Our Wedding Day had so many memorable moments and I could be here all day.....but here are a couple.
All our guests had travelled out the weekend prior to the wedding and spent several days together sightseeing and having brilliant dinners at various restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands, so by the wedding day everyone felt like old friends. As our group was under 30 people, it also had a very intimate feel, with only close family ad best friends in attendance. This made it super special and we didn't have to go around constantly to make small talk as we had spent time with everyone in the run up. One of the biggest highlights was the fact that very time we looked up to check our single guests were ok, they were having an absolute blast with a new mate. We had a wedding whatsapp group which 2 months later, is still buzzing as our group stays connecting! How many weddings create new friendships!! So special. Everyone keeps asking for a reunion!!
A very special moment for me was while waiting outside the Chapel to walk down the aisle with my brother and him telling me that I looked beautiful. This emotional moment then descended into total hilarity. The windows to the Chapel were open, right next to where we were standing, so when everyone stood up for my entrance, we had to duck down so they couldn't see us waiting. Standing in all our finery and crouched down outside the Chapel windows!
Our whole wedding was only made possible thanks to the talents of our fabulous team of suppliers. Cara at Mosaic Weddings sis the most amazing job and works with the most talented professionals. We had a wedding which everyone said was the best they had ever attended and that is purely down to the talents of the suppliers listed below. They are my biggest highlight!
We spent 3 nights at Dunstone Country House's honeymoon cottage in Wellington, Cape Town. We plan on going to Cambodia (Siem Reep) and Vietnam (Da Nang/ Hoi An) in March 2018 for our proper honeymoon. As we were in Cape town for nearly 3 weeks prior to the wedding we couldn't really take further time off. Plus its nice to still have something to look forward to!
I wanted a very soft and romantic bridal look that just made me look like the best version of myself. I do love make up and let my make up artist, Cindy Horton have free reign in what she thought would look best on me to create the overall vision I gave her. She was fantastic and knew exactly what would suit me. Very easy to work with too and we had a giggle on my trial and on the day. She did the bridesmaids and mom's too and they all loved their looks. One of my bridesmaids said she had never loved her bridal hair and make up so much... and she has been a bridesmaid quite a few times!
For my dress, initially I thought I wanted a trumpet style dress, fitted to the hips and then flowing down, however when I started trying dresses on I realised that I couldn't walk in this style or mermaid styles and certainly wouldn't be able to dance well. It looked great on my figure, but I just hated my legs being tied together. I then tired on just about every style going and discovered that I was both lucky and unlucky, in that most styles suited me and I could have worn various dresses. I settled on the princess dress by Diane Le Grande in the end as I loved the princess feel of it and the romance of the satin bodice and tulle skirt. How often do you get to be a princess for the day after all? I did have some customisations done to the dress. The bodice was lowered into a pronounced sweetheart, the back was lowered and tapered and the corset replaced by a zip and buttons. I also had crystals added to the skirt and 3 sparkly beaded straps added each side to break up my shoulders. In hindsight the straps were not the best as 2 broke when Grant hugged me for the first time after we were pronounced husband and wife and we spent most of the time we had at our cocktail hour before having to have photos, trying to locate scissors and defray the straps where they broke and pin them to the dress. I would advise any bride to make sure any additions are fit for purpose before agreeing to them and not just pretty on the eye!
My shoes were champagne coloured sparkly Jimmy Choos. They were super comfy all day so worth the money!
I wore stockings and a suspender belt by Ted Baker under the dress, as I needed something between my foot and shoe to stop them overheating and rubbing. Tights were annoying, hold ups fell down and the multiple pairs of secret shoe liners I brought could be seen, so stockings were my only option. They were actually very comfy as well as a nice surprise for my husband at the end of the night! ;-)
For my jewellery I wanted to keep things small and elegant as I do not suit big, bold jewels. I also wanted to match my marquise engagement ring. I found a marquise bracelet from Ivory and Co which sparkled beautifully, a necklace from Swarovsi which used slightly blue marquise crystals, for my something blue. For earrings I had tiny crystal studs from Britten Weddings. My hair clip was by Ivory and Co and featured small pearls, crystals and Italian mesh in a flower shape. it was small and subtle and I wore it under my veil. My veil was an Italian silk veil by Richards Designs ordered through my bridal boutique with my dress. I wanted the veil to be soft, sleek and fine hence going for a silk veil.
My engagement ring and wedding ring were designed by me and made by Roy Morris Jewellery in Durban. The engagement ring is marquise set in a platinum band with 14 micro pave diamonds. The wedding ring has 18 micro pave diamonds and is also set in platinum. Grant proposed with a Cubic zirconia pear shaped ring which I wore in the run up to the wedding, once my ring had been cleaned.
