View Opperman’s works at the expanded gallery until 30 August
It’s always a nice day for a white wedding at Kleinevalleij
Stephanie Katz gives the dish on this top Wellington Winelands wedding venue
I never imagined myself as the big white wedding sort.
Even from a young age, while other kids were drinking Disney’s ‘and then they kissed and lived happily ever after’ Kool-Aid and playing ‘marriage, marriage’, I was soaking up Roald Dahl tales and demanding that my primary school boyfriend pay me R50 a day to keep ‘going out’.
So when I did meet the love of my life at the ripe age of 25, five years down the line accepting an emotional engagement proposal, it was initially a confusing and harrowing experience stomaching the idea of celebration I wasn’t sure I wanted.
For starters, there were a seemingly infinite amount of questions that needed answering (and fast): how many people did we want at the wedding, when did we want to get married, where did we want to get married, did we want an indoor or outdoor wedding, how much could we spend, how much should we spend and, the kicker, did we even want a wedding?
But when we walked into Wellington’s Kleinevalleij, having thrown caution to the wind and set out on a venue hunt without giving too much thought to any actual practicalities, everything changed.
Perched just above the oft forgotten Cape Winelands region’s incredibly beautiful Bovlei Valley and tucked away at the foot of the ever-dramatic Bainskloof Pass, the idyllic estate reduced me to starry-eyed teenager high on rom-coms and the crescendo of ‘Here Comes the Bride’.
Most striking? The setting. Rolling green terraced lawns cascade down to meet a backdrop of hulking mountains and sprawling vineyards, no evidence of man nor monument marring the view.
At the top of the grassy stairway of sort, a restored and modernised Victorian manor with a spacious stoep gazes out over bushy rose beds at the vista below. Bathed in white both inside and outside, this blank canvas acts as the primary indoor reception venue for medium to larger weddings (80 – 200); the scenic tract of land outside providing an obvious alternative for those, like me, taken with the idea of an outdoor ceremony under the light of the African stars.
The elegant but neutral space not only allows the breathtaking scenery the spotlight it deserves, but it provides couples with carte blanche to imbue their special day with the look and feel they imagine – an element that won me over immediately.
And as it turns out, the team behind Kleinevalleij’s barrage of functions is just as versatile and accommodating as is the estate itself.
Want your wedding on a Wednesday? No problem. Keen to have the kitchen team reproduce that dish that your partner slaved over on your first dinner date. It’s cool. Or, in our case, dead set on an open-air dance floor and rainbow-coloured confetti? They’ll make it happen.
In fact, the good folks responsible for the estate’s functions will even plan your wedding if you’re not up for the Herculean task of taking it on yourself, and as they have a close partnership with Goeters décor and furniture hire company, you’re entitled to a discount on rates if you rent chairs, tables, Persian carpets or whatever it is that you need to celebrate in style (we opted for a giant electric ‘W’) from the other-side-of-normal service provider.
Even once we’d signed on the dotted line and paid our initial venue deposit, the level of service we received never faltered. In fact, as the months sped past, the big day looming nearer and nearer on the calendar - the levels of stress climbing exponentially, Kleinevalleij’s staff only seemed to get more organised, more professional and more concerned with our personal level of happiness (thank god somebody was).
They put us at ease when we thought ‘ease’ had been removed from our vocabulary, and they offered the right kind of guidance when it was clear we needed it – even arranging a generator ahead of time to counter Eskom’s little load shedding project.
So when the time finally came for us to get hitched, our fairy-tale big white wedding went off without, well, a hitch – except of course for that the fact that I didn’t wear white at all.
Tip: Kleinevalleij has a number of on-site guest cottages available for rent for those staying overnight at weddings, and they also can transform their funky contemporary Festa Restaurant into a festive hall for more intimate celebrations (20 – 100).
The Bill: Wedding packages vary depending on a number of elements, but in general, costs associated with the venue are mid-level to expensive.
*Bread board photograph compliments of Duane Smith
Interested in learning more about the funky on-site eatery for a more intimate celebration? Read our review of Festa Restaurant at Kleinevalleij.
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