There truly were so many magical and memorable moments that we will cherish forever, but a couple do stand out for us.
One of the biggest blessings that we had was to share this special day with my mother who was battling late stage cancer at the time. We had already moved the wedding up 7 months just so that she could attend. It meant so much to her and to us that she could witness her eldest daughter getting married. Unfortunately she passed away three weeks later. I will cherish these photos and her smile with me forever. I thank God that He made it possible for her to be strong enough to be fully present and to enjoy it.
Some other moments come to mind:
The incredible joy I felt when the pastor finally declared us husband and wife was overwhelming. I was so ecstatic to marry my best friend and partner, I even raised my arms in the air! It was also so much fun and so wonderful to have nailed our first dance which we worked on for months because I'm not really such a great dancer, haha. My husband and the groom's party walked down the isle to Soulja Boy... I know right... boys will be boys...they did however have a mini flash mob on the song which one of my bridesmaids choreographed (she is a dancer). She choreographed it in 10 minutes, thank goodness, otherwise they would still be trying to work out positions and moves, haha.
It was also absolutely jaw dropping to be able to take pictures on our most loved spot Dassie Rocks, which is a huge formation of rocks that overlooks the African Bush-veld and which is also a perfect vantage point to see the sunsets. We took our pictures just as the sun was setting. How memorable.
But to be honest, we were incredibly blessed overall. The magic of our wedding was that it was incredibly small and intimate and we held it at my husband's family farm. Only our closest family and friends could attend because there wasn't enough accommodation for everyone; however our friends and family came from all over the world to share this joyous occasion with us, people came all the way from England, Amsterdam, Nigeria and even China. Everything went well and even though we were a tad bit behind schedule every single little thing worked out , the decorations were even more beautiful that I hoped it would be, everyone enjoyed it so much more than I hoped they would and after all the formalities (which was still fun) was over, we danced the night away. At the end of the night, we went outside to see the magnificent Milky Way spread out like diamond engagement rings thrown on a pitch black carpet. We could hear the African animals chirping, roaring and scuffling about, as if they were also celebrating with us. The night was alive, and so were we, alive with a passion and a love burning inside. These memories will last forever, and even though we didn't have the biggest or the most flashy wedding, it was still the biggest and most special day of my life.
We were incredibly torn to go on honeymoon when my mother was so sick. However, she constantly encouraged us to go and so did other family members.
We finally decided to go. We went on a small cruise ship touring some of the Greek Islands. It was incredible! The Greek islands offer everything from culture and history to party life, from big bustling cities to small fishermen islands and romantic sunsets. We met amazing people on the cruise and I am so happy that we weren't on a massive cruise liner. Our cruise group consisted of about twenty people. It was so enriching and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. My favourite island was Monovassia which is an old town built into a mountain and it is kept just as it was thousands of years ago. The residents of the town are all Greek locals and the number of residents aren't any more than 60. My husband's favourite island was Kythira which is a small island with beautiful clear water and intimate little tavernas.
Our look that we were going for was Romantique (Romantic and Antique) it sounds corny but it really is a beautiful theme. We were originally going to get married on a wine farm in the Cape. So we were quite worried about the theme on an African game farm. However, so many things had changed, we needed to have one thing stay the same. I am so relieved that we did. Who knew that we could "Romantique" a rustic game farm? We decided to use romantic colours and elements while not going overboard as it would not gel well with the setting.
My dress was tricky because I wanted something romantic yet comfortable. I never wanted a tight fitting dress but rather an A-Line. However, when I tried on the dresses at Bridal Manor in Pretoria, I immediately found "The Dress." I was incredibly fortunate to have found a Pronovia which was selling at a good price and which almost fitted me perfectly- thank you Banting diet!
The ladies at Bridal Manor were incredibly helpful and they really have the most beautiful dresses and the largest unique variety I have ever seen. My Pronovia was tight fitting - almost a trumpet style- It had a lace bodice with mesh at the back to give the illusion of an open back. The drop on my back was low which is exactly what I wanted. The dress also had a slight trail which was beautiful and which could hook up for the dancing later on; and of course the cherry on the cake was the absolutely exquisite Pronovia veil that they recommended. It was a full length veil with the most beautiful lace flower trim and finishes which really suited my dress and completed the entire look.
Going with the romantic and slightly fairytail feel, I had my hair loosely braided and intertwined was a long piece of diamante jewellery from Bridal Manor. It came out exactly as I wanted it to.