We married at Leipzig Country House and Winery in the Nuy Valley near Worcester. We had the run of the whole Estate for 4 days which was brilliant. As our party was small, everyone was able to stay on site. It was great having everyone there for so long. We had a braai the evening before the wedding in the Winery. The whole place was magical with the staff being super helpful, especially with planning a wedding from the UK. They put up bedouin tent for cocktail hour, provided day beds, wine barrels, benches and all sorts for the day. They accommodated all our requests and executed them beautifully. The food was amazing and the chef even accommodated my requests to make menu changes due to a stomach condition I was diagnosed with during planning.
I stayed in the honeymoon suite for 4 nights which was beautiful and looked over the vineyard directly. It used to be a brandy distillery and has the most gorgeous exposed walls and floors that made for exquisite photos.
I am a personal trainer and also teach group exercise, so keeping fit is natural for me. I just made sure to be consistent in my training, exercising 5-6 days per week. I also dropped heavy weight training in favour of more yoga based exercise and Group Power, which is a weight class for the whole body. Doing whole body training most days and cardio once or twice a week meant I had good definition without being too muscular for the wedding. It was also a great stress release.
In terms of beauty regime, I have a good regime anyway, using good quality products. For a long time I have had monthly facials, manicure, pedicure and waxes so I continued with all of that. I did have teeth whitening which I started 2 months before the wedding. I used my normal dentist and did the at night trays. It worked brilliantly but was expensive. I had my last facial the day we flew out to cape town.
When we arrived, myself and my husband had a morning at Le Franshhoek Spa where I had a hyaluronic facial and Polynesian Spa Ritual which involved a massage with heated pouches, a really good scrub, a float and an application of oil. I would recommend both to any bride as my skin looked amazing after. I also had the Bridal Package at the same spa 2 days prior to the wedding, which was another massage, basic facial, manicure and pedicure.
I have very fine hair so had hair extensions applied prior to flying out, just for volume, so a half head. I also had eye lash extensions applied at a salon in Stellenbosch 5 days before the wedding. They made my eyes pop, but were not fun to get applied, so I wouldn't only recommend these if you can lie with your eyes closed for 2 hours!!
On the morning of the wedding I applied a StarSkin Red Carpet Ready sheet mask after my shower. It's used by celebs before red carpet events and acts as a moisturiser and primer so you need nothing else before your make up is applied. I also used StarSkin eye masks and a hand mask.
Our decor was nearly all done by Botanica. Rowena is absolutely amazing. I gave her and my wedding planner, Cara our overall vision, which was: soft, romantic, loose and undone using pale pinks, tanzanite blue, grey and cream colours. I love tanzanite and wanted to include it as a colour pop. We also wanted to use proteas hence the pink. We also asked for a lot of fynbos and trailing greenery and then lots of fairy lights and candles. Between them Rowena and Cara brought it all to life in such an exquisite way. I wanted to leave the execution to them as they are the professionals and knew best how to make it look fantastic. If I had tried to micro manage and specify exactly how it should be, it would not have been half as good. That would be my top tip for future brides.... let your professionals do their job their way... if you've hired the right people it will exceed your expectations.
Our lighting was provided by Trilogy. They put fairy lights right over the ceiling in the main wine cellar where we had our meal, the dance cellar and bar and also on the outside terrace. When Botanica added the multiple candles and flowers to the tables and ledges in the halls it looked magical and so pretty. We also put a scented candle from Babylonstoren on each table. We used Babylonstoren Rose and Waterblommetie alternately so as you entered the walked down the room the scent kept changing. Our guests all commented on how beautiful it smelled. We also put scented candles in the bathrooms.
Next Dimension Entertainment and DJ provided additional lighting in the dance cellar for the party. With the fairy lights and flowers it looked really good to have moving lighting roving the floor and walls.
The tent and additional furniture were all provided by Leipzig.
During Cocktail hour the fabulous amaAmabush marimba band played for 2 hours. They were brilliant and totally set the atmosphere. We also had giant jingo which got very competitive by all accounts.
Grant, the groom and our MC had their suits made to measure at a tailor called Tom Fox in our home town of Guildford in the UK. They were expensive but looked amazing and fitted so well. The 2 best men wore matching suits in a similar colour from Ted Baker. My brother, who walked me down the aisle had his suit made to measure from a tailor in Thailand on a visit a few months before the wedding. They were all a tanzanite-esq blue and looked really sharp.
