The ceremony took place on the beach and was scheduled to two hours before high tide. But Mother Nature had other plans that day… We did not plan for the spring tide. Luckily we had warned our guests to keep their shoes off, because the waves washed up all the way past the arch, through the benches and to the pier. We had to delay the start because of this. I waited anxiously as the tension built up inside of me. As I finally made it down the aisle and met Gareth, I started to cry.
Our wedding official took our song to heart and quoted lines out of Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. He was truly incredible as he made all our guests laugh and made an awkward situation one they will never forget. And then what seemed like out of nowhere, waves gushed at our feet and I laughed with elation. I felt a presence here. There was so much love all around us.
The rest of the evening was peaceful and magical. Everyone would agree that the food was absolutely outstanding. We then washed this down with toasts of vodka shots from my Polish tradition.
The speeches were the highlight of the evening. Everyone enjoyed them thoroughly and I was truly touched by the words and blessings received by our maid of honour and best man. Then Gareth came up for a short speech. I was so surprised to find out that he had been learning and practising Polish the past couple of weeks so he could thank my parents in their native tongue for bringing me into this world and into his life.
And then finally…it was time for our dance that we had been practising for months. Despite our nerves and worrying about mixing up our steps, we performed it without a glitch.
Unfortunately we have not been on our honeymoon yet. We paid for the wedding ourselves so we could not afford both at the same time. We are busy saving up for that now.
The wedding took place on the beach so the theme was a very simple: rustic, boho and romantic. I fell in love with an open-back dress I found on Pinterest and simply gave my dress maker the image so she could recreate my dream dress. The skirt of the dress was lightly layered and flowing so that it would move beautifully in the wind as I danced.
I bought hair extensions and my stylist at Carlton Hair, Amber Keane, created the long and beautiful waves I was after.
My sister was given the responsibility of doing all the flower arrangements and making the bouquets, so she finished off my look with a kiss of baby’s breathe on the plait of my hair.
As her gift, my best friend did my make-up for me and all my bridesmaids. The make-up was very simple and natural with a touch of glow.
At first, I wore no shoes and only had lace beach sandals that my dress maker had made. Unfortunately these got ruined in the waves so I quickly moved on to my super high rose gold Steve Madden heels – quite a contrast between the simple dress and glamorous shoes. I bought rose gold drop earrings to match.
We got married at Strandkombuis in Yzerfontein up the West Coast of Cape Town. We live just an hour out but most of our guests stayed the night at their B&B.
I kept a healthy eating plan and went to yoga at least three times a week. I went to the tanning salon for the 2 months leading up to the wedding to make sure my skin was bronzed and glowing on the day. Other than that, I had a full manicure and pedicure the day before and had eyelash extensions added about two days before.
I planned all the décor myself and my mother was my “advisor” whenever I got stuck. My sister’s duty was to help choose and create all the flower arrangements and bouquets. She did an amazing job, and she isn’t even trained in the industry. My mom and sister are very creative and have a great eye for beautiful things.
With it being a beach theme, I used the natural indigenous succulents and proteas typical of the west coast, in my floral arrangements. The main feature was the silver dollar eucalyptus which spiritually symbolizes love, while the tree represents an abundance of wealth. These were arranged in tall vases filled with shells and water. Each guests’ name was written with a metallic pen onto a beach stone which was placed on their napkin. My mother and I had been collecting shells and stones for months leading up to the wedding. I went for the most cost-effective approach as my husband and I paid for everything ourselves and couldn't afford anything too fancy.
My husband arranged for the wood for the welcome board and seating arrangement, which my maid of honour and I sat painting every person’s name onto the board just days before the wedding.
The venue supplied a Bedouin tent, which was beautifully decorated with lots of fairy lights. I also bought a whole bunch of fairy lights to light up the boardwalk. The railings were a little too rough so we twisted and wrapped white fabric around them to add to the romance.
With my family being Polish, and Gareth’s family all South Africa, I decided to create a Polish-South African fusion wedding. I integrated a lot of the Polish wedding traditions into a traditionally South African wedding, such as toasting with vodka and throwing oats instead of rice as confetti. As the gifts to our guests, I bought little glass bottles with corks and filled them with imported Polish vodka. I paired this up with a lovely package of delicious sliced biltong.
This was one of those things we left to the last minute because I couldn’t decide. I ended up basing the look on a picture I found on Pinterest. I was going for that smart but casual look. I matched the groom and groomsmen to the bridesmaids, keeping it beachy natural. We found smart casual chinos at Lee Cooper in a lovely soft stone colour. Then we found plain white collar shirts at Edgars, and paired it up with plain white loafers. To make the groom stand out, we got him a lovely pastel grey waistcoat.
This was one of the most stressful things! My dressmaker was already fully booked and couldn’t make these for me. I had originally envisioned dress in the colour of eucalyptus…which was proving an impossible task. I then decided to keep it simple and opt for a more popular colour. I searched high and low at all shops, boutiques and online stores. All my bridesmaids were madly searching too. Finally my sister found a lovely, long, natural beige flowing dress online in Poland – just weeks before the wedding! It is the perfect dress that flatters any shape and size! We then added striking necklaces to balance the plainness of the dress.
Wynand Breytenbach from Durbanville-Bergsig Kerk in Durbanville. He is incredible!
I was lucky enough to have been offered a great deal by a talented colleague of mine because we had a tight budget - Natasja Oelofse from Penny Farthing Photography.
No, we couldn’t afford one. Considering that I also plan events as part of my job (and that I am a control freak), I planned everything myself.
We did not have any. We stayed at the B&B the night before the wedding, as well as on the night so we didn’t need to be driven anywhere. I arrived at the venue on foot (barefoot to be exact).
The wedding venue, Strandkombuis, is also a restaurant, and they prepared the most amazing assortment of seafood and salads. Our guests still talk about it! From hake and yellowtail soup and freshly baked bread for starters, to mussels, yellow tail fillets, prawns, snoek, calamari, casserole, pumpkin fritters, to koeksisters!
Just as we thought it couldn’t get any better, we had vanilla cake with a chocolate filling. It was made by a friend of ours, Jade Rynhoud. This was her wedding resent to us. She had never made a “naked” cake before, but it came out just like I imagined. The only regret I have from my wedding is that I didn’t get to eat more – I was too full after the starters and main!
I did not have a lot of stationery (we sent out our invitations via email). I got help from a designer friend Denny Chi to design the stickers for our thank you gifts, and I had them printed at Office National. Everything else I either bought at Merry Pak or Superfloral, or hired.
I always envisioned having a live reggae band at my wedding just to add to the beach theme. But when I realised I could never afford this, so I started collecting music that was super chilled and groovy. It took me months to search and collect my entire playlist. I started adding all the songs that mean something to my husband and I, added a whole bunch of famous love songs, and then finished it off with some party tunes. I included hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s up until recent music. I gave the task of “Master of Sound” to a friend of ours, who happens to be in the sound industry. He got contacts to hire the sound equipment at an affordable rate and set everything up for me and made sure everything went according to plan. The lighting was provided by the venue.
We wanted to take dance lessons, but we were already pouring all our money into the wedding so we could not afford to. I always wanted to do the final dance from Dirty Dancing “Time of my Life”, but time flew by and I realised that we would need months and months of practise. So I found a video on Youtube of a couple doing a dance to our song, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. We aren’t professional dancers, but we sure know how to move! I was very surprised with how my husband picked up the steps so quickly and helped me. I have to say that practising our dance was the most fun I have ever had with my husband. I spent many evenings laughing and getting to know him better than I thought was possible.