Afternoon lovelies! I have such a pretty lil’ engagement shoot to share with you this arvie! Matt and Belinda love everything French, so for their engagement shoot with Andre Sonnekus, they asked Eco-Chic Weddings to help out with some gorgeous French-inspired styling. So adorable, and I love the outfits too. And be sure to read about Matt’s proposal – this guy could teach classes in how to organise the perfect romantic weekend!
How they met
Five years ago I was seated next to the sweetest guy at a friend’s birthday party. We instantly connected, and he made me laugh the entire evening. I was in a relationship and he was traveling a lot at the time so we didn’t see each other again until two years later. I couldn’t remember the sweet guy’s name but I remembered his soulful eyes and I often wondered what had happened to him, always hoping that he was happy. After my relationship ended I took a few months off to go on a whirlwind tour of Europe, including a 930km hike in Spain. After my return the same friend whose birthday party I attended invited me to a Christmas party at her house. The other guests were mostly couples and I didn’t really feel like going but I didn’t want to let her down. As I walked in, I saw the same handsome man from before. He also didn’t feel like going for the same reason as me. Thank goodness we did! We recognized each other and, as before, instantly connected. I found out his name is Mathieu Pierre Craig. “Oh so very French,” I said. “I love France.” “Me too,” he said. “My parents lived there when I was born. I want to live there when I grow up.” “So do I,” I said. We discovered that we have a mutual love of France and everything French and so that was the inspiration for our engagement shoot 16 months later.
It was a long weekend and we were celebrating our one year anniversary – he told me he’d planned a romantic city-scape, but didn’t want to give away the location. I’d packed a suitcase full of glamorous new outfits and heels to die for! Little did I know Matt had been going from one jeweller to another to find the perfect ring, and had visited my mom in Kimberley just two days before to ask for my hand in marriage. There we were on a road trip, destination unknown – as we drove north of Johannesburg I realised we couldn’t possibly be going to a big city and started picturing myself hiking and bird watching in a Forever New dress and stilettos! It was dark when we turned off onto a densely vegetated road just outside of Hazyview and I got incredibly excited when I saw the sign for Tima Moon, since I had read about it in travel magazines and always wanted to go there. It’s well known for its individual suites in the forest, each with its own infinity pool, as well as the gourmet food. After a candlelight dinner that night (where I started to wonder if this could be IT), Matt woke me early for breakfast the following morning and surprised me with a day trip to Kruger – he knows that I love the bush. We were privileged to see the Big 5 and plenty of birds. Later that afternoon we lounged around our pool and enjoyed another gourmet dinner, and as the evening came to a close I started doubting that this was, in fact, IT. But again the next morning I was surprised with horse riding and a picnic next to the river, as well as a couple’s massage in our room. After a stroll through the garden we arrived for dinner to the sound of music – Havana, a band from Nelspruit, played for us the entire evening, their smallest audience to date! When it was time for dessert, the chef walked in followed by the rest of the staff, and as she lifted the lid off the plate Matt went on one knee. ‘Will you marry me?’ was written in chocolate on the plate. Wow! He said that he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life showing me how much. He put the most beautiful ring on my finger as I said: “yes!” It was an absolutely incredible weekend. I’m marrying my best friend. Fairytales really do come true…