extravagant ball-gown and everything in-between. One can look to the big (or small) screen for inspiration. Between Downton Abbey, Bridgerton, the Gilded Age and Death on the Nile, there are plenty of glorious gowns to inspire a themed wedding.
Jacqui reminds us that bows are back, feathers are in, drop V necklines are a huge trend this season, regency era voluminous sleeves are making a comeback, and thigh high slits are on the rise (!) Statement veils, garlands and headpieces finish the look. In 1000 Hills, remember to think of something warm for the cooler evenings – so consider a wrap or a cape to complement the gown.
We are entering into autumn, so allow the autumnal colours and warm afternoon light inspire your wedding colour palette which is much in evidence in the hues of the 1000 at this time of year.
The suggestion is to choose your focal colour to be set off by complementary colours and shades. Don’t be influenced by colour trends, rather stick to a colour which resonates with you. Jewel tones like ruby emerald and topaz are perfectly suited to an autumn wedding. And when choosing flowers remember some are only available at certain times of the year.
Your special day should be captured beautifully as a keep sake to last, so choose your photographer and videographer carefully and brief them about your suggested look and feel – be it vintage, moody, elegant, country or contemporary so that the composition, lighting, background, props and styling reflects your chosen mood. Let them know of special people, moments and things to capture ahead of time. Advice all photographers give to couples is to be natural and authentic.
A worthwhile conversation to have involves guests and cameras. Some weddings now are “unplugged” during which guests are asked not to use any devices – that way, everyone is present and engaging, phones are not distracting from the moment, and lots of people with cellphone cameras don’t get in the way of the photographer and videographer while they work.
Another decision to be made is music – live or recorded; DJ or band or solo artist. These decisions are guided by space, budget and preference. Music sets the tone for the event and imparts energy, and can help people to feel relaxed and included – and get people on the dance floor when the time is right. Of course supporting a live musician if space and budget allow, is first prize.
“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life…. Love gives us a fairytale”
Good To Know
Transitioning from Lockdown, means that some of our wedding service providers are in varying degrees of operation.
It is prudent to make direct contact with service providers listed below.
This is by no means a complete list.
Macnut Farm (13 Lello Rd / 031 765 2572 / https://macnut.co.za/)
Talloula (61 Old Main Rd Botha’s Hill / 031 777 1586 /https://www.talloula.co.za/ )
Gracelands Farm (Peacevale / 031 054 5018/ www.gracelandsfarm.co.za)
AmmaZulu African Palace (Kloof / 031 764 8000)
The DuBoirs Lodge (082 442 8922)
Bella Vista (082 324 9765)
Camp Orchard (031 765 5576)
Under the Marula (Shongweni / 031 769 1048)
Kloof Country Club (Victory Rd / 031 764 0555)
Greensleeves (Wishard Village Rd / 031 765 9400)
Olivander Estate (Shongweni / 082 664 7107)
Stonehaven Castle (Shongweni Valley / 031 769 1010 / 0814522527)
Barker Manor Kloof (Old Main Rd Kloof / 031 7642416)
Eagle Wind Manor (Old Main Rd / 083 357 8463)
Nkuthu Gardens (Inanda Rd / 031 763 4149)
Khangelani Lodge (Sparrow Lane / 031 768 1342)
Phezulu Safari Park (old Main Rd / 031 777 1205)
Vuleka Conference Centre (031 777 1446)
Valley Lodge (031 765 6407)
Lindisfarne (32 Chapel Rd, Botha’s Hill / 031 765 1516 / https://www.lindisfarnebnb.co.za/ )
MacNut (13 Lello Rd / 031 765 2572 / https://macnut.co.za/)
