South African Wedding Style #5: Handmade with an Mzansi Twist

Earlier today, we spent some time with our DIY bride, Sam, chatting about her gorgeous restored vintage dress, but I’m not done with Sam’s lovely wedding today! In fact, it’s the feature wedding for the last in the five iconic South African wedding styles I chose from last year – in this case, sort of handmade retro, but with a proper South African twist. I don’t know if being based in London makes you even more enthusiastic about anything South African (I feel like it has for me!) but I loved that as part of their gorgeous wedding, Sam and Stew included lots of proudly Saffa touches (as well as lots of British ones, to represent their time in the UK). In truth, it’s something you could incorporate in a number of wedding styles, but I think it works particularly well with the laid back, handmade, and very personal style of Sam and Stew’s wedding – it’s a great reflection of our generally chilled-out national nature, and the melting pot of cultures that somehow has become our own.

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Confessions of a DIY Bride #4: The Dress

Hello lovelies! Sam’s back today with more on her DIY wedding adventure! And this is such a special post – I know I felt a bit choked up at the end!

DIY Bride Disclaimer: My ‘DIY Dress Project’ didn’t stretch to actually making my own dress, or getting a fabulous mom/aunt/granny to create the perfect Couture Gown, but I was lucky enough to be able to re-create a vintage heirloom into my own version of THE dress.

When I started my search for a not-too-extravagant but still pretty awesome, reasonably comfy wedding dress, I hoped the answer would be a vintage one. (I had visions of a puffy 1950s cocktail number). So, I trawled vintage fairs, shops and websites, and saw so many beautiful dresses and even more beautiful accessories, but generally felt a little overwhelmed at my lack of London vintage shopping knowledge and know-how.

Then I travelled to South Africa, and in between the mad rush to choose a venue and find a caterer, my mom, sister and I visited a few wedding boutiques, and I dutifully tried on the dresses. They were nice (some were even very very nice) but… they just weren’t quite right. Eventually, I decided I’d go back to London, find a plain, simple high street dress, and accessorise it with my grandmother’s wedding veil (cathedral length, 1940s Brussels lace). There was just one problem – no one could find it. Anywhere.

It was in the process of searching through yet another trunk, at the back of yet another cupboard, in the last few hours before I flew back to the UK, that I found the rumpled old plastic bag… Filled with an even more rumpled mess of delicately textured, oyster satin and few lonesome diamantes… It wasn’t my grandmother’s veil, but it was her wedding dress. The same one she wore in 1946 when she’d married my grandpa.Read More

DIY ‘Wolfpack’ Wedding Programs

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to reader Claudine, who showed us how to put together a whisky bar, as she did for her wedding. Today Claudine is back with a second post sharing one of her DIY projects – what she charmingly calls a ‘wolfpack’ program. Anyone who’s ever been stuck in a church waiting waiting waiting for the bride to arrive will know that it’s about ten minutes of smiling excitedly, looking around and waving at old friends, five minutes of shuffling and glancing at the door, and then sheer boredom until the big arrival. Which, depending on how punctual you are, could be anything from five minutes to an hour (and yes, I have been there, and in a freezing church nogal). I’m  not encouraging bride’s prerogative-style lateness, but if you want to make sure your guests are entertained, this program is a great way to handle that, plus it doubles as a fan in case of hot weather. It includes the wolfpack – introductions to the wedding party – and a fun wordsearch. And it’s been a huge hit among other brides already. So here we go! Thanks Claudine! (PS All images are by Laura Versveld, and you can also see the whole of Richard and Claudine’s wedding on Lovilee.)Read More

Guest Post: The Bridesmaid’s Duties

Source: Joy & Dylan’s Simon’s Town Wedding (Photography: Nastassja Harvey)

Good morning, friends! It’s been a long and crazy week for me, including an amazing shoot with such a great team mid-week that I am dying to share with you (in the words of Barney Stinson… wait for it…) so I’m pretty glad it’s Friday. And what a fun Friday we have lined up for you, as it’s our unofficial Bridesmaid Day! We’re kicking things off with some comprehensive, down-to-earth advice from friend of the blog Theresa Lazarevic of Creation Events.. I love that Theresa not only has a great eye for decor that really benefits her brides and grooms, but she’s also a source of wedding wisdom and practical ideas. I like to think I’ve always been quite a switched-on bridesmaid, but I know many friends who have felt a bit lost in knowing their place in the planning and what they can do to help and support. Well, here’s everything they need to know. Be sure to make use of the sharing buttons at the end of the post to share these with your own bridesmaids and MOH! And don’t forget to pop back later for more bridesmaid inspiration from our sponsors.Read More

DIY Whisky Bar

It’s funny how the drinks you like change with age, isn’t it? I mean, when I was 18, I drank a lot of alcopops, but I wouldn’t be caught dead with one now. And at that age, I thought whisky was vile, but now I quite like a one from time to time (although, I’m sorry purists, mine’s on the rocks). Due probably to the fact that a few years back I dated a guy who really loved the stuff, and I came to appreciate it more after a distillery weekend in Islay, Scotland. Maybe that’s appropriate, because there’s something a bit more sophisticated about whisky – it’s to be enjoyed slowly, not downed or drunk through a straw (what WAS that anyway, eighteen year old Gaby?). Point is, I think a whisky (or whisky and cigar) bar is a really lovely addition to a wedding reception, and something that usually makes the groom’s eyes light up in the planning. So I was delighted when SBB reader Claudine got in touch after her own recent wedding to share how she and her groom Richard created a whisky/whiskey bar for their wedding – and how you can too! All images are by the awesome Laura Versveld, who is based in Mpumalanga. (You can also see the whole of Richard and Claudine’s wedding on Lovilee.) Take it away, Claudine!Read More

