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South African Wedding from We Love Pictures + Wedding Concepts

As wedding bloggers, we have a reputation of falling in love with a dress, ooh-ing and aah-ing over a bouquet, and swooning at a beautiful table. But we more often than not, we also fall head over heels for a couple. For a groom so handsome and sweet, for a French bride in Cape Town with an honest and open heart. It was no surprise that Wedding Concepts was able to create such a beautiful and personal wedding for this couple after reading the brides description of the day (and promptly adding the bride to my “Want-to-be-Besties” List). We Love Pictures has filled a gallery with so much pretty from this soiree, because it was pure torture for me to narrow the feature down to these images alone!

Click here to see the gallery!

We met in London in January 2006 in a pub. I had just moved there from Paris to work at the Communications Department of a French banking group. I didn’t know anyone and was hating all of it, the banking and West London (especially after having spent so much time in Berlin, probably my favourite city in Europe, in the past year) so to take me mood up after a boring day at work, I decided to have a few pints of Guinness on my own in the first pub I’ll find who’ll look nice. I was sitting at the bar, in a cloud of cigarette smoke (you could still smoke in bars at that time) explaining to the barmanwith hands moving in all directions and my very long brown hair all over the place (my Mediterranean origins I guess!) how I was hating that city when suddenly some random guy behind me (desperately trying to get the barman’s attention!) eventually asked me a stupid question about the tattoo I have on my right hand. The poor guy got instantly told how stupid the question was and how horrible that city was and so on and he started laughing his head off, to my greatest offence!! That was Richard! After what has been a minute probably, he told me something like “Calm down Frenchie and come have a drink with us!” He was funny, I joined them (he was with his best friend, Simon, who was his best man at our wedding and a few other friends) for a drink and then another one and then we went out for dinner and I had such a great time!!

We’ve been seeing each other on and off since then (I was allergic to relationships anyway and after resigning from the bank a month or so later and moving to East London to work in a DJ bar on Brick Lane where I stayed for a year, I went back to Paris in 2007 and, more or less at the same time, he moved to Africa to work) but we have always stayed really good friends since then and he has always been a great support, especially after my first daughter, Lou, that I was raising on my own, was born (in January 2009). From that moment we started to see more of each other as he was coming to London at least every 3 months to see his daughter from a previous relationship, Annie (who is now 8 and a real sweetie) and was always coming to Paris for a few days afterwards. We kept going like that for a while until I got pregnant with our daughter, Zoé (who was born in March 2011). From then we decided to give us a chance and move together to Cape Town which was a huge thing for both of us but especially for me as I’ve never really been in a relationship before and has never lived with someone but it was worth trying!

I knew he wanted to propose as month before leaving Paris with the girls as I’d seen by mistake an email he had sent to my mom and that she thought had deleted but hadn’t and when she asked me to check something on her mailbox, I saw an email from him and asked her what it was and she instantly shouted in the phone not to open it but, too late, I had (even though I said I hadn’t not to upset her even more). From then, my internal panic lights went flashing red and I was completely petrified, about to cancel everything as getting married has never even been something I was considering for me and moving together was already a huge thing for me! And because I wasn’t supposed to have seen that email, I felt I couldn’t tell anyone (remember I just had a baby, wasn’t sleeping at all as I was on my own with the two of them so everything was a big deal!). I managed to get over my first reaction and not cancel everything, desperately hoping he would wait until we had lived together for a while and were sure we were actually good together but not at all, he proposed on the day I arrived in Africa! Needless to say that after a 24hour journey on my own with Zoé, our baby girl who was 2 months old at the time and Lou, my daughter who was 2 years old at the time and had neverflown before and who managed to vomit all over her, her sister and I in thelast bit of the journey, I was about to have a nervous breakdown and was completely exhausted!! I guess it was a good thing as I said yes without even thinking of it (the panic would probably have me to say no otherwise!) and even though it took me a while to recover from the shock, I have never regretted my answer!

I was actually very nervous during the ceremony and the drinks afterwards as I couldn’t really believe what was happening and only started to relax and really enjoy after the so moving and beautiful speeches from our close friends and families during the dinner and we had so much fun at the party with the 3 Tons of Fun rocking the place and everybody dancing their ass off (excuse my French!). As most of our friends and families live all around the world and had never met before, it was a real joy to see them all getting on so well and having so much fun!

