When I say that this wedding had me at proteas, I know that will surprise exactly zero of you, since South Africa’s national bloom makes regular (gorgeous!) appearances here on SBB. But it’s really a cocktail of ingredients that makes Fatima and Dane’s winelands wedding such a beauty. A dash of vineyard scenery (Vrede en Lust, which never disappoints), a tot of elegant style (thanks to Fatima’s breathtaking Pronovias gown and heirloom veil), a slice of rustic pretty (including the twelve-metre protea runner!), all shaken and stirred together with some unpredictable Cape weather (no worries, there’s a rainbow at the end of this rainstorm) and you have a fete that exudes old fashioned romance right down to the sparkler exit. And with Lad & Lass behind the camera, you know the pictures will be just as wonderful!
Dane is from Durban, South Africa; I am from Dallas, Texas; we live in Nairobi, Kenya. We met at a work conference through a mutual friend back in 2012 and connected immediately. At the time, we had crazy work and travel schedules but built a wonderful friendship based on our shared passion for travelling and music. Over time, long distance friendship grew into a long distance romance that spanned lots of air miles, time zones, and jobs. In 2014, Fatima made the move to Kenya and that was when the real magic began!
We were engaged in July 2015 in Siem Riep, Cambodia after an incredible day watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat and exploring the temples. We enjoyed dinner at a beautiful restaurant – and after many many pina coladas and sweet words, Dane popped the question!
We choose Vrede en Lust Wine Estate – an estate nestled in the Simondium mountains in the Cape Winelands. We fell in love with the estate’s sweeping mountain views; the reception hall perfectly celebrated the surroundings as it was enclosed with glass walls overlooking the vineyards and mountains. It was also the perfect choice for us because of its stunning accommodation for our wedding party – we stayed in the 300-year-old manor house and four beautifully restored cottages.
For the wedding celebration, it was so important to us that it was authentic, fun and that our guests felt transported for the evening. For many of the guests it was their first time in Cape Town and the winelands, so we wanted them to fully experience the textures, scenery, and tastes of such a beautiful place. We kept the décor organic and simple – our incredible floral design team incorporated the muted pastels and greenery native to the area into the table décor. We created a soft romantic light for the evening through candles and chandeliers, which played beautifully with the open space.
The most personal and specific detail was my veil – I wore my mother’s cathedral length veil from her wedding. It was such a gorgeous and dramatic addition to my attire, and incredibly special for Mom and I as I put it on that morning. We also incorporated personal touches into the ceremony program and a nod to my Portuguese roots on the dinner menu. Nature also ended up playing a much bigger role than we had anticipated! We were gifted rain the entire day of the wedding and chilly temperatures – but we were blessed with a full-on rainbow as we recessed after the ceremony!
We planned from afar, so we were limited in terms of DIY décor – Etsy was our go-to source for hand-crafted items.
I wanted a modern lace dress – something sexy with a nod to tradition. I was visiting my family in Dallas and had one day to find “the” dress! We tried on 30 dresses that day and funnily enough the first dress I tried was it! I felt beautiful and happy in it the moment I put it on. I’ll never forget Dane’s look as I walked down the aisle – it got the groom’s seal of approval!
I was blessed to have five incredible bridesmaids with decades of love and friendship between us. They wore dark grey floor length chiffon gowns, styled to their choosing. It was a versatile material and colour that looked wonderful on all of them.
We had such a fabulous collaboration with the Botanica team We had an earthy neutral color palette, with a focus on flowers and greenery that were in season and native to the Cape. Our favourite element was the twelve metre runner for the bridal table – it was so stunning!
The most special moments that day were the words exchanged. We asked close family and friends to give nontraditional readings focused on laughter, understanding, and togetherness. We wrote our own vows, and our vow exchange was powerfully intimate – there wasn’t a dry eye in the romantic old wine cellar where we said our “I Do”s. But it was my father who stole the show with the most amazing toast – it got a standing ovation!
Proudly South African Details
Much of decor incorporated local fauna, and we sent our guests home with delicious South African wine. We also had fantastic homemade lamingtons that were part of the welcome boxes; most of them didn’t even make it past the ceremony! Dane is an avid rugby fan and player – after removing my garter he wrapped it around a Springbok rugby ball and threw it to the raucous group of single guys. The photos we have of all the boys diving for the ball are priceless!
Renting houses in Cape Town leading up to the wedding. Guests travelled a combined 180,000 kilometers for the celebration and we wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to create special memories with them. It was the first time we both had all our friends from different places and times in our lives and our families together in one place – and our parents met for the first time!
Advice for Future Brides & Grooms
Make time for yourselves on the day – we are so glad we planned it so we could sleep in a bit, enjoy massages in the morning before we got ready, and eat well throughout the day. Savour every minute of it! Also it was completely worth it to have photographers and videographer capture the entire day; the memories that were captured between family and friends are priceless and we are loving being able to relive the day whenever we want!
Venue & catering: Vrede en Lust | Photography: Lad & Lass Photography | Co-ordination & hiring: Authentic Planning | Flowers & décor: Botanica Floral Design | Video & DJ: Pie in the Sky Creative Weddings | Cake: Cakes by Wade | Bride’s dress: Pronovias | Bride’s accessories: Jimmy Choo | Hair & makeup: Cecilia Fourie Hair & Make-Up | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Dessy | Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss | Bowties: Wakuu Suits | Entertainment: Acoustic Element + Abavuki | Officiant: Patrick Boucher