SA Weddings

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Monique van der Westhuizen

Married on Sep 29, 2018 in Free State


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Magical Moments


One of my favorites moments of my day is standing under a large canopy of trees, next to a river, during the ceremony, where I looked up to my left and glanced over to my right-taking a deep breath and simply digesting what is about to happen. With the wind gently rustling the leaves of the large trees surrounding us, with the sound of slow flowing water and Birdsong-as if God orchestrated them to sing us into this next chapter!

Apart from this vivid moment, some other highlights are:
*When I came dancing down the isle with my father, to an upbeat, celebratory country song, following my bridesmaids playing tambourines. Seeing all my loved ones dance, clap and celebrate with me... With my groom (Nardus) in tears at the end of the isle!
*When Nardus & I planted a young English Oak tree on the lawn by the main venue, symbolizing our deep-routed relationship that will grow into a beautiful, strong, long-lasting product of love and nurture.
*Our guests enjoying the gin bar that was provided to them, with gin from all over the country collected by my in laws throughout our year of engagement.
*My sister/maid of honor, all dressed up in an afro and funky jeans, singing with a hair brush, performing for me and entertaining our guests to our favorite Bruno Mars song!
*I performed a song (Adele, Make You Feel My Love) for Nardus, with one of my best friends on guitar, that just inspired him and shared my deepest wishes for us as a couple.
*Dancing to some of the most amazing, energetic, hit songs from all our years of dating, with some of the coolest people we know!
*The most rewarding highlight of the day was seeing our guests' reactions to the travel-theme we incorporated into the day, as Nardus & I absolutely love to travel.
- our guests each received a personalized passport at the ceremony, with their photos and details in, further indicating the timeline for the day, our worship songs, menus, the service providers, names of those in our bridal party and all activities they can take part in during the canapé time.
-they all received their own personal boarding passes - indicating their table name (a large city in the world, representing one or more of the guests at that specific table) and seat number.
-during the canapé time, our guests participated in a "where to next" activity, where they needed to tell us which city/country Nardus & I should travel to on our future overseas trips and why; placing it in a large atlas globe.
With the passports and boarding passes we intended to keep all the stationery and information of the wedding together in one pocket sleeve, so that each guest can keep all the memories in one place and reflect back on when they so choose. And of course, to take them on a journey with us.

The Honeymoon


We went to Phuket, Thailand for our honeymoon, where we stayed in the bustling Patong, we experienced all the markets Phuket had to offer. We had an overnight stay on a beautiful island resort and returned to have a taste of the craziness that is Bangla road. After our 7-day stay in Phuket, we headed to Singapore. This was definitely my highlight of our whole trip! What a gem in the world!

Wedding Gallery


My Special Day

My wedding look intended to demonstrate my personality as accurately as possible. I chose to stay true to my day-to-day style, but obviously slightly more elegantly. I love nature, rivers, farms, trees!! And also designing and making crafty things. So, i tried to bring all this into my look. In addition to this, I incorporated Nardus's more modern, industrial streak - using copper wire in our accessories.
I kept my natural curls for the day. I went red in 2015, so I refreshed my hair colour a bit at Bella Donna hair salon in Bloemfontein. I made a leaf-branch vine out of jewelry wire and beads, to wear in my hair. My colleague and friend, Tharina Annandale, assisted in weaving this vine into a beautiful, modest plait on the right side of my face, into my hair.
My mother-in-law spoiled me to a make-up training day in March 2018, at BH Makeup Studio in Bloemfontein, where I purchased MUD makeup and decided to invest time and effort into practicing doing my own make-up. That is what I ended up doing on my big day, seeing it as a huge spoil for myself... and titivating like a real girl!
Wedding Dress:
I bought my dress from Bride & Co in November 2017, on a Black Friday Sale! Given it was 10 months before the wedding - ample time to wait - I just knew when i put my dress on, that it was the one. Viola Chan is the designer. I had a couple alterations done by a local designer and stylist in Bloemfontein - Johané Borchard, from Wild Flower.
In addition to my alterations, Johané designed and made a long, white, cape-jersey which I wore on entering at the Reception. My veil and my garter were my "something borrowed" items. One of my ultimate best friends and bridesmaids, Kirstin McLaggan, also hand-made a garter for me to keep, matching the lace on my dress.
Leather ballet-styled shoes from Cape Town's Redemption Leather, which I bought at the Bloem Show in April 2018, when their stall gave central SA a visit! Comfort was key for me, and since we were in a forest...who wears heels in a forest ;)
Mr Price was my service provider here...for providing a simply-designed white lingerie undergarment.
Only earrings were needed with the design of my dress. I found rose-gold, pearl earrings matching the bead work of the hair-piece I designed and made - bought from Angels Boutique in Bloemfontein.
Bridesmaids bouquets:
The crafter in me could not resist making something for the bridesmaids - and because I danced down the isle - instead of floral bouquets, I made dusty-pink, lace tambourines, which they used as their instruments whilst also dancing down the isle.
Bridal Bouquet:
Tharina, who also plaited my hair, made a grapevine, heart-shaped bouquet, using beads, wire and flowers to decorate it with - matching my hair vine, the mens' boutonnieres and the colours of the wedding.