A fantastic wedding planner is really a must have and is worth the expense! Wedding Concepts has been absolutely brilliant. They a renown for creating the most glamourous celebrations and helped us so much through the whole process, from defining what we wanted and giving us brilliant ideas based on our tastes (like the coloured-theme décor which was so stunning on the day) to finding the good suppliers, DJ, videographers, photographers with whom she knew we would get on well and she got it right each time! She had everything in control and thanks to her amazing ability to manage everything, we didn’t have to worry about anything before, during and after the wedding and were able to really enjoy our day. She has also been a fantastic friend (and still is!) who, to say the least, came with me to all the dress fittings, no matter how busy she was (all my family lives in Paris and my Capetonians girlfriends were not always available to come with me as they all work a lot) and I’ll never forget that.

Wedding Coordination and Design: Kim Werner at Wedding Concepts / Sound and Lighting: AV Direct / Photography: We Love Pictures / Staff + Bar Hiring: Urban Tonic / Wedding Cake: Kanya Hunt / Flowers: Okasie / Lighting & Dance Floor: Something Different / Stationery: Lara Friday

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Cape Town Wedding by dna photographers

There are a million and one things I could fawn over in this wedding captured stunningly by dna photographers, but that dress, oh that dress, has grabbed a hold of my heart and won’t let go. That vintage-inspired, heart-stealing frock by Francois Vedemme (complete with handmade corset) is just be-yond – and it’s the perfect fit for this beyond perfect wedding. The gown is just the beginning of the beauty in this Cape Town stunner, so be sure to march yourself on over to the full gallery because believe it or not, it gets better…

From the Bride… I wanted my dress to be very vintage-inspired, quirky and totally original. The dress had to be corseted as I have no waist to speak of and I wanted to show off my legs a bit for a naughty element, so the skirt is translucent in parts. I really love the current Abed Mahfouz and Elie Saab gowns, but I wanted something with even more edge. Francois is an absolute genius and I always knew I wanted him to make my wedding dress, so I gave him my brief and he came up with the rest! The corset is hand-made and hand-beaded by Francois and his team, and the dress is of hand-made imported lace. The veil was about five metres long — it started off even longer but it was literally gobbling me up so we shortened it on the day. I had an absolute obsession at the time with the colour jade, hence my shoes and earrings. The flowers in my hair and Sarah’s hair (the bridesmaid) are taken from a vintage 1930’s veil my mom and I picked up years ago.

Michael went for a very relaxed look on arrival and sported a white slim-fit golfer (from Urban) and tailored black stretch slim fit pants (by Terrence Bray). Groomsmen wore the same but in full white changing later for ceremony into a button up white slim fit shirt (also Urban) and their outfits were finished off with a classic pair of white plimsoles by Vans (apparently great for dancing!). For the ceremony, Michael insisted on changing, ensuring that he was fresh after mingling and greeting all guests on arrival. He  wanted something very “James Bond” — well-fitted, comfortable and classic with a European twist, hence the tapered pants (Terrence Bray)  and the slip on suede slippers (by Billionaires Club), off white dinner jacket by Gianfranco Ferre and pants by Terrence Bray. Accessories included sunglasses by Prism of London, a watch by Panerai and the handkerchief of his late grandfather.

We had originally thought of (or I should we say had often talked about) eloping, but the final decision to get married in Cape Town (where we fell in love, we might add, although we live in Durban) provided us with a day and memories that will live with us forever. Not only did the city provide us with the most perfect week of weather, but also having all our family and close friends under one roof after not seeing some for ages (even since school) was something truly special and everybody a great opportunity to catch up during the week, to get to know one another and simply celebrate life and our BIG day. Big thanks to all involved, especially Gail from the Grand Café and Evention who crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s! I think the things that stick out the most for me were how amazing it felt to be walked down the “red carpet” by my dad, how totally gobsmacked I was when I saw Michael (we hadn’t seen each other for days) and how good it felt to hold his hand. My dad’s speech was just so perfect and funny and touching! WOW!

From the Groom… The day really went by quickly for me. From arriving early to some 60 or so guests that had decided to do the same, to watching Barbara arrive and walk down the aisle (red carpet in our case) to Wojtek’s (Barbara’s dad’s) unforgettable speech the grand feast (although I hardly ate) and finally Goldfish performing some of their new tracks live — it all made for a truly top evening. Let’s not the forget the oodles of French champagne and of course the late night pizza and pancakes (yes, it was a late late night!)

