Your Guide to Weddings and Romance in the Valley of a 1000 Hills

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 bride and bridegroom stand next to each other facing the camera, both are wearing a mask covering their nose and mouth
All Masked Up: Marriage Meander’s Editor in Chief, Jacqui Neumann and hubby Ryan, experienced first hand, a lockdown wedding..

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.     

Weddings personify all that is good in the world. Pic by Vix Photography.
Weddings personify all that is good in the world. Pic by Vix Photography.

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.

Don't plan a wedding without the brilliant Marriage Meander guide - available in hard copy on online.
Don’t plan a wedding without the brilliant Marriage Meander guide – available in hard copy on online.

Jacqui shared some of her insight and ideas with us of weddings in a post-Covid world.

Wedding Wisdoms

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.

15 Considerations

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.

Paint a picture of your day. A charming rustic wedding captured by Vix Photography.
Paint a picture of your day. A charming rustic wedding captured by Vix Photography.

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.

We are here to help! Wedding specialists Happiness Mgobhoze and Hannah Paine from Macnut Farm.
We are here to help! Wedding specialists Happiness Mgobhoze and Hannah Paine from Macnut Farm.

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. 

Woza Moya at HACT have a delightful range of diminutive beaded wedding couples - perfect for take home gifts and can be made to order.
Woza Moya at HACT have a delightful range of diminutive beaded wedding couples – perfect for take home gifts and can be made to order.

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.

Nothing about the wedding is as important as the marriage that follows. Photo by Vix Photography.
Nothing about the wedding is as important as the marriage that follows. Photo by Vix Photography.

Make your marriage a priority: Always remember that nothing about the wedding is as important as the marriage that follows

Destination Weddings

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:

Small is beautiful! this fairytale size chapel is beautiful inside and out, and is one of the attractions of Macnut Farm.
Small is beautiful! this fairytale size chapel is beautiful inside and out, and is one of the attractions of Macnut Farm.

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!

The epitome of a 1000 Hills destination wedding - starched white table cloths, fairy-lights, dainty candles and rose buds. Photo Macnut Farm.
The epitome of a 1000 Hills destination wedding – starched white table cloths, fairy-lights, dainty candles and rose buds. Photo Macnut Farm.

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! 

Menu

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.

An ethereal lace creation by A'mour Bridal Boutique in Kloof.
An ethereal lace creation by A’mour Bridal Boutique in Kloof.

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.

Allow the autumn colours and warm afternoon light inspire you. Photo Wild Olive Photography / Marriage Meander.
Allow the autumn colours and warm afternoon light inspire you. Photo Wild Olive Photography / Marriage Meander.

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. 

Advice all photographers give to couples is to be natural and authentic. Photo Vix Photography
Advice all photographers give to couples is to be natural and authentic. Photo Vix Photography

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.

Venues

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)

Accommodation

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)

Wedding Organisers

Etc events (Hillcrest / 083 653 7900 / www.etcevents.co.za / debbie@etcevents.co.za)

Music / musicians / DJs

DJ Greig (Hillcrest / 083 799 2510 / info@djgreig.comwww.djgreig.com)

Rene Tshiakanyi  live music ( www.renetshiakanyi.com )

Grace Botha live music (082 501 8667 / gracebothamusic@gmail.com)

Rene Tshiakanyi is a soulful balladeer and multi-instrumentalist whose gentle performance style is perfect for weddings - and he speaks French, the language of love!!
Rene Tshiakanyi is a soulful balladeer and multi-instrumentalist whose gentle performance style is perfect for weddings – and he speaks French, the language of love!

Photographers / videographers

Vix Photography (Midlands) (071 328 3402 / hello@vixphotography.com)

David Weeks Photography (Hillcrest)     

Sean Baker Photography (Kloof)

Bailee Guy Weddings (Hilton)

Wild Olive Photography (Howick)

Courtney Dale (Durban)

Kate Martens Photography (Pmb)

Videoccasions (NPN / 083 320 3711 / info@videoccasions.co.za / www.videoccasions.co.za )  

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/ )

Woza Moya ( Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, 26 Old Main Rd, Hillcrest / 031 765 5866 / https://www.wozamoya.co.za/ )

Choose seasonal flowers to match your theme and colour scheme. These bouquets from Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market.
Choose seasonal flowers to match your theme and colour scheme. These bouquets from Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market.

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 /

A range of table markers, themed decor and take home gifts can be found at Karen's Hub in 1000 Hills Craft Village.
A range of table markers, themed decor and take home gifts can be found at Karen’s Hub in 1000 Hills Craft Village.

Wedding Dresses / Suits

A’mour Bridal Boutique (Kloof / 073 301 7189 / www.amourbridalkzn.co.za / info@amourbridalkzn.co.za)

Bella Bride (Westville / 074 131 5415 / www.bellabride.co.za / hello@bellabride.co.za)

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

Make up

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)

Churches

St Agnes Church (53 Abelia Rd, Kloof / 031 764 2037)

Hillcrest Lutheran Church  ((1 Church Road, Assagay / hillcrest.lutheran@nelcsa.net /  
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)

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