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The Venue

We got married in Lady Grey, in the Eastern Cape @ Lupela Trout Fishing Lodge, right by the Ross family's farm house and beautiful tree-canopy outdoor chapel.
The guests arrived from the Friday already, as we had a Spitbraai at the Plaaskobuis Restaurant on the Friday night; where Jaco Spies, from Drumability, held a large Djembe drumming group with the guests as their entertainment and to set the tone for the weekend.
Thus all guests stay in and around Lady Grey - in guest houses in town and on surrounding farms.
Amongst many others, some are namely:
Comfry Cottages
The Grey Lady
The Mountain View Country Inn hotel
Mooivlei Guest Farm
Glen Doone Cottage
Lupela Lodge

My Bridal Beauty Regime

In the year of our engagement, 2017, I purchased Isabella Garcia's skincare line - including a range of face wash, toner, creams, serums, perfumes, etc. I did not follow a strict health & fitness programme, but I cut-out on some of my guilty pleasures, such a cappuccino sachets and chocolate, as well as gluten. I drank water more regularly that usual, but that is about it! ;) Myself and my maid of honour visited the African Stone Day Spa in Bloemfontein the week of the wedding for a hot stone massage and a foot massage and treatment.

Wedding Elements

This was the epitome of a DIY wedding!
The colours/textures of the wedding included: plum, olive green, dusty pink, white, industrial textures/materials, such as wood, copper and cement (to combine nature with industry, i.e. the bride's style and the groom's style).

Mr Price, Builder's Corner and Kloppers were my big buddies in providing me with all the materials and equipment in this process of making or buying my décor.

Firstly, I am employed in a Forensic rehabilitation unit in Bloemfontein, which I supported by requesting that the area, run by my colleague Tharina, make all the necessary décor - including wooden products, such as pallet-boards, rustic-wooden ladders, wire circular designs, etc.
Secondly, the lighting was on Nardus and my DIY to-do-list. We made all the structures and molds from scratch. We set light fixtures into self-made cement molds and used carbon filament bulbs in these fixtures, to establish the intended warm ambiance at the wedding. Bulbs were also attached to the pallet boards, which hung down from the roof in the reception hall.
The wooden structures and wire-work pieces were then used by the florist and my team to hang the flowers from. A local florist in Lady Grey, Renee DuPlessis, provided me with Ivy and Willow tree branches. My husband and I purchased Arum Lilies from Woolworths - ranging in colours, such as white and shades of pink, however, the signature flower used in the wedding was the dark purple/black Arum Lilly.
Waldorf Flowers provided us with ferns, used to fillout the tables and bring all lose ends together. Our confetti (various colours of rose petals) and white rose bouquets were purchased from them - these white roses were used to decorate the arch and branch ladders at the ceremony spot under the tree canopy.
Long and short branches were hung, horizontally from the walls in the Reception hall, with ivy strung all along them, to create back drops and a warmer, natural environment. Grape-vine hearts and circles were hung from these structures, which the florists also used to hang their ivy on.

Lastly, Mr Price and PEP Stores had my full support in purchasing geometric-shaped, metal structures and candle holders - despite their colours. I then purchased copper- rose gold spray paint from Kloppers and sprayed all these holders and structures. I then split up the designs and created x4 different table layouts. These were then used with long, white candles or tea light candles... and used all around the reception hall to fill in the gaps and to provide the warm lighting.

My Groom And His Groomsmen

The groom wore a navy tuxedo from Bride&Co. The groomsmen wore grey suits, bought from Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg. The men ordered bow-ties from***; Nardus wore a dark brown bow-tie and all the groomsmen wore camel-brown bow-tie.
Nardus wore designer shoes from ALDO shoe store and a dark brown belt from Woolworths.
Our ring-bearer, 1 year-old, wore a matching bow-tie made locally, with navy pants and a handsome white collar shirt.
Nardus' boutonniere was different to that of the fathers, groomsmen and the ring-bearer.
The fathers looked just as handsome in their suits. Plum, white and green (father of the bride) - , navy and white (father-in-law).

