Wow. Where to even begin. There are so many moments I can't even put into words, but all I know is that they will lie in the deepest place of my heart forever.
From getting ready with all my favorite girls and momma's, being ready 2 hours early and deciding to have a massive dance party, to the special hug and kiss moments in between. Some say the day is only ever about just the Bride and Groom, but truly there is such a massive part of our day that I will forever treasure, and this was because of my girls and my momma's. A girl needs her man, yes - but she always needs her fellow queens too!
Another incredibly special moment was seeing my dad's reaction to my dress, and our very memorable moment in the car on our way to the ceremony. Once we got to the beginning of the aisle, I will never forget the way He was so worried about my dress getting dirty that he wouldn't let an inch of it touch the floor. Walking down the isle with him holding onto me, and the moment I got to share with him on the dance floor later, are the two most special moments I have ever had with my daddy.
The special dance that my Maid of Honor put together with all of my bridesmaids and then Josh and all his groomsmen, was just the best ever! I laughed until tears rolled down my face, and it is a moment I will never forget. I also cannot wait to show our kids one day what a dashing dancer their daddy is ;)
Our first dance was a moment that felt like true magic. Walking out onto the dance floor with everyone cheering in celebration of our love, gave me chills down my spine. And although this was the atmosphere, I will never forget the simple moment Josh and I looked one another in the eyes, and it genuinely felt like we were the only people in the world.
Another one of my biggest highlights, is just remembering the pure joy in all of our guests faces - witnessing how much fun everyone was having and how there was this contagious spirit of genuine happiness and love all around. It was just an evening of endless fun, laughter, joy, and love.
Our vows - this is probably my biggest highlight and special moment of our day. We wrote our own personal vows, and it was the most heartfelt words I have ever heard someone share to me. The feeling of knowing we promised the beautiful things we did to one another, in front of all our family and friends, is a feeling my heart can't contain! There is something so beautiful about declaring your infinite love to one another in front of God and all the people in your life. It makes you realize how truly remarkable marriage is!
Although there are just so many beautiful and special moments I could never put them all into words, all I can say is that even though I dreamt of this day since I can remember being alive, it still exceeded every dream and expectation I ever had! There is no words in the english vocabulary to describe the unforgettable tangible sprit of joy, passion, and love that filled every single person throughout the entire weekend.
Yes, we did. Josh had planned our honeymoon a whole year before our wedding, and he had kept the destination a surprise the entire time. I only found out where we were going once we had landed in Johannesburg, flying from Port Elizabeth. He sat me down at a restaurant, and finally shared the surprise with me - we were going to the Philippines! This had been at the top of my bucket list for years, so naturally the tears started rolling once I found out! Josh and I both have such a passion for traveling, and have dreams to become full time travel influencers and filmmakers. Once the surprise was out and the reality sunk in that we were actually going to witness real crystal clear turquoise water, in just a couple of hours, it was only normal for me to not be able to stop kissing my husband senseless. We went for a total of 2 weeks, to two different islands. The first being El Nido in Palawan, and the second, Boracay, which was voted one of the best islands in the world. It truly was the best 2 weeks of our lives thus far - and a total honeymoon of dreams!
Ever since I was a little girl, I had always dreamed to make my own wedding dress one day. My gran had made hers and my moms, and so I wanted to carry on the legacy of hand made family wedding dresses. I started a small, part time dress making course after school, simply just to learn the technique so I could one day make my own wedding dress. So the time came where I was engaged and wedding planning, and realized I now had to stick to my promise and make my won dress - which is what I did! Infact, I even decided to make two - a ceremony and reception dress! I also decided to then make all 7 of my bridesmaid dresses, because why not? You only get this once - right? I designed both dresses and had the most memorable experience making them both. I also opted to do my own make up on the day. My hair stylist was Melissa Martin, who has been my hair dresser for almost 10 years. The gown and pajama set I got ready in, was a very special gift from my mom, which was from a place called "Woman Secret" in Portugal (although as far as I know they do have a branch in Johannesburg). I had two different pairs of shoes, one for each dress. My ceremony pair were from Forever New, a classic strap styled high heel. My reception shoes were white ballroom shoes, because dancing through the night was no option, therefore applicable shoes were mandatory. My mom had the most beautiful earrings made from Fischers jewelry. My dad gave me a beautiful rose gold Swarovski bracelet to wear, which he put on my wrist just before the ceremony when he saw me in my dress for the first time. I also chose to wear my pandora bracelet, which had a lot of sentimental value, including a charm Josh gave me as a wedding gift just hours before our ceremony, a charm that read "My beautiful wife, I love you forever". My beautiful mom in law made my veil for me. I also made my own garter, using the original lace off my mom in laws wedding dress. The crown I wore on my head was the same crown my mom wore on her wedding day, only my florist added fresh flowers in between. Although most people would say I'm crazy for making pretty much everything myself, I can honestly say I wouldn't change it for the world.
