My husband (Giovanni Conley) and I are high-school sweethearts - swoon - I know (haha)! We got married in the year of our ‘10th dating anniversary’ and are more in love than ever. Knowing that you get to spend the rest of your life with your best friend who has walked the journey of growth and change with you, was truly a dream come true.
I was the little girl who dreamt of her wedding day for years. Speaking of, my husband made my every dream come true by proposing on the gorgeous beaches of Bali (Kuta) whilst on holiday in December 2017. It was absolutely incredible, from the beautiful sunset, the friendly Balinese staff on duty who helped execute, to the delicious seafood buffet we enjoyed after - I still get goosebumps reliving it.
Even though Johannesburg is our new home, we made a choice to go back to PE to get married. We both grew up there, went to school there, spent our best teenage years there and most importantly, would be surrounded by all our loved ones. Our venue was beautiful and our co-ordinator and his staff ensured that even though we planned from afar, it was a breeze pulling all the detail together.
In the lead up to the wedding day, we ensured that we prepped and pampered with our VIP bridal squad; activities included spa days, golf days and a rehearsal dinner - it was a fantastic opportunity to relax, spend time with our favourie people and get ready for the big day.
The morning of the wedding a breeze for both of us. At that point, we let go of the planning and decided to “be in the moment” and stop stressing about the little details which most couples end up doing. I spent my morning listening to the best playlists, dancing around our bridal room, laughing with my girls, getting my make-up done and drank champagne, of course.
The wedding day was filled with sentimental highlights and we were blessed with fantastic weather even though it was late in April. My family had never seen me in my dress so we planned a “big reveal” on the morning which was very emotional for me because I have always been a "daddy's girl" and seeing the pride on his face melted my heart (there’s a photo in my album to prove it).
Our ceremony took place in the chapel at Running Waters, our wedding venue. The flower arch, candles and petals all along the isle made for the perfect romantic setting. Giovanni shed a few tears during our rehearsal just days before so of course, the tears flowed for both of us during the ceremony. We made a choice to write personal vows and it was truly one of my favourite moments of the day. You could feel the excitement in the air as we were announced husband and wife!
Our shoot with our bridal party was the perfect party-starter. We arranged a few coolers to take a long for the ride and it was fantastic seeing everyone let loose and get ready for the evening. We honestly couldn’t be more impressed with our photographers - their professionalism and general excitement for our wedding day was heartfelt and it can truly be seen in their work - Rieg and Eidi - THANK YOU!
The reception venue couldn’t have been more perfect too. Our vision was to include soft, neutral colours and flowers - lots of flowers! Our grand entrance into the reception venue was amazing, as we danced into the room with a live rendition of “Jadore” by Tiffany herself. The speeches from our close family were thoroughly enjoyed by all and made for the perfect start to the rest of the evening. Two of my most memorable moments of the reception was the dance with my dad and of course my husband. I bawled my eyes out!
The rest of our night involved loads of gin, laughs, dancing and good old fun with all our family and friends - can I do it all over again, pretty please?
The best advice we received from our best friends was to go on honeymoon immediately after our wedding and boy, were they right!
We spent 10 days at the gorgeous Seacliff Resort in Zanzibar - I get chills just thinking about what an absolutely incredible time we had. All we wanted was sunshine, pool-lounging and gorgeous views and we got that and so much more! The food was amazing, the cocktails kept flowing and the staff were THE BEST.
Zanzibar is beautiful - so rich in culture and tradition - I highly recommend it!
My wedding look was classic, elegant and romantic! Exactly what I envisioned. It all came together so perfectly - see details blow:
Wedding Dress: Vonve - Crystal Design
I knew the moment I fit my dress on that it was meant to be mine - based on the reactions from my bridesmaids, I knew that they knew it too. It was the prefect combination of sexy, lacey with glass beads and a beautiful silhouette. I went for the non-traditional champagne colour and it complimented my skin tone so perfectly.
Hair: SHAG Hair Studios with stylist Melanie Bucklund
The classic bridal look, with a romanic swept back low bun. We added a a bit of glamour with a stunning hair pin from Lovisa.
Makeup: Mishka Amod Studios
A natural glowing look, with a touch of bronzy glamour on the eyes. It was just perfect!
Shoes: A stunning feminine strap heel with gorgeous detail from Forever New
Jewellery: Pear-shaped beauties from the Lovisa bridal range
Bridal gowns: Adore Couture
I selected the white bridal gown for myself and my miniature bride. My bridesmaids and mom wore the rose gold style. Absolutely stunning quality and amazing service!
