Did you know?
On her wedding day, a traditional Sotho brides wears a 'dintepa', a dress made from a cow’s hide
A wedding in the Free State holds promise of vast skies, golden fields and warm hospitality as you say 'I do' in one of the province's many wedding venues. The Free State is largely a rural province, so Free State weddings can take place on a country estate, in a scenic nature reserve or in one of the picturesque towns that dot the province’s landscape.
For a stress-free wedding, venues like De Oude Kraal Country Estate and Spa, close to Bloemfontein, offer an excellent combination of country charm, gourmet catering and luxurious accommodation. The popular Caledon Gardens Country Lodge is another country favourite, set amongst the province’s sandstone mountains, while Lavender Hill Country Estate has the dramatic Maluti Mountains as a backdrop and, a chapel that looks over the Saulspoort Dam.
Like most Free State venues, these all serve up a healthy dose of fresh air, fresh produce and perfect views, often in an all-inclusive package.
Small Free State towns like Rosendal, Clarens and Bethlehem also offer picturesque settings in which to get married, with their historic churches and small-town hospitality. In the towns of Fouriesburg and Ficksburg, you can get married on a working farm, with a backdrop of cherry blossoms from their famous orchards in the spring. The banks of the meandering Vaal River are also dotted with wedding venues, many of which centre around the town of Parys.
The Free State also has a number of nature reserves and wilderness areas that make beautiful wedding venues. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park provides spectacular scenery just a short distance from the town of Clarens, while the four-star De Stijl Gariep Hotel overlooks the large and impressive Gariep Dam.
Bloemfontein, the province’s capital, has a number of sophisticated and historic wedding venues to choose from. These Free State wedding venues in this provincial hub include the Orchid House, a modern nursery full of colourful and rare orchids, the stately Oliewenhuis Art Gallery and the sprawling botanical gardens, as well as hotels like the Hobbit Boutique Hotel. The city’s twin-spire Dutch Reformed Church and Anglican cathedral are both beautiful, historic venues where you can get married, and organise a reception close by.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Free State Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)51 411 4300
How to get here
Most Free State wedding venues are easily accessible by road. Bloemfontein is home to the province’s largest commercial airport.
Best time to visit
The Free State has a hot climate with summer rains (November to February) and dry, chilly winters (May to August).
Around the area
The Free State’s attractions include adventure sports, rich cultural heritage, the Vredefort Dome (a massive meteorite impact site), and the spectacular Golden Gate Highlands National Park, among others.
What will it cost
South Africa's favourable exchange rate means weddings in the country offer good value for money.
Length of stay
Weddings and honeymoons in South Africa offer great opportunities to turn your special day into a holiday for you and your guests.
Look out for annual bridal fairs and expos around the country.