A woodsy wedding in the middle of the beautiful, serene Natal Midlands… when it comes to winter weddings in South Africa, it doesn’t get much more romantic than this right here. And when it’s overflowing with greenery and touches of rustic gold (gold apples, I love!), I can’t help but love it even more. Kate and Graham picked one of SBB’s fave venues, the gorgeous Cranford Country Lodge, as the backdrop to their celebration – from the adorable little chapel to the cozy reception hall, to the forest where they took their fairytale couple pics, it’s perfection, and it meshes so well with the couple’s boho style. Andy & Szerdi were on the scene and took these lovely pics – so excited to finally get to share this beautiful day with you!
Graham and I met at Origin Night Club in Durban! We partied til 6am and exchanged numbers. We didn’t end up dating til years later, but I always knew we were soulmates.
Graham planned a beautiful picnic on one of the hottest days in London where we sat at the top of a hill with a view of the skyline. As the sun set, he launched into a very romantic speech and proposed.
We chose Cranford Country Lodge for its beauty and ease! Planning the wedding from overseas was such a challenge and Cranford was the only affordable venue that came with everything all under one roof! The staff also answered all of my many questions and were so helpful and kind. I had always dreamed of a forest themed wedding and the scenery at Cranford was so stunning.
Our vision was Rustic and Whimsical. I have always loved gold hues mixed with fresh greenery and romantic florals. This colour theme really helped us decorate the venue so easily – my family helped us throw beautiful bunches of greenery together and I ended up getting very carried away with the gold spray paint!
I was so excited that I was able to get all the small details we had dreamt of, from the beautiful handmade flower crown that I wore, to the gorgeous rustic naked cake, the Mojitos we served, and we also really enjoyed the Photo Booth, It was so great to see all the guest in hysterics all trying to fit six in at a time. We are so glad we did the booth as a wedding favour because all the guests were so excited to take the photo strips home.
The majority of the wedding was DIY, as we were determined to make it budget-friendly. My mom had lovingly sewn 90 metres of bunting by hand, which had given her blisters! I got a bit carried away with some amazing gold spray paint the week before, and sprayed 73 apples gold for the table settings. I also ended up spraying all the groomsmen’s buttonholes gold because I started to love it so much! We did all the decor and flowers ourselves – in fact we only bought flowers four days before the wedding! Having the rustic theme helped, as we could throw various flowers together and it just looked great! My dad even carved all the tree trunks for the table decor himself. As a graphic designer, my skill finally came into use as I designed the table seating plan, invites and menus, which I had always wanted to do.
I was really battling to find a lacy bohemian gown til I came across the Ti Adora website. I phoned the agent and she said it was mainly a US-based brand, but they just happened to be having a show in London a week later! It was meant to be! It was the layered lace and sweetheart neckline that stole my heart in the end.
All my four bridesmaids are my best friends from Durban, so I had a few days to pick a dress for them to try on during my visit home! I was looking for something gold and gorgeous and was so lucky to find these high neck floor length dresses in YDE. We paired them with lovely furry boleros to attempt to keep them warm in June!
My lovely sister-in-law and mom helped me arrange and buy all the flowers days before the wedding! They were such a dream with their creative flair, and we headed up to the venue the day before and created the most gorgeous centrepieces of luscious shrubbery and ivy with romantic roses and glass domes that covered succulents and rock roses.
My favourite part of the wedding was the reception; the evening when we were seated was when I finally felt relaxed. Graham and I decided to sit in the middle of all the guests, which I loved, as I could finally spend time with all my special friends and family who I miss so much since I have moved overseas. It was so great to sit there and soak up the atmosphere together.
Advice for Future Brides & Grooms
Looking back, I think I would have refrained from conforming to ideals for the day. Cutting the cake, throwing the garter and bouquet – they are all things we did to please others. Also groomsmen’s and bridesmaids’ outfits are an extra expense and usually the bridal party isn’t comfortable anyway. I think it’s great when couples let their bridal party choose what they want to wear.
You can see more from this wedding on Andy & Szerdi’s blog.
Venue & catering: Cranford Country Lodge | Photography: Andy & Szerdi Photography | Bride’s dress: Ti Adora dress, style 7556 from JLM Couture | Flower crown: La Plume de Fleur on Etsy* | Hair & makeup: Brittany Jane Morris | Bridesmaids’ dresses: YDE | Groom’s attire: Topshop | Decor hire: Settings | DJ: Peter Lewis | Jazz Band: Beat Route | Photo Booth: Retro Photo Booth | *affiliate link (SBB may receive a commission on any sales)