Forest wedding lovers brace yourselves, because this woodland chic celebration will knock your socks off! Amy and Gerhard knew a forest wedding was the right call for them because they love taking forest walks (love that they brought their guests into this personal element of their relationship with the venue!) and didn’t look any further than Die Woud, with its glass marquee hidden amongst the trees and feeling of being lost in a kind of fairytale world. They hung the branches with ribbons, decorated the reception space with woody touches like branch votives, moss, and the most spectacular hanging floral branches, then contrasted that rustic loveliness with cut glass vases and sparkling chandeliers, and invited their nearest and dearest into this magical little space to celebrate their love. One of my fave touches has to be Amy’s heirloom wedding dress, which was remade from her late mom’s Chantilly lace gown into a stunning off the shoulder beauty that perfectly blended something old and something new. Hayley Takes Photos took these wonderfully moody pics.
Our paths first crossed briefly when we were working as copywriters at the same agency. It was Gerhard’s first week and my last week before leaving to pursue further studies. It would take another year until we bumped into each other again at a Beer Festival at The German Club. Things were quite merry by the time we saw each other, so there were some innocent flirtation and numbers exchanged (and where my best friend and Maid of Honour called it). To my disappointment I didn’t hear from him and thought that was that. As fate would have it, we met again when my boss hired him to do some freelance writing, and he finally plucked up the courage to ask me out for a drink. So you could say our relationship is all thanks to beer.
After nearly three years of dating, Gerhard bought a house and asked me the other big question: would I move in with him? The day of the move, we were in the kitchen unpacking boxes and, to my surprise, he pulled out another little box from his pocket and asked me if I’d like to make our new living situation indefinite, to which I replied with an unequivocal yes. (I mean, the man makes breakfast in bed.)
Throughout our relationship we’ve always loved our walks in the forest, so we decided a forest wedding was right for us. A friend mentioned Die Woud, and we made an appointment to go and have a look. It was the first (and last) venue we went to see, and knew immediately that it was ‘the one’.
We both knew we wanted a forest wedding surrounded by nature, so our vision was to stay true to the woodland setting, as well as our own personal style, that being quite classic and elegant. The colour scheme was green, white, grey and a touch of antique blue. Pinterest was a great tool for planning, collating ideas, and just getting carried away with the fun of it all.
Gerhard’s family used to own a farm in Robertson that supplied grapes to the local winery, so we decided to use them as our vendor for our wedding wine. We also both love music, so it was important that we had good music. We decided on a jazz band which we knew everybody would enjoy, young’uns and old-timers alike.
We were very lucky to be surrounded by a village of creative family and friends who stepped in to help with décor and planning. One of my bridesmaids is a talented graphic designer and told me if I used Paperless Post she’d ‘unfriend me’. She designed all our exquisite wedding stationery and painted a forest fern in water colours, of which we had prints made and used them as our wedding favours. I had the bright idea to sew cushions for the outdoor lounge area, and thankfully a family friend came to the rescue when I had too much on my plate. My MOH’s mum did all our flowers herself and made wooden woodland-inspired candle votives for the table. Two of my best girlfriends assembled our gorgeous wedding cake. My mum-in-law made our ring cushion. There was also a lot of ribbon tying and tree climbing.
I wore my dear late mum’s vintage wedding dress which was redesigned and altered by the super talented Michelle from Robyn Roberts. My mum had designed her own gown which was made head to toe from Chantilly lace, and was still in perfect nick but needed some updating – luckily there was lots of lace to work with. Michelle made it completely my own, but it was still incredibly special to honour my mum in some small way.
I had three brilliant (and hardworking) bridesmaids who wore the ‘Darling Bud’ dress from Blackeyed Susan in grey, paired with powder-blue wedge heels (that I secretly coveted for myself!) The style was pretty and feminine, and they looked absolutely gorgeous.
My MOH’s incredibly talented mum (who has taken me in as her own), kindly agreed to take on our wedding flowers. The flowers were mostly forest-ferns from Knysna, lots of greenery and long-stemmed white roses, and a touch of blue flowers including delphiniums and cornflowers. To bring in the woodland theme she had wooden log plates made for the table vases to sit on, as well as small wooden candle votives spilling over with moss. The showstopper was the floating floral installations of two huge branches (that she had driven all the way from Knysna strapped onto the roof of her car), cascading with flowers and greenery above the dining area. It truly was a work of love.
Proudly South African Details
The night before the wedding we had a big braai with all our friends and family who had driven up on the Friday, which was a lovely way to get into the spirit of things and break the ice for those who hadn’t yet met.
The whole day was perfectly surreal, but if I had to pick one moment it would be when we were saying our vows underneath the canopy of trees, surrounded by loved ones, with the wind rustling through the trees at the most serendipitous moments. Pure magic.
Making a weekend of it. It all goes by so quickly, it’s a lovely way to make the most of having all your loved ones together.
Advice for Future Brides & Grooms
Just remember that at the end of the day it’s your day. Do what’s right for you as a couple, try not to people please and get caught up in the details (like finding the perfect doe and deer cake topper – no one will know!) The day is about your love – that’s all that counts. Also, don’t forget to take your multivitamins.
You can see more from this wedding on Hayley Takes Photos’ blog.
Venue & catering: Die Woud | Photography: Hayley Takes Photos | Flowers & décor: Family friend | Stationery: Tamara Isles | Cake: Gaie Gaag (personal contact) | Bride’s dress: Robyn Roberts | Bride’s accessories: Kay’s Antiques (jewellery) + Elli Nicole (shoes) | Hair & makeup: Madeleine Hair and Makeup | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Blackeyed Susan | Groom’s attire: David Jacobs | Hiring: Trilogy Lighting | DJ: DJ Eugene | Entertainment: The Dixie Swingers