Real Wedding at Strandkombuis {Ingrid & Pieter}

Ok, I have to tell you, I am in LOVE with this wedding. Like, properly. Full-blown, fill your mailbox with orange tictacs, build you a house of candles, stand outside your window with a boombox kind of love. You may even have seen it before, but I don’t care. It is the absolute definition of boho beach perfection and it’s filled with my favourite things. Floral crowns for the bride and bridesmaids, blackboards, proteas, flocks of origami birds, hanging bottle vases, lots of bright whites, sparkly lights and the cutest fringed beach umbrellas. Not to mention a fab venue (Strandkombuis), a beautiful couple who are completely gaga for one another and the most gorgeous, swoonworthy photographs from dream team welovepictures. I have stars in my eyes just looking at it all, and when I heard about the bride’s entrance music (Florence and the Machine’s Cosmic Love) I so choked up. (Take a moment, get out your iPod. It may be the best entrance ever.) Sit back and immerse yourself in the amazingness…

From the awesome bride, Ingrid:
Pieter was my uhm… “rebound”! :) Hehe! I moved into a commune with four of my best friends in our final year of studying art at the University of Pretoria. Pieter was the sixth housemate, the man of the house, the actuarial science guy between all the arty girls, the very tall, very handsome, very blonde dude! When he walked into that house four years ago, I thought: “NICE!”. I can still remember my best friend’s confused concern, “why are you so smiley and giggly?!” (I had just gone through a nasty break-up, and my sudden mood change was very suspicious. Crying for two weeks, and then deliriously happy all of a sudden – very very weird). Pieter and I sneaked around, stealing kisses in the midnight hours, holding hands when nobody was looking. It was so much fun! We didn’t want to tell any of our housemates about us, so that if it didn’t work out, no damage and no awkwardness. The plan was to give it at least three months. Needless to say, our secret didn’t even last three weeks!

The relationship was very unexpected, but the more time we spent together the more we fell in love. Every day he surprises me. He makes me laugh uncontrollably. And his curiosity will amuse me forever. On our three year anniversary Pieter asked me to marry him. A beautiful memory of candlelight, yellow roses… and Pieter just blurting out: “Will you marry me?”

For the big event, we simply wanted a beach wedding, complete with hippie ‘plakkies’ and Bob Marley music. I am an artist, painting for a living (Pieter is an Actuarial Scientist) and I was determined to do practically EVERYTHING myself, and Pieter tried his very best to do it all with me. :) I really just wanted the whole thing to be very personal and unique and unforgettable. We had no specific colour scheme, although the overall effect turned out to be very earthy, natural and reflecting the colours of the ocean.

All of the months of planning and dreaming turned into one breathtaking memory. When I think back, the one moment that pops up first is walking down the aisle. The feeling when Florence and the Machine’s ‘Cosmic Love’ started to play, the butterflies in my stomach, the rush of emotions… The light ocean breeze blowing through the many layers of french silk and net of my wedding dress. I remember the soft sand between my toes when my father and I stepped onto the white beach. And walking between the rows of proteas towards Pieter, I felt so overwhelmed, so happy, so excited, a feeling of indescribable joy came over me. We hadn’t seen one another for two weeks prior to the wedding, so seeing him for the first time, looking into those huge smiling blue eyes, that moment was perfection. That moment was love.

I did my own hair and make-up, and my mother made my dress! What an unforgettable time! Randomly buying beautiful pieces of silk, net and lace, no clue how we are going to put it all together (mom is also an artist at heart!) We spent months experimenting and playing with the layers and layers of fabric, drinking a lot of coffee and wine, laughing our butts off, and in the end “ooh and aah”! It was one of the experiences I’ll treasure forever.

We made the invitations ourselves; it took months, making a pop-up lily in the centre, cutting up a huge artwork I made and painting a little swallow and fish on the cover of each of the 79 invites. The flowers and centerpieces were also very random. My mother and I just collected bunches of different flowers and fynbos and proteas all over Cape Town and Stellenbosch. My bridesmaids and I made our bouquets the night before, just choosing a different combination for each from our “flower collection” and tying it with a ribbon. The rest was randomly placed in glass bottles, either hanging from the ceiling or on the tables. I wanted it to look very relaxed and interesting.

Most of the décor was also a huge DIY project. Folding more than 700 origami birds (using ACETATE and scrapbooking paper!) was certainly a big team effort, and the family all helped that day to hang the hundreds of strings of origami and bottles. It was amazing! I collected different fabrics for each of the tables, and my grandmother did a neat seam for each of them.

Even the music was DIY! We didn’t hire a DJ, instead we spent days selecting music and compiling playlists for every occasion of the wedding, everything from choosing ‘Cosmic Love’ for my big entrance and our song ‘I’ll Be There’ by the Parlotones to open the dance floor was planned thoroughly.

Ingrid’s advice for brides-to-be:

  • ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY! It is such a special time. Enjoy the preparations, enjoy the daydreaming and finding ideas. You will feel stressed at some point, it is inevitable. But don’t let it ruin the fun. Making lists and delegating to wonderful bridesmaids and mothers help to ease the pressure and get things done in time.
  • Keep the wedding’s style personal to you and your fiancé (don’t forget: it is his wedding as well!) You can do whatever you want!
  • You are allowed a Diva Moment! Mine came when I decided I wanted more than 500 origami birds! And I wanted to do practically EVERYTHING myself, the flowers, the décor, the music. I became so consumed, I was obsessed. But once the madness passed (I gave the origami folding to my bridesmaids and family to finish) I could move on and actually enjoy the rest. You are a queen and deserve a few slaves!
  • Last, but not the least, take time to take it all in. You are allowed to take a few minutes just to be with your husband. Ignore the guests for a little while, and just be with the love of your life. It is YOUR day, so have YOUR moment!

Thank you so much, Pieter and Ingrid! Here’s wishing you a life as beautiful as your wedding day. And to Travis and Maike, I take off my imaginary hat. These pics are amazing. Thanks, guys. (More on their blog here.)

Venue & catering: Strandkombuis, Yzerfontein |
Photography: Travis & Maike from welovepictures
| Bride’s dress: Bride’s mother

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