Both our wedding ceremony took place at Running Waters - such an incredible venue with staff who managed to pull together an incredible day for us!
Health & fitness:
I tried to stay as consistent as possible in the months leading up to the wedding. I included a combination of intermittent fasting, low-carb and high protein diet. Getting to the gym was not always easy given my high-pressure work environment but I tried my best to get cardio and functional training in (through a combination of classes) as often as possible.
I made a conscious decision to take extra care of my skin about 6 months before my wedding day to ensure that it was as radiant as it could be. I'm so appreciative of my mom who taught me about the importance of this from a really young age (love you mom!)
- Clarins bright plus skincare range (this was already a part of my daily skincare regime)
- A cup of warm water/green tea and lemon each morning
- I also added a monthly facial at Sorbet to my skincare regime
- Twice a week exfoliation using GlamGlow charcoal mask
- Religiously washed my make up off every night and also didn't wear any make up when I didn't need to
Spa treatment: IsangoGate
My bridesmaids and I went for an incredible spa treatment 3 days before the wedding. Fantastic opportunity to relax, bond and get ready for the big day!
Our colour scheme was white with a hint of blush, which added the perfect romantic feeling to the decor. Our vision was to keep it classic and simple and make sure to add as many flowers as possible to complete the look.
Each table included a mixture of crystals, candles, rose petals and breathtaking bunches on a tall crystal stands. The combined elements of elegance and romance came with the soft lighting and fairy lights on the white back-drop.
Flowers and decor: RW Decor Hire (Partnered service at Running Waters)
The groomsmen looked dapper in classic black tuxedos, coupled with a white shirt and black waist coat.
My husband opted for the modern all black look - black tuxedo with black waist coat and a beautiful crisp black shirt - so handsome!
My bridesmaid looked chic in black off the shoulder dresses, with a cheeky slit for some fun. We coupled this look with beautiful rose gold earrings and bangles (my treat!) and a nude strappy heel. They were the epitome of style and grace - I just loved their look and they did too!
Dresses purchased from YDE.
Rieg and AD Photography:
Rieghard and Eidie were absolutely INCREDIBLE! Not only did they capture the most amazing video footage and wedding images but they were patient and understanding - making sure that we were comfortable and having fun!
We couldn't have made a bette choice!!! My advice - invest in this element of your wedding - you won't regret it!
We thoroughly enjoyed planning our own wedding and used the opportunity to bond and make decisions together.
Our wedding venue did have an amazing wedding coordinator, Eben Gerber, who made sure everything was perfect on the day.
Food Service Provider: Running Waters
Starters included: Roast beef and sundried tomatoe pesto phyllo basket served on a bed of herbs
Mains included: Slow roasted leg of lamb (or chicken cordon bleu) with fresh rosemary served maple sweet potatoe rounds and grilled butternut, baby marrow and carrots
Dessert: Moist homemade chocolate brownie triangles, topped with gold dust, fresh strawberry and served with ice cream or cream
Cake Service Provider: Pastryworks
We wanted something elegant and beautiful with a touch of blush and marble detail.
Designer: AK Weddings and Design (Anika Knight)
Classic, Romantic, Elegant
This included: Invitations, Digital Invitations, Thank you note, Order of Events, Menus, Table Numbers, Digital Thank you Notes
Music: Erle Felkers Music - Jazz Saxophonist and singer during our canape's and welcome drinks
DJ and Lighting Sound Service Provider: Spectrum (Chad Smith)
Our grand entrance into the reception venue was the best! We danced into the room with a live performance of the song "Jadore" by Four7 and Tiffany - and Tiffany performed! The reception venue looked spectacular and was put together exactly how we envisioned it. We only opted to have a handful of speeches from our siblings, parents, best man and maid of honour - each spoke so beautifully - I get teary-eyed each time I watch our wedding video.
Our first dance was to a song we found just days before whilst watching American Idol - our favourite - together. We had an old school Luther Vandross classic in mind all a long but 'Speechless' by Dan and Shay struck a cord with us immediately. The dry ice machine made us feel like we had drifted off into another world during this time - one of my favourite memories to date (heart eyes)!
Once all the formality fun came to an end it was time to get the party started! Chad did a fantastic job of catering to all our guests - young and old. The rest of the night was just a fabulous time and our wedding day couldn't have ended in a better way.