Cloof Vineyards Wedding by Julie Wilhite Photography
May 31, 2011

This South African affair celebrated in a town called Darling, turned out to be just that - absolutely darling. The adorable couple brought friends and family from all over the world to celebrate in South African style with details that embraced all the pretty places they love in the world. Personality is just oozing from every corner of this celebration by Julie Wilhite Photography, so get ready to take note of all the steal-worthy details. It just could not be more perfect for your afternoon inspiration pick me up and of course, the full gallery of images is full of even more pretty!

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From the Bride... Chris and I met in Cape Town, South Africa over eight years ago in a chance encounter while I was on vacation with my sister. When I moved to South Africa in 2010, we reconnected  and it was a whirlwind courtship and engagement. Since Chris's parents had never visited the USA, nor mine South Africa, we decided to get married in both countries with a small ceremony in Houston, Texas (my hometown) and then a larger wedding and party on the West Coast of South Africa. Chris and I have lived on four continents collectively, so we had family and friends traveling from all over the world to attend our South Africa wedding.  To make the day special for everyone involved, we decided to make the event a tribute to our South African, English and Texan heritages.

We searched the winelands of Cape Town for the perfect venue, and chose the West Coast because it had the rustic, friendly vibe that we wanted.  The town of Darling is a 45-minute drive from central Cape Town where we live, so it was close enough for guests to drive out for the day, but the scenery makes it feel a world away.  Cloof Vineyards, where we held the ceremony and reception, was the perfect site for our day: the wine farm has a beautiful lawn and pergola with expansive views and the staff are hospitable and accommodating.  They let us use the site as a canvas on which to paint our dream wedding.

Guests were greeted with Pimms, an English summer cocktail that set the tone for the day - relaxed and fun. Men were given Texas-style kerchiefs and sheriff's badges to wear; ladies were given wooden fans and fabric corsages made from shue shue, a South African traditional fabric.  The ceremony was held on the lawn with views over the valley, and our vows were said under a picturesque tree adorned with antique hearts.  The ceremony was followed with a cocktail hour featuring Cloof Daisy Darling wines and hors d'oeuvres featuring tender Karoo lamb on skewers and danish feta phyllo triangles.

We wanted the dinner to be a chance for everyone to get to know one another and feel part of our extended family.  We set a long, long table with fresh wildflowers and denim table runners under a pergola strung with fairy lights which appeared almost magical as the sun set over the valley.  Dish Food & Social catered our event and designed a menu that I call "modern South African," with local ingredients prepared in new and delicious ways. In keeping with the relaxed feel, everything was served family style in big dishes that were passed between guests.  The meal started with a smoked Springbok carpaccio, followed by pepper and mustard-crusted sirloin, rustic roasted vegetables and a butternut and capiscum salad.  Instead of wedding cake, we chose an assortment of pies as a nod to Texas - down-home pecan, apple, strawberry and chocolate caramel - baked by Miss K's, where co-owner Kirsten makes the most divine Cape Town desserts. The champagne toast featured Graham Beck sparkling wine, a South African bubbly.

The dinner was followed by Barn Dancing in the wine farm's "cow shed" - described by my sister as the most "upscale cow shed" she'd ever seen.  We continued with the fairy lights, strung from the rafters to resemble a star-studded sky.  Caroline Blundell, Cape Town's own barn dance caller with a talent for getting people on the dance floor, taught everyone to do-si-do and promenade in a series of square and line dances.  The evening continued with our talented DJ (Rob Beviss-Chailinor) and everyone danced the night away.  We kept the guests well-fed with midnight snacks of skinny fries dipped in aioli and toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches.  The buses arrived at 1am to escort our guests home.

Wedding Photography: Julie Wilhite Photography / Floral Design & Decor: Family of the Bride / Wedding Ceremony & Reception Location: Cloof Vineyards / Catering: Dish Food & Social / Officiating Minister: Hansen Preuss / Wedding Pies: Miss K's Food Cafe / Fairy Lights: Eat Cake! / Table Runners: Custom by Mother of the Groom / Wedding Invitations: Paperless Post / Menus & Programs: The Bride / Groom’s Attire: JoS. A. Bank / Wedding Dress: J.Crew / DJ: Rob Beviss Challinor / Barn Dance Caller: Caroline Blundell