Vendor Review | The Venue Fontana

The Venue Fontana is located on the KZN South Coast, bordering the Umkomaas River and the warm Indian Ocean. The Fontana family transformed their farm tractor barn into what is best described as a “rustic yet elegant” wedding venue for their daughter’s wedding way back in May 2015. Since then they have become a much sought after wedding venue and have hosted a multitude of high end weddings for clients who have been looking for something totally different to all the other wedding venues in KZN.
 With it’s sliding wooden barn doors, cement bag-washed walls and high ceilings, The Venue Fontana emits a rustic and warm character, forming a lasting impression to all visitors.
With multiple ceremony locations, the horse paddock, alongside the river bank, the tranquil relaxing forest ceremony or the industrial, contemporary in-door styled wedding ceremony inside the East Coast Brewing Company, brew house makes this venue totally unique.
The farm offers an infinity of priceless photo settings near the natural dams, alongside the river bank or up in the hills overlooking the ocean. The emphasis is on creating a personalized and memorable setting for your function. This really is the venue that has it all!

Hi everyone, my name is Mara. I own  and manage  ‘The Venue Fontana’, a wedding & events venue. I am fortunate in that the farm is my home and it is situated on the warm KZN South Coast, hence am blessed with breathtaking sea and river views and being able to create a gorgeous venue to match all the natural surroundings of our farm.

Hooray: How did you get involved in the wedding industry?
Mara: Becoming involved in the wedding industry was no plan! My daughter, Dina, longed to get married at home on the farm, so after looking at various options, we finally decided on converting our then, farm tractor barn, into a suitable venue for this exciting event to happen. Our wedding photographer, Bronwyn Veal from Vanilla Photography often encouraged me to open my venue to other brides, and after a few interested bridal enquiries, I later decided to give it a bash.

Vanilla Photography
The Shank Tank
Vanilla Photography

Hooray: What inspires you?
Mara: The beauty of the simple things in nature and our surroundings as well as my love for decor and what one is able to create with recyclable material is what truly inspires me.

Hooray: Running your own business can be hard, do you have a daily routine?
Mara: I think it may be due to my passion and love for weddings that I do not find it difficult running my venue as a business. It can be very tiring and time-consuming, but not a difficult task if one is hard-working, passionate and strong-headed when having to make the unexpected daunting decisions that sometimes come up.

Vanilla Photography
Derryn Schmidt Photography
Vanilla Photography

Hooray: How is life as a Granny?
Mara: Oh my word…..the best thing ever. My Ella has brought me so much love and joy it actually is indescribable. My father use to tell me how a grandparent cannot explain the abundance of love for a grandchild. You think you know what love means when you have your own children? Wait till you a grandmother. And of course I cannot wait for her to become my little assistant too.

Hooray: Tell us about your ideal wedding client?
Mara: My ideal wedding client is the father who allows her daughter to have her dream wedding at my venue. There is nothing better than a bride that can get on with her planning without having to worry about her own bank balance!

The Shank Tank
Vanilla Photography
Michigan Behn

Hooray: Do you have a favourite wedding to date?
Mara: No, I simply LOVE all my weddings as they are so suited to my brides and their dream day, and they are all different and beautiful, bringing much enjoyment.

Hooray: What do you love most about your job?
Mara: There are so many things I love about my job but the most rewarding is the fact that I am my own boss and am able to show my true passion and dedication without making it “”my job”” to do so.

Hooray: Tell us about your style
Mara: I actually am not aware of having a precise style as I think I tend to adapt to the type of event to create the suitable style that is needed for it to be a success.

Michigan Behn

Hooray: Tell us about your new bridal suite?
The honeymoon suite is a large house consisting of two separate rooms, i.e.  the ‘Pamper Room’ for the hair and make-up artists to pamper the bridal party and of course the ‘Honeymoon Suite’ for the bridal couple. The decor is pretty much industrial contemporary and again I have a few selected pieces which were made in-house from recyclable material and good quality second-hand goods.

Hooray: Is there anything you would change about the wedding industry?
Mara: Nothing, I am totally overwhelmed at the support, passion and compliments that I am constantly involved with by those in the industry across the board, which ranges from wedding planners, florists and photographers, to caterers, bar service providers,  videographers  and all other vendors I am associated with through my weddings here in Natal. We really have such a wonderful industry.

Jacki Bruniquel
The Shank Tank

Hooray: Give us your top 5 service providers you love working with:
Mara: It is difficult to name only 5 as there are so many favourites but I cannot help mention Bronwyn Veale from Vanilla Photography, Carolyn Hall from Adore Weddings & Events, Andrew Draper from Food By Andrew, Paul Mann from ‘Functions For Africa, Jolene Botha from Oh Happy Day and Alexis Yapp from Surreal Eventing‘ & ‘Labola’ (oh and there are soooo many more!)

Hooray: What wedding trend are you foreseeing for 2019? 
Mara: I don’t tend to follow or have much interest in trends as with my venue I can only offer the same theme of being simple, rustic yet extremely elegant. I did think that the rose gold and my hanging decor branches would not be on the cards for 2019, however whether it will be the 2019 trend or not, they are both very much more in demand and not one bride is accepting any offered change. If anything I am pleased to see that there’s more availability with the hiring industry as this has been the most difficult task on hand here in Durban. You will definitely see more different cutlery and glassware options and more elegant different objects appearing on the decor side.

Wilma Towell

Hooray: How far in advance are you booked for?
Mara: Fully booked for 2019 and many enquiries for 2020 as well as a few for 2021 however due to my on-going changes and improvements, I cannot offer my wedding package too far in advance – things simply always change with me!

Extra deets for Bride’s wanting to know more:
Venue Capacity: From 50 to 180 seated, with a dance floor
Sound Limits? No limits due to no neighbours!
How many guests can stay on site? Only the bridal party with a total of 12 max
Closing time:  Close at midnight and maximum till 1 a.m. with extended hourly rates for all my vendors and my venue.

Thank you so much for sharing with us Mara!
If you would like to book with The Venue Fontana, you can get in touch here:

email: mara@thevenuefontana.co.za
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