From the outset of our wedding planning, Siya (my husband) and I knew that we wanted our wedding to be a weekend wedding experience that we, and our guests, would never forget. Our choice of location was a destination wedding in the country's most beautiful and luxurious coastal resort, Zimbali in Ballito. The location also combined the two natural elements that my Siya and I wanted for our wedding, the lush, tropical forest and the serenity of the beautiful, warm Indian ocean. This meant that we, and our guests, all had to pack our bags and travel from various parts of the country and Southern Africa to celebrate our special day. We were so grateful that family members who had never been to Durban, or the seaside ever before in their lives, got to experience it for the first time because of us, this alone was a major and memorable highlight for us.
Siya and I also had special bonding time with "the ladies" and "the gents" the night before our wedding, which was another highlight for us and helped us relax with our loved ones before the big day. I hosted a ladies tea at the Fairmont Hotel, with all the women in my family and my bridal party. Siya had sundowners with his friends at the house they rented for the weekend.
The wedding day was filled with sentimental highlights and we were blessed with fantastic weather. I had kept my wedding dress design a secret from my father because I wanted to reveal it to him on the day. The moment when my father first saw me in my wedding dress was very emotional for me because I have always been a "daddy's girl" and seeing the pride on his face melted my heart.
Watching my Siya's reaction to seeing me walk down the aisle made me feel like the most special and beautiful woman in the world. We wrote personal vows and exchanging our vows was a very significant moment before we said our final "I Dos". Our family members also played special roles during the ceremony, our younger cousin gave a beautiful bible reading and our older cousin sang a song. Once our pastor announced us as husband and wife, we walked back down the aisle to James Brown's "I Feel Good", which was a fun surprise for our guests.
The creative photo shoot was a highlight because we had the opportunity to take in the beauty of the estate and reflect on how wonderfully the day had unfolded. The setting of our photographs again reflected our intention of combining forest and ocean.
Our grand entrance into the reception venue was fun, as we marched into the room with the house song "In Common" by Alicia Keys and Black Coffee. The reception venue looked spectacular and was arranged according to exactly how we envisioned it. The speeches from our parents were very sincere and heartfelt, especially since they have been married for 78 combined years. My brother-in-law and musician Aphelele Gule sang a beautiful rendition of John Legend's "You and I", which had everyone chanting "we want more". Our guests lit sparklers for us during the first dance and it felt like we were surrounded by a loving energy.
Our playlist was well curated, and the romantic song that got all the couples on the dance floor and guests singing along was Lauryn Hill's rendition of Bob Marley's son "Turn Your Lights Down Low". The rest of the night was a fun party and we all danced the night away.
Yes, we did go on honeymoon for 10 days. We visited Miami (Florida, USA) and Great Exuma Island (The Bahamas). The best advice we received after we got engaged was from a colleague. She advised us that if we want to splurge, then we should do spoil ourselves with an epic honeymoon. Which we did. The Bahamas has always been a dream holiday destination for us. Siya organised the entire honeymoon and he made sure it had the right balance of romance, relaxation and fun.
My wedding look was elegant and romantic. I also incorporated something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue into my look.
Hair Brief: I love my afro hair and chose to style my natural hair with some extensions for more volume. I decorated my afro with white ribbon and a bling accessory (something borrowed)
Afro Extensions: Khulile Ofosu (Bounce Hair Essentials)
Hairstylists: Cecilia Mothibe
Makeup Brief: A natural glowing look, with some glamour
Makeup Artist: Angela Watson (Make Up Your Mind)
Wedding Dress Brief: A custom-made white dress that is feminine and lacy, glamorous with hand-stitched beading, three-dimensional flowers and that shows off my silhouette. Howard also used his creative license and made an evening pancho for me to wear for the reception.
Designer: Howard Green (Howard Green Couture)
Shoes: Sparkling Gold Court Heels from Dune of London
Jewellery: White Pearl earrings in a silver casing (something old)
Lingerie: Garter (something blue)
Perfume: Jimmy Choo (something new)
We got married at Zimbali Country Club, at the Zimbali Coastal Resort and Estate in Ballito, Kwa-Zulu Natal. Our guests had various accommodation options and either stayed in and around the estate or in Ballito. The Zimbali accommodation included Zimbali Suites, Zimbali Lodge and the Fairmont Hotel.
Health & fitness: I followed my own programme of eating healthy and going to the gym
Skin: I visited the Spa at the Marion Hotel for facial treatments and used the Babor range. I, fortunately, don't have problematic skin, but the Babor products made a difference and gave my skin an extra glow.
Spa treatment: Two days before the wedding my sister treated me to a massage treatment at the Willow Stream Spa in the Zimbali Fairmont Hotel.