We accessorised them all with very pale blush pink ties. Grant's was plain, while the others had a floral pattern on. They had matching pocket squares to wear in their jacket pockets. Gran't Dad was also given a tie and pocket square.
He wore his great grandfathers gold pocket watch, which his parents had had restored just for the wedding. I gifted him Vulcan cuff links as he is an aviation fan and works for British Airways. He loves old planes, especially the Vulcan.
His wedding ring is made of palladium and was made by Roy Morris Jewellery in Durban.
I wanted my bridesmaids to look beautiful and classy. I also wanted them to really suit their dresses so set on getting their dresses from Ghost. Ghost have 11 different style dresses in 8 different colours but the same bias cut silk. I wanted them in ivory as I think it looks so beautiful to keep a clean colour palette. I also knew it would look striking against the blue of the boys's suits which it did. Each of my 2 bridesmaids chose the dress they loved the most, which best suited their shape. I gave them free reign with accessories as long as they were subtle and elegant.
For their hair and make up, again I gave them free reign to have what they liked as long as it was soft, romantic and subtle. I think they both looked beautiful and they loved their dresses and overall look on the day. I just wish we had got more pictures all together once dressed, but we ran late getting ready and ran out of time.
I won't name our marriage officers as they were terrible. Our wedding ceremony will be remembered for him stumbling and fumbling his way through the whole thing. They seemed really good on their website and on our first Skype call and had a whole pack of options for us to choose from, which all seemed great. However, on the day he stumbled over my mum's partners name before getting it wrong, called Grant Craig several times, to which I had to correct him. As our best man WAS called Craig this resulted in much laughter but was not ideal and we were mortified. He also called me my nickname throughout instead of my given name.
He was hard to understand, mumbled through everything he said and really needed to script much tighter links between the various parts of the ceremony as it was very disjointed. For someone who performs marriages all the time, it was like the first time he was ever doing it. He forgot things we had agreed on and it was just generally really unprofessional. They were the only supplier we hadn't gone through our planner for and boy did we regret not using one of her suggestions! We will have to do a vow renewal at some point to get it right and have better memories.
Claire Nicole was our photographer and she was AMAZING! Not only does she have a fantastic eye for how to set a gorgeous photo up and which way is best for the light, but she is fun and makes it all really easy. Grant hates photos and felt really awkward about it, but when we met Claire on our engagement shoot she totally put him at ease. I would really recommend her as being one of the best in the business.
We used MVR Film for video. We can't wait to get it back. They were also great fun to work with and made it all so easy.
As your photos and video are all thats left aside from your memories, we booked the top packages from both of them to get as many memories as possible. Money so well spent.
We used Cara at Mosaic Weddings She was totally brilliant. Very used to dealing with destination wedding couples and the difficulties that can present, she made the whole thing so easy, recommended amazing service providers and pulled our vision together magically. On the day she was amazing and the whole thing ran like clockwork, even with last minute changes due to the weather! It was great to be able to just relax and know that everything was being taken care of. If there were any hiccups we didn't hear about them. So easy to get along with, it was like working with a friend... a friend who is the most organised, professional person you will ever meet. Cara makes magical things happen and I can't recommend her enough.
We didn't use transport as we all stayed on site.
The chef at Leipzig made all our wedding food and our dinners for the days either side too. He was accommodating and created beautiful looking as well as tasting food.
Our stunning cake was created by Billy Boo's Cakery. We had 2 tiers of semi naked cake. The top tier was passion fruit and lemon curd and the second tier was chocolate ganache with fresh berries. It was amazing! Our guests were literally eating it for breakfast and lunch the next day too they loved it so much, We requested multiple layers for each tier so that it was really moist and it worked brilliantly. We also had them do chocolate gluten free cupcakes for our gluten free guests as well as salted caramel cake pops as dessert canapés during cocktail hour. They went down a treat!
Lara Friday designed and printed our invites, menu's, table plan labels and name cards. She did a beautiful job. Our theme was wine and we had red wine stains embossed onto the menu's and invites. Our table plan was on wine bottles and our name cards were held by corks. It came together beautifully.
We took ballroom lesson for our first dance which really paid off for our first dance.
Next Dimension Entertainment was our DJ for the day and evenings party. Adrian was fantastic and pitched the music perfectly. We forgot to give him the requests list but he still kept the dance floor full all night. We were most worried about this part of the day with a group of under 30 people so cannot recommend him enough for keeping everyone happy and dancing until the last sing of the night. There was an amazing moment when he played the Dirty Dancing theme song and 2 of the boys decided to recreate 'THE' lift!!
Triology provided fairy lights above the dance floor which looked magical and we had candles dotted around along with some flowers.