Our wedding day was one I have been dreaming about ever since I was a little girl. Everything about the day was sheer magic: from the picturesque Summer's day in Paarl, to waking up that morning with my bridesmaids (one of whom shared her birthday on the same day), to getting ready with my mom and (almost) mother-in-law - the morning was filled with laughter and love. We danced, ate cake, drank bubbly, and got dressed and ready for the most memorable day of my life.
Having that perfect father/daughter moment with my dad as he saw me in my wedding dress for the first time, is something I'll cherish always. We both cried with joy and hugged as our emotions and the moment overwhelmed us.
When I saw Gary for the first time as I walked down the aisle, looking more handsome than he had ever looked, it took my breath away. I have loved him for lifetimes before, he is my one true love, best friend and soul mate. We wrote our own vows, and hearing his to me and mine to him made our wedding day more beautiful and special than I could have ever imagined. We both spoke from the heart and in our own words, which added a very personal and intimate element to our ceremony.
Patrick Boucher married us, and he added a fun, light and truly enjoyable experience to the ceremony. I think it is safe to say we were both nervous, and Patrick allowed to laugh, relax and enjoy the ceremony.
Sharing our day with all our loved ones, family and friends meant more to us than I can put into words. Everyone made such an effort to be there (we even had a pregnant friend travel all the way from Australia to be there with us). This and everyone being there made the day the fairy tale it was.
We chose to not do the usual garter and bouquet toss. Instead we wanted a break from the speeches and 'the expected', and played a mini version of the Shoe Game. It was such fun, and had everyone laughing!
Sharing our first dance as Husband and Wife was a very surreal and nerve wracking moment. We hadn't choreographed an entire dance (as we wanted the moment to have a natural feel), but we had gone for one or two lessons to ensure we didn't step on each other's toes (or worse), Gary stepping on my dress ;) We are very blessed to have had one of my best friends sing our first dance song live at the wedding. She is hugely talented. The song is a very emotional and romantic country ballad, and having her sing it as we floated across the floor, is a memory we both treasure.
There were so many wonderful moments from our wedding day, I could go on and on for pages more.
6 weeks after our special day, my mom passed away unexpectedly. To say it has been heartbreaking since, is an understatement. One thing I am so incredibly thankful and grateful for is that she got to see her little girl in her wedding dress, she got to share the most important day of my life with me, and saw me marry the most remarkable man.
Our day was everything we could have asked for, and more. We would not change a thing.
We still have our honeymoon to look forward to, as we have planned to go to beautiful Seychelles over the December holidays. We cannot wait to sit back, relax and enjoy the quality time together in paradise. Counting down the months, weeks and days.
My wedding look was romantic elegance. My wedding dress was created by the ever talented visionary Valencia Harrison, of Valencia Harrison Designs. It was as if she could read my mind as she made my dream dress come to fruition. I felt like royalty in my dream dress.
Because the back of dress made a statement, I needed to have my hair up. Also it was February in Paarl and with the 30+ degree heat I welcomed the idea of having my hair off my neck and face. Wade Viljoen who owns Wade&Co hair design has always been my choice of hair stylist so it was a no-brainer having him do my hair on the day. He took an idea I had found on Pinterest and made it better.
My cousin Tiffany Burgess (Creatiff make-up artistry) was our makeup artist. I am so fortunate to have such talent in my family. It was a privilege to have her spend the morning with us. She made me and my bridesmaids, my mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law all look like glamour models.
I bought my shoes at Shoerama in Kenilworth Centre (Cape Town). What was important to me was comfort (as I wanted to be able to dance all night long). I was lucky to find a very pretty pair that suited my overall look and didn't hurt my feet.
My wedding dress (although a simple, fitted, low back A-line style) had the most detailed fabric which included lace from top to bottom, bling, flower appliques and feathers. Therefore, I went for tasteful simplicity for my jewellery. All I wore was my engagement ring (from Browns Jewellers) and a pair of OTT chandelier diamante earrings from Lovisa.
The gown I wore on the day, whilst getting ready was from LinaLina and the lingerie was from La Senza.
The only other accessories I wore was my mom's original wedding band sewn into the underneath of my dress, as my 'something old' and my beautiful one of a kind hand made garter that my mom and one of her good friends had made for me.
