The highlight of my wedding day was that I got to marry my best friend. The most special part of the day was having our ceremony in a beautiful forest with a troop of monkeys swinging through during the “I Dos”. They decided to redecorate the area a bit but certainly something we will never forget about. Another highlight was seeing how our wedding cake came together. We got so many comments throughout the reception as well as weeks afterwards about how much the guests loved our cake idea.
We wanted to plan this wedding day ourselves and add personal touches to make the day more romantic and special to us. We had a lot of family who assisted with the setting up of the day and we could not have done it without them. It all came together exactly how we wanted it to – the day had a few glitches but all in all it was perfect to us.
We went on Honeymoon to Bali and the Gili Islands. We decided to arrange the honeymoon ourselves and not use a travel company. Bali was amazing with so many things to do. We absolutely loved the food and the culture. We then took a boat to the Gili Islands which was such an experience. There are no vehicles on the Gili Islands so if you want to explore the Islands you must do so by either walking or renting a bicycle. The food is well priced and more or less in line with what you would pay in South Africa. We spent most of our days snorkeling in the warm ocean water or lounging on the beaches. I would recommend this destination to anyone.
My wedding look was inspired by my Nana’s wedding look. In fact I wore her wedding ring as my something borrowed and something old. I always loved her classic look with the long veil. I prefer a simple look to the more dramatic looks and when I tried this dress on I thought it was a good balance. I bought my dress at Bride & Co. before I bought anything else. My shoes were a more difficult task. I wanted to be comfortable and don’t particularly like high heels but you only get married once. After shopping around in Malls, I eventually found the shoes that I liked online and ordered them. My veil also took much longer to decide on. I liked the look of the short veil with my dress but I always wanted a long veil like my Nana. Eventually after months of looking I eventually found the veil at oriental plaza. My jewellery was a gift from my husband on the day of the wedding. The pearls and diamantes matched the beading on the dress. I searched on pintrest for hair ideas and eventually decided that the over the shoulder look was my favourite and I asked my aunty to do my hair. I have long hair and didn’t want to hide it in an up style. It took about 2.5 hours to get my hair done. My sister did my makeup as she is qualified and she knew exactly what I wanted. We bought all the make-up from MAC and did about 3 trials. The make-up took about 2 hours.
We got married at Askari Lodge & Spa in Magaliesburg. The venue is very African themed with wildlife and mountains all around you. The pre-drinks deck has the most amazing view and plenty of space for the guests to relax and enjoy whilst you are taking your photos. The nice thing about this venue is that you can have the ceremony in the forest or in the chapel. If it rains and you have chosen the forest you always have the chapel as a backup plan. There is plenty accommodation available for the guests at the venue and the surrounding area depending on their budget.
Leading up to the wedding I increased my gym visits because I wanted to tone a bit and I changed my eating habits a lot. I made sure I was drinking at least 3L of water a day and I cut dairy out completely. I also went for monthly deep cleanse facials at sorbet to make sure that by the time the wedding came my skin would be flawless. Luckily I did not wake up with the dreaded “morning of the wedding pimple”. For teeth whitening I started brushing my teeth once a week with a mixture of bicarb and peroxide. I found the recipe on Pintrest and it really does work.
Our decor and flowers were done by the company Cafe Fleur which we found at one of the bridal expos. They were very professional and they cater to your budget. I found ideas online about the vision I had for the wedding reception decor and they made it happen. Cafe Fleur arranged the draping of the reception hall and the fairy lights. My venue had specific requirements regarding the hanging of draping and they had no issue with this. They did the bridesmaids flowers and they supplied the LOVE letters lighting we had in front of our main table. In terms of setting up they contacted the venue directly and handled all those arrangements without stressing me. We had a live band for our wedding called Obsession Live and they set up their own lighting and stage. They also provided the microphone for the speeches.
As the ceremony was in a forest and in summer we decided to not have the groomsmen wear a blazer and instead we liked the idea of a bow-tie and the suspenders. We had the suspenders made through a company called Wanderer Handcrafted Leather. They all bought the same pants design as well as the same white shirt at Woolworths. Anything that didn't fit properly we had altered at the tailors at Oriental Plaza. The Groom had a very similar outfit but he had a blue blazer to wear on top of the suspenders for the ceremony. Later in the evening he could take the blazer off and also have his suspenders. They all loved the suspenders and because they are leather they will last a lifetime.
My bridesmaids all got their dresses from YDE. I decided on the colour of Royal Blue/ Navy Blue and those are the dresses we found. Coincidentally Cotton On had shoes that were the exact colour of the dresses so it was a perfect match. You will note the design of the maid of honors dress is different at the top. The dresses are simple but also dramatic in a way and so i thought that too much jewellery would spoil the look. I decided on long flashy earrings with no necklace or bracelets. They all had their hair done by a local hairdresser who came to the venue and they did their own makeup.
Our marriage officer was Marisa Wollheim who is also from the area. She did an excellent job and we got many compliments after the ceremony from the guests about her service. The ceremony was funny yet romantic and special. She included all our requests and took the time to make sure we took in the moment.
We used Warren Anderson Photography and Videography. We first came across Warren at a friends wedding where my husband was a groomsmen. He was very funny and his pictures felt very natural. At our venue you can take photos with the resident elephants but the photographer would need to be experienced to capture these moments. We loved working with Warren and our photos came out perfectly. I think he managed to capture every moment and having the video of the day allowed us to see some of the small things we missed. The nice thing about Warren and his team is that they do not limit your photos or the time they are there. He was there from when we started getting ready to well past midnight.
No we did not use a planner but the venue had a wedding coordinator which helped with things like showing guests where to be and organising the food ti come out etc. We gave our MC a detailed list of the time line of the day and he announced everything to the guests as the day went on.
The venue had game vehicles to transport the wedding party to and from the ceremony as well as to the different photo spots at the venue.
Our wedding cake was very special too us. My husband is Dutch and we wanted to incorporate some of this heritage into the wedding. We also do not really like cake and we decided to use blocks of cheese to build a wedding cake. We ordered the cheese from our local cheese factory and we stacked it to look like a tiered cake. Family members helped us set it out on the day of the wedding. We had fresh fruits, biscuits and jams to layout around the cake as a feasting spread. To go with the cheeses we decided to also build a Gin Bar for the guests as welcome drinks. This paired well with the snacks and the guests enjoyed it. The venue itself had several menu options which you can chose from according to your budget for the reception. We decided on the plated menu which allowed guests the option to choose between 2 starters, 3 mains and 2 desserts. Later in the evening we also set up a sweet table for the guests to pick from.
We designed and printed all our own stationary for the wedding. For the ceremony we designed the order of events and printed it at a local stationary store. We then bought ice cream sticks and stuck the order of events to an ice cream stick to make a fan. We thought this would help with the heat in the forest to keep our guests cool. Another special touch for the forest was we designed labels for little bottles of water for our guests to drink whilst they were waiting for the ceremony to start. We also made name places for each of the guests in the shape of little butterflies which we pegged to each glass at the table settings for the reception. For the food menus we designed and printed 2 per table for the guests to decided on their orders.
The reception was all inside the venue with the tables, dance floor and Live Band all in the same room. The Dance Floor was provided by the venue and the lighting and sound was provided by the Live Band which we hired called Obsession Live. The Live Band also had DJ equipment which played when they were taking a break. For the first dance we did 5 lessons to help us learn how to move around on the dance floor. I am glad we did this because it made for great photographs.