Whether you have a formal religious wedding followed by a reception, a laid back ceremony and reception at the same venue, or decide to get married on the beach, all the effort spent in planning and organising your wedding centres on that special moment in your ceremony when you as the bride and groom declare your love for each other by saying, “I do”.
Choose a venue for your wedding ceremony
Make sure the venue of your choice is available on the date you require. According to the Marriage Act, signing the register must take place under a permanent structure; however the actual ceremony can be conducted at any venue, or even outside.
When it comes to choosing a romantic Cape Town wedding venue: whether you are planning an intimate wedding reception with family and close friends or a larger wedding celebration – or even a destination wedding in Cape Town’s beautiful surrounds, EAT at Hout Bay Manor is one of the most stylish and versatile venues, by far. Your guests can relax and enjoy your special day, al fresco, under magnificent old plane trees in the tranquil setting of Hout Bay Manor’s private garden, or you can choose our glamorous and more formal indoor setting that offers seating from 40 to 100 guests.
Book your marriage officer
There are many options to choose between ranging from your own priest, pastor, rabbi or imam, to a variety of offbeat marriage officers. Whoever you choose, aim to have a face-to-face meeting with them at least three months prior to your day. Getting to know your marriage officer, even a little bit, will make the ceremony more personal. This is the starting point on your wedding ceremony checklist.
Select your bridesmaids and groomsmen
You can have as many or few bridesmaids and groomsmen as you like. If there are extra people you want to include in your ceremony think about giving them other roles, like being on the welcoming committee, or reading at the ceremony.
Create an order of ceremony
The order of events for your ceremony may depend on religious and cultural requirements. Decide on a programme and the order you would like to follow, including music, readings, taking your vows, a short talk or sermon, as well as any religious or cultural rituals required. Now is Choose any readings, prayers and songs you wish to include. Make an action list of every item you will need, for example, a unity candle for Catholic weddings, a glass to be stamped on and broken at a Jewish wedding. It is traditional to provide a printed order of ceremony for your guests.
Check on valid documentation needed for your marriage to be legal
To get married in South Africa you and your groom will each need: a clear certified copy of ID and three ID-size photographs. If previously married: a divorce certificate is required. If you are a widow or widower then a death certificate is required. If you are not South African you will need a certified copy of your passport picture page and visa page, as well as a letter of non-impediment from your embassy. Your marriage witnesses will each need a clear certified copy of their ID document or passport.
Choose the music and arrange musicians
Music is a universal part of wedding ceremonies. Choose the music you would like as you “walk down the aisle” at your wedding. You may want special song items to be performed – choose your music and book your musicians.
Choose vows or come up with your own
You may want to follow the traditional wedding vows of your religion or culture, or you may wish to write your own vows. It is a good idea to keep your vows short and sweet, and to find a trusted friend to review and edit your vows with you. Speak from the heart and remember that even though you will be sharing them publicly, what you will be doing is speaking your vows to your beloved bride or groom.
Signing the register
Legally speaking two witnesses are called for to sign the marriage register along with the marriage officer and the bride and groom. These witnesses are often the best man and chief bridesmaid, or matron of honour. Make sure to organise a table and chairs, and a pen, for signing the register. The register must be signed within a permanent structure to make the marriage legal.
Organise a car or limo
When you organise the car that will take the bride to the ceremony, arrange who will be taking the bridesmaids and groomsmen to and from the ceremony, and to the reception.
Organise a wedding rehearsal
About a week before your wedding it is important to gather every participant in your wedding party for run through of your ceremony – even your photographer. This allows for an unpressured run through that will help everyone in knowing what to expect, where to stand and what to say and do. After the wedding rehearsal it is traditional to hold a rehearsal dinner to which both sets of close family are invited.