Planning a wedding is all sorts of exciting but deciding on what you want for your special day can also be tough. Picking the perfect wedding venue is probably the first wedding-related decision you’ll make as an engaged couple but finding the right one isn’t always easy. There are so many options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a stunning barn, an elegant ballroom, a cosy restaurant, or a quiet stretch of beach. So we asked Rustig’s wedding venue expert, Sune Ooosthuizen Steenkamp to share her top tips for finding your dream venue.

Authenticity is key

So where do you start? According to Ooosthuizen Steenkamp, the most important thing a bride and groom should consider when choosing a wedding venue comes down to staying true to who you are as a couple. “Make sure that you stay true to yourself and go with a venue that accommodates you,” says Ooosthuizen Steenkamp.

“The venue that you pick needs to fit in well with the vision and aesthetic that you have in mind. Picking a venue that enhances and goes well with the theme you have in mind will help create your dream wedding.”

Think out the box… but not too far out

If you’re wondering where you even begin the process of deciding which venues to visit for consideration for your big day it’s best to have a general idea in mind of what you want your wedding to be. “Think about whether you would want your wedding to be a one-day event or if you would you like for your guests to stay over,” says Ooosthuizen Steenkamp. “For example, if it’s a full weekend wedding you’re after then you’ll need to look at venues that also offer accommodation.”

Wedding hall at Rustig

The Wedding hall at Rustig.

Dare to be different

Chances are, you’ll want your wedding to be unique to you as a couple so don’t be afraid to be different says Ooosthuizen Steenkamp. “You need to go for something unique because you don’t want what everyone else has had. But of course, your location also has to be realistic because you want your guests to get there with ease,” explains Ooosthuizen Steenkamp. “The venue you are looking to book needs to be easy to find and should preferably not be located too close to busy roads.”

Plan for your aesthetic

Before you pay the deposit on the venue you think is the one, consider if the venue is naturally beautiful or if it requires additional decor to make it fit the look you’re going for. There’s no use in picking a venue that needs a lot of time and money to convert it into the venue you were looking for all along. Your venue should fit the aesthetic you have in mind and enable your wedding to feel more connected to the space. For example, a wedding incorporating more natural elements works well with outdoor venues such as parks and wine farms.

garden wedding

Wedding in the garden at Rustig.

Consider the extras

Many venues might have hidden extra costs that any newly engaged bride and groom might easily overlook. “There may be extra costs involved when it comes to things like cutlery, tablecloths, decoration, plates, glasses as well as the dance floor,” explains Ooosthuizen Steenkamp. “Also, find out if the venue provides alcohol as some venues don’t allow you to bring your own alcohol while some may allow you to bring your own alcohol at an extra cost, make sure you know exactly what their policy is.”

“Another thing to consider is a cancellation fee in case of unpredicted illness or other emergencies,” says Ooosthuizen Steenkamp. “Some venues will tell you that the deposit is non-refundable while some will only take a percentage of the deposit and give you back the rest before a certain date.”

Nestled under the Magaliesburg mountain range and situated a mere 45 minutes from Pretoria and Johannesburg, Rustig is Gauteng’s best-kept wedding venue secret. Boasting magnificent views, a five-star wedding hall with an expansive veranda overlooking a beautiful Terrace garden and with fine dining on offer, Rustig is the ideal venue for the bride who is looking for affordable sophistication.

Want more wedding reads? check out our Wedding section for more great bridal related reads.