A safari wedding is the top choice of many couples. The African landscapes, sounds and sunsets can not be found anywhere else in the world. South Africa has many stunning safari lodges for all budgets and tastes, many of them specialising in incredible bush weddings. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a safari wedding – we have listed them here to guide you while planning your dream wedding!
We would like to thank Jovan and Ruan for letting us feature their beautiful safari wedding images! Complete supplier list at the bottom of this post.
Start with your guest list
This is probably going to be your first step – this will play a big role when deciding on the perfect venue. Make sure to choose a venue that will be able to accommodate all of your guests, and that there is enough accommodation on the property or at least accommodation nearby.
Stay true to your style and budget
There is a safari lodge out there for you! SA has such a wide variety of safari style wedding venues, you can truly pick and choose one that fits your personalities and pocket. There are a lot of different venues with different options when it comes to ceremony and reception areas. This will also be a determining factor when picking your venue.
Choose a private reserve
When choosing your safari wedding location you have to keep in mind that a private reserve might be a better option than a national park. This will ensure that you and your guests enjoy privacy and private game drives too.
Plan well in advance
When planning a destination wedding it is very important to give notice to your guests well in advance. It is also a good idea to book your venue early as most game lodges deal with international tour guide companies that will usually book the lodges a few months in advance.
Determine your budget
When planning your budget, make a list of priorities. Decide what you want to pay for, and make a list of what your guests will be paying for. This will help you calculate the costs upfront and will also help your guests to decide if they will be able to afford to attend your wedding or not. Choosing a venue that is near an airport will definitely help you save a lot of money on travel costs. The nice thing about lodges is that most of them are all-inclusive, so that means there will be a smaller chance of surprise charges coming your way.
Have a backup plan for your ceremony
There are two aspects you can’t control: wild animals moving into your chosen setting a day or two before the event, and the weather. If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony in the middle of the bush, have a contingency plan and keep a few extra ceremony ideas up your sleeve just in case. It’s important to manage your expectations, so try to keep this in mind. It is well worth the trouble to have your ‘plan B’ in place in order not to stress about it the day before your wedding it if ‘plan A’ doesn’t work out.
Keep the décor simple and elegant
Safari wedding venues are naturally beautiful. You are surrounded by nature and the most spectacular views, so take advantage of that, don’t waste your money by over-decorating. Instead, use the natural elements you already have, and try not to overcomplicate your wedding design. For a remote lodge, it will also be much harder to get the décor to the venue, so spare yourself the headache and keep it simple and elegant.
Employ a travel agent
A travel concierge is your best friend. They will be able to assist you with so many things such as helping you find the perfect venue, flights and travel arrangements for all your guests. When there are long flights involved your travel concierge should definitely be part of your events team. Therefore they will be able to provide a support network before and during the trip. Having a travel agent will certainly lift the weight off your soldiers so that you won’t have to worry about making last-minute calls or answering guests’ travel questions.
If you will be visiting an area where malaria is present, you should contact your travel agent or the lodge manager to guide you through all the necessary vaccines and medication that you will need for your trip. Keep reminding your guests to take the malaria medication as they will easily forget.
Create a wedding website
This is a must for any destination wedding. One place where your guests can find all the information, dates, weather, travel tips, excursion ideas, gift registry, photos and more pertaining to your wedding day. Your travel agent’s contact details can also be on here, so that any travel plans and questions can be directed to her/him and not you.
Make it a multi-day wedding
The best advice we can give you is to take your time and enjoy every moment of your safari wedding. If you are traveling a far distance, why not make a long weekend trip out of it? Take your friends and family on an exciting game drive in the morning/afternoon the day before the wedding. Request sundowners and snacks on your game drive, while you enjoy the beautiful sunrise/sunset. After the game drive, everyone can gather around the campfire and enjoy local live entertainment. Create a multi-day wedding your guests will never forget.
Combine your wedding and honeymoon
After the wedding, have a few planned activities for you and your hubby and enjoy the nature around you. You can always split your honeymoon into two: a few days in the bush and a few days at the beach. There is no rule that you have to stay at the same place so why not have the best of both worlds.
We would like to thank Jovan and Ruan for letting us feature their beautiful safari wedding images!
Here is their complete supplier list:
Coordinator – ASAP Events
Venue – Indlovu River Lodge, Karongwe Portfolio
Photographer – Chris Joubert, Suntouched Media
Videographer – Spilt Silk Videography
Floral/Decor Designer – Bee Happy Events
Lighting – SMD Technical
DJ – DJ Kian
Catering – Vita Nova Catering
Shuttles – Osprey Tours
Hiring – Dougs Hiring, SQ Weddings
Stationery – Seventy Seven, Izaan Ohlse