We got married at the Forest Hall Estate in The Crags. It was an entire estate that was built sometime in the early 1900's. From the first moment we saw it and drove through the driveway, we knew this was the most perfect venue for us. Because a lot of our family lives abroad, we decided to make the most of our opportunity and extend our wedding to a full weekend affair - thus ensuring we spent as much time with all our family and friends together as possible! Friday night was a pool party and pizza evening. Although myself, my moms, all my girls, and my aunty and Ouma had been at the estate prepping everything since the Wednesday, all the men arrived on the Friday along with the rest of our family and close friends. Friday started at 2pm, we had lots of laughs, tears of joy, speeches and tons of pizza! Because a bride should always eat pizza the night before her wedding, right? All our immediate family and the bridal party and their partners stayed at the venue throughout the weekend. Myself and the girls went through to Forest Nature Spa, just down the road from the estate, the night before and got ready for the wedding there. The wedding ceremony started at 3:30 and ironically, the reception ended at 3:30 too! Lets just say, our guest list was contained of complete party animals, young and old! Then Sunday came, which was a day for relaxing at the pool and a traditional South African spit braai. At sunset, we had our Trash The Dress ceremony, which all our family and close friends joined for. Forest Hall Estate has 5km of private coast line, and so we took advantage of it and used it as our location for our trash the dress photoshoot during Sunset. The weekend was a true dream come true. It didn't even feel like it went that quickly, and we will both forever treasure the quality and priceless time we got to spend with all our family and friends over the best weekend of our lives!
About 6 months before the wedding, I started to realize I've got to get my act together and start my beauty regime! With regards to skin care, I went straight to my favorite clinic - The Taryn Laine Clinic, and asked for a full skin care regime to start! I went for weekly facial peels, and a treatment called a "Dermapen" every 3 months. I already took my skin care very seriously 6 months prior to the wedding. I forbade myself from going to bed with make up on, and never missed a night of a good face cleanse. I used products on my skin daily, and did it religiously all the way till the night before the wedding. I also went for an epic treatment called a "Dermaplane" a week before the wedding, which is when they essentially "shave" all the fluff and dead skin off your face - this was my favorite treatment and it really got my skin in the most perfect condition for the special day! when I was in Matric, I whitened my teeth for my matric dance, so I still had my teeth moulds from this. 2 months before the wedding I started my teeth whitening again. I had started laser hair removal 3 years ago (call me crazy but already in preparation for my one day wedding and married life - talk about planning in advance), so I carried on with these of course. With regards to health and fitness, 6 months prior to the wedding I signed up with a personal trainer at Ignite Fitness in PE. Her name was Simonne Paarman and she was just fabulous! She took me down from 8kgs, but not before she put me on an intensely strict eating plan 2 months before the wedding of course! It was hard, and it was a sacrifice, but it was so worth it - and the addiction of training and a healthy lifestyle has stuck post wedding!! In terms of tanning, I generally have a fairly pale skin color, I hate it and am very conscious of it, and always said I would NOT be pale for my wedding day. I started going on subbed sessions at Magic Tan in Summerstrand PE, who offer an epic 10% discount on all brides and bridal parties. This gave me the best tan I've probably ever had in my life! I really felt that I wanted to put in a lot of effort into prepping myself for my wedding, because the novelty of "it only happens once" really stuck with me. I was one of those girls who dreamt about her wedding day since the age of 4, and although it might be cliche, I really wanted to feel the most beautiful I ever felt, so putting effort into my beauty regime months before the wedding, was so important to me.
Okay, now this is my favorite part! From the moment I got engaged, I knew who I had to go to for all my decor arrangements and florals! Lynley Cusens from Floral Creations & The Hire Warehouse was my absolute life saver and just the most amazing person to work with. From our very first meeting, she grasped onto my vision, and worked alongside with me to make every aspect come true. I had decided on a color scheme of white and greenery (I'm obsessed with natural tones, and a little OCD about everything needing to be white - even in our home), with little touches of Rose Gold (because I'm obsessed with that too). I wanted a chic, classy, yet a touch of rustic, natural tones - being that the venue is in a forest, I wanted to pull those elements through. I always wanted a wedding with tons of flowers, because they just add to such a beautiful atmosphere. Lots of greenery and mixes of beautiful white flowers was exactly what Lynley gave me - and it was oh so perfect! Lynley also provided the most beautiful wooden tables, which bought the more raw textures into play. I decided to make my own napkins, as I wanted a real linen, and couldn't really find what I wanted anywhere. I also added on pom pom's around the edges to give it a nice touch. I made my own table numbers, as well as all the signage. I love calligraphy and hand written art so it was so much fun to do! The venue was beautiful on its own, so creating a beautiful wedding would be easy, but Lynley really did take it to another level! For the dance floor, I ordered the materials and made the string bulb lights myself too - and these were one of my favorite elements at the reception! As our dance floor was on the deck outside, out in the open, we were told we should probably hire a tent, but my dream was always to have a dance floor under the stars, so we chose to trust there would be no rain and take the chance! Even though rain was actually predicted for our wedding day up until the day before, we were so blessed to not have a single drop, and it was the most beautiful thing dancing under the stars until the early hours of the morning. All in all, it was the wedding of my dreams, and theres not a single thing I would change! Im still obsessing over our photos of all the decor!
