Our story and our wedding is not the conventional or average type..
Valentines day 2019 I was told to be dressed and ready, packed with an over night bag.. I was picked up from my home just after 5pm..
Jade was nicely dressed yet he wore a nervous smile on his face... he handed me a small glass jar with pieces of paper in it. "Open it and read the papers, each paper is a clue for what you're in store for tonight" he said.. I opened the bottle and ready paper 1... perplexed I asked him if I could use Google to translate as it was in a language unknown to me... he smiled and declined... the bottle had 7 pieces of paper in, all written in different languages...we drove a little further and soon we arrived at Areena Resort on the East Coast. He smiled at me and said, "we're staying here tonight but we're not staying here now".. we drove up the road towards Yellow Sands.. confused I tried to figure out where there was a restaurant or a place that we could be going to.. not far up the road, Jade turned into a family friends farm... "how do you know Kev... why are we at Kevs farm?" He smiled at me.. after a quick phone call from him, the gate opened infront of us.. as we drove down the hill which was completely covered by a canopy of trees, we came to the bottom where the road opened onto a river bank. The sun was slowly setting over the mountains, lands and the river.. there on the river edge, was a beautifully decorated gazebo, draped in velvet, candles everywhere, a rose walk way and a table set for 2.. we enjoyed our time together. He asked me if I knew what was written on the papers. I was in complete denial, he explained what the papers said in English and this is where he asked me to be his wife...
After a short relationship, this was the biggest but most beautiful surprise..
A month after our engagement we decided on a destination wedding and shared this with our family and friends at our engagement party. We're getting married on the MSC Orchestra..
Fastward to March 2020..
The time had finally arrived.. BUT... Coronavirus had hit our beautiful country just days before departure.. we made all the necessary enquiries and did all the essential checks and we were given consent to travel.
Wednesday 11 March 2020, Jade and I are legally married at home affairs with a few family and friends.. He chose my dress to wear on the day.
On the morning of 12 March 2020 our guests set out to make their way to Durban. We arranged a tour bus for the majority traveling from East London and traveled in convoy..
Friday the 13th March 2020 we were finally on route to the Harbor... load shedding had Durban traffic backed up, our trip to the harbor which would have taken us 5mins now took over 45mins.. Two of our guests had forgotten their passports in their home towns. We were scrambling and trying to find ways to get them to Durban last minute.. Jade's grooms lady had to make her way through the awful traffic by uber to the airport to collect her passport...700 bucks later.. she had it..
Screening of passengers had delayed embarkation, phew, a relief to buy us some more time..
Lunchtime we were onboard sipping cocktails in the sun and preparing for the sail away party... the excitement hit me all at once.. this is it, it's our holiday and wedding trip with our family and friends, all 42 of us...
I looked around and searched the deck, the pools, the tables and the chairs for our guests... smiles, laughter and joy everywhere.. a feeling I could never ever really put into words...
Day 2.. we disembarked early and headed to the Portuguese Islands Mozambique via chartered boats.. the weather was perfect, 32°.. we arrived on the island and shortly after, a few of us climbed onto another rubber duck and made our way to another island where we were dropped off in the ocean near the coral reef... I had never been so deep in the water.. off the duck we jumped and went snorkeling over the reef... it was BEAUTIFUL, exciting and an experience that il never forget. After our excursion we made our way back to the main island.
Everything about the day on the island was phenomenal.. From the beach braai, vendors, freshly prepared rum coconuts, soft sand, sea of colourful sarongs, wood carvings and perfectly refreshing water.
We returned to the ship late that afternoon.
On the ship each night there were different shows, singers and dancers to name a few. On the Saturday night I sat in the theatre, looked around, complete disbelief, is this really happening? Again, I found the faces of our guests in the crowd, smiles, laughter and joy...
Each dinner seating we were grouped close together. The meals were all delicious and well prepared.
Saturday night, a party under the stars.. dancers and the entertainment crew kept everyone on their feet, most guests danced the night away. We returned to our cabin for an early night sleep.
Sunday morning I opened my eyes to a flat, beautiful ocean view, a slight breeze and the sun shining... another perfect day...
8:30am a knock on the door and a full breakfast was delivered to our cabin.. we ate breakfast together and said our goodbyes, soon Jade was off to his groomsmen's cabins.
My bridesmaids and I relaxed and enjoyed our time at the Spa onboard the ship where we had our hair and makeup done.
