SA Weddings

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Shawn and Rodney

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

Shawn: We were walking in opposite directions on a sidewalk in Washington, DC, one Sunday afternoon. As we passed each other, we both looked back. And then looked back again. While I was waiting at the crosswalk, he turned around, walked back to where I was, and tapped me on the shoulder.
Rodney: I said, “Since we’re checking each other out, my name is Rodney.” Then I asked him “Are you single? Do you live around here? Can I have your number?”
The rest is history!


How did he propose?

Shawn: We were in Rio for Carnival and just back from a night out dancing at what was honestly a pretty mediocre club. As we walked in the door to our apartment, I thought “Whether it’s the mundane or the sublime, this is who I want to be with.” So I said, “Will you marry me?” He said, “Let’s talk in the morning.”
Rodney: It was a flashback to when we first started dating—he asked me a “define the relationship” question at 2am after a night out, and I said “Let’s talk about it in the morning.” Anyway. At dinner the following day, I asked HIM to marry ME. Not that I have any control issues or anything.

How did you find the planning process?

We kept the planning process very simple. We wanted a good venue with good food and good music, surrounded by good friends. Basically a good party with no stress or drama.

Where did you draw your planning inspiration from?

I guess from our own lives. We wanted the wedding to feel like an expression of who we are, rather than a page from someone else’s fairy tale.

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

We knew it would be an emotional moment for the two of us as a couple, but I don’t think we were prepared for the outpouring of love that we felt from friends that day. It’s an overwhelming experience to have a hundred people who you love, all gathered in one place at one time, for the specific purpose of celebrating and affirming your relationship.

What was your wedding theme (if you had one) and why did you choose it?

Urban, I guess? As much as we love the mountains and the winelands, we wanted our wedding to reflect our lives. We love Johannesburg, love city life in general (having previously been in Bangkok and Washington, DC) and thought a wedding with the Johannesburg skyline in the background was just the perfect fit. But again, we kept everything really simple. No colour scheme, no flowers, no décor…

What was the inspiration behind your suits as well as the wedding party’s outfits?

We wanted suits that complemented each other without being identical or too matchy-matchy. We found an Italian tailor in Rosebank who had the same glen plaid fabric in grey and blue, which are our favourite colours, respectively. And we knew on the spot that those were our suits. For simplicity, we dressed our son in white, with gold sneakers for a pop of colour. Our maid of honour also wore white, and then had to explain to everyone that we asked her to!

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

Brenda Fassie’s Vulindlela. Apart from being song about a wedding, we thought it would be great for getting the whole crowd onto the floor and getting the party started. And it did.

What is your favourite, will-never-forget memory of your big day?

Walking down the stairs as we left the ceremony and just melting into happy tears. We held it together through the ceremony, but once we had a moment to ourselves, it was like the floodgates just came down.

Any advice for other brides-to-be/grooms-to-be who are busy planning their big day?

Have fun! Don’t take it too seriously! It defeats the purpose to be stressed or irritated on what should be one of the happiest days of your life. And in the end, what you will remember is the love of your partner and the love of your friends.

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

It wasn’t exactly a honeymoon, but we had friends come from overseas for the wedding so we decided to do a trip together afterward. Joburg to Cape Town to Swakopmund to Etosha. Very relaxing.


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