Beach Weddings in the Garden Route

Garden Route beaches are known for some of the most beautiful beach wedding locations one can possibly find.  Add to that our perfect local climate of not-too-hot and not-too-cold weather and you have yourself an unbeatable wedding location!   This coastal region that stretches from Tsitsikamma in the East to Stilbaai in the west offers you hundreds of options to have your wedding right on the beach. Feel the sand in between your toes and smell the sea breeze as you say your vows. 

If your dream is to have your ceremony on the beach, but rather to use a wedding venue for your reception, then here are a few of the many beach wedding venues that the Garden Route has to offer:

Featherbed Nature Reserve, Knysna

The Featherbed Nature Reserve is one of the most unique Garden Route beach wedding venues.  Guests are ferried across the Knysna lagoon in the Paddle Cruiser which is as a unique experience as it gets.  Couples have various options for their wedding ceremony – on the cruiser, under the milkwood trees or on the private Featherbed beach.  For the wedding reception, the restaurant can cater for up to 100 guests in the idyllic forest on the unspoilt Western Head of Knysna for an unforgettable wedding under the ancient canopy of Milkwood trees.

Photo by Ruan Redelinghuys Photography

De Vette Mossel, Great Brak

De Vette Mossel is a seafood restaurant that is the perfect wedding venue with such a unique atmosphere and set up.  It offers two ceremony areas – one on the beach itself and one overlooking the ocean that is a bit more secluded from the wind.  The reception area is an enclosed boma with open fires where the bottomless (yes, eat as much as you can!) seafood are cooked.  The bell is rung every time a new course is set out.  Your guests can dance on the stage or barefoot on the sand.  De Vette Mossel can seat up to 500 guests.

Photo by Caroline Pinto Photography

Gourikwa Nature Reserve, Gouritsmond

With the chapel overlooking the ocean, there can’t be many wedding venues that compare to Gourikwa’s offering. The picturesque chapel with a thatch roof and bell tower is a mere 50m from the shore making it ideal for newlywed pictures on the beach.  Within walking distance from the chapel is a new banqueting tent which can accommodate between 180 – 200 people and they supply all tables and chairs as well as a mouth-watering catering.

Photo by Sharon Hodges Photography

Seeplaas, Great Brak

Brides-to-be have a choice of nature’s finest canvases for their wedding ceremonies. You can choose from the terrace, garden or beach chapel for your wedding ceremony. Seeplaas is surrounded by breath-taking scenes that will remind you of your special day.  The reception can either be hosted at the Mont Aime restaurant or under a marquee tent on the lawn. The newly built rooms also offer bridal parties the option to stay on the premises before and after the wedding.  The venue can host between 80 – 100 guests and provide overnight accommodation for up to 12.

Photo by Liezl Volschenk Photography

Stoepsit, Vleesbaai

Stoepsit is one of those flexible, all-in-one Garden Route beach wedding venues.  It offers an in-house wedding planner with services such as the bar, flowers, decor, music and wedding cake included.  It can seat up to 100 People and the ceremony can be held on the nearby Vleesbaai beach.  Find more details on the Stoepsit venue advertisement elsewhere in the magazine. 

Photo by Caroline Pinto Photography

Noetzie Castles on the beach, Knysna

Noetzie is one of the most unique Garden Route beach wedding venues you will ever find.  Imagine your own intimate fairy-tale beach wedding…  in a castle… on the beach!  This private beach is set within a beautifully wild and pristine Nature Reserve.  The castles each offer various wedding and rental options.  Access to and from the castles are tricky with a long dirt road and limit vehicle access.

If you want a beach wedding, but not necessarily want to go the formal wedding venue route, the Garden Route also offers endless locations to choose from.  Here are a few beaches to consider: 

Nature’s Valley

Choosing Nature’s Valley as your beach wedding location means that you are spoiled for choice.  You have the beautiful beach, the river mouth, indigenous forests and the river setting to work with.  This part of the world is not very commercial, and you will enjoy lots of privacy.  Make sure to book accommodation early if you want your wedding in the busy summer times as it does get booked out fast. For a permit to get married at Nature’s Valley, you need to contact the Bitou Municipality at 044 501 3000.

Photo by Ruan Redelinghuys Photography

Keurbooms Beach, Plettenberg Bay

Keurbooms beach is a wonderful location if you are considering a small, intimate wedding.  Access to and from the beach is only through steps, so do keep in mind for the disabled or elderly guests. For a permit to get married at Keurbooms beach, you need to contact the Bitou Municipality at 044 501 3000.

