Colorful Wedding at Forest 44 by Joanne Markland

I have such a treat for you today! I spotted Ankia and Philip’s wedding on Joanne Markland’s website, and immediately begged her to let me share it with you (thanks Jo!). I fell head over heels for all the charming and original details of this wedding – the walk to church, the feather confetti, all the hearts, the nametags (LOVE that everything was in Ankia’s pretty handwriting – talk about the personal touch!), the bunting, the beyond adorable cake (not to mention a gorgeous couple). When I read Ankia’s description, all those details really came to life, and I was touched by how her friends and family were so involved in creating them. Philip is a lawyer and Ankia is the brand manager for Robertson Winery, and they met on Spring Day (1 September) in their first year at university. She tells me they are quite the opposite when it comes to their personalities, but it’s clear they are still just as crazy about one another as on that first day. Congratulations to both of you, and thank you for sharing your wedding with us!

From the bride:
The theme of our wedding was ‘’n Fees in die Bos… Ons Fees van Liefde’ (directly translated to ‘A Festival in the Forest… Our Festival of Love’), so there were hearts everywhere. We wanted a festival so NO pastel-coloured or white flowers (except for my bouquet) – we went for mixed bunches, with colours ranging from dark purples and bright pinks mixed with lots of green and a touch of orange and red. Philip’s mom and a friend did all the flowers for us and I think in the end over 200 bunches of flowers were used.

I told everyone before the wedding that if it was half as much fun wearing the dress on our big day as it was going through the process of the dress being made, I’d be on Cloud Nine. It was the most amazing adventure working with Elizabeth (Stockenstrom). We had an idea of the basic outline of the dress when we started, but from there the dress was literally built on me, layer for layer. I think she used seven different types of lace by the end and the dress was rounded off with the antique brooch. I wanted to name the dress (as I name all my favourite shoes) but Elizabeth said the dress could only have one name: ‘Ankia’. It ended up being the most beautiful dress in the world… and the best part was she partied like a rock star!

The girls and I got dressed at Middedorp Manor Guest House in Stellenbosch – getting pampered and ready for the BIG event was like a fairytale. The guesthouse is stunning, beautifully decorated and designed as if it was built for brides to take their pictures there. We walked from there to the church (about 150m away) led by a violinist and with the pavement sprinkled with Bougainvillea flowers. It was as if we were walking on a pink flower carpet… Me, my mom, grandmother, four bridesmaids and two flower girls stopping traffic…!

I fell in love with the venue the first time I walked into it, and I thought it must be fate that it’s called Forest 44! It’s an inside/outside-style venue with a beautiful view of Table Mountain. The tables had plain white tablecloths with black lace overlays. We chose antique silver vases and the colourful flowers transformed the whole venue into a magical feast – every table looked different.

We wanted a personal touch on everything at the wedding and EVERYBODY got involved in making it original and beautiful. All the stationery was in my handwriting, from the invites and church programme to the heart nametags on every chair and the painted hearts that the guests put on as name tags. As well as the flowers, Philip’s mom made all the hearts that hung from the ceiling, and his dad painted all the blackboard hearts that we tied behind the chairs as name tags. My mom made all the material flags that hung from the roof… the list goes on and on. We all started working on the venue on the Wednesday evening and we had so much fun… everybody just poured their hearts into it!

We did the table assignment a bit differently, covering a tree with white material and putting red material hearts on it with everyone’s names written on them, and their table number at the back of each heart. By the time we got to the venue the tree had basically only our hearts on it, and all the guests were wearing their hearts, just as we had hoped!

There were so many highlights. My Philip – he looked so gorgeous and happy, and we had so much fun together… and it was the start of our forever and ever. My dad giving me away and performing the ceremony, the best bridesmaids in the world, the dress, the pink shoes, the guest house, the church, Rustenburg (where the couple pictures were taken), the venue. Having the best party ever with everyone that we love. It was so special having everyone there, from our grandparents to friends from far, far away. We had the ultimate DIY wedding and if you do things yourself it makes the wedding very intimate and special. People know that you took the time and they appreciate it. What a privilege it was having this celebration of love with ALL the people who we love!

Some advice: Enjoy every moment from the day the planning starts – see it as a great adventure and don’t stress about the things you can’t change. Remember the bride’s mood determines the mood of the party, so if you’re not having fun, the chances are very good that your guests won’t either. It is YOUR day… do things the way YOU want to do them, even if people frown upon it. For example, one of the fun-est moments of our wedding was when I was supposed to throw the bouquet – we decided to change things up a bit, so we asked all the single girls to take off their shoes and we tied a big purple balloon around one of their ankles. They had to burst each other’s balloons and the last girl standing got the bouquet. It was soooo funny and super fun, even though it varied from tradition. Do it your way.

Ceremony: Stellenbosch United Church | Reception: Forest 44/La Pineta Restaurant | Photographer: Graeme Robinson, Joanne Markland second shooter (all images above by Joanne Markland) | Flowers: Linda Niemann & Stella Duvenhage (082651 3455) | Dress: Elizabeth Stockenstrom | Hair: Robyn Hill from Strange Love (021 883 2633) | Makeup: Alicia Buckle | Suit: Euro Suit | DJ: Clint Viviers from Distinctive Choice | Cake: Zoe Hoogendijk (0827779574)


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