We got married at Belair in Paarl. There are no words to describe our lucky we were to find this gem. I knew I wanted a glass pavilion wedding venue and was so thankful we found Belair because it was close to Cape Town which is where we live, so the commute for most guests wouldn't have been tedious and that we didn't know of anyone (personally) who had been married there. The venue is something out of a story book and allows for you to create your dream, garden wedding.
Belair has accommodation on the property - Belair Country House which sleeps 16. We stayed on the property, along with our bridal party and their plus ones. Most of our guests stayed nearby in B&Bs, hotels and accommodation in Paarl.
Four months before our wedding, we made the big decision to move back to Cape Town. We had been living in the UK for three years. When we got back, I took my health and fitness regime to the next level. I joined Fitness Faculty (owned by Johno Meintjes) to help me get back in to shape. Through a strict eating plan and rigorous training programme I managed to drop 18kgs before the big day.
I have always been very diligent with my skin routine, washing my face twice a day, everyday. I use Anesi facial products, and also went for regular dermapen facials with Daniela Rau (The Brow Lady Cpt) in the final months before our wedding. I also had regular wax appointments at Beauty by Jomi.
** All of this, along with enough sleep, and drinking 2 litres of water daily, ensured I felt and looked my best on our wedding day.
Our decor was simply gorgeous. With guidance from our wedding planner Jules (Blue Bird Events), we hired Petals Group to do decor. The provided most of the things we required. We also used Okasie for a few small furniture pieces and Happy Tree Designs provided our lawn games.
My dashing husband and groom wore a custom-made, tailored 3 piece suit from a small suit tailor in Cavendish Square shopping mall. Gary's collared shirt, shoes, socks, and belt were all bought from Woolworths.
The groosmen's suits were bought from Woolworths, as were their socks, belts and collared shirts. They wore their own black shoes.
We had Valencia Harrison Designs custom make all their ties.
My bridesmaids wore custom designed dresses by Valencia Harrison Designs that epitomised simplistic elegance. Their hair styles they chose themselves, based on what they preferred. Their earrings I gave them were from Lovisa and I suggested they choose their own nude / beige shoes for the day.
Patrick Boucher was our marriage officer. Patrick made our day extra special and we are honoured to have been married by him. What made it even more special was that he had also married my dad and step mom a few years prior.
Our photographer was Juliette Bisset, owner of Juliette Bisset Photography. We absolutely loved working with her and our photographs are incredible. She is so talented.
Our videographer was duo Ebert and Mikayla of Ebert Steyn Films. They were super professional. We have enjoyed working with them and eagerly await the arrival of our much anticipated wedding video.
Jules Pretorius owner of Blue Bird Events helped us plan our wedding. She was with us from the beginning, and looking back at the journey, I honestly don't know how we would have gotten through the planning without her. She is passionate in everything she does and is always there to offer support and guidance. She reminds you to also love the process, which is just as important. She is very professional, and extremely well connected. She only works with the best service providers, so you know you're in very safe and capable hands. She managed to plan our entire wedding all the while becoming a new mom, which makes her Super Woman in my books! Gary and I got to truly enjoy ourselves through out the process and on the day especially, because we knew she was in charge. Most of our friends and family who attended said it was the best wedding they'd been to, and a large part of that is down to Jules and her hard work. I wouldn't trust anyone else with my big day.
Gary, me and our wedding party did not need transport because we stayed at Belair.
We did, however, offer our guests a shuttle service. This way we could ensure no one would be drinking and driving, that everyone could relax and enjoy themselves without having to worry about how they would get back to their accommodation at the end of the night.
Annalize Sainsbury of Escoffier Catering WOWed our guests and us with mouthwatering canapes, a Pinterest-worthy harvest table and a main meal fit for a King and Queen. The desserts were a combo of out of this world desserts and the best wedding cake ever.
Emme's Confectionery made our wedding cake.
As mentioned, we took one or two dance lessons prior to our wedding. We didn't want our first dance to look too rehearsed or for it to feel stiff. We enlisted the help and dance expertise of Natasha from Dance Domain in Kenilworth. We had a DJ from when guests began arriving before the ceremony, all the way through to the evening until the festivities ended well after 2am. We hired Brent Lawrence and his team from Dream Weddings DJs, who also did the sound and lighting for the whole day.
The beauty of the fundamental nature of a rustic wedding is that simple touches with a lot of personality can speak volumes.