Robberg Beach, Plettenberg Bay

Robberg beach is a beautiful stretch of unkempt nature.  It forms part of the Robberg Nature Reserve which makes for the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos.  Access to the beach is only via steps and a bit of a walk.  This beach does tend to get very hot because of its secluded location.  One thing that makes Robberg beach stand out is that it has the most spectacular sunrises over the ocean!  For a permit to get married at Robberg Beach, you need to contact the Bitou Municipality at 044 501 3000.

Photo by Christelle Rall Photography

Brenton-on-Sea, Knysna

Just as Robberg beach is known for its breathtakingly beautiful sunrises, Brenton-on-Sea beach is known for the most spectacular sunsets.  This beach does have a big draw back in that it is very strenuous to get down to the beach and up again.  It is not disabled friendly and elderly guests will need assistance.  The access also makes it difficult for setting up tents etc…  If you want to have the option for a wedding venue for your reception, Villa Castollini and Brenton Haven hotel are excellent options.  For a permit to get married at Bronton-on-sea, you need to contact the Knysna Municipality at +27 (0)44 302 6300.

Sedgefield beaches

There are three beaches to choose from in and around the slow town of Sedgefield, Myoli beach, Cola Beach and Swartvlei beach.  Sedgefield lends itself towards a more relaxed and informal setting for your wedding with backpackers accommodation like Afrovibe at Myoli beach.  On the other side, you have the rustic feel camping ground at Swartvlei beach.  For a permit to get married at any of these beaches, you need to contact the Sedgefield  Municipality at 044 302 6500.

Wilderness beaches

Wilderness is a quaint little town that is home to artists and the free spirited.  There several options for a beach wedding – Kleinkrantz, the Wilderness beach, Leentjie’s klip beach and Kaaimans beach.  Kleinkrantz is a very secluded community with holiday homes.  Leentjie’s klip beach is a beautiful option if you wan to have the mountain backdrop on the one side and the ocean on the other side.  Kaaimans has the same feel, but add to that the river mouth as well as the spectacular train breach.  Kaaimans is also a very secluded area with lots of privacy.  Access to Kaaimans is very hard with a long strenuous walk.  There are several backpackers and hotels in Wilderness that offers a variety of reception venues – Wilderness hotel, The Views boutique hotel and the Beach house backpackers are some of these.  For a permit to get married at any of these beaches, you need to contact the George Municipality at 044 801 9111.

Photo by Christelle Rall Photography

Glentana & Great Brak Beaches

These two interlinking stretches of beach are just beautiful!  It plays host to some of the most spectacular sunsets over the ocean.  Beach access is very good with none or only a few steps.  The only draw back here is that because it is a long stretch of beach, the wind tends to blow all year round.  For a permit to get married at any of these beaches, you need to contact the Mossel Bay Municipality at 044 606 5000.

Mossel Bay beaches

Klein Brak, Hartenbos, Diaz, Die Bakke, Santos and the Point are the most popular beaches in Mossel Bay.  Each one of these beaches has their own appeal and beautiful natural setting.  Santos and Diaz Beaches has the advantage though to offer you a reception venue that is basically on the beach itself with the Jackal on the beach restaurant at Santos and the Diaz hotel at Diaz Beach.  For a permit to get married at any of these beaches, you need to contact the Mossel Bay Municipality at 044 606 5000.

West side beaches

On the western side of the Garden Route shoreline, you will find the following small beach towns:  Dana Bay, Vlees Bay, Gouritz, Stilbay, Jongensfontein and Witsand.  Each one of these towns has their own charm and beauty.  There are plenty of holiday accommodation for your guests available.  The downside is that you will have to get your service providers for tents, catering etc… from the near by bigger towns such as Riversdale, Albertina and Swellendam.  There are however a few beautiful wedding venues along this stretch of coastline that offers all your needs in house, such as Stoepsit, Gourikwa reserve and Kleinbergskloof.  The other big downfall is that most of these towns are governed by home-owners associations that could make your permit application more complicated.  For a permit to get married at any of these beaches, you need to contact the Hessequa Municipality at +27 (0)28 713 8000.

Getting married to the love of your life on a warm beach, listening to the waves crashing on the shore is a dream many people have, and it is a stunning one too.  Although, it does not have to be a dream, and can be reality, especially in The Garden Route with all the above-mentioned options, its fabulous beaches and shorelines!