When photographer Anel Smit sent me today’s wedding I couldn’t help but be struck by the verve and energy of the couple – and by bride Lenise’s big smile! I loved that they had so much fun with their couples session, and couldn’t wait to see the rest of the wedding. As it turned out, it was a fusion between the bride and groom’s different styles, and a warm family centred celebration in the true sense of the word, and I’m sure it’ll brighten up your afternoon the way it did mine! Big congratulations to Lenise and Lourens, and thank you to Anel for her lovely pics!
My husband and I have quite diverse ideas about things and yet we are so similar. I am the detail-oriented, stylish, seven course meal one and he is the rugged, farm boy, BBQ one. We are both from South Africa but he grew up on a farm in the far north of the country and I grew up in Cape Town. I don’t think we would have found each other if we hadn’t both been living in London, where we met at a church gathering. It was an instant click based on our shared beliefs and values, but due to some visa uncertainties we were forced to be friends for a while at first. Before he finally asked me out, he asked my father if he could date me! I was such a daddy’s girl and he knew the way to my heart was through my dad. It’s a good example of how both of us are quite traditional, but at the same time we do like to do things a bit differently. We are both family oriented and our families come from a similar missionary/ministry background – as a result, we’re all very close.
For our wedding, I chose a vintage/shabby chic/country theme. I wanted to find a way of combining our two personalities and creating something unique that was satisfying to both of us. What we both agreed on is that we wanted to do things a little bit differently to your traditional wedding. So I started looking on the internet for ideas and fell in love with the vintage theme because it was stylish and full of detail, but some of the elements were so out of the ordinary. I wanted to combine it with a country feel and set out to find a farm venue that was still very stylish. Bon Cap in Robertson (a very small town just outside of Cape Town) was perfect in every way. The venue inside is gorgeous – it has huge chandeliers and a lot of detail. But once you step outside you can see miles and miles of vineyards, mountains, horse stables and a small dam. Perfect perfect perfect!
I chose soft colors – dusty pink, lilac and cream. I didn’t want white tablecloths and settled for a dusty/lilac pink colour which was quite unusual. I hired a florist who not only did our flowers but supplied gorgeous décor for this theme – every table looked different, which made it extra special. Because I planned the wedding from London I actually had no idea what to expect – I was happily suprised!
We made a whole weekend out of our event, starting with a BBQ at the venue where the reception was going to take place the night before. Both families joined in (they are huge – it was about 70 people!) and instantly a sense of togetherness was created. Everyone slept over on neighbouring farms and prepared for the wedding the next day. We also had a breakfast at the venue the morning after our wedding. Our families had to travel so far, and it gave us a chance to spend as much time with them as we could.
The ceremony itself was so unique to us. My dad married us (I am his only little girl and the first one to get married in the family) and my grandfather gave us a generational blessing prayer.
For the cocktail hour, canapés were served outside and we put out hay bales close to the dam and the horse stable so guests could sit and wait for us while they enjoyed their canapés. We had drums filled with fire and a rustic wheelbarrow stashed with bottles of drinks. This accentuated the farm feel and created a sharp contrast between the outside and the fine detail inside the venue, which we loved. I DIYed our seating arrangements, printing each guest’s name with their table and gave the meaning of their name as well. People were really touched by it.
The advice that I can give is to be authentic – you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a wedding memorable. At the end of the day it’s not the décor that counts but the people around you. Plan the wedding that will most reflect you and your husband’s personalities and beliefs. Sometimes our ideas of a wedding get so easily influenced by the media, but stand back and see what is important to you.
Lenise shared some more top tips:
- If you’re planning from abroad, make sure you have someone on the other side who understands your ideas. And also, if you are going for a lot of detail, remember that it will be a little more stressful organizing it from abroad.
- I got ready in the garden at a little house on the farm, while my mom and bridesmaids had theirs done elsewhere. This made the time more relaxing and chaos-free.
- Make sure you talk to you photographer about what you want on the day. I didn’t want a lot of traditional photos, so I searched for ideas and combined funky photos with traditional ones. It made it all the more fun!
- For those on a budget and who have some time, eBay is a very good place to shop for bridal things. And if you can DIY the details, this will make your wedding all the more authentic.
- A word of warning: DON’T order your wedding dress online if the website looks dodgy. I did it and I was so so disappointed. I had to get a dress a week before my wedding! In the end I loved my dress (and my hair, even though I only decided the morning of the wedding how I wanted it styled!)
Venue & catering: Bon Cap
Photography: Anel Photography
Flowers: Philip – +27 (0)82 8969904
Videography: Arjen Visser
Cake: Lourettas – +27(0)23 626 5133
Dress: Bridal Unique
Make up: Jodine – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hair: Cornel – email@example.com
DJ: Jan Strachan – firstname.lastname@example.org
Car hire: Karel Pretorius – email@example.com