The Cowshed

Two Friday’s ago my usual workspace view was replaced by blazing grassy farmland and distant tumbling hills of Lydenburg. One of my closest friends hosted her merry nuptials at The Cowshed and I had the honour of creating her floral features.

The Cowshed by Lad&Lass Photography

The Cowshed by Lad&Lass Photography

We arrived late morning the day before the wedding to get stuck into work early and were greeted by the friendly coordinators Ann and Diana who were busy preparing the famous shed. It was a dry, hot day but Tammy the bartender kept us (and the flowers!) going with jugs of iced water.

Bride and groom with nguni cattle by Lad&Lass Photography

Bride and groom with nguni cattle by Lad&Lass Photography

If you’re looking for a farm style wedding that’s out of the Gauteng cities, (but not impossibly far) the Cowshed is one of your best options. The surrounding landscapes are magnificent and the venue is simple but filled with charm and personality. The shed, where the reception is held is the perfect rustic canvas for brides to continue with farm-style decor or glam it up with modern chic styling.  Earlier in the year, the construction of an open-sided chapel was completed. The style of the chapel matches perfectly with rust red of the corrugated iron shed and has an unspoilt view onto the mountains.

Exterior of the cowshed and new chapel. Photos by The Cowshed

Exterior of the cowshed and new chapel. Photos by The Cowshed

The Cowshed_Aerial view. Photo by Laurence Seberini

The Cowshed Aerial view. Photo by Laurence Seberini

My favourite aspect of the venue is the accommodation set-up. Hosting a wedding out of town allows for making a weekend out of the event. The farm has three main accommodation houses – perfect to set-up the groom and his entourage in one house and the bride and her crew in another. The houses have fully equipped kitchens, lounge and dining areas as well as large patios and boma areas. You have the option of doing your own catering for your stay so get the groomsmen stuck into braai-ing the night before and the favourite aunties to cook up a breakfast the next morning in the farm-style kitchen. My husband and I stayed in the boarding house with the bride and her family – chats at the breakfast table and being around while the bride had her make-up done on the patio really added to our memory of the wedding.

Cowshed Accommodation, Photos by Terry Parenzee

Cowshed Accommodation. Photos by Terry Parenzee

Keep a look out for my follow up post with some professional photos of the wedding and the beautiful flowers we did for the day!

Friday’s Secret: Choosing a venue

Image: Copyright Rosemary Hill

When planning a wedding, most brides start here – looking for a venue. Rightly so as this is one of the most important decisions you’ll make and will set the tone for all the decisions to follow.

I’m busy doing stationery for a lovely bride who introduced me to Rosemary Hill. She’s getting married there in July and I have to admit, I have bride envy! Rosemary Hill is a family owned farm situated just 10 minutes from Pretoria East.

Apart from hosting weddings, it has been a practicing organic farm for 35 years. This fact alone excites me as you know you’re going to be surrounded by natural, established beauty. There’s also something endearing about a venue that isn’t just a conference centre or a set-up specifically for weddings but something that exists and enriches people’s lives without the weekend ceremonies. The farm produces African Potato, Sutherlandia, Rosemary, Lavender, Artemisia, Lippia, Spearmint, Eucalyptus and various other plants from which they distill essential oils.  There’s even a nursery selling a variety of shrubs, herbs, flowers and trees.

My absolute favourite feature of this venue is the maze. The maze is 80 metres in diameter and is made up of 2154 trees, herbs and shrubs! This serves as a most incredible and unique setting for a wedding ceremony. The guests can all be seated in the centre of the maze and the bride can make her way down the pathways with her dad in hand.

Image: Copyright Rosemary Hill

Having featured this lovely venue, I’d like to add what today’s secret actually is. When selecting a venue for your wedding, look past all the well-known venues that need to be booked two years in advance. Because these venues host so many weddings (sometimes up to 5 a week) – there’s a certain lack of intimacy and personalized service.

So my advice is to look for the smaller, lesser known venues. Often a place like Rosemary Hill that doesn’t only do functions will do fewer weddings in a week as they have other forms of sustainability. Look for the venues that are family owned and run with love rather than like a business with the end goal of monetary gain. These are the places that are likely to be willing to assist you in creating your dream wedding without the rules and restrictions of the more commercial venues. You are also likely to find that these are the venues that are a lot more affordable yet with triple the quality!

If you’d like to visit Rosemary Hill, make a booking for High Tea on a Sunday. Take your mom and bff and relax, take in the atmosphere and sample some of their delicious food. The prefect way to get to know a venue!

Wedding Venues: Imperfect Perfection

The location of your wedding sets the tone for all other aspects of the day – your theme, colours, vibe, food, attire. There’s a lot riding on this decision so be wise and perceptive. I began my search for our wedding venue even before we got engaged – I’m in the industry so it’s not that crazy! I didn’t visit many as I’d fallen in love with the setting of an old friend’s wedding photos on facebook. The appointment I made at Imperfect Perfection was actually only the day after I got engaged!

If you’re tired of the same ol’ venues with faux Tuscan architecture and wrought iron everything then Imperfect Perfection in Pretoria could be right for you. I have an artistic soul and mind and this venue filled every thread of canvas I was looking for. Noleen, owner and planner at Imperfect Perfection comes from a ballet background so has used her knowledge of set décor to bring the place to life. The venue is off-beat and rustic which is somehow so much more homely and heart-warming than great expanding halls of marble.

The contact I have had with the owners has been wonderful. They are willing to assist you in creating your vision rather than limiting you with the ‘rules and policies’. They also seem to be very hands-on when it comes to the day and days before, with full control and co-ordination on the day. Looking at these photos gives me such a chill of excitement for my upcoming day!

Photo Credits:

Carolien and Ben Photography

Jaco Dreyer Photography

Miracles Photography