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A Fairy-tale COVID-19 Wedding at Marataba

Source: MORE Family Collection Words: Nerine Madden, General Manager of Marataba Luxury Lodges Images: Nerine Madden & Dook Photography

Any wedding you plan or attend now will be quite different to one held before COVID-19 hit. Weddings tick all the risk boxes in the world of gatherings for the transmission of the Coronavirus. This means that couples have more many more factors to consider when they start to plan their big day.

The bride and groom had initially booked for their wedding to be in the Cape Winelands, but COVID-19 abruptly cut their plans short. Shortly after inter-provincial travel restrictions were lifted, they visited Marataba and just fell in love with the beautiful lodges and reserve! 

They had a specific vision for what they wanted their wedding day to look like, but after their visit to Marataba and a few brain-storming sessions with the Marataba team, the idea of a smaller and more intimate wedding started to look more tempting. And so their nuptial plans were once again set in motion!

The super fun and down-to-earth couple and their closest family and friends enjoyed a truly magical weekend. On the first afternoon of their trip, they gathered on the lawn for lunch, followed by the start of festivities next to the Matlabas River, where Marataba’s Miss Mara Safari boat is moored.

The kitchen crew prepared delicious snacks and treats for a picnic-style set up, along with bubbly and all the garnishes that one might wish to add to a G&T, a traditional sunset drink of choice. Guests took turns venturing out onto the water on Miss Mara, enjoying the reserve from a different perspective. The group returned to the lodge for a Boma dinner, a favourite dining experience under the stars next to the fire pits, big barbecues, proudly South African trimmings and, great company.

Early on, the team at the lodge changed the location of the ceremony due to gloomy weather, but the big day came together perfectly. The main area of Marataba Safari Lodge was transformed into an idyllic and beautiful reception venue. Rain stayed away, and guests gathered on the lawn for pictures, canapés and drinks while the bridal party headed out into the bush for a quick photoshoot.

Guests settled in, speeches were made, jokes were cracked and tears glistened. Waiters topped up drinks and the incredible field guides assisted management and the kitchen team by serving a plated dinner (COVID friendly). This perfect day ended with dancing, a dessert table and a satellite bar out on the lawn.

The Lodge took great care to ensure that guests were kept safe. They adhere to strict safety COVID-19 protocols, checking temperatures daily – not just for the staff, but all guests as well. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the lodge, as well as in game drive vehicles and every Luxury Tent and Eco-Suite.

Inevitably, big wedding celebrations lost to the Coronavirus will be disappointing, but plans don’t need to be entirely halted as considering a smaller alternative out in the wild could definitely be a game changer. One thing we can say with absolute certainty is that you will never regret your decision.

In the future, stories of couples who married during the Coronavirus-era will be the stuff of family legend and of toasts at anniversary parties. We hope you’ll come back to share them with us!