Josh wore a custom made suit by Morne Van Der Skyf. He opted out from the traditional suit, and went with just a waistcoat and no tie instead. With his long hair, and rugged beard, it was my perfect idea of a hunky groom too. His shoes were from tread and Miller, and his belt I had given to him as a wedding gift with a special message engraved on the inside Josh's watch was also a gift from me. It was the watch he always wanted since we started dating. It was a Daniel Wellington watch, which I had engraved "I will love you till the end of time" on the inside.
The groomsmen wore tailored pants from Woolies, with white shirts and an unbuttoned collar. We ordered brown leather old school suspenders online, and their shoes were ordered off Superbalist.
I designed my bridesmaid dresses before we were even engaged, and was stuck and obsessed with the color white for them. Everyone thought I was crazy, but I was just so in love with the look of it. At the end, it came our even better than I imagined and they all looked so flawless! I made all 7 of the dresses too, which was such fun! Their earring were white tassel earrings from Lovisa. Their shoes were nude strap heels from Aldo. They each had a lose and romantic up style with a grecian looking flower crown to finish it off. They also got ready in matching gown dresses, which I had made for them too. They each got a box of gifts the night before, which contained lots of little goodies - I felt this was the least I could do for them to show them how much I appreciated everything they did for me. Because what would a bride do without her girls? Who knows - because I don't!
Ruan Redelinghuis was our photographer for our wedding day. He was completely out of this world and we are still freaking over our photos. He captured the day in a way I've never seen photos capture. It's as if the photos come alive each time you look at them. We truly are forever grateful for these beautiful images, at the end of the day, its this and your memories that you have left after the most special day of your life.
Sharyn Hodges was our photographer for our trash the dress shoot the next day. What an epic, unbelievable and memorable shoot this will always be! Not only did we literally dive into the water to get the most perfect shots, Sharyn was there, waist deep in the water too - just to get the perfect shot!
Besides me besties? Yes, I kinda did! Although I did most of the planning throughout the year myself, but Lynley Cusens helped me throughout the year and also coordinated the whole wedding on the day! I couldn't recommend a coordinator more - It was so amazing to just sit back and know you have nothing to worry about on the day!
Deidre from Dee's Catering in Plettenberg Bay did our catering for the day. We had a harvest table for starters during the time we were having our photoshoot, which consisted of different breads, cold meats, cheeses preserves, chicken strips, gourmet mini pies and sushi! For our mains, we did gourmet burgers with potatoes wedges and a side salad. We loved that our guests would be eating something universal that every loves, and get them full for the long night of partying ahead! Everyone loved it and couldn't stop raving about them! For dessert, we had a dessert table with all sorts of different treats! Dee's catering provided us with mini cheesecakes, brownies and mini lemon tarts. My mom in law made some marie buscuit fudge and rice crispie treats, and we had two stacks of Krispy Kreme donuts - yum! Our beautiful wedding cake was made by my mom in law too.
Don't think I'm crazy, but I did this all myself too! I desperately wanted all our stationary to be done on handmade/rag paper, and I couldn't find anyone who would do it for me - so I didn't only design the stationary, but printed it all too, I even made the envelopes myself (Okay I now give you permission to think Im crazy - all my family think I am anyway!).
So, Im actually a dancer myself, have been dancing since the age of 4. Josh on the other, hmmm, not so much. For our first dance, we decided to keep it really simple and genuine, and it turned out to be just that! Our groomsmen popped a bunch of confetti poppers during our first dance and we had all our guests holding sparklers throughout our dance - which added such an epic vibe!
For my dad and I's dance, we choreographed something really fun! My dad is who I'd say I get my rhythm from, and we've always had such fun dancing together, so it was only normal for us to put together something special like this for our Father Daughter dance, using songs that had sentimental memories from my childhood.
As I mentioned above, I've been a dancer my whole life. My best friend and Maid of Honor is my dance partner, and 2 of my other bridesmaids are dancers too - so of course, they decided to surprise me with the most insane dance performance ever - they even involved all the groomsmen and Josh! It was the best thing ever and my cheeks were cramping from all the laughing and smiling. This truly was one of the most special moments.
With regards to our sound and DJ's. A year ago Josh and I went to a family wedding in Pretoria. We heard this band play at a brewery the next day, and I immediately knew we had to have them at our wedding! Semi Koala, consisting of 2 members, drove all the way day from Pretoria for our special day - and they were just the best! From performing live music on the deck during the harvest table, to DJ'ing with the biggest smiles on their faces until the early hours of the morning, to providing all the sound for our day, I couldn't recommend these guys more!