Brides want their day to be perfect. Event planners want their event to be perfect. Just because a venue specialises in weddings, does not mean you cannot have your next meeting or conference there. The Planner shares some of its top wedding and event venues.
Babylonstoren is a Cape Dutch farm with vineyards and orchards surrounded by the dramatic mountains of the Drakenstein Valley. It has an exceptionally well–preserved werf dating from 1690. A fruit and vegetable garden of botanical diversity supplies a remarkable restaurant. Guests staying at an exclusive farm hotel enjoy access to the entire farm, plus facilities like a spa and gym. The aim is to have guests feel more comfortable and more alive among warm smiles and the simple daily rhythm of the farm. Some of the old original buildings on Babylonstoren can be used for events for groups of up to 100 people. Three venues are available, namely: the White Studio, Old Cellar and Wheat Barn.
Nestled at the foot of the magnificent Paarl Rock is a small, luxury hotel like no other. Grande Roche Hotel is a place where history interacts with modern comforts. The hotel offers a choice of venues for your event, from the charming intimacy of their private dining room, the elegant Bosman’s restaurant and Bosman’s Lawn for a garden function to the Banquet Venue & Amphitheatre for larger numbers.
Located just under an hour’s drive from Cape Town airport, Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa is a convenient and peaceful destination for your conference, team building, corporate function, meeting or incentive event. The accommodation is immaculate, the dining superb and the conference venues are fully equipped. Should you need one, there is a dedicated and experienced conference convenor who will ensure that all your expectations are met. The spectacular backdrop of the Franschhoek Mountains, immaculately manicured colourful gardens and peaceful vineyards present excellent photographic opportunities.
Olives & Plates Function and Conference Venue is where elegant architecture and modern functionality combine to ensure a memorable event. Set in revived old Dutch-style architecture, The Olives & Plates Function and Conference Venue situated at Wits University offers all the modern facilities to successfully host your conferences, weddings, corporate events and celebrations. Coupled with the Olives & Plates catering services, which include a selection of fresh, delectable food from their menu, and professionalism from their experienced staff, both you and your guests will enjoy an experience to relish, whatever the occasion.
Surrounded by the Zwartkoppies, on the banks of the Crocodile River, just half an hour from Johannesburg and Pretoria, rests Avianto. A European-inspired village that has established itself as a creative stimulus for gorgeous wedding celebrations, focused team-building conferences, glittering functions and intimate getaways. Avianto consists of the Village Hotel, Banquet Hall with its charming and beautiful non-denominational chapel, a magnificent ballroom, the Fireside Room for a more intimate function, and the state-of-the-art conference centres, consisting of six separate conference rooms and a lounge.
For those who know that memorable events and principal occasions merit an exceptional setting, there is a venue where the most discerning demands are met, gracefully, perfectly and completely. Summer Place harmoniously and elegantly combines classic design, décor and ambience with sheer joi de vivre. Its character is generous rather than rich, welcoming its guests without overwhelming them. It is a place where the most distinguished of visitors can feel contented. Centrally located in Hyde Park, Gauteng, Summer Place is an ideal venue for any event – from the most romantic wedding, professional conference, corporate function or unforgettable banquet to an impressive product launch.
Granny Mouse Country House & Spa offers accommodation as quaint as the name of the hotel implies. Old-world charm, embedded in the foundations of the hotel, complements the rural ambiance and modern comforts of the rooms and venues. Granny Mouse offers the perfect conference and team-building venue in the Natal Midlands. With specially designed packages that include team building and the ability to tailor make events combined with the easy access to Durban and Johannesburg makes this a must-use venue.
Lindy Srubis and Megan Buchanan are the brains behind Event Affairs, a distinctive events management company that provides wedding planning, corporate events management and private event planning services throughout South Africa They answered some of our questions on why a well-established wedding venue can double as a conference venue.
What are the similarities between organising a wedding and a conference? Ensuring that the client’s vision and intentions are achieved. When organising a wedding, you need to select the right suppliers that will provide a service or expertise that will, in essence, create the dream wedding that your bridal couple have in mind. Similarly, with corporate events, a client has a goal and vision in mind which when achieved, ensures that the event is a success. Both require an immense attention to detail, value for money and a ‘go-beyond’ attitude and work ethos in order to deliver an immaculate product.
Why should a corporate event planner consider using a traditional wedding venue to host their next function? Often, wedding venues offer different function spaces to your traditional hotel or conference venue which in turn sparks all sorts of new thought processes and creativity. Taking your delegates or employees out of the norm and placing them in an environment with a pretty setting, an exceptional wine-land view, or a rooftop, panoramic view of the CBD in a studio venue make your conference more memorable.
What are the advantages for having a conference at versatile function spaces? People love new and exciting things. A lot of wedding venues are also blank canvases which is a great way to bring in your corporate touch as well as bring in caterers to break the traditional ‘hotel/conference’ venue food. For instance, decorative modern furniture elements, floral designs and creative spaces could really change your conference or corporate event from a ‘standard conference’ to something that is unforgettable. In our eyes, anything is possible – from erecting a marquee tent to creating an ideal venue specifically tailored to the clients’ vision such as re-creating a museum or old building to suit the clients’ requirements.
Practical and functional trumps WOW factor when it comes to both weddings and conferences. Always keep the goal and purpose of the gathering at the forefront of your planning so that views, activities or surroundings don’t cloud the ultimate goal.