We met through mutual friends, whilst enjoying a night out on town as students. We decided to meet up again the next day, and after a few hours of talking and getting to know each other, Benito said (out of the blue): "This is the start of something, isn't it?", to which I just smiled and said "It doesn't have to be if you don't want it to. Let's just see where it goes".
Thinking back now, it was almost as if he knew... and fast forward to 6 years later, now we both realise how true that statement actually was!
So after spending countless more days together, with numerous deep meaningful conversations, meeting the families, travelling overseas, moving in together, buying our first house together, moving to Cape Town...and all the little special moments in between... it was finally time for this van Zyl to become a Decina!
Our proposal was exactly how I would have imagined it, just a thousand times better! We got engaged at my family home in Namibia, in the living room in front of my parents. I know this might not sound as fancy and glamorous as other proposals but Benito knows how much my family means to me; and being the only child, it was so special that he decided to include my parents during that moment.
Leading up to that day, we had been on holiday in Italy, after which we flew to Namibia to celebrate my 25th Birthday with my family and friends. Apparently, my engagement ring had flown with us from SA to Italy and then to Namibia, as Benito waited for the right moment. First option was in Italy (without my family there), second option was at my 25th party (but there was just too many people), and then finally the right moment came the next day, when it was just us and my parents (nice and intimate as I would have wanted it)...and it was perfect. Benito called us all into the living room. He started to thank my parents for not only their hospitality but for always accepting him into the family with open arms; and then turned to me and said he had one last birthday present for me. He then pulled out the ringbox and I still hadn't clicked, I thought it was a necklace. As he opened it, I was sitting right next to him, and he asked if I'd marry him...of course I said YES! By then we were all in tears, and it warmed my heart to see how happy my parents were with the big news.
It definitely was a day that I will never forget!!!
People always say that no wedding is perfect, but I can honestly say that mine was. There wasn't one thing that I can think of that went wrong.
Having all our family and friends there to witness our love and commitment was definitely the highlight of our day! Another special moment was during the church ceremony, where it felt like the whole world had disappeared and it was only us 2 sharing that moment together. I will also never forget our first dance, nor my husbands heartfelt speech, the love and emotions felt so tangible, it was like nothing I have ever experienced and it was the perfect way to start our new journey as husband and wife.
All in all the whole day was just a once in a lifetime event, from getting ready, to saying I do, to the speeches and dances that were shared. Words aren't enough to descirbe this special day!
So my husband had this really special trip planned for our honeymoon, which was all a surprise for me, but unfortunately the day after our wedding when we were supposed to leave for the honeymoon, I picked up terrible laryngitis and bronchitis, feeling terrible.
The plan was to fly to Port Elizabeth and then take 5 days to drive to Cape Town all along the coast, stopping over in Knysna, Storms River, Hermanus, Langebaan etc. I have so much regret that we weren't able to make the trip, but I am sure we will make up for it, probably with an overseas trip next year :)
So for now, we had to take a rain check on the honeymoon...
The wedding look I was going for was timeless elegance. I opted for a full lace couture dress made by the insanely talented Cindy Bam in Cape Town. It was absolutely perfect, with a plunging neck line and low open back, with stunning spanish lace everywhere and a long train. I was overwhelmed by the amount of compliments I received.
For my hair I wanted to show off my long hair and keep the style simple and elegant to allow the dress to take over the show. My hair was done my Melissa Bezuidenhout from Milly.Creative, and she knew exactly what to do. Soft curls with a half up style held up by a copper hair piece from Lovisa.
My plan was always to keep my make up as little as possible as I'm not one to normally wear a lot of make up and I wanted to make sure I still looked like myself. Heidi van Niekerk from Red Make-up Artistry helped me get a natural looking face with all the accent on my eyes, no contouring, smokey copper eyes with a nude lip and accentuated cheek bones. It enhanced all the right places :)
My shoes were from The Next Step, and I went for the champagne and copper colour which worked perfectly
, not only with the dress and accessories but also with the colour scheme of my wedding (which was predominantly copper)
Lastly, all the ladies who attended my kitchen tea contributed to my beautiful jewellery. They had Cindy's Jewellers from Pretoria make me a stunning rose gold necklace and earrings with crystals. Again it tied in perfectly with the rest of my bridal look.
I felt like the best and prettiest version of myself! All thanks to my fantastic suppliers :)
Our ceremony was held at the beautiful Nazareth House Chapel in Pretoria,with marble finishing and stained glass windows it felt like we were in a church in Italy. Thereafter our reception was at Casa Toscana in their magnificent Rubica Hall with all the fairy lights a girl can dream of!
We had plenty of guests come from far (Portugal, Namibia, Botswana, China) and many of them stayed over in the guethouses nearby as well as at Casa Toscana.
Copper and burgundy were the 2 stand out colours for our wedding and luckily I had the wonderful opportunity of working with Ashley from The Love Knot to turn my vision into a reality. She was responsible for all the amazing decor, centerpieces and flowers both at the church and at the reception. The theme was bohemian elegance with copper and burgundy details and greenery in between. It all looked like a dream!!
The groom looked so handsome in his navy suit from Fabiani, with a champagne tie and pocket square from Eurosuit and dark brown leather shoes and belt from Tread & Miller. The bestman had a lighter shade of grey-blue suit with a burgundy tie, both from Edgars, with matching shoes and belt to the groom.
My 2 bridesmaids wore a full length custom made dress with copper sequins detail at the top and champagne coloured fabric with tulle overlay at the bottom. We sourced the fabric from Elegance Fabrics in cape Town and a family friend made the dresses for us in Namibia.
Our marriage was celebrated and officiated by Father Graham Bouwer of St Pius X Parish in Brooklyn, Pretoria.
We were so fortunate to have been able to book the extremely talented and super professional team of One Fine Day to capture our day from beginning to end. It was such a pleasure to have them around, they brought such good energy to everything they did and they really helped us feel at ease with all the cameras. We cannot wait to see the end results! I know it is going to be stunning :)
The catering for our wedding was done by the Casa Toscana restaurant staff.
Our wedding cake and cupcakes were made by my cousin Liezel Loots, and it tasted just as good as what it looked! It was exactly what I wanted!
My mom and her friend Michelle did all our wedding stationery, which helped us save quite a bit of money. They made sure to incorporate our copper details and logo in everything amd it all tied in so well together and just finished everything off perfectly. I am so grateful that they were able to do this for us, especially considering the time and effort that went into it all.
Our reception music, lighting and smoke machine was done by 4 Seasons Mobile Disco. We had such a great party and they were sure to keep the atmosphere and energy on the dance floor. Our first dance was such a special moment, we chose a slow dance song and we didn't even practice what we were going to do. In the end it turned out to be the best decision as we could just relax and enjoy the moment and see where the music took us. It honestly felt like time stood still!