By now its nearly 1pm and I'm putting on my wedding dress, my best friend Zani is helping me.. I come undone with emotions.. I'm so nervous and all I can think of is my dad, who is no longer with us.. Toby, my "brother" (a friend whom iv known for as long as I can remember) arrives at my door to walk me to the venue.. 3 of my 4 bridesmaids are with me.. opening the door, Toby's facial expression,haha, priceless.. now we're all crying.. shortly after, the Captain arrives at my cabin to also walk us to the venue.. I can barely hold my bouquet, I'm shaking so much.. I step out the elevator and onlooker snap away pictures with their cellphones.. just a few steps away.. I'm about to walk into the venue.. my mom and step dad are there to walk me down the aisle..
The music starts playing, the song Jade chose, a South african artist, Roan Ash.. One by one my bridesmaids walk in, my sisters first, Nicky, Tammy, Zani and then Sam.. Before Sam walks in she turns and smiles at me, shes crying too...
I walked in.. my eyes find Jade, he is crying, I start crying... and laughing.. finally our hands meet.. we walk to the alter together where the officiant waits. The music stops.. a deep sigh of relief from me has everyone giggling..
Of course one of us fumble with our vows and naturally both of us forget which hand the ring goes on... clearly our emotions are all over the place.. we kiss..
Frank Sinatra plays.. We hug and celebrate with our guests, champagne and juice is served..
We have our first dance... the ship is moving and we're slightly off balance, we laugh and enjoy the moment, he keeps telling me, "you're beautiful, wow, you're so beautiful"... we giggle about how nervous and awkward we feel with all eyes on us.. we giggle like young lovers do..
We move over to our cake, its beautifully decorated with the handcrafted crocheted bride and groom with a heart, specially made for us by Jade's talented mom. It's so sentimental.
We cut the cake and its the most delicious cake we've ever tasted..
We have our photographs taken and enjoy a few cocktails at another venue with our guests. We move to the deck where the sun is setting, more photographs with our guests. We return to our cabin and change into more comfortable attire while our guest enjoy the shows at the theatre.
We make our way to the restaurant for our final meal together..
At dinner we got the news that our President had announced the state Epidemic and that some of the ports would be closed from Monday the 16th... the day we would be disembarking.. wowww, how on earth did we get so lucky!?
After dinner we say our speeches.. each speech brings tears.. my sister Tammy speaks about the cuff links that jade was to wear, which belonged to my father, so that I would know, that even though he wasn't there, he was by my side.
Jade's speech brings the most tears, even our photographer is crying... my 11year old niece holds Jade's hand, she's crying too.. (I get tears in my eyes, thinking of it all over again..)
A few of us moved around the ship enjoying what time we had left.. We met with the onboard photographer and chose the pictures that came with our wedding package.
By now its after 12pm and we need to get our luggage out to be collected for disembarkation.. the ship was moving slowly and the sea was smooth and flat.. it started to rain.. we stood on our balconys and listened to the rain pelt down onto the ocean.. it was the perfect ending to our wedding day...
Monday 16th March 2020, we are screened and disembark the MSC Orchestra...
As busy and as stressful as what those three days were.. they will forever hold the most beautiful memories for us..
Tomorrow we celebrate two months of being, happily, HAPPILY married...
We spent a few nights at the Karridene hotel in the Presidential suite. Karridene is a place very close to my heart.. I had not been there in over 2 decades. It was so special, that I got to show Jade where i spent so much time as a child growing up. Our family holidays were spent there. We were practically alone in the hotel and were treated like royalty. We were treated to champagne and the chef served us our meals on the terrace.. The Barman, David, was funny and conversational. He went out of his way to make delicious cocktails and served us poolside. Karridene also allows access to a private beach.. each morning we would walk on the beach. It was hard leaving.. I had experienced it as a child with a loving family, then as an adult with a loving husband and now I hope to spend time there with a loving family of our own one day...
We were blessed with an extra 4 night stay in Ramsgate by our friends Ashley and Lindsay.. even though I had grown up in Natal, I don't recall ever spending time there, so it was a first for us both.
We went to Ushaka and to Wild Waves and we were lucky enough to, to have gone there when no one else was around.. it was insane.. walking through both ushaka and Wild waves seeing maybe, maximum of 20 other people there.. we had every slide to ourselves.. we didn't wait in any ques and boy, did we have the time of our lives... I even ended up with a blue eye while trying to get onto one of the slides.. lol, imagine that, my first blue eye, while on honeymoon!
