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Tell us your love story, how did it all begin?

Twenty four years ago, on my first day of pre-school, I was introduced to Richard Downes. His mum allowed him to dress himself, so he was in her necklaces and gumboots. His story is that I chased him around the playground trying to catch him in "kissing catchers", while I personally think that I was trying to get at those necklaces. Growing up we passed each other at the odd swimming gala or school "disco". I went on to live in Cape Town for seven years, but just over three years ago fate bought us back together: I moved back to Natal, and after meeting Richard for coffee, I knew he was the one I wanted to be with.

How did he propose?

Last December we moved into our new home together. Amongst moving boxes and furniture, Rich asked me to open a moving box. When I did, balloons came flying out, and at the bottom of the box was a heart that said, "will you marry me" under a ring box. I turned to Rich and he was down on one knee. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

How did you find the planning process? Did you make use of

My sister got engaged the day after me, so the planning of our weddings turned out to be A LOT more fun. We both shared so many ideas, and things I never thought of, she had, and vice versa. SA Weddings was one of our favourite websites, and we made use of it often. One of my favourite things to do before the wedding (and still now) is viewing the "real weddings" section.

Where did you draw your planning inspiration from?

I have always known what I wanted for my wedding. Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of an all-white wedding, with all my bridesmaids dressed in black.. So, the planning was actually really easy.

What was the most memorable and special part of your wedding day?

I'm quite shy, so the thought of our 200 guests staring at me walking down the aisle was a little frightening for me. I remember saying to myself "don't cry, don't cry", but as I got to the end of the aisle and I saw Rich, all my nerves went away completely. I will never forget getting to the end of the aisle and just giving Rich a big kiss on the cheek.

What was your wedding theme and why did you choose it?

As I mentioned, I knew I wanted an all white wedding with LOTS of candles and white roses, so everything was mainly based around this.

What was the inspiration behind your wedding dress as well as the bridesmaids' dresses?

I was never one hundred percent set on a certain style, or fit, but after eye'ing out a skirt design from Casey Jeanne, I knew I had to have it. We then decided to do quite a modern take on the top with the netting and lace. My bridesmaids' dresses were black, with big tulle skirts, so I decided to tie in with them by having a black ribbon around my waist.

Your décor and flowers: Do you have a specific reason why you chose what you did?

Being an all white wedding, roses and hydrangeas were the perfect choice. They complimented each other so well, and helped to create my dream wedding look

Did you incorporate any DIY items?

I am the owner of a local sleepwear company called Anna-Louise. I gave my bridesmaids, mum and mum-in-law sleepwear sets and gowns which we wore the night before the wedding and on the day whilst getting ready.

What song did you choose for your opening dance and why?

Lana Del Ray – Young and Beautiful. Our first December holiday, Rich and I went on was to the Maldives. From the moment Rich and I started dating, I knew he was "the one", but that New Year's Eve the theme on the island was The Great Gatsby, and I remember dancing to Young and Beautiful with Rich and thinking, this is what our first dance song will be one day.

Anything you would like to tell other brides-to-be/grooms-to-be who are busy planning their big day?

Enjoy every moment. It is the best day of your life, and the actual day goes by so quickly, so enjoy being engaged, enjoy planning your wedding. It is so magical and special

Did you go on honeymoon and if so, where did you go?

We spent a week in Azura Quilalea which is an island off Phemba at the top of Mozambique. It was heavenly and so relaxing.


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