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Lauren Gouws

Married on Sep 29, 2018 in Gauteng

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Magical Moments

 

When my husband and I met 8+ years ago, we quickly a developed an unbreakable connection through a shared passion - all things vintage. From the moment he proposed in January 2017, we knew we would have a "different" wedding, bringing CLASSIC and ELEGANCE back - taking our guests on an exploration through different eras and times of style and music. This would range from Swing and Jazz to Bossanova and everywhere in-between.

Our vintage "obsession" is the reason I got Gert Johan Coetzee to design my wedding dress - a gorgeously unique gown that hints towards designs from the 40s and 50s (with the longest train I've ever seen).

MOST SPECIAL MOMENT #1: Our "song" has always been "Moon River," made famous by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." We got our good friend Coenraad Rall (one of South Africa's most renowned piano players) to do a musical fusion which started with the traditional wedding march, swiftly transforming into "Moon River." It was a magical moment, one my husband certainly wasn't expecting. Also - while most brides walk down an aisle, I walked down 5 flights of stairs - backed by weeks of rehearsals - all in heels.

MOST SPECIAL MOMENT #2: My brother walked me down the stairs in place of my Father - making it an even more special and memorable moment for us all.

MOST SPECIAL MOMENT #3: We shared two first kisses. After the pastor said "I now pronounce you husband and wife," everyone cheered and we kissed. The pastor then said, "well, I suppose this is when I say you may now kiss the bride." Everyone cheered for the second time, and we kissed once more.

MOST SPECIAL MOMENT #4: Usually, I sing for my husband at home on a Friday night. His favorite song for me to sing is "At Last" by Etta James. Little did he know that I had been practicing for almost a year (trained by my sister, professional singer and bridesmaid, Amber Meikle) to sing it at our wedding. If you look through the pictures, you'll see me singing and various shots of him in awe.

MOST SPECIAL MOMENT #5: I have been dancing since I was three, so I always knew we wouldn't have a "normal" first dance. I changed into a dynamic red cha-cha outfit (as seen in my gallery) and we danced to "Moon River" (the cha-cha version). My husband almost broke his ankle during our rehearsals, but he persevered - and we did it. I'm still exceptionally proud of him.

The Honeymoon

 

We went on what we have coined a "mini-moon," to the Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward. After the wedding (which was rather large and rather expensive) we are taking the time to save up to go to Rome next year - our dream destination. Still - the "mini-moon" was an absolutely phenomenal experience. It's like a ship on land.

Wedding Gallery

 

My Special Day

My look was, of course, totally vintage. It took MONTHS to master the perfect '40s finger waves, and I asked my makeup artist to do a very specific bold, vintage look with black cat-eyes and a deep wine red lipstick. I am naturally very pale, which pushed the classic look to the max. The look was completed with Gert Johan Coetzee's bridal gown creation. Gert is the "designer to the stars," dressing the likes of Minnie Dlamini and even Kelly Rowland.

The dress was "classic with a contemporary twist," bursting with THOUSANDS of pearls and MOUNTAINS of lace. The train is the longest I've ever seen, which came out at the hips - not all the way around at the front as most ball gowns are. This allowed full view of the inner-gown, with the separate train leading back from the hips. It was truly one-of-a-kind.

Arguably one of the most special items was the one that fell under "something borrowed," as tradition has it. My Mother-in-Law pinned her Grandmother's concentration camp medal onto my bouquet. With me being British, this certainly held a lot of historical meaning - signifying a final reconciliation between cultures.

The Venue

We got married at the one-and-only Rand Club - Johannesburg's oldest private member's club.

Rand Club

Rand Club

Rand Club, the pinnacle of historical Johannesburg and an icon amongst the city skyline, offers a quintessentially grand and elaborate multi-purpose venue.

My Bridal Beauty Regime

I'm a very healthy person as it is, and there are two things I can't live without - Yoga and jogging. With skincare, I use Clinique. My Mum's been using it her whole life, and she looks far closer to 40 than she does 60. Following suit, I don't use anything but the Clinique 3-step system morning and evening. I also had professional teeth whitening, a wedding gift from Shaun's cousin who is a dental surgeon. 2 days before the wedding, the girls and I had a spa day. We just avoided facials - as these can potentially cause the skin to break out.

Wedding Elements

In line with our vintage theme, the room was tastefully decorated with thousands of fairy lights strung across the ceiling and beautiful tall Arum Lilies (Varkore) in tall vases. Pearls scattered the tables on top of elegant round flat mirrors.

