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South African Safari Rehearsal Dinner

This rehearsal dinner goes out to all those wild at heart. Capital A Adventure was an underlying theme that was woven throughout this South African safari wedding starting with a rehearsal dinner amongst the wildlife and the stars. Have a look at the gorgeous imagery captured by Mike Falco For Christian Oth Studio and stay tuned for the stunning wedding coming up next!

From The Bride…Why Africa? Jon and I met in NYC through a mutual friend and over the course of our 8-year relationship, our favorite moments together are ones where we felt like we were on an adventure. So when it came time to plan our wedding, we wanted to cultivate that sense of curiosity and wonder by hosting a safari wedding out in the untamed African bush. We settled on my native South Africa and after five months of intense planning, 75 of our closest family and friends from different corners of the globe set out for our “Wild At Heart” wedding adventure.

Into the wild…After a long day on the road, our guests arrived at the Lion Sands Game Reserve, in the heart of Sabi Sands. All the arduous travel paid off as the remote locale allowed our guests to experience the majestic African landscape in all her unbridled splendor. After a refreshing afternoon tea, the guests hopped into jeeps and set out on their first safari game drive. The guides did not disappoint and fearlessly took everyone off-roading in search of the famed Big Five game. The wild encounters included four lions feasting on a freshly killed buffalo, a baby elephant tripping over its trunk, a pair of rhinoceros brothers napping together in the shade, and a mother leopard teaching her cub to track with a playful game of hide and seek.

Rehearsal Dinner in the Bush…After the eventful game drive, the jeeps brought the guests into an unprotected clearing where a casually elegant bush dinner awaited. The guests shared their experiences from the first day around a campfire and savored local meats such as kudu, ostrich and biltong. Glowing fireflies, oil lanterns hanging from trees and the dramatic Milky Way up above helped to illuminate this surreal evening.

Tea ceremony…After the relaxing dinner, our loved ones gathered around us in a protective circle as Jon and I served tea to our parents and elders to express our gratitude. A particularly poignant blessing from my 87 year-old grandmother resulted in moist eyes all around. I loved that the emotional moment was an unexpected melding of two cultures: a traditional Chinese ceremony taking place in the African bush, illuminated by a campfire and lanterns (with a few hyenas looking on as well).

Accommodation & Travel Logistics: Travel Concepts | Beauty: Mist | Catering: Lion Sand's | DJ: DJ Rene | Decor & Lighting: A Fresh Event Design | Event Planning: Wedding Concepts | Floral Design: Nineteen Eighty Five | Photography: Mike Falco For Christian Oth Studio | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Lion Sand's | Stationery: Lara's Designs | Wedding Coordinator: Wedding Concepts

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KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa Wedding at Caversham Mill

Intimate and simply gorgeous, this Bride’s vision for a “summer camp for grown-ups” came to life in the prettiest of ways. With a stunning South African setting and love pouring out of every pretty picture by dna Photographers, this gallery is as good as they get. See it all here.

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Summer
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OutdoorTent
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Elegant

From The Bride…I have rented a five-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for the past eight years, and five years ago, when one of our roommates was moving out, I posted an ad on Craigslist. I received the following response: “Hi! My name is Chris Shirley. I am a 23 year old Structural Engineer. I currently live downtown and am moving out of my current apartment on 1 June. I work on 45th Street. Your apartment looks great. I would like to meet up with you and check it out.” He moved in on June 1, and after a summer spent going to the beach, camping out for Shakespeare in the Park tickets, and walking my dog around Central Park, we fell in love.

Christopher proposed in Central Park three years later, and we were married in City Hall with my mother and our best friend as witnesses. We told only our close friends and family, but Christopher wanted to keep our City Hall wedding a secret, because he feared that no one would fly half way around the world for our real wedding if they knew we were legally married. I managed to keep it secret for two months, and then posted this on Facebook: “Christopher Shirley & I got married on November 23, 2011 at NYC City Hall. We weren’t going to announce it until after our actual wedding ceremony, but I’ve waited over 2 months and I have no patience left. We’re married and I love the boy!”

Christopher is from Johannesburg, South Africa and we love the South African countryside. We wanted to hold our wedding ceremony at his family friends’ home and Country Inn, the Caversham Mill in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Luckily, Christophers mother is an event planner, because we both work full-time and are in graduate school part-time. I emailed my mother-in-law a million photos from Style Me Pretty and told her we wanted “summer camp for grown-ups.” We wanted to go river tubing and midnight swimming, and romp around the hills with our best friends. We wanted to sing loudly at night, and take our friends on a game drive to see the Big 5 after the wedding. We also needed a vegan wedding, which was difficult but not impossible to pull off in South Africa. We are both vegans and animal rights activists, and to hear our meat eating friends proclaim that our wedding menu was so delicious they may actually consider going vegan was pretty incredible.

