You know, normally when I introduce a wedding, I say a few words. I don’t know, maybe you all read them, maybe you don’t. And there’s a lot I could say about today’s pretty as a picture wedding. I could tell you about the pair of high school sweethearts glowing as they finally walked down the aisle. I could mention the gorgeous French-inspired venue (La Petite Dauphine, which I adore). I could say things like proteas and Parisian stripes and bunting and balloons, or go on about Judy Stofberg from Just Judy‘s awesome photos. But really, there are only two words I need to say to make you want to scroll on down immediately.
From the lovely bride, Caro:
Johan and I have known each other since primary school. He went to Boys High and I to Girls High in Paarl, and my neighbour was friends with him. At one of my first girl/boy parties, Johan and I danced and he asked if I would go out with him. Of course I said yes and so he became the first boy I kissed. But as you might know, primary school flings don’t last very long and after two months we broke up and I started dating one of his best friends. As it was a small town and such a tight group, we remained very good friends and occasionally went to dances together. Then Johan (who is a year older than I am) went to study dentistry and that was when I also started to become interested in the dental world. Geeks right? :) It so happened that when I went to university, we were in the same hostel. He was the second year hotshot who knew everybody on campus and I was a new first year…all shy and out of place. That hostel year was one of the best years of my life. We had such a party! The question is how we got together…..at one of our friends’ 21st we both had a little too much champagne and ended up kissing. I thought “Oh no, I kissed my best friend! I need to tell him, that it was just a kiss and nothing else.” And that was four years ago…
Now the proposal was very funny. I was working my Com-serv year at the Air Force base in Bredasdorp, when Johan called me and said we were having pizzas for supper. Later that day he called me again and told me to wear something nice, as we were going out. I raced home and got all dressed up but he was late…so obviously I thought he had made me dress up for nothing. But when he arrived he was nicely dressed, with a bunch of red roses. He took me to a fancy restaurant in Stellenbosch and I don’t know if he needed some extra encouragement, but afterwards we went to Cubana for a quick strong drink. We went home, and I was beyond tired by then and he still wanted to light a fire. I thought why on earth do you want to light a fire at this time of night? So I sat on the blanket on the floor while he was getting the fire started, and I almost fell asleep. Finally he got up and when he went down on his knee, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “you must be joking!” I didn’t expect it at all. So now he was mind-boggled and as he took out the box with the ring it was upside down and the ring fell out and rolled across the floor. When he finally got the ring back he placed it on the wrong hand and on the wrong finger. Shame he was so nervous and that was when I started crying…I was so happy…it took another couple of minutes before I could say yes in between crying and struggling to breathe. And that’s how it all started and ended. :)
My mom is extremely good at event organizing and interior decorating. I was still busy with my community service and only in Paarl on weekends, as well as being too stressed out trying to find a job in the private sector for the following year to tackle wedding planning. Each weekend, my mom asked me things and showed me places and pictures in magazines. The only request Johan and I had was that we wanted an elegant informal weekend wedding and my mom made it happen. She found two wedding venues. The first she took us to was La Petite Dauphine in Franschhoek and Johan and I immediately said it was where we want to get married – we didn’t even see the other place! The rest was all my mom’s ideas!
We didn’t have a specific colour theme, but mostly it was black and white with a touch of red. La Petite Dauphine has two long tables, which made everything feel more like a festival and not like a wedding. The table runners were white and black and my cake was a four tier white and black cake with red ribbons made out of icing. We had few formal flower arrangements, just succulents and proteas, and silver platters with fresh figs and grapes, and we had bread platters on the tables with fresh garlic and olive patês.
We didn’t want something stiff and formal, and we both love the outdoors, so most of the wedding happened outside. The venue has two old cottages under massive oak trees with vines and olive trees surrounding them. We got married under the oak trees with an accordion playing in the background. Then guests played boules and croquet games, while champagne flowed and glasses clinked. After the toasts and the cutting of the cake, we took the wedding outside again. Lights and little flags made by my parents hung over our black and white dancefloor, and it was one lekker party! Everybody enjoyed it and old, young, married or single, I have never seen people dance so much at a wedding!
I loved every second of my wedding – every little detail was special to me. I loved that everything was informal, but still elegant, since that’s how you can best describe Johan and I. It was a wedding that we’ll be talking about for a long time, and now we have the adventure of our lives waiting for us!
The advice that I would give brides, is not to get so involved in the wedding arrangements. I was extremely lucky, with my mom doing everything. It was such a lovely surprise when I saw the venue, and it took so much stress off of me. In that way I could just enjoy my wedding, and if anything wasn’t in place, I didn’t know about it. It was just so easy! Also, try to make your wedding more like a festival – it doesn’t need to be stuffy!
I so agree! Brides and grooms, do your own thing! Big thanks to Caro and Johan for sharing their sweet story, and to Judy for sharing their lovely pics. As always, you can see more on her blog here.
Venue and Catering: La Petite Dauphine | Photographer: Just Judy | Florist and Decor: Mint and Magnolia | Co-ordinator: Carina Prins (bride’s mom) | Cake: Cakes by Wade | Bride’s dress: Gert Van der Merwe