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Getting married on Robben Island

by | Mar 9, 2017 | 22 comments

The prevailing South Easterly wind held its breath on Valentine’s Day morning of Tuesday 14 Feb 2017,as the 18 lucky couples selected to participate in the annual Robben Island Mass Wedding ceremony set off across Table Bay aboard the Sikhululekile – we are free.

Against the backdrop of Table Mountain lace, veils and wedding dresses billowed in the breeze as the excited brides and their husbands-to-be made their way towards one of South Africa’s most sacred land marks to take their wedding vows and celebrate one of the most special days of their lives.

Gold balloons, ribbons and popping flashes from the barrage of media welcomed the couples to the island.

After the official chapel ceremonies presided over by Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaga, the newly-weds, families, dignitaries from the Department of Home Affairs, the National Department of Tourism and Robben Island management were treated like celebrities, loving their big moment on the “Oscar-style” red carpets leading up to the historic Manor House towards the reception. A sumptuous lunch awaited guests within the stretch marquee which had been decorated simply but effectively in white and gold, with bunting flags, gold chairs and trees, frosted ice buckets and strings of twinkling fairy lights.

As there are no facilities on Robben Island,every single item from the food and drink to the décor, the hundred metres of red carpet, ice and even the 260-seater marquee, tables and chairs had all been transported across from Cape Town over the preceding days in quite a feat of logistics and planning. Luckily nothing was forgotten and the day went off without a hitch.

This did not seem to faze the couples, who took to arranging the hairstyles, accessories, diamante tiaras and bouquets suitable for an early morning cruise across Table Bay in their stride. Most of the brides elected to wear classic white. Many themed their retinues and partners with red accessories and bouquets to coincide with Valentine’s Day, some looked like the ultimate hipsters with stylish tattoos, sock free turn-up trousers and bow-ties for the guys, while one or two of the couples and many of the guests looked stunning in more traditional African style. Others went the complete individual route opting for romantic pastel lilac or classic nautical navy, red and white.

Corks popped and chilled sparkling grape juice,provided by wholly woman-owned BEE sponsor Zari Sparkling Grape was served from frosted ice buckets. Non-alcoholic bubbly is a growing trend for multi-cultural events where serving alcohol may not be appropriate, because it still allows people to indulge in the age-old rituals of popping corks, making toasts or as mocktail mixes which provide a satisfying sense of occasion to any celebration. Some couples said they were going to keep the corks from their bottles as souvenirs of their special day.In the case of the Robben Island wedding reception, the gold foiled bottles doubled as table décor and the perfect refreshment for a hot summer’s wedding day.

No wedding is complete without a cake cutting ceremony and after the all the toasts to the health of the couples had been made,the sumptuous red velvet heart-shaped cake donated by PnP was ceremoniously carried in.

It was heartwarming to see how the event, which annually attracts global media attention, transformed one of South Africa’s most emotionally charged locations into the ultimate romantic rendez-vous destination.

Words: Terry Levin

Images: Carmen Visser

In your comments, please refrain from using offensive language and unnecessary criticism. If you have to be critical, remember – it must be constructive.

22 Comments

  1. Takalani

    Good day

    May you please share details on how to get married at robin island for February 2020. Thank you

    Reply
  2. Pierre

    Hi, i just want to find out if you are doing thr weddings in 2019 again? Thank you in advance

    Reply
  3. Hanicka Andrews

    Can I do a wedding there please inform

    Reply
    • Gina.Borthwick

      Hi. Apparently they are not doing the group wedding again anytime soon. You would have to contact them directly to find out about weddings. Thanks

      Reply
  4. Gina.Borthwick

    In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

    Reply
  5. Maxine

    Please send me details on how to apply to get married on roben island 8 october 2018

    Reply
    • Gina.Borthwick

      In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

      Reply
  6. Michelle

    Where can I apply for the 2018 valentine weddings at Robben Island please?

    Reply
    • Gina.Borthwick

      In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

      Reply
  7. Sindile Jikwana

    Hi there, how do I apply to get married in Robben Island ?

    Reply
    • Ashley

      I want to get married on 2018 February 14 pls send me the details

      Reply
      • Gina.Borthwick

        Hi, Thank you for the inquiry, we are struggling to find the details, but we are on it, and will post the info asap. Thanks so much. Nubian Bride

        Reply
        • Gina.Borthwick

          In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

          Reply
      • Gina.Borthwick

        In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

        Reply
    • Gina.Borthwick

      In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

      Reply
  8. Jessica

    Please advise how to apply to get married on robbed island valentines day 2018

    Reply
    • Gina.Borthwick

      Hi Jessica – I will look for the photographers details and send. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Damian Ramsamy

        Hi please can you share details on how to apply to get married on robben island

        Reply
        • Gina.Borthwick

          In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

          Reply
      • Mervyn Donnelly

        Please forward the details to me as well as I am also interested : 0713967390

        Reply
        • Gina.Borthwick

          In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

          Reply
      • Gina.Borthwick

        In reply to the all the questions – unfortunately the Robben Island Wedding is not taking place in the foreseeable future – however if there are any changes we will definitely communicate with you. Thanks. Nubian Bride

        Reply

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