The rest, as they say, is history. My mother got her very first passport and flew 14 hours to South Africa. Our best friend married us under three beautiful old trees, and we had the most amazing time with friends and family who flew in from five different countries and four different continents to celebrate our marriage with us.

Photography: Dna Photographers | Venue: Caversham Mill

South Africa Wedding from Tasha Seccombe

One of my favorite aspects of blogging for SMP (besides, well, everything) is the opportunity to pour over gorgeous weddings from all across the world. I like to think of it as virtual vacations to the most incredible places imaginable. And today’s destination adventure takes us to an ever-so-serene apple farm in South Africa. It’s every bit as sweet as it sounds, and with just one look at the gallery of images from Tasha Seccombe, this stunning locale will definitely take place on your must-visit list.

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Summer
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From the Bride…When Douglas and I got engaged, we both new that finding a venue for our wedding would be a challenge. We wanted a memorable wedding that would suit the people we are, what we enjoy, and include the things we both love. Our first choice was a beautiful farm. We believed that a serene, natural venue, would lend itself to a beautiful and relaxed wedding. We eventually decided on a family friends’ apple farm – Windermere – from which I have some great childhood memories. This was the start of a wonderful year of fun wedding planning (we would need to bring in everything from cutlery and tables to gas ovens and chopping boards) and interacting with some of the loveliest people in the Elgin valley.

We met Nadia Strauss from 4 Every Event, who is calm, level-headed and down to earth, and whose strong presence meant we always felt everything was under control – it really was. She did not at any point push her ideas onto us, and allowed us to express our wishes and showed us how they could evolve. We put together a mood board to capture the day. This was going to be the inspiration for every detail of the wedding. It took a long while to get these images together, to find the right pictures and make sure we were both happy with the final result. We wanted a country wedding, and we are both lovers of good food, good wine and fine dining. The marriage of fine dining and a country wedding had to be perfect. It was not to be shabby-chick or rustic, but rather an elegant, natural country affair, with a bit of the old world. Nothing was to be contrived or plastic, but real and wholesome. Quality was very important to us. There were a few key elements that would make this wedding special – flowers, trees, wood, bees and honey. We wanted lots and lots of flowers, lots of nature – an indoor-outdoor dining experience in the garden. The honeybee became our symbol of Mother Nature and everything would pivot around this idea.

We found a wonderful stationer – Lara Friday. We sent her our mood board and she was brilliant in interpreting what it was that we wanted. An elegant apple tree and a honeybee would bring together our simple, natural country theme. The colours were easy to decide on – creams, whites, sage greens, light browns and a hint of lavender blue – all found in a meadow. Our wedding day was a hot, still, sunny day. When I arrived at the church I thought I was stepping through the entrance of a magical, sunlit, wooded garden. A stream of rose petals led the way to the altar and a sea of smiling faces greeted me with warmth along the way. After the ceremony, Douglas and I drove off in a styling vintage car, which added to the old world flavour. The farm was breathtaking. The pre-drinks area was perfect for people to mill around under the trees and relax with some fresh homemade lemonade. The marquee was situated under big trees and we were lucky that it was warm enough to keep all the sides open, allowing us all to wine and dine in the outdoors while the stars came to life above us.

Nadia had interpreted the décor and flowers perfectly. The flowers were to look as though they had been freshly picked from a meadow that day. The tables were to look soft, elegant and natural which was achieved using a rectangular wooden basket brimming with flowers for the centerpiece and wood stumps to complement the theme. Each table had a different configuration, adding to the simplicity and natural feel. Jars of orange blossom honey were given to each guest.

My favourite touch was the cream lanterns hanging above each table. These were a special request I had made, and in them sat white candles of all different sizes, bringing a warm glow to the dining area, along with the wooden oak flooring below. Lanterns were to be used anywhere and everywhere in favour of normal lights to enhance the warmth and magical feel of the night. The food, provided by chef Gordon Manuel from South Hill, was outstanding and served very professionally. The wine, from the local boutique Highland Rd and Belfield wine estates, complemented the poached fillet risotto perfectly, and we finished off the meal with a slice of orange and almond wedding cake and berries drizzled with honey. The eating did not stop there, however, as we served cheese boards and much later on, gammon rolls for those who were still hungry. We partied late into the night and into the early hours of the morning, until the sun rose.

I will never forget my wedding day – the décor, the suppliers, the guests, they all added to what was the most memorable day of my life. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I can thank Tasha Seccombe, our photographer, for capturing some of the most natural photographs from the day, and whose eye managed to capture the mood perfectly, so that all I need to do is browse through and remember each and every happy moment.

