Relatively new, beautiful, inexpensive, bring own catering.
Harare wedding venue – Bliss Gardens is a fairly new Harare functions venue. I am reviewing it here in the context of weddings even though it is available for a variety of other functions. I recently paid the wedding venue a visit. As was going there, I wasn’t really sure what I would find, only taking with me the many individual/personal reviews I had received from different ones. I was keen to see it for myself and to share my opinion here with you. I will be placing pictures along the way in this review to put everything in context.
Depending on your numbers Bliss Gardens offers a variety of packages. The venue officially opened its new GlassHouse in late 2011. This is a beautiful modern building that’s available for your indoor reception (see pictures below).
These gardens called Bliss as mentioned are a wedding venue facility located in the Mandara area of Harare. This is an upmarket area and clearly the venue was strategically located. It is operated by Bliss Hiring, a hiring company with offices along Seke Road just opposite Rooney’s if you are familiar with where Rooney’s is.
Entrance to Bliss Gardens from main gate
The first thing to know is that at the time of my visit in August 2011 the venue was relatively new with a big 300 seater glass building for indoor weddings just being completed. There is a bit of construction work behind the glass building, perhaps an office, but this is out of sight and does not in any way take away from the current aesthetic of the venue, altogether.
The venue is a fantastic garden (see pictures below). There are serious efforts to maintain it judging by how well it looks. There is a natural stream running through the gardens which Bliss the company took advantage of and strategically incorporated it into the overall landscaping and design of the facility.
It changed everything and is the main water feature that makes the venue unique and absolutely beautiful. It is because of this stream that unfortunately no kids under 12 are allowed into Bliss Gardens (update:- Bliss allows up to 25 kids at your wedding). The stream and a pond on the stream is unguarded. There is no fence nor any barricades. This appears, in my judgement, to have been a trade-off to keep the beauty intact.
Part of the garden and the stream in the background
This means if you finally settle for Bliss Gardens you will have to cut out some kids and make it clear on your invitation stationary. This can do good for your numbers considering that most weddings have big numbers as the main cost factor. The venue accommodates a single wedding at a time with your ceremony in the garden and your reception inside the good looking glass building. There is apparently adequate parking for all your guests.
Warning about children next to the stream/pond
Your photos are also covered as this is a three-in-one venue that will have your photos come out great with all the flowers and water features. The flowers are the other reason why few kids are allowed. The management I spoke to back at the Seke Road office were worried kids would pluck flowers.
Bliss Gardens offers two main wedding packages. Each of the packages has a sub-package if you will. The two main packages are based on the number of guests. The sub-packages within each of the main packages are based on the “quality” or extent of service offered. .
Part of the garden a floor bridge across the stream.
Your creative photographer can make wonders out of this feature.
Part of the garden, immediate building are the ablutions. Further out in background is the new glass building
There are other considerations when thinking about using Bliss Gardens. As a new venue the company is doing all it can to keep high standards and keep within residential by-laws since it is located in a residential area. First of all to secure your venue there is a deposit. This amount cannot be refunded should you decide to cancel, you may however move your wedding to the next preferred available date. The balance will be required two weeks before your wedding.
Part of the Bliss Gardens
If you are thinking of using a florist the venue requires that you utilise their list of recommended florists. This appears to be common practice across venues. This thing of tying clients to certain service providers – ha! I witnessed it at Chapman Golf Club as well as at Cresta Lodge Harare. I do understand why this is so as revealed in my other post on Scam Alert. I however still question why this is necessarily so without giving room to the client to prove they have a high quality and professional service provider.
The glass house accommodating more than 300 people
Bliss will also do all your decor. They promise they have all the colour schemes you can come-up with. They also will allow you to do own decor with a professional decor company. I got this nod after I pushed hard for it. Hope you will also get it.
The other terms and conditions to keep in mind when thinking about taking up Bliss Gardens is the fact that no activity is allowed to continue after 8pm. This is understandable considering that the venue is in a residential area. It’s only fair to the community. Besides I think an after party is not for everyone and should be taken to some other venue elsewhere. You are essentially given 8 hours to start and end your wedding at Bliss. This means it is possible to have a late afternoon wedding which however should not exceed 8pm.
The interior, when I visited there was the very first wedding in the building that weekend. Preps had began!
Also make sure you have police clearance for your wedding according to national laws. You will need to get this from the local police station in the Mandara area (or which ever police station covers this area am not sure which one it could be) and present it to Bliss Gardens a week before your wedding. Be sure to include this on your check list for your wedding planner to do. The last thing you want is the embarrassment of having an unsanctioned meeting disbanded. The law can do that. Best to obey it!
The interior from another angle
One important point to note is that Bliss offers no catering. You will need to bring in your own professional catering services. Your caterer is not allowed to bring any equipment whatsoever for example serving bowels and chaffing dishes. These are provided by Bliss.
- Excellent garden and water features
- Beautiful more than 300 sitter glass house (possibly the only one in Harare)
- Up-market wedding venue (if standards are maintained or continue to improve)
- All in one wedding venue – ceremony, photos and reception
- Out of town yet still accessible (see my post on town or out of town venue)
- Packages very competitive. Out-shines a certain comparatively less impressive yet popular venue in terms of aesthetics
Update: Read about my experience at Bliss Gardens. I was invited there for a wedding soon after doing this review.
DISCLAIMER :- As can be expected in any economic environment, venues tend to change their fees and price time and again. Please contact venue for latest venue fees.
Harare Wedding venue – Bliss Gardens
This review was last last updated 22 February 2012