Real Wedding at Cloof Vineyards {Cynthia & Chris}

Afternoon, lovelies! So, as you know, I have a total crush on being Southern. It’s all about the drawl, y’all. So you can just imagine how much I lurve this wedding, which is not only full of sweet Texan touches, but combines them with the elegance of an English garden party and the best of my beautiful home country as well. It’s just the loveliest way to do multi-cultural, ever, and full of steal-able ideas. Not to mention, fun. They had a barn dance! With hats! And sheriff badges! Could it be more adorable? Not to mention the whole long table-outdoor eating thing (Denim table runners? I die). Responsible for all this handmade prettiness is clever Southern belle Cynthia and her South African husband Chris, as well as Cynthia’s sister, who just happens to be talented photographer Julie Wilhite. I’m so excited to be able to share Julie’s gorgeous pics of a very special family celebration on this, my first day as a self-employed person (free at last, free at last) – and lucky for us, although she’s based in the US, she’s always keen to visit her sister and shoot in SA, so give her a shout if you’d like to ask about availability! I had a ball putting these pics together, and I know you’d love looking at them.

From Cynthia, the bride:
Chris and I met while I was on holiday with my sister in Cape Town. We hit it off immediately but then he left for London and I returned to New York. It took another eight years for us to end up back in South Africa at the same time, and it was a whirlwind courtship and engagement. He proposed to me over breakfast the day after the 2010 World Cup opened in SA – he hid the ring in a cereal box!

We decided to have a small ceremony in Houston, Texas (my hometown) and then a larger wedding and party in South Africa. Chris and I have collectively lived on four continents, so we wanted to merge our worlds, and a Texas-England-South Africa theme was the result! We picked Cloof Vineyards in Darling as our venue because they had the relaxed atmosphere we needed to pull of a Texas barn dance! Guests were greeted with English summer cocktail Pimms, our menu was what I call “modern South African”, and we served a selection of pies instead of a wedding cake as a nod to Texas. Men were given kerchiefs and sheriff’s badges to wear, while for the ladies there were wooden fans and corsages made of shwe shwe (a traditional South African fabric). I loved having all our family and friends from all over the world there in one place!

Since we were planning two weddings, we were on a budget, but found this brought out our creative side. I searched Cape Town high and low for all of the details! Everything had to be a bit DIY and all our family and friends pitched in to help. My mom-in-law sewed denim table runners for our long, long table and the shwe shwe corsages, my sister Julie did the photography, my sister Erica and cousin Ann organised the floral arrangements using flowers we bought at the Adderley Street Market, I designed the paper goods and the entire family set up the venue.

After our ceremony under a tree overlooking the valley and dinner under a pergola strung with fairy lights, we moved to the ‘cow shed’ for square and line dancing, followed by more dancing with our DJ. 

Lots of thank you hugs to Chris and to Africa’s newest adopted daughters, Cynthia and Julie (and psst, Cynthia and Chris are just about to make Julie an auntie – how exciting is that! – congrats to all of you). You can see more of this beautiful wedding over on Julie’s blog.

Service providers:

Venue: Cloof Vineyards
Photography: Julie Wilhite
Officiating minister: Hansen Preuss
Catering: Dish Food & Social
Pies: Miss K’s Food Cafe
Fairy lights: Eat Cake!
Invitations: Paperless Post
Fabric: Fabric City
Cardstock: Merrypak
Groom’s attire: JoS. A. Bank
Bride’s dress: J. Crew
Barn dance caller: Caroline Blundell
DJ: Rob Beviss Challinor

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