My makeup and hair was done by Lozanne Piennaar who did a fantastic job. I wanted to look natural yet beautiful and I wanted my eyes to be the focus. She did my and my girls' hair and makeup beautifully. She also prepared my mom who looked wonderful.
I am not a big 'shoes girl". I wanted something pretty, but most importantly, something comfortable. I ordered a pair of low heel white laced shoes from JJs House for the ceremony and photos but after that, I immediately put on my silver dancing shoes which was honestly the best decision ever and it looked beautiful because they were silver and elegant.
The only other jewellery that I wore was a pair of pearl earrings from Bridal Manor ( I am a pearl girl ) and the hair piece.
My something blue was in my garter that I was going to toss (from JJs House) and my other garter was white and cream lace which I also bought at Bridal Manor.
I was really happy with how everything worked out for the look I was going for. I was most happy that it did not just look beautiful but that I was comfortable physically and emotionally with my look. It was "me".
We got married on my husband's private family game farm- Monterra Safaris - which was very special. It has been in his family for almost 60 years and he inherited it from his father when he sadly passed away in 2014. The farm is on the border of Botswana and Limpopo, and you can hear and see the mighty Limpopo river coming down yearly. There is a variety of wild game on the property which is always wonderful to see.
All of our guests stayed over. It was a weekend wedding because the farm is so remote. So all of our guests and us stayed over from the 4th of October to the 7th.
I was very committed to fitting into my dress and to look as good as I possibly can - because photos last forever ;)
I didn't exactly have a lot of time because we had to move the wedding up drastically.
My husband and I decided to follow a very strict Banting diet because some of our friends had already tried it out and they had lost so much weight. We were incredibly strict, we even used Banting mayo and salad dressing instead of normal ones. I went to gym every week- cardio and weights. However closer to the wedding we honestly didn't have time or energy to go to gym; even so, the Banting definitely paid off. I lost close to 6 kg and I felt amazing!
I had my highlights done at Styling Genius in Pretoria- I always make sure to book with Angelique who is brilliant.
I had my nails done at Polished in Centurion, Renaisha Moodley is an absolute wizard when it comes to nails, she can do any nail art that your heart desires.
As I mentioned before, we were going for a "Romantique" look. Our colour scheme was burgundy, blush and green.
Our decorator, Moira, from Belles & Boquets was absolutely fantastic. we really bonded and she was very supportive throughout the entire process. She was very sympathetic to our situation with my mom and she really went above and beyond to create the look that I wanted so as to make the day even more special. She delivered on every single look and detail that I requested. I really wanted the flowers to seem lush and overflowing and free. I wanted texture, variety and creativity, I wanted flowers everywhere, haha. Moira absolutely delivered. The tables were more stunning than I could ever imagine, I even started crying when I saw it all coming together so beautifully. She did all of the tables for me, she created 5 massive floral wreaths, she made a beautiful archway, she draped the entire inside of the lodge with fairy lights and cream drapery which made a huge difference to the look of the lodge. She hung lanterns with mini fairy lights inside and outside and she draped the massive acacia tree outside with fairy lights as well. She also incorporated a new hybrid colour Hydrangea which was to die for, it was a cream and soft blush colour, she also added baby's breath, protease and smaller flowers to create texture and variety. The flowers on the tables looked magnificently wild and free which is what I wanted. I am so happy that we went with Belles & Boquets, they made the wedding so so special.
We rented chairs and tables as well as sound equipment from Elegant Hiring Services in Mokopane, they were very professional and helpful. Muhammed is a wonderful guy who really helped us out as we were struggling to find tables and chairs anywhere close to the farm and if we had rented them from Pretoria or Johannesburg it would have costed us an arm and a leg.
To incorporate the bush veld in an elegant way we spent two months picking up empty shells of the Giant African Snail which is quite large. Two of my bridesmaids and I sprayed all of them a dusted gold and I handed them in at African Wax to be filled with a blush rose scented candle wax. We wrote all of our guests' names on them and they were our guest name "tags" as well as our favours.
To put our own mark not he day, we decided to name each table after a writer or philosopher who inspired us. We had the following tables: Ernest Hemingway, Plato, Charles Darwin, Nicholas Sparks, NP Van Wyk Louw, and our seating chart was Song of Solomons.
Every table's menu had the writer and a famous quotation on love designed.
This is what it said:
"The madness of love is the greatest of heaven's blessings"
2. Charles Darwin
"Much love, much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love"
3. Ernest Hemingway
"I love you for all that you are, all that you have been an all that you're yet to be"
4. N.P. van Wyk Louw
"Dis altyd jy, net altyd jy; die een gedagte bly by my soos skadu's onder bome bly; net altyd jy, net altyd jy..."
