You’re getting married? Congratulations from the team at YOUR WEDDING PLANNER, and welcome to the fifth edition of this essential guide to all things wedding-related in the beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal.

We’re hard pressed to think of a more perfect wedding destination than our magnificent and multicultural Zulu Kingdom, spanning a diverse landscape of golden beaches, game reserves, rolling green hills and mountain peaks. Brides can choose from city weddings at top hotels and guest houses in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, beach weddings alongside the warm Indian Ocean, country-style receptions in the Midlands and Drakensberg mountains, and safari-type weddings deep in the African bush. As these pages unfold with images of spectacular locations, weddings and bridal couples, we hope that you’ll find something to spark your imagination and inspire a wedding ceremony and reception that’s tailor-made just for you!

As soon as you and your partner have sealed your engagement, consider the bigger picture and start asking yourselves some important questions. You already know who your special someone is, but have you thought about the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of your big day?

Allow yourself to dream a little, creating an image of your fantasy wedding in your head. What excites you and your partner? Big and bold or cosy and intimate? Glitzy and glamorous or simple and eco-friendly? Urban chic or flowery and romantic? Get some inspiration on themes and décor.

When will you say ‘I do’? Think about the season and your wedding theme, as well as practical considerations such as taking time off work and whether your chosen date is on a long weekend or during the holidays: some venues and service providers book up well in advance and may be more expensive at those times.

Where is the perfect place for your wedding celebrations? Town or country? Near or far? Indoor or al fresco? From boutique hotels and 5-star accommodation in the city to bushveld locations, sugar plantations, coastal resorts and mountain manors, we’ve got the best locations in the province covered in our ‘Venues’ guide.

How will you be getting married? Church wedding or civil ceremony? What are the legal requirements? Will you be marrying under the Marriage Act, Customary Marriages Act or Civil Union Act? South African marriages are legally valid in the vast majority of countries, making it even easier for overseas brides and grooms to get married here. Consult the section on ‘Legal Advice’.

Finally, how do you work out a timeline and make sure everything runs according to plan? When should you start booking service providers and scheduling appointments? Get the lowdown in our monthly to-do list. We’ve also included a helpful budget planner.