You know what, I’m just going to say this (even though I know one day I may totally regret it). I love involved grooms. Yes, I know it’s tempting to be all “You know what honey, I’ll just organise everything because you don’t care about what colour flowers we go for, do you? You just pay.” In fact, I know this works for a lot of grooms, as well as brides, who already feel like they need to please their moms and moms-in-law and a variable army of aunts, uncles, friends and suppliers who have big fat opinions on your big fat wedding that you simply must take on board. I used to think the best system was for the groom to just have the power of veto. But writing this blog, I’ve been surprised and delighted at how keen some of the grooms are. (Keen as sleen, as my friend Abigail would say.) Admittedly, it’s often the most creative grooms who get most involved, and today’s is one of them. He kicked things off with one of the most creative, handmade, and truly South African two-part proposals I’ve ever seen, and then he and his talented bride designed and made everything for their Simon’s Town beach wedding. And you guys, it is beautiful. So heartfelt, and with such attention to detail – my best kind of wedding basically. Plus, Lizelle Lotter has absolutely triumphed with these photos, so light and airy and romantic that I could look at them all day. So grabba cuppa, and prepare to swoon.
From gorgeous bride, Hananje (who by the way, is a pilot, which basically makes her the queen of kickass in my little book!):
Wiehan and I met at work at a graphic design college. He was cautious of relationships and I was definitely not looking for love. Well I guess the saying is really true: ‘You find love when you least expect it’. A year and a half of fun, laughter, friendship, love and just pure joy later we decided that Cape Town is food for the soul, and that the ocean, mountains and forests were exactly where we wanted to be. Upon deciding this Wiehan knew it was time to ask the parents, so he spent weeks on a project, making something special for his soon to be in-laws. He made twelve oxen out of clay and painted each one with a different word of devotion, which he presented to my parents with the question of my hand in marriage. They are magnificent and my father’s pride and joy!
Wiehan moved to Cape Town first and not long after I came for a visit. He planned a whole romantic long weekend to Berg en Dal just outside Ceres. We arrived at the most beautiful stone cottage surrounded by mountains and Namaqualand daisies. The next morning he woke me up very early and told me to put on my warmest clothes, but would not tell me where we were going or what we were doing. I did what he said, got in the car, and being the curious person that I am, started guessing what the surprise was… I was way off! When we arrived at the destination, I was surprised with a snow safari in the Matroosberg mountains. Neither one of us had ever seen snow so the anticipation was exhilarating. We climbed into the little safari truck and bumped and bundu bashed all the way up the dirt road to the topmost point of the mountain, 2249m above sea level. We had a very wet, cold and slushy snow ball fight, built a wobbly snow man with Rasta hair (it’s a lot harder than it looks) and ended it all off with a romantic picnic, looking over snowy mountains and green valleys below. While I was enjoying smoked oysters with cream cheese he reached into his bag and handed something over to me… a present. I could see it was a book, so of course I did not expect a thing. I’ve always loved a good book and was quite excited to see what kind of book it was, although I was thinking that it was a bit thin for my taste. When I unwrapped it and saw the beautifully wrapped cover, I realized this book was different. Wiehan had hand bound and illustrated a book on his love for me… it was the most beautifully romantic thing anyone had ever done for me. I read through it… still not expecting the ending… I turned to the last page and it read/illustrated “Hananje Lombard will you…” The next page was bound closed with a bow and tied with a ring. I opened it and it asked “…marry me?” When I looked up, he was on one knee holding his hands out to take the ring from me to put it on my finger. I was so overwhelmed with joy that I didn’t give him the chance to do just that. I just flung myself at him and cried “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!”
We feel that the simplicity of nature is the most magnificent experience. That is what we were looking for when designing our wedding. A barefoot, joyous, no fuss, casual wedding on the beach. We searched high and low, up the West Coast, all the way down through to Hout Bay, but were unable to find a venue that was walking distance from a picture perfect beach. Our very last stop was Simon’s Town… what a beautiful little town! We found Windmill Beach, a small cove surrounded by boulders with a mountain as a backdrop… Perfect! Our colours were light blue and chocolate brown. Blue for the water and the brown for nature (and chocolate).
The atmosphere at our wedding was so relaxed, friendly and comfortable. We loved having our feet in the sand at our ceremony! We were also so blessed to have my Great Grandma there, who came all the way from Louis Trichardt for our special day.
Wiehan and I are both very creative and are always making little special things for each other. Our whole wedding was a mirror image of our relationship and love for each other and God’s creation. The aisle that we walked down was marked with huge hanging clay hearts, which we had painted with the words of devotion that Wiehan had painted on the oxen. Everything was designed by Wiehan. We hand made everything together: the save the dates, invites, menus, little boxes which held each guest’s gift, table numbers, table placements and name holders, for the big day. My mother surprised us with a stunning handmade guest book with the wedding theme throughout the whole book. Each page contained a special message on one side with space for the guests to write on the opposite page.
Our cake was definitely different. We decided to combine the cake with the hors d’ouvres. (People always get hungry when the couple are out taking photos). So we flew in brie cheese from France – it cost us a quarter of the price of a wedding cake and believe you me, the stuff you get here is not a patch on real French brie. It was the hit of the wedding, everybody from Wiehan’s four-year-old nephew to my 90 year old great grandma absolutely loved it!
My advice for future brides:
- Spare no expense on an excellent photographer. If the one that you have in mind costs more than your wedding budget, phone the photographer up and ask them who their second shooter/trainee is – they are usually more than happy to give out the details and the trainee photographer’s pictures are often almost as good as their teacher’s.
- Make sure you meet with each and every service provider. When it comes to the DJ, bring a CD on the day with the important songs that you requested and give it to him just in case. We met with the DJ company’s marketer who apparently would then give the information over to the DJ who was playing at our wedding. We kept on insisting to see the DJ himself but the marketer insisted that it was not necessary and that is not how they did things. We chose our specific songs that we wanted and even offered to bring the CDs along, but he said that he had everything and it was unnecessary. Needless to say he didn’t play one song that we requested for the reception. He didn’t even have the father daughter song that I had requested on the day, so he just played whatever else he had.
- The videographer will probably put music on the DVD which he feels goes with the look and feel of your wedding. After the DJ has established that he has all the songs on the CD that you have given him, take that CD and hand it over to the videographer to include in your wedding DVD. Two birds with one stone. Give the responsibility of bringing the CD, handing it over to the DJ and then videographer to the best man, or a family member.
- If something goes wrong (as with our DJ) just let it go, the guests will never know that it wasn’t supposed to be that way, and you won’t remember being upset on your big day.
- Last but not least, stop every few minutes and remind yourself to take it all in. The day goes by so fast that it’s important to take in each and every wonderful moment!
Thank you so much, Wiehan and Hananje! You’re both absolute stars. And as always, a massive thank you to the photographer on the day, Lizelle Lotter (you can see more on her blog here).
Ceremony venue: Windmill Beach, Simon’s Town
Reception venue: Boulders Beach Function House
Catering: Big Blue Events
Photographer: Lizelle Lotter
Videographer: Mandelbrot Films
Stationery: Dialogue8 Creative Communication – Wiehan de Jager
Florist: The Flower Warehouse
Decor: Bride, groom and Big Blue EventsFavours: Khayelitsha Cookies
Bride’s dress: Lady Marmalaide, Stellenbosch
French brie (in lieu of wedding cake ): Corné Deli
Macaroons: Martin Senekal Confectionary Design
Bride’s hair and make-up: Whale View Manor Guest House
Mother of the bride’s hair: Whale View Manor Guest House