5. Nicholas Sparks
"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds."
Our seating chart was Song of Solomon: "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it."
Everything was more beautiful than I could have imagined, we were truly blessed.
The groom bought a stunning suit from Gavin Ross at Bellafonte in Cape Town. His name and surname was embroidered in the suit. The inside lining was a beautiful burgundy and the suit itself was a charcoal grey. His shirt was grey and his tie was burgundy. He also had a waist coat made which was silver. He looked incredibly handsome!!
His groomsmen were classic in black suits, white shirts and burgundy ties. They all bought their suits individually from different places.
The bridesmaids were al dressed in infinity dresses from Fascinating Julia. Joan Shaer coordinated and made all of the dresses for me. I was a little bit nervous because she was based in Cape Town, I was in Johannesburg, and my bridesmaids lived all over South Africa and one even in China. So they couldn't do any fittings beforehand. But every single dress fitted perfectly and all the girls looked absolutely stunning. Each one decided on their own style. I had five bridesmaids, three in Burgundy and two in blush which really created a beautiful dynamic. All the hairtstyles were loose braids with one pearl flower in each one's hair.
My mother wore a dress designed by Nika Couture, it was elegant, unfortunately she couldn't really show it off as she was in a wheelchair by that time, but I am happy that she felt good in her beautiful dress.
My mother in law designed her own outfit and asked her personal tailor to make it for her.
Our marriage officer was Stephen van Basten. He was really warm, unique and professional.
The Mighty Fine team captured our special day. Elsabe was our photographer and Anli our videographer. They were incredibly nice, they made us feel so comfortable and their footage was fantastic. After my mother passed away they also sent me a consolation gift which I thought was really going the extra mile and it was very very considerate and kind. Their photos and videos are really beautiful and special and I am glad we went with them.
Nope but my husband and my bridesmaids were a continuous support system and were as involved as I was. The wedding would not have been what it was if my husband and I didn't have such a strong support system.
We hired two quanta's through Avis to transport all of our guests up to the farm.
Our Chef at the farm prepared the food. We had two massive spits, one lamb and one pork spit. Our starter was a plated impala carpaccio and our main course was a buffet consisting of the spits, potatoes, vegetables and a vegetable bake for the vegetarian guests. Our dessert was plated ice cream and spicy pears and the second option was our stunning wedding cake. The food was absolutely delicious- how do I know its not just me saying that- we had no leftovers because people went for seconds and thirds.
Our wedding cake was my favourite part of the meal. It was a semi naked cake, designed and baked by La Morraine Cake Boutique. Lorraine is a genius when it comes to flavours! we had a three tier cake, our first tier was a champagne flavour (my favourite flavour made with real champagne) our second tier was milk tart flavour (my husband's favourite flavour) and our third tier was carrot cake (we both adore carrot cake). From the outside the icing all looked the same however it was a different flavour complementing each cake/tier. The style was rustic and simple, it was a slight shimmery cream cake with rough splashes of gold as if someone had painted it with a paintbrush. She also had a cake topper made that said Mr&Mrs Hare. The cake was amazing and I thought I could truly become Bridezilla if there wasn't enough champagne cake left for me, heck I could even turn into Gollum fighting over his "precious" it was that delicious!
A good friend of my husband's, Mathew Schafer is a designer and took on the project of designing and coordinating the printing for all of our stationary. It was fantastic because we know him personally and he is fantastic. He is crazy but brilliant, brilliantly crazy in fact. He was very patient with all of our changes and ideas and he designed incredibly beautiful stationary. He also sourced various printing companies who were able to do all the laser cutting and chopping and changing that we required.
Our reception was beautiful and wonderful. We choreographed a dance and worked on it for two months. We were choreographed at Strictly Ballroom by Mr. Derek. He was a wonderful instructor and we had a beautiful dance. We danced to our special song- Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud. Our reception was decorated by Moira from Belles & Bouquets: beautiful floral wreaths lines the walls, drapery and fairy lights were strategically draped over the beams in the roof and we had a massive dance floor. Because accommodation was so limited at the venue we couldn't have any more suppliers staying over, so my husband and I created our own playlist, plugged the sound system into our computer and played that the whole night. One of my husband's cousins and the farm manager helped to play the correct songs when we were walking down the isle , the song for our first dance and the father-daughter and mother-son dance. It sounds like a "Boer mark 'n plan" kind of reception but it was flawless and so relaxed. We had a minimum amount of speeches but they were all tear jerkers. It was a very special night.