As gifts/favors, we gave every guest an antique/vintage coin. We went on to play the "oldest coin game" (created by my husband) where the guest with the oldest coin (from the 1800s) won a prize. The coins were bought at an antique fair - all 110 of them - individually polished, varnished, and wrapped up in gift boxes (mini "grooms" and "brides") in the weeks leading up to the wedding. My Mother and sister sat and folded these boxes for weeks. The coins ranged from the 1830s through to the 1960s, which added to the whole theme of "an exploration through the ages."

Prior to the reception, the guests were requested to find their seats and table numbers in the form of antique keys hung on a reclaimed hotel key-board - hand-restored and placed on an easel by my husband.

My Groom And His Groomsmen

My husband Shaun, who also adores all things vintage and is an avid antique restorer/vintage furniture designer, sported a tailormade double-breasted '40s pin-stripe suit. The suit was custom-tailored by Maverick Designs (who also tailors the jackets for South Africa's Proteas, the cricket team). Shaun and all of his groomsmen wore tasteful tie-clips - a rare stylistic piece that isn't often seen anymore. The groomsmen wore black pants, white shirts, and black ties - simple and classy.

Beautiful Bridesmaids

From the beginning, I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear classic red vintage dresses. You can see how they turned out in the photos. The dresses were red satin with petticoats underneath. One of my bridesmaids, Charmi, a creative mind and artist, turned plain black heels into classic, lacey red pieces of art.

Marriage Officer

Ryan Hogarth. He delivered an unforgettable ceremony - the perfect balance between emotive and entertaining. He made the ceremony fun, vibrant, short and sweet.

My Captured Moments

Our wedding photographers were the exceptionally talented husband-and-wife duo from "PictureMe&U." Werner and Mariaan are absolutely incredible, dedicated to the end - as you can see from our photos. They certainly gave us our fair share of exercise for the day, running around for the perfect lighting. All photos were supplied via the cloud in colour and black and white. Before the end of the evening, a handpicked collection of the most striking photographs were already looping on a laptop for all to see.

The Wedding Planner

Wedding planner? My husband is a film producer. He said for months: "If I can produce a film, I can produce a wedding." And - produce a wedding he did, along with my Mother-in-Law.

Wedding Transport

Seeing as we got married at the Rand Club, which has everything you need for the ceremony and reception, we didn't require any transport - unless you count the Uber to the Marriot Hotel after the wedding. That car journey was certainly an interesting experience with my dress. The uber that arrived to take us from the venue to the hotel had a problem with his car. His boot wouldn't open which forced us, with all of our baggage and my massive dress, to be squeezed into the car - with boxes and suitcases on our laps. But - the show must always go on.

Food & Cake

JEM supplied all of our catering, delivering a truly unforgettable culinary experience. Everything was simply delectable.

Our cake was lovingly handmade by my cousin, Shane, who specializes in event cakes. This one featured layers of carrot cake and red velvet under delectable sour cream icing.

Jem - Exclusive Catering & Events

Jem - Exclusive Catering & Events

Jem exclusive catering and events provides a complete service, catering equally for private parties through to weddings and corporate functions.

Wedding Stationery

Everything was designed and printed by my husband and his incredibly talented Mother - who is a designer. Down to the tiniest of details, she did it all.

The Reception and Entertainment

As mentioned, I choreographed the dance. Yes, we took lessons - with me as the teacher and my husband working very hard to rehearse.

Daniel Cradick, husband of one of my closest friends Angelique, was our DJ. He adhered to our vintage playlist flawlessly.

We wanted to create a magical evening with what looked like thousands of stars strung from the ceiling, which we achieved through fairy lights supplied by EC Lightings Solutions.

The reception, overall, was totally unique. Our guests kept saying it was the best wedding they have ever attended. With my song and our unique first dance, it truly was an afternoon and evening to remember.

Our steadfast rule was no music from after the 60s. We wanted to create a "time-warp" where it truly sounded as though you were back in time - anywhere from the 30s to the 60s. This is one of the aspects that made our wedding so incredibly one-of-a-kind.

Wedding Services Used

 
Jem - Exclusive Catering & Events

Jem - Exclusive Catering & Events

Jem exclusive catering and events provides a complete service, catering equally for private parties through to weddings and corporate functions.

Rand Club

Rand Club

Rand Club, the pinnacle of historical Johannesburg and an icon amongst the city skyline, offers a quintessentially grand and elaborate multi-purpose venue.