If the last set of images from today’s South African inspired wedding were vibrant and full of color, it’s this next set of beautiful photographs by Sweetwater Portraits, that has really captured my heart…

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You’ve already heard how the couple met, and how the bridesmaids’ dresses were discovered, but Tierney (the bride) has been sweet enough to share with us a few more details from her beautiful wedding story. It’s long, but oh so worth it…

Having only met Karen, the fashion designer, a week before leaving South Africa, I expressed my awe and heart pounding excitement at the thought of her being involved in the design and creation of my wedding dress. In her studio in South Africa, she took every possible measurement she could think of since I would be moving back to the US within a few days with no plan to do dress fittings across the world! Only in communication via phone and email, we began the fabulous process of designing my wedding gown together and the dream was realized. On a literal wing and a prayer, my wedding dress made the long 18 hour journey across the ocean in the cock pit of a South African Airways plane with a pilot friend of the designer. And with the most jittery and giddy excitement I have ever felt in my entire life, my then fiance and I went to JFK airport at 5 am to meet the man who hand delivered my precious wedding dress to me from South Africa— and literally with only a week to go before the wedding!

Having Karen make my dress was meaningful because she is a native South African, from the country which had given me such joy in many forms— my mission work, my future husband, a new family, an appreciation of natural beauty, deeper spirituality, and so on. She also had close connections to Woza Moya so she hand picked the best fabric beader to execute an idea I had to make my dress even more custom made and special. This beautiful woman and a team of a few other close friends in South Africa came together to hand bead words that hold special meaning for Greg and I— “umshada” – Zulu for marriage, “South Africa,” “uxolo”- Zulu for peace, “Kruger”national game reserve where we got engaged, the symbol of a cross, etc. When I finally put the dress on, I felt the love and happiness of all the hands that went into creating such a breathtaking dress… and I could not have been more overjoyed.

Another artistically colourful addition to our wedding was a gift from Greg’s family, hand carried from South Africa. Since all could not attend the wedding here in the States, they divided up a large canvas into sections, each member (ranging in age from 5 to 65) hand painted their own part of the whole with this theme in mind “We are all born for love.” It is the principal of existence, and its only end.

In respecting and honouring different cultures and South African wedding traditions, it was a special part of the reception when several emails and letters from friends and family all over the world were read by Gregs brother in law, one of our groomsmen who did travel to be with us. Hearing the words of true congratulations and pure happiness that we had found one another, from people we care so much about meant the world to us that night (and continues to even now).

The most important factor in planning our wedding was to make each detail meaningful to us and to share that personalized depth with our guests. We wanted to instigate a sense of fun and excitement and happiness through the use of colour throughout the whole day. And in the end, we know it was (and is) clear that we feel like the happiest two people on the face of the planet!


We feel so incredibly blessed and crazy happy in love. Ours is a story we cannot wait to tell our children. We still look at each other in awe that we found each other, in opposite corners of the world, following our hearts the whole way.

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