Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate
Paarl, South Africa
Justin and I had almost a year to plan our wedding, and that year was spent in a number of countries. Why a whole year despite wanting to be married asap?? Well, we needed to get ourselves to Africa, make sure Justin’s family had time to save and get there too, we wanted a summer wedding (December to March in South Africa), and we had all those flights and wedding expenses to save for. So despite wanting to be married more than anything else, we had a lot to take into consideration. It was important for me to have my father walk me down the aisle, and we wanted both families to be present on our special day. To have them all there made it worth the wait!!
We got engaged in Thailand, after backpacking through China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia. After which we flew back to China, and finished off our teaching contract there. Our next stop was Dallas, Texas. Back in the States, Justin studied for 6 months, and I tried my best to plan our wedding. And let me tell you – planning a wedding from another country is TOUGH, but even more so when the country you are dealing with is not as “advanced” when it comes to the internet. Yes, South Africa has internet… Of course! But the truth is that many companies DO NOT have websites, and if they do, they are difficult to navigate, or they are not up to date. I tried calling numerous companies to see if they could email me brochures or price lists, but they all told me to “come in and see what they have”.
Obviously, being 14,000 km away, that was not an option!
Choosing a wedding venue posed pretty much the same problem. Thankfully, my family and one of my lovely bridesmaid’s drove around checking out spots for us, but essentially, it was down to us to choose, and being so far away made this choice difficult. Again, if the websites were better, we could have seen more pictures, but sadly we did not have much to go by. We decided on Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate, but didn’t get to see the venue ourselves until we had arrived in Cape Town, two weeks before the wedding.
Mountain View Room
Nelson’s Creek has a couple of areas to choose from with regards to ceremony and reception. We had booked the Mountain View Room because it was spacious and light, but we were told that it could hold HUNDREDS of people, and we were only planning on having about 80 people. Our visit to the venue was to make sure that we were happy with this room, and to take a look at where on the grounds we would do the ceremony. Being nature-lovers, we wanted to get married outside, on a beach or in a garden, but with the unpredictable winds in Cape Town, we didn’t want to risk a windy beach day.
As we drove into the gates of Nelson’s Creek, we immediately both got excited! There was a beautiful passage of trees lining the entrance road, and the gravel was a bright red colour. It looked so pretty!! We were so relieved to BOTH love it as much as we did. Both of us were giggling and excited – In two weeks we would be returning here to get married!
This section of the farm used to be the stables, but they have since been converted into accommodation for functions. We offered this as an option to our guests, and ended up hiring out all 12 rooms for the evening of our wedding. We also hired a room for the night before the wedding, so that I could stay here and prepare for the big day. I was not supposed to see Justin before the ceremony on our wedding day, and since we were staying in an apartment downtown, it would be hard for me to get to the venue on the morning of the wedding without him seeing me.
The vineyards were bursting with greens, and the view of the mountains behind them was stunning. We knew that we wanted get married on the shaded grass area next to these vineyards.