It’s not every day we get to feature a Springbok rugby player on these pages, so of course as a HUGE rugby fan myself I jumped at the opportunity when Charl Smith of Agapé Studio asked if I’d like to cover Gio Aplon‘s recent wedding! As many of you will know, Gio is a Stormer when he’s not in green and gold, and (whether by coincidence or design) his wedding to long-term sweetheart and fellow athlete Stacey was decorated in the vibrant blue and red of the Stormer’s logo. Stacey rocked not just one but two gorgeous gowns, and together with her handsome groom and seriously adorable daughter, Gia, made a picture perfect family as they celebrated this milestone together with 180 friends and family. You’ll see quite a few familiar faces from the rugby world among the guests, of course! And you can see even more from this happy day on Top Billing, where it will be featuring next month.
Gio met his hometown honey in Hawston, where they both grew up. He was friends with her brother, who introduced the pair. Gio was a little shy, but that didn’t stop him catching Stacey’s eye, and that New Year’s Eve they kissed for the first time. Over the following thirteen years, as their romance blossomed and Gio’s rugby career took off, Stacey herself became an accomplished athlete, and in 2010 was the second fastest woman in the country to run the 100m. She later decided to focus on supporting Gio’s career and being a mom to their daughter Gia, as well as completing her degree in Education at the University of the Western Cape. In 2012, six days before Gia’s birth, Gio proposed on Table Mountain.
Gio and Stacey were married at Brennaissance, an estate outside Stellenbosch. The ceremony was held in the Rose Conservatory, followed by a reception in the main hall.
From the moment Stacey stepped on to the Stormer-blue aisle on her father’s arm (behind her two bridesmaids and a page boy carrying a rugby ball to which the rings were tied), Gio’s smile was clear for everyone in the packed chapel to see. The minister was a family friend, the Rev. Edwin Arrison, Stacey’s childhood neighbour in Hawston. After a moving ceremony, he declared the couple man and wife to the cheers of the 180 guests.
There was a romantic atmosphere in the reception hall, decorated as it was with red and white flowers, candlelight and glimmering chandeliers. Red glassware added an extra pop of colour to each place setting, and guests (including a number of Gio’s teammates and their wives) were able to find their seats by the cute lasercut bird placecards perched on each wineglass. Favours were personalised rugby ball-shaped keyrings, and there was also a well-stocked red and blue candy buffet. At the centre of the room and standing almost a metre high, the couple’s five tier vanilla and rosewater wedding cake formed a stunning centrepiece.
Ceremony entrance: The One He Kept for Me by Maurette Brown Clark
During ceremony: When You Say You Love Me by Josh Groban (sung by Stacey’s bridesmaid, Layla)
Reception entrance: All of Me by John Legend
First dance: This I Promise You by ‘N Sync
For the ceremony, Stacey wore a strapless Veromia gown with a full ruffled skirt, together with a sparkling tiara. For the reception, she changed into an equally stunning D’Zage Bridal empire line dress, with a flowing chiffon skirt.
Although a proper honeymoon will have to wait until Gio has a break in his Super Rugby commitments, Stacey and Gio were able to spend a few relaxing days at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve near Gansbaai in the Overberg.
You can see more from this wedding on The Agapé Studio blog.
Venue: Brenaissance | Catering: Two Chefs | Photography: Agapé Studio | Co-ordination: Glee Events | Bride’s dresses: The Wedding Boutique | Groom’s suit: Jagadi Couture | Groomsmen’s suits: Eurosuit | Drinks reception: Scheckter’s Organic Energy Drink | Cake: With Love Baking