Wedding Photography: Tasha Seccombe | Cinematography: Vicky Goslin |  Floral + Event Design + Planning: 4 Every Event | Ceremony Location: Paul Cluver Chapel | Reception Location: Windermere Farm | Catering: Gordon Manuel | Stationery: Lara Designs | Cake: High Tea | Hair + Make-up: Lianne Kakebeeke | Wedding Dress: Robyn Roberts

South Africa Wedding from Adene Photography

We have to admit, here at SMP we do love a good getting ready montage. Ok fine, we are downright weak in the knees at the sight of one. Especially when the room is a perfect pale blue that blends sublimely with the bridesmaids dresses like watercolors on a canvas. On top of that, nothing compares to playing dress up with your closest friends before you walk down the aisle to marry the love of your life. In honor of this, I had to showcase these sweet-as-pie moments from Adene Photography that show a bride and her bests getting ready together. And as you peruse the gallery, take note of the gorgeous venue against the South African landscape…sigh.


From the Bride… I always wanted to get married in the Cape Wine Lands (South Africa) with its majestic mountains and beautiful vineyards.  I met Jozef on a blind date and it was love at first sight. Jozef was from the Cape Wine Lands and after dating for 2 years of dating, while we where sitting on a bench watching the sun set over Cape Town, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We started with the wedding arrangements immediately and decided to get married at the Beautiful Kleinevalleij wedding venue at the foot of the Bains Kloof Pass in Wellington (South Africa).

We wanted our wedding to be very romantic and classic – timeless. The color scheme was dusty pink and light grey to create a classic romantic feel. Our all white venue complimented this perfectly. We wanted the King Protea (South Africa’s national flower) to be central through out the wedding. The King Protea is a lovely light pink color, which complemented our theme perfectly. We wanted all the flowers to be in glass to create a sense of elegance. Everything turned out amazing and the look and feel was exactly what we had envisioned. I was fortunate to have Adene from Adene Photography to, capture the all our special moments on the day. She did an amazing job, and made everyone feel completely at ease and relaxed throughout the day. Everyone tells you that you won’t remember much from the day due to all of the excitement, but I made a conscious decision to take in every moment and I remember every detail and feeling like it was yesterday!

I will never forget the wonderful day in the Cape Wine Lands where I promised everlasting love and devotion to the love of my life in front of my close family and friends. I fall more in love with my husband every day and still can’t believe how amazing it feels to be married and to have the opportunity to spend my life with my sole mate. 

Wedding Photography: Adene Photography / Wedding Venue: Kleinevalleij in Wellington, South Africa / Floral Design, Décor + Coordination: Sylvia of Special Events / Wedding Cake: Maggi of Edible Art Cakes / Wedding Stationery: Chrizanne of Sugar Bird Stationary / Wedding Dress: Elizabeth Stockenstrom / Bride’s Accessories: Lily Blue / Hair + Makeup: Helga Bridal

South Africa DIY Wedding from dna photographers

First off, I just have to tell you that reading the bride’s description of her day is sort of like reading a fabulous love poem because it reminds you of why you’re getting married and what’s really important. Not only is this gorgeous bride a wordsmith, she’s also one heck of a DIYer and with help of her loved ones, created a unique and spectacular day. dna photographers snapped up all the pretty details and love and you can see it all right here.

From the Bride… I’ll start by quoting the famous Ralph Waldo Emerson: ”Life is a journey, not a destination.” As for this blissful day, I would say it was and still is about the relationships and not just the wedding day.  And so, everything really started when I met Michael, who has always inspired me to get those things done, those wonderful ideas, that keep lingering in my mind. When he proposed, it simply catapulted us into an awesome, fun, passionate seven months of weaving friends and family, cotton and string, paper planes and striped paper straws, into a wedding day. While Michael went beer tasting with his dad, my mother and I spent interesting hours in the passage of my parents’ house, creating countless meters of bunting! My brother-in-law printed the most gorgeous serviettes for us, and my varsity buddy gave me her collection of old keys from student days. I was teaching my girlfriends how to crochet the lantern covers while Michael was networking with the farming community to organize straw bales!  

The venue? It was a little thumbnail image I fell in love with when I Googled “free state wedding venues.” The beautiful repetition of the timber trusses in an old sandstone dairy shed, out in the country off the beaten track, was pretty much cast in stone when Philna told us we could tie the knot anywhere on the farm. Michael and I love going out of our way for the thrill of adventure, and we both had a sneaky grin that all our friends and family would have to do it with us this time! They would need to get some dust on their polished shoes under those gorgeous eucalyptus trees … and come to think of it I would probably need some ankle boots then…

Just because you do things differently doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or detail. We prefer  a simplistic outlook, but also think what you do should be true, necessary and beautiful. Oh, and it must work.  I loved the idea of brass, timber and sandstone; from childhood, we both have been drawn to the expansive open spaces of the Free State’s cosmic landscape. But it was really the friends and family who climbed the trees to hang up the bunting and filled up the tree-chapel benches a few hours later, that completed the loveliness and made the whole day special, blessed and truly God-given.