Wedding Photography: dna photographers / Wedding Venue: The Grand Cafe & Beach in Cape Town, South Africa / Wedding Planning: Victoria Jackson + Sarah Steele of Evention / Floral Design + Décor: Evention / Catering: The Grand Café & Beach / Wedding Dress: Francois Vedemme / Bride’s Shoes: Miu Miu / Bride’s Earrings: Lulu Belle / Bridesmaid’s Dress: Jenni Button / Bridesmaid’s Shoes: Nine West / Groom’s Suit Jacket: Gianfranco Ferre / Groom’s Pants: Terrence Bray / Groom’s Shoes: Billionaires Club / Groom’s Watch: Panerai / Groom’s Handkerchief: His Grandfather’s / Groomsmen’s Pants: Terrence Bray / Groomsmen’s Shoes: Vans / Groomsmen’s Shirts: Urban

Whimsical South African Wedding from dna photographers

I’ve never been (but have no fear, it’s been on my Must Travel list for ages) but I’m here to say South Africa must absolutely be FUN. Every wedding I see from the Rainbow Nation has the most perfect touch of whimsy to balance the crazy in love romance, and this one is no exception. We’ve fallen for the rainbow of bridesmaids, the fab florals, and the fantastic relaxed ballroom setting, all captured brilliantly by dna photographers. Fallen for all that, and more, HARD.

Click here to see the rest of the whimsy in the gallery!

Chris and I met four years go in a bowling club. I couldn’t believe that he liked me – he was sexy and cool and played in a band. We immediately fell for each other and moved in together after just three months and have been together ever since (but I wouldn’t recommend moving in that soon-its hard work!) So when we decided to get married it felt like it was always meant to be.

He proposed on a beach in our favourite fishing village called Arniston on Guy Fawkes. We didn’t want a long engagement and got married five months later. My mom helped me plan the whole thing, and being an advertising producer, she was the best wedding planner ever.

We wanted everything to be very relaxed and easy and just ‘us’. It couldn’t have gone more smoothly. The second we saw Casa Labia, we just knew it was the place. It is a beautiful Italian inspired villa by the sea, and the family who owns it has a strong, personal heritage in South Africa and Cape Town. It was so lovely with the Baroque downstairs and the art gallery upstairs. The entire event was planned to be on the lawn overlooking the sea, but it poured buckets on the day and the wonderful events manager, Emma moved everything inside and it worked beautifully. My friend told me that everyone was coming to be happy for us on the day and we would let everyone down if we were miserable about the weather. Great advice!

I found my dress at a designer shop called Hip Hop and picked it right off the rails at one visit (at a great price!). I had to keep it locked away at my friends house so that I wouldn’t try it on every day! Wedding dresses definitely don’t have to be expensive, they just have to be loved.Chris found an amazing jacket at Ben Sherman and pulled on his favourite jeans. I surprised him with a pair of blue suede shoes as a gift.

We wanted it to be colourful and retro, and I wanted the bridesmaids to look like a bunch of colourful balloons and they really did. I am lucky to have beautiful friends.  We had a choir at the ceremony and a jazz band at the reception and there was a rainbow to serenade us. There were beautiful, endless courses of bowl food (including fish and chips!) which everyone loved. It was the best day of our lives!

My advice to other brides is to really let it be a day where you express your own style as a couple and only choose things that you love. Get an inspiration board that you love early on and always keep checking back when you see new things or decide on things. Let your family and friends help, its great to have them part of the process. And whatever happens, if it rains or shines, have the funnest day of your life.

Photographers: dna photographers / Hair: Lara from Wyatt Hair / Make-up: The Image & Hair / Flowers: DIY Bride and Mother / Balloons: Party Corner / Choir: UCT Choir / Jazz Band: Dixie Swingers / Venue: Casa Labia / Chapel: The Range Stone Chapel / Invites: Pink Pigeon / Bridesmaids dresses: I Love Leroy / Dress: Hip Hop / Grooms jacket: Ben Sherman / Grooms shoes, ties, shirts, shoes: Woolworths / Bride shoes: Queue Shoes / Veil: Helenas Crown / Ring: Shelley and Harry / Food: The Gourmet Chef