Aloe Ridge B&B (7 Weaver Avenue 3610 Hillcrest South Africa / +27 317 640 138)
AmmaZulu African Palace (20 Windsor Rd Kloof) / 031 764 8000/ https://www.ammazulupalace.com/ )
Assagay Country guesthouse (4 Assagay Cres, Assagay / ph 031 768 1761)
Assagay Lodge (4 Williams Road, Assagay, Hillcrest)
Benbrook on Main B&B (11 Heyfield Rd, Kloof / ph 082 784 0555)
Bizafrika Guest Lodge (122 Krantzview Rd, Kloof / 061 420 4083)
Brackens Guest House (Hillcrest / : 031 765 3923
Chillifields B&B (2 Willow Way, Assagay / 083 632 7800)
Clifton Country House (Assagay / 083 651 2022)
Croeso B&B (Kloof / : 031 764 6894)
Du Boirs Boutique Lodge (193 Inanda Rd Hillcrest / 031 776 3159
Eagles View (10 Umvemve Pl, Ronaldskloof Ext, Kloof / 031 764 4192)
Far Place B&B (Forest Hill, Kloof / 031 762 1066)
Grassroots B&B (Gillitts / 083 654 4264)
Inn Afrika B&B (31 Springdale Rd, Kloof / 031 764 6422)
Morgenzon B&B (15 Alexander Ave, Kloof, / 031 764 2477)
Mawala Boutique Hotel (7 Marion Rd, Hillcrest / 031 765 1298)
Rest Assured B&B (Hillcrest)
Rivendell B&B ( Belvedere, Hillcrest / 031 765 4481)
Sacred Journey Sharmanic Retreat (Duiker Dr, Drummond / 082 571 3306)
Shenindor B&B ( F61 Falcon Dr, Alverstone / 031 777 1168)
The Goss House B&B (Kloof, / 031 764 1167)
Valley Lodge (2 Valley Dr, Belvedere Ext 1, Hillcrest / 031 765 6407)
White House (Hillcrest / 031 765 6324)
York House ( 4A York Rd, Winston Park / 031 767 0629)
Music / musicians / DJs
Rene Tshiakanyi live music ( www.renetshiakanyi.com )
Grace Botha live music (082 501 8667 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photographers / videographers
Vix Photography (Midlands) (071 328 3402 / email@example.com)
David Weeks Photography (Hillcrest)
Sean Baker Photography (Kloof)
Bailee Guy Weddings (Hilton)
Wild Olive Photography (Howick)
Courtney Dale (Durban)
Kate Martens Photography (Pmb)
Flowers / Décor / Creative
Ludwig’s roses (6 Fraser Rd, Assagay / 081 380 8496)
Karens Hub crafts (1000 Hills Craft Village, 168 Old Main Rd, Bothas Hill, / 079 019 5710)
Talloula (61 Old Main Rd Botha’s Hill / 031 777 1586 / https://www.talloula.co.za/ )
Stationery / gifts / printing
Handmade by Janine (Waterfall / 060 970 4229 / www.handmadebyjanine.co.za)
Fuchsia Fine Event Stationery (Kloof / 076 706 8594 /
Karens Hub crafts (1000 Hills Craft Village, 168 Old Main Rd, Bothas Hill, / 079 019 5710)
Rocwood Designs (Howick / 033 330 3578 /
Wedding Dresses / Suits
A’mour Bridal Boutique (Kloof / 073 301 7189 / www.amourbridalkzn.co.za / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bella Bride (Westville / 074 131 5415 / www.bellabride.co.za / email@example.com)
Shona and Belle (Westville / 079 199 2200 /
eLintimates lingerie (Hilton / 082 714 1258)
Highway Tailors and Dry Cleaning Services (Hillcrest / 031 765 8518)
The Tailor (Waterfall / Linkhills Shopping Centre / 031 762 1248
Mums and More Alterations, dressmaking and tailors (Westville / 074 073 5303
Strawberries and Cream Make Up (Midlands / 064 631 1450)
Dio’s Gracia Make Up Artistry and Aesthetics (Howick / 076 815 8892)
Sole Hair and Beauty (Hilton / 033 343 2008 / www.solehd.co.za)
St Agnes Church (53 Abelia Rd, Kloof / 031 764 2037)
Hillcrest Lutheran Church ((1 Church Road, Assagay / firstname.lastname@example.org /
031 768 1473)
CityHill Church, Hillcrest (1 Greenmeadow Ln, Belvedere Ext 1, Hillcrest)
Christ Church REACH , Hillcrest (Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church) (202 Old Main Rd, Alverstone / 031 765 3990)
Waterfall Baptist (Ridge Rd, Kloof / 031 762 1660)
Hillcrest Baptist (031 765 3750)
Hillcrest Baptist (031 765 7861)
Hillcrest Presbyterian (031 765 1248)
Holy Trinity Anglican (031 765 5941)
Methodist Church of SA, Hillcrest (031 765 4908)
Church of the Province of SA, Hillcrest (031 765 2578)