That’s right, you guys! It’s time for a brand new real life bride series, and I am SO excited! I was so totally overwhelmed by the response to my call for a new RLB a few weeks back – not just by the number of submissions, but by your enthusiasm and willingness to share your ideas and stories with me. It was truly heartwarming, and a reminder of how privileged I am to do what I do. In the end, I couldn’t bear to choose just one, so today I am thrilled to announce that you’ll be meeting not just one but THREE new Real Life Brides, who will be taking you on their wedding planning journeys! The posts will be staggered to accommodate the different wedding dates, so you’ll meet brides 2 & 3 later, but today I get to introduce you to the very lovely Candice, our Marie Antoinette bride! Candice charmed me with her introduction email (excerpt: “I love Downton Abbey and avoid the sun in an attempt to acquire skin as pale as lady Mary’s… I think that the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time and that eating and sleeping are two perfectly respectable ways of spending one’s time. And if I could, I would wear a wedding dress every day for the rest of my life.”) She has her eye on Versailles for inspiration, and she’ll be telling you all about it in the coming weeks. For now, a huge WELCOME to Candice – don’t forget to show her some love in the comments! :)
I grew up with a perhaps clichéd, but oh very real wish to be a princess. My parents treated me as such, and I played my part by kissing every luminous tree frog that I could possibly find. And so I think it must have been somewhere between this and the always fun visits to my wedding dress designing aunt’s house that I slid willingly into the rabbit hole, landing safely in the wonderful world of weddings.
Justin and I met at a pre-drinks gathering in a mutual friend’s room in residence at UCT. We exchanged your basic pleasantries. A few months later I was surprised by an invitation to his 21st (something I since discovered was to make up the number of girls in attendance). I decided to go, and through the speeches I learnt a number of things about him that piqued my curiosity – not least that he had dived into a pool to save his drowning dog immediately after returning from hospital with a severe head trauma. Now to give a little more context to how things developed from there I should say that I enjoy indulging the crazy in life perhaps a little more than the next person, and in my first year of university I had been fortunate enough to meet a kindred spirit a few doors down from me in residence. We took joy in the utterly random, and so in addition to our practice of leaving carrot in front of every door on our floor, or meticulously moving posters from fellow student’s door to that of their neighbours, we were also in the habit of sending very odd/confusing SMSes to our fellow residents. After his 21st, Justin naturally began receiving our gems, and with the communication open, Justin and I began talking, and arguing, and talking, and arguing, and eventually dating. It didn’t take us long to fall in love, and on the 19th of August this year it will be 5 years later :)
I found weddings before I found Justin. Embracing the joy they brought me, he had obligingly sat with me staring at pictures of flowers, cakes, dresses and veils for years, scratching his head like a cartoon whilst attempting opinions on things he had never even thought to consider. He was only too familiar with “the wedding document”, which detailed pictures and ideas that I had collected over the years to create something similar to Monica’s wedding in Friends (scary I know!). And so, by the time he was ready to propose, Justin was fully aware of my wedding day preferences, and more importantly for him – my proposal specifications: 1. I wanted it to be private, just us, sincere, real. 2. I wanted it to be personalised, to show thought, consideration and effort. And 3. I wanted to be surprised.
But I had read so many proposal stories, and I sort of knew a proposal was coming sometime soon, so this was a seriously tall order! I knew he wouldn’t ask me before having asked my parents (in KZN) and so I guessed it wasn’t going to happen any time before we saw them at Christmas. And so when he pulled off a ‘camping trip with work colleagues’ (actually flying up to ask my parents) without arousing suspicion in early November, Justin knew he had created a window of surprise.
On 16 November 2011, Justin arrived home from work. Entering the house, I noted that he appeared very flustered and asked why he seemed jittery, to which he replied that I was not to speak and that he had just received a big box of post for me. This might not normally have kept me quiet, but when he said: “now you mustn’t talk” I knew something was happening. I could feel it, and fell silent, the smile creeping on to my face and my entire being filled with a nervous anticipation which my mind was attempting to bridle. He then revealed a large round box and said it seemed to have come with a list of instructions from the Council of Elves at Rivendell (a reference to my favourite fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings). The elves had given him seven tasks to complete, and he proceeded to read out their instructions, which were linked in meaning to a story. With the anticipation of magic in the air, he began to describe and complete each task – lighting elven candles around me, throwing rose petals on and around me, placing a wand in my hand, putting a tiara on my head and giving me a Royale Eatery burger (so perfect for his ever-hungry bride!). On instruction 6 he produced a book which he’d had printed (!!) in which I was featured as the heroine. My name, my sister’s name, even the baby names we had picked out were in the story and he sat beside me and read the story aloud. On conclusion, he read the final elven instruction, knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Crying shamelessly I agreed :)