Pretoria may not have the sea or a mountain, but it certainly has many options to offer the would-be bride and groom. Should one not want to head out to the real wilderness or bushveld north of the city, various locations emulate the atmosphere of the bush in the city where you and your guests can sit high up on a hill overlooking the green canopy of suburbia and gaze at the stars. Our list features these great gems plus bustling inner-city options that will offer a solution for any couple.
Situated in the most pristine maintained Yadah castle, this venue begs to be used for a wedding. A’la Turka features real Turkish fig and palm trees, lookout towers and various romantic nooks and crannies, making it perfect for your wedding day. The restaurant can host both the ceremony and the reception – up to 250 people can be seated in the Constantinople lounge and Babylon terrace, which are adjacent to one another. The entire venue can seat 400 guests in various private venues. Tables for up to 60 guests can be set up in the garden and you’ll have the option of different seating arrangements, including the ever-popular daybeds and low Turkish benches. The food is a fusion of Turkish, Lebanese and Greek cuisine, with meze starters that may include a cacik of yoghurt, cucumber and a hint of garlic; kısır of bulgur wheat, tomatoes, fresh mint, fresh parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika and green pepper; and Lebanese hummus bi tahini, a chickpea and sesame-seed purée blended with lemon juice and olive oil. For a main course, adana kebabı – grilled ground beef and lamb blended with herbs and spices – should satisfy even the fussiest meat-eater.
If you want a bushveld wedding right in the middle of Pretoria, head to Blue Crane and choose from the Blue Crane Restaurant and Bar, the Boma and the Waterfront Deck. The Boma features cocktail tables and wine barrels, a small dance floor area, a dishing-up area, and a private cash bar and bartender. The Waterfront Deck can seat up to 100 people and offers a nice corner that can be turned into a photo booth, with couches and coffee tables. They charge an exclusive-use venue hire fee of R12 500, and you can decide between numerous buffet options such as a braai and spit-braai buffet menu, canapé menu and the standard buffet menu. There’s also a set menu for R250 per person, which features highlights like flame-grilled baby chicken with peri-peri or lemon butter, grilled line fish with a lemon-caper butter, or grilled sirloin with a red wine reduction. They’re extremely accommodating and will be happy to adapt menus according to the wedding party’s needs.
Have a smart, intimate restaurant-style wedding at this stalwart restaurant, or opt for the sizeable areas outside that can be covered in marquee tents. The rooftop is the most ideal for receptions, where the number of guests will dictate the style of the event – the rooftop with its Bedouin tent can accommodate 80 people for R10 000, while the venue hire fee for the entire restaurant is R18 000. Breakfast venue hire (with a minimum of 20 guests) is R2 000 and Saturday lunch venue hire (with a minimum of 15 guests) is also R2 000. R392 gets each guest a delicious three-course set menu with two options of starters, mains and dessert. Highlights include champagne jelly, kingklip fillet, chocolate fondant and smoked salmon with butter sauce.
For those who like to be on trend, La Vie Lente in Pretoria East is totally geared for any style of wedding. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, La Vie Lente serves modern bistro food in a shabby chic environment that can be done up to meet any bride’s wildest imaginings. A venue hire fee of R5 500 will guarantee exclusive use of the venue from 5pm to midnight for 50 to 70 people, while an amount of R7 000 will secure the venue for 70 to 120 people. There’s also an additional minimum spend of R300 per person for food. A 15% service fee is charged for waitering staff (overtime is charged extra). The restaurant caters for a minimum of 50 guests and décor can be done by an external party of your choice, or they can provide you with an additional quote. Starter options include items such as honey-glazed pork belly squares with an apple-and-fennel salad. For mains, choose between items like green vegetable risotto with creamy basil pesto or salmon-and-dill fishcake with crème fraiche and egg noodles. There are also harvest tables and dessert tables.
Situated at the serene Irene Country Lodge, this restaurant offers many varied options – depending on the number of guests – to prospective couples. Although Irene has several stone churches dotted throughout the village, Irene Country Lodge also offers various venues on the premises. Weddings on the rolling lawns overlooking the large pond and the neighbouring Irene Dairy Farm remain eminently popular. After guests have a drink at the River Bar, they can tuck into various buffet options. The Afrofusion buffet (for R280 per person) features dishes such as bobotie wontons; Malay chicken curry with coconut milk; and rare roast beef with cinnamon pumpkin. The Saturday Night Live buffet (for R295 per person) is served from cooking stations manned by various chefs, while the resident pianist performs her sultry ‘Norah Jones and company’. The Sunday lunch buffet (for R275 per person) features a variety of starters; traditional carvery favourites such as rare roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and osso bucco; and an assortment of salads and decadent desserts. The venue hire fee is dependent on the number of guests and the menu.
The Oriental Palace is a fun venue to host a wedding in dramatic Indian style. If you relish the inner-city lifestyle – with the sound of honking taxis faintly in the background – then this is the perfect venue for you. There’s ample parking by way of a ramp into the belly of the building. They can seat up to 500 people and will happily design a menu around your budget. The restaurant has plush drapery, and various other rooms that can be set up for the ceremony and the reception. Start with platters containing mutton samosas, beef seekh kebabs and a Greek style salad. Mains can either be plated or buffet, and could include lamb karahi gosht, butter chicken, a vegetable curry and pilau with a mix of naan breads. Do note that no alcohol is served.
Situated in the Wolwespruit conservation area, this is a delightful addition to the Pretoria outdoor scene. Sitting on the stoep of the large barn-like structure overlooking sugar-bush Proteas, you could easily forget that you’re in the city. They’ll happily close the restaurant for a wedding, providing the wedding budget matches their usual turnover for the day. They can accommodate a maximum of 200 people (though this will mean that dancing, lounge or bar areas may not be under cover). The menu options include carpaccio with parmesan, rocket, spring onions and balsamic for starters; followed by rib-eye on the bone as a main; and a delicious cheese board with ciabatta, chicken liver pâté, brie, gorgonzola, and an olive-and-fig preserve for dessert.
Safari Restaurant is centrally located in the east of Pretoria with beautifully maintained gardens. They offer an array of wedding menus, ranging from breakfast or brunch to lamb on the spit, potjiekos, braai, platters or the traditional buffet. The potjiekos menu costs between R360 and R385 per person (chicken, beef or lamb) for a minimum number of 40 guests and includes bread with butter and preserves, seasonal salads, rice or pap and a choice of dessert. You can also create your own menu from a staggering selection of items (some quite retro, such as a tuna pancake starter) or Mexican chilli bean salad, paptert, venison pie, gem squash with sweetcorn and a hot fudge pudding. They have a chapel that can accommodate 200 guests and costs R4 000 to hire, while venues such as the Kudu, Waterbok, Olifant and many others can accommodate any number of guests, with venue hire fees that range from R1 400 for the Grotto to R8 500 for the Waterbok.
With sprawling gardens, a covered veranda and musical accompaniment, this restaurant on the outskirts of town makes for the ideal wedding venue. Tin Roof Café is rustic with lots of charm and offers modern contemporary food with a strong emphasis on local ingredients and clean flavours. The venue hire fee is R12 800 and menus range from around R395 per person, with a minimum of 80 guests required to book the entire venue. As for the food, chef Pellie Grobler will happily attend to any requests.
Have we missed a fantastic restaurant in Pretoria that hosts weddings? Let us know in the comments section below.