Beautiful Bridesmaids

There were four bridesmaids and a maid of honour.
I designed the style of dress, which was then made for each lady; two wearing Olive green, two wearing dusty pink and the maid of honour wearing plum.
I designed a comfortable, warm dress style - due to the weather. The dress was maxi-styled, with a boat-neck neckline. Each lady bought her own leather pumps to wear with their dresses - each a different shade of brown.
Their looks were rounded of by the flower crown that I made myself, out of artificial flowers, beading, wirework and ribbon.
- incorporating all the colours used at the wedding.
Johané (Wild Flower) made the bridesmaids' dresses, as well as the flower girl's dress - lace and dusty pink; similarly designed to the bridesmaids' dresses.
The mothers wore their own, comfortable, beautifully elegant navy outfits - with corsages/breast-pins matching the crowns worn by the bridesmaids.
My minions: Ladies who play a huge role in my life, as advisers and mentors- including the mothers of the flower girl and the ring-bearer, as well as my colleague - wore shades of dusty pink, plum or navy dresses, with their own personalized artificial crowns (also made by me).

Marriage Officer

Ds Fanie Spamer from Heuwelsig NG community - officially married us the week prior to the wedding, where we signed our registers; however, my uncle, Johannes Esterhuyse, performed the service on our big day. He insisted we write our vows down, and sign it as an official document as well, which we can frame or use else-where. We did this after the ceremony in front of a few witnesses, under the flower arch - after the service.

My Captured Moments

The Engagement:
Meraci Photography (Carine Botha) - shot in Woodland Estate in Bloemfontein.
The Wedding:
Ett Venter Photography - from Pretoria. A dear and close friend to us, who captured our likeness and personalities perfectly!
Barefeet Videography captured our day; perfectly! Their style of shoot the videos also captured all the small moments that we either forgot, or did not see at all - especially those of all our guests chatting and enjoying themselves.
Photo booth:
Umpalumpa Photo booth provided their services throughout the Canapé hour; our guests has a photo strip to take home and one to stick into the guest book - with a personal note to us.



Barefeet loves nothing more than the opportunity to capture these once-in-a-lifetime memories in the most natural, authentic and captivating way.

The Wedding Planner

Nope. No wedding planner was used.
I planned and co-ordinated all the arrangements - with the combined efforts of my awesome team (bridesmaids&groomsmen) and of course my amazing groom, who helps me finalize all decisions and arrangements.

Wedding Transport

Mr Koba, a Lady Grey local, assigned a bus and a few Quantum taxis to bring all the guests from town to the lodge (25km) trip, in one smooth trip...and directly to the wedding ceremony and reception site (5km from the main road).
The bus was decorated with large magnet photos of the two of us; all arranged by my mother-in-law, as a surprise to me!
Myself and Nardus were on the farm and neighbouring farm; and the ceremony spot and reception hall were walking distance from the accommodation and one-another, thus no transport was needed for the happy couple.

Food & Cake

Denise Ross and her ladies (from Lupela Lodge) prepared all the food for the day.
My cousin, Emma Rohmann made our cake - also with a touch of a travel theme.

Wedding Stationery

We purchased a package on the AppyCouple application; which I then used to design and complete our wedding website. The template and theme of the purchased design was used as inspiration for the passports and boarding passes - which was then the only stationery used on the day.

Our wedding website served as a major help - in the wedding's admin and managing the guests. We also have a social media feed on the application, where guests posted their personal best wishes and could post a photo or two - or even memories after the wedding day.

The Reception and Entertainment

Nardus and I went for dance lessons to refine our Sokkie dancing skills - we love to dance, but felt we could use a lesson or two to teach us new moves and tricks to making the dance style look smooth and beautiful! Phillip from Dance2Evolution in Bloemfontein presented these classes to us.
We make use of CreativeKilowatt as our DJs for the Reception... Amazing DJs!
Declan McLaggan - also a close friend - and his wife, Kirstin, performed our worship songs during the Ceremony. Declan then spoiled the guests to acoustic entertainment during the canapés, and played the guitar and sang backup vocals during my Bride's song, sung for the groom during the Reception.

Wedding Services Used



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Barefeet loves nothing more than the opportunity to capture these once-in-a-lifetime memories in the most natural, authentic and captivating way.



Bride&co is your one-stop wedding and evening wear retail store.