We lived, laughed and thrived on each others company.. Everything we did, we found ourselves looking at each other in total disbelief.. how is this even happening??? It was like door after door kept opening up for us.. we made videos of us walking through EMPTY water parks.. we made videos of us on the slides together.. we captured it all.. it may sound cliche, but our honeymoon was the best time of my life.. it was perfect.
In Ramsgate we bought take away pizza and sat by the beach enjoying the view. We ate waffles at the well known 'Waffle House'... We drank delicious cocktails at sunset at the Blue Lagoon... all the time, feeling so surreal.
By the Thursday restriction and limitations of people to areas were setting in yet we never had any problems nor were we ever in crowded places. The most the we were exposed to was the spar when we would get our groceries.
At night we would braai and watch the sunset... it felt like a fairytale.. in fact it still does..
We traveled back to East London and stayed in self quarantine... just to be told a week later that we were going into lockdown.. an extended 21 days honeymoon together, at home, with our pets... what more could we have asked for...
My sister Nicky, arranged a dress fitting session at one of our local vendors, Lady Marmalaide.. at the fitting she surprised me by telling me that she would be paying for my wedding dress.. My mom, my sister's, nieces, mother in law
joined... I tried on a few dresses. When I walked out in the forth dress, everyone started to cry.. I hadn't even seen myself in the mirror.. why was everyone crying... I turned around and was blown away... "I'm wearing a WEDDING DRESS mom" i laughed!!! I booked the dress to hire.. a few month down the line, I got a call from the vendor, Mandy explained that another bride had fallen so in love with the dress and bought it, she explained that the bride was willing to hire it to me after, but... I'm one of those, "if it's meant to be it will be" types and accept the situation to find a new dress. I went back the following week to the same vendor. Mandy was always so kind, friendly and helpful, she went out of her way for me in more ways than I could explain. I found my wedding dress that day, an original Demetrios gown.. I had not seen this dress at my first fitting.. My sister bought the gown for me.. How blessed am I, right?
A few alterations had to be made, but with local talent, Jess from Poquet boutique, transformed it into exactly what I had envisioned and it looked like the dress was made for me.. it fitted like a glove..
If I look back now, I don't regret changing my dress at all.. it was perfect for me... I get to smile every time I open my cupboard.
Our flowers and boutonnieres were arranged and brought down from Johannesburg by my dear friends Ursula and Chantelle. They were done by Flora Decor Designs.
Because of the circumstances of needing to travel with them and getting them several days prior to our wedding, we needed flower arrangements that would withstand all the elements and last till the Sunday. I love Proteas and always have them in my home. It was a no brainer. I emailed ideas of what I wanted and got exactly what I wanted and more.. it's been 2 months and my Proteas still smell so beautiful.
We approached a local vendors, Best Man suit hire. Sam, the manager, is always bubbly, professional and helpful.. Iv always enjoy dealing with her because of her mannerism and way in which she conducts business. We laughed and joked each time we visited her for fittings.
Jade looked so handsome wearing an Ice Navy pants and waistcoat with a burgundy tie.
The groomsmen wore grey blue pants with a burgundy bowtie and Oshean, Jades grooms lady, wore navy blue trousers with a neat button up.
The colours worked well together.
I had 5 beautiful bridesmaids while planning our wedding..
Sadly one of my bridesmaids, Karen, was unable to attend as her husband fell Ill and had to be seen to in Cape town for treatment.
My sisters, Nicky and Tammy were my matrons of honour.. Nicky wore a grey infinity dress, Tammy in navy, Zani in teal and Sam in baby blue..Karen's dress was royal blue, my nieces, Sadie and Alexa both wore matching Lacey navy blue dresses. I had the infinity dresses made locally by a lovely lady named Cheryl.
Kurt has been a family friend for many years, he has also captured, most of our family photoshoots, as well as my 30th birthday amongst others.. when I approached him about our ideas regarding the wedding, his response was, "I'm in" ... I couldn't have asked for a better photographer and friend to capture all the moments.. being on the ship, he could not use all his equipment and was only allowed to use a camera.. no lighting.. his pictures were created magnificently considering the limitations.
Part of our wedding package, we had an onboard photographer. A few images were captured by a photographer from Slovakia (if I'm not mistaken) these too, came out beautifully. She was only present during the ceremony and an hour after the ceremony.
I did not have a planner. My best friend Zani, helped me tremendously with the planning while Jade arranged transport to and from Durban for everyone and he arranged the accommodations for everyone in Durban.