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Romantic South African Wedding at Rockhaven Farm

I am obsessively in love with this wedding dress. My crush on Jenny Packham has no limit. Sequins, sparkle and the most beautiful billowing tulle is the icing on the cake of this absolutely breathtaking South African wedding. Tasha Seccombe and Boy Meets Girl Cinema transports us away to what can only be described as a dreamland and that is where I’ll remain for the rest of the day.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Farm
Styles
Rustic

From The Bride… From the beginning we kept using the words: relaxed, fun, personal and something a little bit different to describe what type of wedding we wanted. I know that as far as weddings go this is probably a bit of a cliché but as we had decided to invite 40 of our closest family and friends to join us in South Africa from our London base, I thought we, at least, had a good starting point.

Originally from South Africa, I moved over to the UK to go to university and met my husband, Nick during the first few weeks. We instantly became known as ‘Nick and Nic’ and after 10 years together, we were a few weeks away for our wedding day. Despite London being my permanent home, I had always known that when I got married I wanted to do it back in South Africa and luckily Nick loves the place as much as I do and shared my sentiments.

We chose a place just outside of Cape Town in a little town called Elgin. The area is surrounded by apple and pear farms with the most idyllic scenery. Deciding on a venue was surprisingly one of the easier decisions we made as we both knew that we weren’t going to be able to go and do the traditional ‘recce’ of venues that most couples do, so we relied on feedback and lots of photos on blogs and photographers websites. As soon as we saw Rockhaven, we knew this was our place. Its a working farm that caters to weddings with a simple modern-ish barn, gorgeous gardens with views of the valley, and the most charming little ‘boathouse’ overlooking a lake which is where we held the ceremony. With a setting so beautiful I decided I only wanted to enhance it with a soft romantic colour palette of sage, grey, cream and pinks and bring together elements of both South Africa and England.

I, of course discovered a love of Pinterest and wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty which were incredibly useful for giving me amazing inspiration but also very overwhelming – there are just so many ideas out there! We did have a brilliant wedding planner in South Africa who I would share all my ideas with via Dropbox. One of the hardest things about getting married abroad is that you can’t do much DIY so instead I decided to focus on doing a few things really well and make our wedding as personal as possible. My sister and her boyfriend, who are both architects, helped to design and make all our stationery. 

I love flowers but hadn’t thought that we would be able to afford loads however one of the perks of getting married abroad is that it was a lot more budget conscious and as both our ceremony and reception were held in the same location we were able to move and easily re-use the flowers throughout the day. Our florist was incredible and took my inspiration pictures and put her own creative twist on it and created something breath-taking. A combination of roses, lisianthus, dahlias and hydrangeas combined with Proteas (South Africa’s national flower), fynbos, Queens lace and ferns emphasised the English country garden feel. 

When it came to my dress I’d never known exactly what type I wanted – in fact I could tell you all the things I didn’t want but not what I liked. Being only 5’2” I knew that I couldn’t pull off a frothy gown and with the South African summer I wanted something light and travel friendly. I tried on several different style dresses but kept coming back to this beautiful tulle Jenny Packham dress with fluted sleeves and lots of tiny sequins and paillettes with the smallest of trains. I didn’t have any sort of emotional connection to the dress but just kept being drawn back to it – it was so comfortable and flattering and could see myself spending the whole day in it. I borrowed a pair of diamond earrings from my mom and wore a simple pendant necklace that Nick gave me the day before.

For Nick, I wanted him to have an equally special suit for the day. Normally weddings in England are the traditional 3 piece suit and tails but this was not going to suit the very warm climate nor the style of our wedding. Luckily my parents live in Dubai so we had the luxury of very good tailors and souks where you can get quality fabric and tailoring at a fraction of the price. After many back and forth photos, phone calls, emails and using internet guides of ‘how to measure for a suit’ with my mom – she delivered everything to the tailor and we waited with bated breath. When I saw Nick in his 3 piece suit in pale grey with a dark grey paisley lining I couldn’t believe how dashing he looked and we were even able to personalise the suit with our wedding date embroidered in.

We couldn’t afford to stretch our budget for a live band for the reception (in the end our DJ was amazing and almost no-one left the dance floor except for when my cricket mad husband and his friends organised an impromptu game at about 11pm!) but did still want some live music. We ended up with a classical duo during the ceremony and an incredible jazz duo during the pre-reception who kept our guests entertained while we were off having some photos. We also got our guests to give us their song choices which we gave to the DJ proving for an amazing party – which eventually only ended at 2:30am in the morning!

We knew that we wanted our wedding to be a big party to celebrate our 10 years together. This started with a barbeque on the Friday evening at a local restaurant, the day before the wedding and culminated with a picnic on a wine estate on the Sunday – for most it started the previous week when our guests flew in and we rented a villa near the beach in Cape Town.