Wedding Photography: Desmond Louw + Antonia Heil of dna photographers / Wedding Venue + Catering: Vlakbult Guestfarm in Clocolan, South Africa / Venue Contact: Philna Le Roux (083 761 7621) / Floral Design, White Chairs, Candelabra + Vases: Maretha of Function & Wedding House / Drinks: Clarens Brewery / Wine: Chamonix  / Decor: DIY / Wool for Crochet Projects: Orion Wool and Crafts / Wedding Invitation + Napkin Printing: Tobie Groenewald of I Love Screenprinting Studio / Napkins: DIY with Materials from Lowry’s Fabric Wholesalers in Cape Town / Tablecloths + Table Runners: DIY with Material from Fabric Castle in Cape Town / Burlap for Aisle: Fabric City in Cape Town / Brass Candlestick: Milnerton Market / Packaging: Ebony and Ivory / Decorative Hole Punch: Merrypack / Paper Materials: The Deckle Edge + NOR Paper (021 5113810) / Cake Stand: Price Home of Mud Studio / Glass Bottles: Consol Factory / Striped Straws: Natalie Royston (082 408 5739; info@whimsicalcupcakes.com) / Getting Ready Location: Annemarie of MAKAODI gaste plaas (082 854 6166) / Wedding Dress: Lisa Nel / Bride’s Ankle Boots: Etsy / Bridesmaids’ Attire: Made by the Bride’s Mother / Groom’s Attire: Country Road, Woolworths + Canal Walk / Groom’s Shoes: Woolworths / Groomsmen’s Suits: Their Own / Groomsmen’s Ties: Woolworths

Intimate Cape Town Wedding from DNA Photographers

When it comes to weddings, we love ‘em big or small, but there is something about a sweet soiree that makes you want to wiggle out of your shoes before the dancing starts. They are often a bit more sweetly simple, yet stunning nonetheless, and always put a smile on our faces. Especially when the wedding is captured in a bundle of amazing images – which DNA Photographers always produces. Click here for the full bundle!

Click here to see the full image gallery!

Andy and I have travelled together since we first got together at music college in 2004.

Our first trip to Africa took place after only few months of dating – we headed to Nairobi and the hotel room we checked in to had a toilet a few feet from the bed with just a shower curtain around it for privacy! At the time I thought ‘I’m not ready for this!’ but of course the trip was great and it was the first of many. Since then we’ve been to Uganda, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Zambia, so it made sense for us to get married in South Africa, especially given the fact that Andy was working for a charity in Malawi for a year.

We were so lucky with all the aspects of our wedding, given we were planning it from the UK and Malawi. A lot of the choices we made went down fantastically well and were really pot luck! The photographers welcomed us for a pre wedding shoot the day of our arrival and put us at ease with a walk round Deer Park below Table Mountain and the wedding photos were spectacular.

I chose the vineyard venue because they took WWOOF-ers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), something I had been involved with in New Zealand in 2007. I knew the ethos would be right and when we finally arrived along with 20 friends and family from the UK it exceeded everyone’s expectations. The swimming pool, beautiful scenery, table tennis, hiking, grape picking – there was something for everyone to do to unwind before the wedding, even a piano to play!

Diana and Johan were excellent hosts and provided the most amazing food throughout our stay, and the wedding day was no exception. Diana coped with a wedding plan on a scrap of paper and turned it into the most special day.

A few craft sessions in the UK provided the buttonholes and bunting and on the wedding day we were making and hanging pompoms. The music was provided by our friends – violins, guitar, flute, djembe, and a few singers and whistlers – which involved some intense practicing the morning of the wedding!

Photography: DNA Photographers / Flowers: Fennel from a field on the Fynbos Estate / Décor: DIY / Bottles, Vases, Table Clothes: Fynbos Estate, Malmesbury / Venue: Fynbos Estate, Malmesbury / - Food: Johan, Fynbos Estate / Wedding dress: 1950s vintage from Annie’s Vintage Clothing / Bride’s Shoes: ASOS bought on Ebay / Fascinator: made by a friend, alethea.marshall@yahoo.com / Engagement ring: Vintage, brides grandmother’s / Suit: Daniel Hechter Paris / Groom’s Shoes: Raffles Shoe Shop, Harare, Zimbabwe / Groom’s Shirt: Marks and Spencers / Tie: The Silk Tie Company / Flower girl’s clothing: Boden / Groomsmen clothing: Debenhams + Vegetarian Shoes