The overall colour scheme was white with a hint of blush (which added a classic, romantic feeling to the decor) and our dress code was black time (which added an elegant and glamorous feeling to the decor). My favourite flowers are tulips and I wanted to compliment white tulips with blush pink roses and white hydrangeas. This floral theme came through in the ceremony and reception. The combined elements of elegance and romance came with the soft lighting and fairy lights and candles in crystal glasses. The natural forest theme came with the hanging foliage above the centre of the room / the dance floor. The black-tie dress code was also represented with the black folded napkins at each table setting and the classic checkered dancefloor.
Flowers & Decor: Sandy Munday (Sweet P)
Courtyard Canapes Session Furniture: Sandy Munday (Sweet P)
Geometric Lighting, Checkered Dancefloor and "Love" Sign: Sandy Munday (Sweet P)
Courtyard Tent: Michael (Maverick Tents)
Fairy Lighting: Basil (Kaptain's Decorative Lighting)
The dress code was black tie, and so tuxedos were the order of the day for the groom and groomsmen. Since the groom had to stand out, his was a custom-made white jacket tuxedo, while the groomsmen wore classic black tie tuxedos.
Grooms Designer: Harry Kaplan (Maverick Style Wear)
Groomsmen Tuxedo: Eurosuit (Rosebank)
The dress code for the wedding was "Black Tie". My bridesmaids wore elegant, long, flowing black dresses with pink floral detail. They also wore matching gold shoes and accessories, including bangles and earrings.
Made of honour dress: City Chic (Sandton)
Bridesmaid dress: Young Designers Emporium (Sandton)
Marriage Officer: Wessels Wessels (Glenridge Church)
What we loved about Wessel: Although we are not members of his church, he greeted us such a warm and friendly spirit. He managed the formal proceedings very professionally and on time, with a special sense of humour that added fun to our ceremony.
Photographer: Eileen Laubscher (Bright Girl Photography)
What we loved about Eileen: Her fine art creative approach to photography and her ability to capture natural moments of the emotions of the day so elegantly.
Videographer: Staby and Jason van Oudtshoorn (Heartistic Productions)
What we loved about Stabby and Jason: They collaborated so well with each other and Eileen and provided very subtle direction which makes a difference to the couple, if you are not used to the camera. Their use of drones captured the full essence of the beautiful day and the location. We also loved their eclectic / indie choice of music in our wedding videos, which came together spectacularly. The delivery of the finished product was also so special and sentimental.
No, I did not have a wedding planner. However, the venue provided a very helpful coordinator, Christo van Wyk, to assist with the planning and coordinating all the service providers.
We hired a silver Mercedes Benz 4X4 GLE 350 exclusively for the bride and groom.
Food Service Provider: Crowned Eagle Restaurant at the Zimbali Country Club
Starters included: Baby spinach salad
Mains buffet: Cape Malay Chicken & Prawn Curry, Braised Lamb Shank, Moroccan Cous Cous Salad, Zimbali Garden Greens, Vegetable Lasagne, Roast Potato Wedges with Rosemary, Brocolli with Toasted Almonds
Dessert: Wedding Cake with Cocktail Fruit Skewers
Cake Service Provider: Nicole's Signature Cakes
The brief: An elegant and moist chocolate cake decorated with real tulips
Service Provider: Jolindi van der Merwe from Chrystalace
Brief: Classic, Romantic, Elegant
This included: Welcome Board, Order of Events, Unity Candles, Menus, Seating Plan, Table Names, Digital Thank you Notes
Music Service Providers: DJ Michael Zuma (Top Jocks); Apple Gule (Singer during reception); Thandi Ntuli (Jazz Pianist / Singer during our canapes)
Sound Service Provider: DJ Michael Zuma (Top Jocks)
Fairy Lighting Service Provider: Basil (Kaptain's Decorative Lighting)
Geometric Lighting and Love Sign Service Provider: Sandy Munday (Sweet P.)
Checkered Dance Floor Service Provider: Sandy Munday (Sweet P.)
Our grand entrance into the reception venue was fun, as we marched into the room with the house song "In Common" by Alicia Keys and Black Coffee. My cousin choreographed our wedding march and the entire party had fun with it. The reception venue looked spectacular and was arranged according to exactly how we envisioned it. The speeches from our parents were very sincere and heartfelt, especially since they have been married for 78 combined years. My brother-in-law and musician Aphelele Gule sang a beautiful rendition of John Legend's "You and I", which had everyone chanting "we want more". Our guests lit sparklers for us during the first dance and it felt like we were surrounded by a loving energy.
Our playlist was well curated, and the romantic song that got all the couples on the dance floor and guests singing along was "Turn Your Lights Down Low" by Bob Marley and Lauren Hill. The rest of the night was a fun party, and the music requested was a combination house, R&B, soul, hip-hop and afro-pop.