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PET-FRIENDLY WEDDINGS

December 01, 2017
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Now that you’ve taken your dog on holiday, to restaurants and even to a tasting at a wine farm, you cannot possibly exclude him or her from your wedding. The only problem is, knowing which venues will allow this and what additional planning is required. Having a dog at a wedding is a somewhat unusual but not totally unheard of in South Africa and several pet-friendly readers have written to tell us about their experiences. Others have indicated that they are thinking of going this route and have thus requested that we include pet-friendly wedding venues, so we have done just that. Follow our tips to ensure your special day doesn’t ‘go to the dogs’ and is stress-free.

TIPS FOR A PET-FRIENDLY WEDDING

1. INCLUDE YOUR DOG IN THE CEREMONY
You can include your pet as part of the wedding party, such as a ring bearer or ‘bridesmaid’. But this is only going to work with calm, sociable and well-trained dogs. You absolutely must rehearse this beforehand.

2. USE PET-FRIENDLY AND ANIMAL AWARE SERVICE PROVIDERS
When planning your wedding, you will soon realize that there are dozens of caterers, photographers, florists and other service providers out there who want your business. However, not all of them will understand that you want to include your dog in proceedings and only a few will make special provision for your beloved pet. Contact us at Pet-friendly SA for a referral from our network for a list of ‘animal aware’ service providers. You could even order a wedding cake that is safe for dogs to eat or you can give guest quirky pet-themed gifts and goodies to take home as mementos.

3. STYLE YOUR PET BUT DON’T GO OVERBOARD
Keep your dog’s outfit basic – a fancy collar should do the trick. Aquile’s Dog Jewelry have the doggie bling needed to brighten up this special occasion.

4. BE AWARE OF GUESTS WHO DON’T APPRECIATE DOGS
Yes, they exist and they may even be related to you, so bear them in mind when making plans to include your dog in your wedding. Also, remember guests with allergies. Try to seat these people away from where your dog and pet-sitter will hang out.

5. FIND A PET SITTER
No matter how much you love your dog there are many things and people that will require your attention on your wedding day, so ask a friend or family member beforehand to look after your dog on the day. Alternatively, you could hire a professional pet-sitter to do so instead.

6. SET UP A SUITABLE RESTING SPACE FOR YOUR DOG
A wedding is a long event that is tiring for dogs. Make sure that you organise a place for your dog to rest when they need to. Take a pet bed or mattress along for this purpose. Arrange for the pet-sitter to transport him or her back to your home or to your pet-friendly guesthouse at a set time – there’s only so much wedding a dog can take.

7. SET UP AN ENCLOSURE
If you have more than one dog or plan on inviting any guests with pets, set up an enclosed pet area or dog crèche at the wedding reception, such as a small fenced-in dog run (if the event is outside). If you do this, you must definitely hire a pet-sitter or animal behaviorist to keep control. 

PET-FRIENDLY WEDDING VENUES
WESTERN CAPE

MALMESBURY / SWARTLAND

MAGICAL COUNTRY WEDDINGS
If you are looking to marry in the country somewhere simple, authentic and beautiful, Fynbos Estate is your place. We provide a flow of space for happy and relaxed celebrations while committed to quality in every aspect of the event. With many lovely farm spaces to use, you can marry in the garden or old cellar, then have post-ceremony eats and drinks in the farmhouse gardens, before finally moving to the Pavilion, the Cellar or De Perdestal for your reception. And everywhere you look there are gardens, vineyards, olive groves and the beautiful backdrop of the mountain nature reserve.

We limit the number of weddings we host, and never host more than one wedding at a time, so each celebration is personal and carefully coordinates with attention to detail. In keeping with the spirit of the farm, the food and wine – catered according to your wishes - are delicious!Best of all, Fynbos is a perfect location for an extended wedding. Guests can be together in a relaxed way for a longer period - eating delicious food, drinking outstanding wine, moving between various lovely spaces.

STELLENBOSCH

The beautiful, historical wine estate allows dogs as long as they are leashed and under control. Chat to them about including your dog in your wedding if you are considering using the estate as a venue. They also offer horse-drawn carriage rides. Check their website for details.

This family-run farm is the perfect venue for a wedding.

