When I started looking around for weddings to celebrate my one year blogiversary with, I must admit, I wasn’t sure which way to go. I mean, frankly, every single wedding I feature has an ooh moment for me, a special something that takes my breath away. Which is why, after all, I’ve poured my heart and soul into this blog over the last year. And every single wedding is joyful and special and celebratory. And there are sooooo many fabulous photographers whose work I love to showcase. Then, one afternoon, I got a heads up from one of those fabulous photographers about a very special wedding on a colleague’s blog. I was on a train, and the internet loading the page on my phone was maddeningly slow (seriously, what is that, satellites? Can you not beam back to earth fast enough for me?). MADDENING, because as soon as I saw one picture I wanted to devour them all. This really was something ranking very high in the awesome department – a wedding based on a carnival theme, with rock ‘n roll details and a dress (oh, that dress!) that had me zipping straight over to my inbox and begging for a feature. And then, when it all started coming together, realising that it would be perfect for today. And here we are. Ta Da! People, I’m EXCITED. So I’ll let you get to it, with a big thank you to the bride (Melissa Van Zyl, who is also an awesome photographer!) and groom, and the fabulous Carmen Visser who nailed every one of these shots, and the fab Jaco of Just Jack, who co-ordinated this shindig. You are all rockstars. Now, it’s after 5pm, so break out the champers and start the party. I know I will be!
Arnold and I met when we where teenagers at a beach party in Onrus. Both our families have been going there for holidays (and they still do). We used to sit on the rocks and watch the sunset. Years later we met again as grownups. We were both single and on our first date I knew I wanted to marry Arnold. He proposed to me on the same rocks in Onrus while we were watching the sunset, just like the old days!
We wanted to keep the wedding personal, real and down to earth. I am a wedding photographer and I have been to so many weddings, that the last thing I wanted was a traditional wedding. We love camping and being out in nature, so we wanted the wedding to be outside, but also in a natural setting. We went to look at Beloftebos and immediately knew that was our venue. We both liked the idea of a festive old world carnival with lots of fun and playful elements, oh and with a Karoo farmyard feel to top it off! We thought about the things we loved most and incorporated it into our wedding. We had stalls with ginger beer, candyfloss, popcorn and an ice cream truck. There were lots of picnic blankets and places in the forest for our guests to sit and relax, and even play with games like “kettie skiet” (catapult) – the guys made a stand with some old cooldrink cans that could be shot, this made for excellent fun and great photographs. The dancefloor was outdoors, under the stars with lots of bonfires and the whole forest was lit up by fairylights. Our guests all dressed in “festive” clothes which also made the wedding much more relaxed.
What made our wedding special was that everything was personal and reflected our personalities. We did not do anything by the book but rather tried to be as creative as possible. We made the menus, table plans, signposts, games, table numbers, etc. My mother, aunt and her friend Maurice did all the flowers. I ordered the ostrich feathers from Oudtshoorn for a bit of extra drama. My dress was very special and I could not have asked for better designers than Theresa and Stephen from Gelieft. I told them that I wanted something amazing, different and dramatic and I didn’t want to look like a bride. They made my dream dress and I felt like a princess in it. It was two dresses in one. For the ceremony I had a long dress and then I took the skirt off for the reception and had a whole different look.
My advice? THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! There are no rules when it comes to weddings. Do the things you love and have fun. Be dressed and ready an hour before the wedding so you don’t have to rush and get stressed. Enjoy the wedding as if you are a guest and dance, eat, party and be merry! Don’t feel obligated to speak to every single person for hours because the day goes too fast. If you can, step away with your partner for a few minutes and just take in what is happening around you.
Make a slideshow with all the ideas for different sections like the ceremony , the flowers , the decor , dresses etc. and then go find them! Look around at second-hand shops, discount shops, your own things at home, etc.
Melissa and Arnold – thank you so much for sharing one of the most inspiring weddings I have ever seen! Big thanks also to Jaco from Just Jack and to Carmen as well – I very much hope to feature more of her fabulous work right here! Check out her blog to see what I mean.
Venue & catering: Beloftebos
Co-ordinator: Just Jack
Photography: Carmen Visser
Bride’s dress: Gelieft
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Oom Gert
Hair & makeup: Caren Blom & Ilse van Niekerk
Stationery: Natasha Dornbrack of Idea Catalyst
Hiring: Hiring4U (021 9032537)
DJ: Dirk Hanekom of Baha Entertainment