Confessions of a DIY Bride #3: Fabric Boutonnieres

Quite early on, we decided not to have a ‘strict’ colour scheme… quite simply, because we thought it would too difficult to co-ordinate exact colour match swatches from 10 000 miles away! (We were right.) So our colour palette ended up being pretty broad, and was inspired by the earthy tones of our venue, and the pastel shades of the Joules Hedy bridesmaids’ dresses I’d bought on a whim in the January sales. To tie the girls’ look in with groomsmen and the rest of the wedding party (dads, moms, grans and aunties) I crafted a set of fabric corsages, using Liberty print fabric, vintage pins and various buttons, which formed the base for the fresh lavender and rosemary sprigs we added on the day.Read More

Confessions of a DIY Bride #2: The Invitations

The invitations….that first tentative step into the deep-end of wedding planning, often happens before you know exactly what your (fully fabulous) Big Day vision looks like. Which, of course, makes picking the ‘right’ invitation even trickier!

We had the added stress of getting our invites out ASAP, as many of our guests needed to book flights, and organise annual leave. This is where the American tradition of a ‘Save the Date’ came in handy. With our date and venue set, and and inspired by the fact that most of our guests would be travelling from London to SA, we decided to base our Save the Dates on that London Underground staple – the Oyster card.

We tweaked the design (with apologies to TFL) and printed them straight onto magnetic paper (no really, it is a real thing – look here) at home on our shke-donky old inkjet printer, and mailed them out with the Christmas cards. This not only gave our cross-continental guests no excuse not to come, but also gave us breathing space to send out the invites closer to the day, once we had some idea of styles and themes.Read More

How to Choose a Venue

Source: Mehtap & Paul’s Tintswalo Atlantic Wedding (Photography: Zarazoo)

Hey hey, it’s Friday! And it’s the best kind of day for me, as I’ll be heading over to Cambridge as you read this so I can attend my lovely friends Kerenza & Matt’s wedding. Yay! Not only do I love weddings, but Kez and Matt are the loveliest. Anyway, never fear, because not only do I have a lovely bonus inspiration board for you this afternoon, but this morning I’ll be leaving you in the very capable hands of my friend Theresa of Creation Events. Theresa is a full service wedding c0-ordinator based in Cape Town, and as one of our treasured SBB sponsors, I’ve been keeping a close eye on what she’s been doing this season. Recently, Theresa has been sharing her extensive expertise in planning on her own blog in a series of ‘how  to’ posts, and I’ve convinced her to share one of them exclusively with you here today. And it couldn’t be a more important one, since the venue is the cornerstone for any design you are going to put together, and probably the first thing you’ll book after saying ‘yes’. Over to you, Theresa!

PS You can download a free worksheet to help you follow Theresa’s advice in this post HERERead More

Real Wedding at Netherwood {Sam & Stew}

Okay, I am going to admit, I found this feature HARD. Not because it’s not lovely, oh no. But because picking through the pictures has never been harder. It’s not just that Sam – our brand new DIY Bride guest contributor – has an eye for detail second to none and the most incredible, original, personal, heart-warmingly wonderful ideas incorporated into her beautiful wedding, but that every one of photographer Jacki Bruniquel’s pics is so perfect that I wanted to use them all. Narrowing them down was like a Herculean task. So this is kind of a long post. But I don’t mind if you don’t mind, and I know you won’t mind scrolling through this absolutely gorgeous DIY celebration at Netherwood. And the best part? You’ll be able to recreate some of the awesome yourself, when Sam brings you her DIY tutorials. Isn’t that the best news? Yes it is.Read More

Confessions of a DIY Bride

:) I’ve been waiting for this day for a while, and I’m so excited to share this post with you! *waves ‘Yay’ flag*
A while back, I was contacted by a former bride living in London, who had planned and executed an awesome DIY wedding in South Africa. Sam wanted to share her insights into planning from abroad, as well as her DIY skills, and as soon as I had a look at her gorgeous wedding I knew not only that we would get on, but that she would be a brilliant contributor to SBB. And so the scheming began. The ultimate result is that I am delighted to tell you that Sam will be joining us here on SBB as our official DIY contributor! Welcome, Sam! She’ll start with DIYs from her own gorgeous wedding, and here’s the really fun part – we’ll be featuring her wedding next week! You guys, it’s such a good one, and the pics were taken by one of my faves, Jacki Bruniquel (a few sneaky peeks on this post, but you’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the rest!). In the meantime, here’s Sam to introduce herself and give some amazing general DIY wedding advice – show her some love in the comments!


I have a confession to make: My name is Sam, and I was a DIY bride.

From the dress, to the cake, to the flowers, and every stitch and stamp of the reception decor, we sourced, made, crafted and arranged most of it ourselves… from 10 000 miles away.Read More