KWAZULU-NATAL

DURBAN

HIGHFIELD HOUSE - HILLARY
They are pet-friendly! All catering is done in-house.

VAN REENEN

For the best little country wedding… Situated halfway between Johannesburg and Durban you will find Llandaff Oratory known as the Little Church.  
This little church is the smallest consecrated catholic church in the southern hemisphere. Other than Catholic weddings which are usually a big affair, this little church is happy to marry anybody, anytime day or night. We are the Vegas of chapels. No matter what your denomination we will arrange your wedding. Nearby Llandaff Cliffside House can accommodate the wedding party of up to 8 people it makes a great post-wedding venue/party location. We are connected to various accommodation options in the village of Van Reenen and can accommodate larger groups if you book in advance.

Come get Married or Re-Married with us here in the Berg.Information on Booking the Church, Accommodation, Wedding Venue and Catering Options.

GAUTENG

JOHANNESBURG

The meaning of Casalinga is that’s it's an extension of our home and this vision truly has been the foundation of our success. All of us at Casalinga strive to provide the finest Italian contemporary cuisine from fresh natural ingredients free of preservatives and artificial substances. Our vegetables and herbs are organically grown abundantly on our beautiful farm. 

Over the last 23 years, we strive to offer personal service, attention to detail and delectable cuisine to guarantee an unforgettable experience. We specialize and excel in weddings, birthdays, corporate events and product launches to name a few. No event is too big or small. According to them, “Yes, we have had weddings with their dogs being the “bridesmaids”, etc.  I would like to suggest that she comes to view the venue”.

EVERWOOD WEDDINGS (MULDERSDRIFT)
They can help with everything - venue hire, chapel hire, food, welcoming drinks, flowers and decorations but it excludes the cake and DJ.  Please visit their FB page - they have uploaded hundreds of beautiful photos taken at Everwood. They offer a discount to pet friendly Travel Club members who are ‘brides to be.’ Just let us know beforehand if you plan to make use of their venue and services and we will arrange this for you!

MRS SIPPI  (JOHANNESBURG)
This pet friendly restaurant also does functions.  However, bear in mind that they are a functioning restaurant that is open to customers from 09:00- 18:00.  So, they can only do private functions after hours. There is an inside (100 pax) and outside space (150 pax) and a Gazebo (60pax) area. 

This is the perfect venue for country weddings. According to the, “We do also allow pets at the hotel if they are small and well behaved. We have outdoor eating facilities. Pets are not allowed in the restaurant though.”

WALKHAVEN DOG PARK (JOHANNESBURG)
This well known Dog Park has hosted several weddings. However the bridal couple must accept that Walkhaven is a dog-park which is always open to the public and there will always be other dogs/people around the venue.  The venue Lapamanzi is available to hire. They also offer catering etc on request.  

PRETORIA

When asked if a pet friendly reader could include her dog in a wedding at Lungile, they answered, “Hi Sharon, yes of course, she is most welcome.” However the venue can only accommodate 50 people (max). It operates on a Do-it-yourself, self-catering basis. According to them, “Our concept, ideally allows you, to plan and personalize your event, according to your budget.”

They tailor-make packages to suit your taste and budget. And, best of all, they are pet friendly!They offer discount to pet friendly Travel Club members – just let us know beforehand if you plan to make use of their venue and services and we will arrange this for you!

VAN LOVEREN FARM - SPECIAL OFFER
As a Date Night SA fan you qualify for a 15-20%* discount on all wine bought for your wedding directly from the Van Loveren farm (15% if they need to courier the wine, 20% if you collect). Simply show them this post, as well as your wedding invitation and their friendly team will assist. To find out more please email Reino at wineclub@vanloveren.co.za or phone 023 615 1505. Thank you for choosing Van Loveren Family Vineyards to celebrate your special day! 

FREE WEDDING GUIDE
At Date Night Ideas, our crew of hopeless romantics get collectively weak at the knees when you mention the word ‘wedding’. After all, is there anything more gloriously romantic than a special occasion where two people vow to have each other’s backs for the rest of their lives? From rustic barn weddings and swanky shindigs in top-dollar hotels, to beachside bashes and destination occasions, weddings come in many shapes and sizes. In this year’s DNI Wedding Edition, we share some of our favourite venues, service providers and offer a bit of helpful advice in the lead-up to the big day.

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