We couldn’t have asked for our wedding to be more of a celebration of everything we have together surrounded by our friends and family – you couldn’t wipe the smile off of our faces for weeks afterwards.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe | Videographer: Boy Meets Girl Cinema | Flowers: Paradiso Flowers | Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham At Morgan Davies Bridal | Stationery: Family | Brides Shoes: Zara | Bridesmaids Dresses: J Crew | Catering: Rockhaven Farm | Lighting: 4 Every Event | DJ: Capricorn Music | Groom's Attire: Lobos Tailors, Dubai | Groomsmen's Attire: Reiss | Ceremony Music: Play | Bridal Jewellery: Borrowed From Mom | Cake And Desserts: Nelle Cakes | Coordination: Creation Events | Decor Hire: Blooming Wonderful | Farm: Rockhaven | Groom And Groomsmen Ties: Bows And Ties | Hair & Make-up: Candice Leigh Arnott | Pre-reception Music: Gary Deacon

Rustic Chic South African Warehouse Wedding at Blue Bird Garage

Illumniate Photography described this wedding as a “big feast of Pinteresting loveliness”, and I do believe they hit the nail on the head with that description. Because I could (and probably will) pin every single image sitting in this gorgeous gallery. It’s sweet rustic touches mixed with a fabulous urban setting, and the result is pure perfection. See it all here.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Warehouse
Styles
Rustic

From Illumniate PhotographyI love the simplicity of the look of this wedding, yet the careful thought that went into the detail. Keziah (the bride) is one of the most creative people I know, so as you can imagine her wedding was one big feast of Pinteresting loveliness! To name just a few of the cute quirks, she D.I.Yed hanging plants; used wooden school chairs to seat the guests; and used vintage newspapers as placemats. I also loved how involved Craig (the groom) was in the whole planning process.

Keziah and Craig chose to mix it up a bit by having their ceremony in the evening. They had a special “first look” in the forest with some close friends and family before the ceremony, and this was followed by some bridal party and couple pictures around the forest. It was so nice to know that there weren’t any guests waiting for us, meaning we could take our time.

The ceremony and Reception were both held at the Blue bird garage – a warehouse-like spot where a popular market takes place on Friday evenings which they converted into a perfect wedding venue!

Candles were lit and lights were strung and a most beautiful, spirit-filled atmosphere was in the room. What really stood out for me at the reception was the love that Craig and Kez have for their family and friends and people in general. What a beautiful thing.

Photography: Illuminate Photography | Wedding Gown: Sharon McLean | Cake: Gimmene | Catering: Basics Catering | Make Up: Jill Sangerhaus | Hair: Fringe | Candlestick Hire: Function Hire 4 U | Flowers And Wreaths: The Rose Café | Sationary: Marieke Goncalves | Wedding Venue: Blue Bird Garage

Adventurous Safari Wedding in South Africa

The only thing that could possibly top a rehearsal dinner in the middle of the South African wild, is a wedding following suit. This gem is overflowing with the raw beauty of an African safari coupled with impeccably crafted details at the hands of Afresh Event DesignNineteen Eight Five, and Wedding Concepts. Now throw in image after stunning image by Mike Falco For Christian Oth Studio and you have a gallery not to be missed.

Colors
Seasons
Spring
Settings
LodgeOutdoor

From The Bride…While Jon and I got ready with our family and wedding parties, the guests were treated to an early morning game drive at sunrise. After our preparations, we boarded the safari jeeps once again for the ceremony at Inkwazi Hide, a large, wooden deck under a 200-year-old Acacia tree overlooking the Sabie River. A local African choir sang Zulu praise songs as I walked down the aisle and we were greeted by our officiant who spoke on themes of friendship, adventure and nature (punctuated by hilarious hippo grunts coming from the river). When we were pronounced man and wife, our guests surprised us by loudly trumpeting on Vuvuzelas. Afterwards, Jon and I snuck away for a few photos and our guests were treated to signature cocktails while taking in a glorious African sunset on a deck overlooking the river. When it was time, guests journeyed towards the candlelit reception dinner.

Memorable Moments…True to our adventure theme, some of our most memorable moments from the wedding were the unplanned and unexpected ones. Our 2-year-old ring bearer not only dressed up as a lion cub, but also burst out with spontaneous roars as he walked down the aisle. A curious hippo joined us during our couples shoot on the riverbed. And despite the demanding travel and early morning safaris, guests rallied and still managed to dance the night away. One of my favourite moments was during the last song of the night, Toto’s “Africa.” As the lyrics blared “I bless the rains down in Africa” at 3am, it started to pour and we all rushed outside to dance in the rain.

Local flavor…Since the locale was so rich in raw beauty and splendor, we wanted the African landscape to be the focus and also tried to stay true to local elements and flavors. Waiting for guests in their lodges on arrival was a handmade Guide Box, filled with South African favourites like rooibos tea and Amarula liqueur. Also included were some clues for an adventure-filled weekend: a compass, an Acacia twig, and a Field Guide with information on local customs, wildlife facts and useful Shangaan phrases. To ensure that the florals would hold up under the fierce African sun, we opted for a combination of King Proteas, succulents and feinbos. As guests enjoyed local wines from the famous Stellenbosch region, a group of traditional Zulu dancers set the African rhythms in motion by teaching guests tribal dances.

Personal details…We wanted the wedding to be not just a celebration with family and friends but also a heartfelt thank you and show of appreciation for their constant love and support throughout the years. We tried to achieve this through personalized details. These ranged from surprising guests with their childhood photos on their seating cards (a great conversation starter) to calligraphy on the place cards with goofy nicknames and individual welcome “telegrams” that described our favorite past adventures with the guest.

In gratitude…In the end, it was a true “Wild At Heart” wedding adventure. A bottomless THANK YOU to Kim and Michael for helping to create and document our dream wedding. Jon and I were so grateful to begin our new chapter together with such an incredible adventure with our family and friends.

Photography: Mike Falco For Christian Oth Studio | Event Design: Afresh Event Design | Floral Design: Nineteen Eight Five | Wedding Dress: Reem Acra | Invitations: Lara's Designs | Catering: Lion Sands | DJ: DJ Rene | Beauty: Mist | Planning: Wedding Concepts | Travel Logistics: Travel Concepts | Wedding Venue: Lion Sands

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