There’s a quote I’ve always liked, from one of South Africa’s fathers, Desmond Tutu. “We are made” he says, “for complimentarity. I have gifts you do not; and you have gifts that I do not. So we need each other to become fully human.” I think that’s something that could be true of all good relationships, but it’s never more obvious than when you see a wedding that blends two very different cultures, whether that’s a bride and groom from two different countries, faiths, whatever. It reminds us of the beauty that is all marriages – two complete individuals forging their lives together to create something new. And so it is with today’s bride and groom. South African Sohini not only chose to marry her Scottish groom in a colourful, joyful and superchic Indian-Caledonian fusion wedding at Vrede en Lust, but this girl can rock a sari! I adore her citrus colour choices, and the way that bright flowers were incorporated with birdcages throughout the decor. It’s just so gosh darn purdy. As always, I’m delighted to feature photographer Annemari Ruthven, who totally captured the joy on everyone’s faces, and all the movement and magic of this family-filled celebration.
From the lovely bride, Sohini:
Kieran is a Weegie (from Glasgow) and was out in SA for six months on a project that I happened to be working on as well. A mutual friend of ours who fancies herself as a fairy-god-matchmaker subtly suggested that I dance with him on one of the nights out. Of course I was not going to refuse an opportunity to dance with a handsome guy with a gorgeous Scottish accent and wit! We have been together since that night. Four years later, after losing any memory of any life before each other, Kieran surprised me with a trip to Finland. He knew that I had been wanting to experience snow in all its winter wonderland glory and that I was desperate to see the Northern Lights. We stayed in a quaint red log cabin at the edge of a frozen lake in a small town called Kitilla just inside the arctic circle. On one of the evenings, Kieran casually proposed to me. I was beside myself and after much crying and a second request for an answer, I said yes!
My parents live in Cape Town for part of the year and with all the Tamil pre-wedding ceremonies that need to happen at my parents’ house, we thought what better opportunity to have a vineyard wedding! So we knew what we wanted our day to look like and then found the spot that matched. Vrede en Lust stole our hearts immediately and everything fell in to place quite easily from then on! All the inspiration for the day came down to the fact that we wanted it to be a relaxed day with family and friends that reflected our taste and personalities and both our families’ cultures.
Indian weddings are usually very bright and vividly colourful events. I wanted to keep that element but simplify it, and keep it natural. I am Hindu and Kieran is Catholic so we decided to have a Hindu ceremony outside, with our family priest (originally from Sri Lanka and flown in from Pietermaritzburg) – he conducted it so beautifully, with so much love and devotion (and humour!). My uncle and aunt provided the Carnatic music – no Tamil wedding is complete without the sounds of classical music and I am so glad that they managed to get the musicians to accompany them to add the finishing touch to the ceremony. Kieran’s family played their respective parts without any inhibitions and with so much enthusiasm. We loved every moment of it. There was a definite spiritual vibe about it. Just a fantastic fusion of cultures, nationalities and ideas!
The painted coconuts at the ceremony were a special touch made by Kieran’s family. It just wasn’t practical for them to perform all their contributions to the pre-wedding and wedding rituals, so we tweaked a few of the traditions. It was my mama’s idea to have them involved in the pandal (gazebo). It came out beautifully and just added a punch of colour that looked great in the photos.
Another multicultural touch was the kilts and saris! Both are traditional dress from our cultures that are around the same yardage in length. Both very elegant. It looked so awesome and I regret not taking any family photos before my sisters and I changed for the reception.
Kieran and I entertain quite a bit and so do my parents, so we really wanted the reception to be a big family dinner. And we tried to achieve that with buffet-to-table catering. I was not prescriptive about the décor at all… there were a few must-have elements and then I left it up to the professionals to do the rest. I mean, who wants to spend time obsessing about what linen to use? Not me. Kieran and I designed all the stationery with help from my family – I loved that it came out so lovely and that it was done by us.
We had favours from both our cultures. I handpicked colourful pashminas, which were much needed when the wind picked up and the sun went down! From Kieran’s side we had whisky and tablet – the single malts were brought to South Africa in many a relative’s suitcase and filled into smaller bottles in Cape Town. Tablet is a traditional Scottish sweet and was made by Kieran’s aunt and then everything packaged by his family here.
Our guests were our nearest and dearest. Many saved to travel out here to spend the time with us and attend the wedding. Their presence and company was very special and it was a rare opportunity to have both our families and friends in the same place. To preserve these memories, we had a guest book made up of instant photos with wacky poses and amazing words from our loved ones. It’s just too precious, and was a great idea I had to fight with Kieran to have – he is far too practical sometimes!
If advising a future bride I would say, don’t take it so seriously. I often hear of crazy stories and tears and drama over the planning and can’t imagine that wedding planning can get to that. It should be fun and exciting! Let it reflect yourselves and not a magazine or a movie. Compromise where you can. Choose a few things that you can’t imagine your day without and then spend your money on making those happen. I have to reiterate…have fun with it!
I couldn’t agree more, Sohini! Thank you to you and Kieran for sharing your big day with us! And as always to the lovely Annemari, I’m delighted to have your pictures gracing the Cap Classique pages. :) You can see more on her blog here.
Venue and catering: Vrede en Lust
Photography: Annemari Ruthven
Florist and décor: Leipzig
Cake: The Cake Box
Hair and Makeup: Katherine, Susanna and Roxanne from Sacred Care
DJ: Brendan Wickstrom (In the Mix)