What happens when a wedding photographer marries a makeup artist? Well, not only do you get the perfect talented big day dream team, but with so many weddings under their collective belts, you just know they’re going to make up their own rules and deliver something creative, unique and wonderful. Riekert and Iza Cloete (who met at a wedding even!) came up with something truly special, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Even more so because for the first time I’m able to feature the awesome work of Greg Lumley. There’s something high fashion and almost sculptural about his photographs, while at the same time he really gets in touch with the action and raw emotions of the day. Get ready to be wowed – a neutral palette with wild pops of colour (love, love, LOVE the balloons), beautiful unfussy decor, and the beat of an African drum. This is how the pros do it.
Riekert and I met at my sister’s wedding – he was the photographer, I was a bridesmaid. There is hope in those 27 dresses!
Our wedding was two days before Christmas, when many guests were already on leave. We wanted to keep it simple and relaxed, with fun being the centre point. We had such a difficult time choosing only one theme or colour, because we are interested in so many different things. Grey is my favourite colour, so in the end we chose grey and white with a splash of red. A summer sunshine wedding has to have a pop of colour, but still look timeless so that in ten years’ time it hasn’t dated.
Having attended and worked at so many weddings together, at our own wedding Riekert and I wanted to avoid the situation where the guests become restless and irritated if the photographer keeps the couple busy for too long, and they miss out on their canapés and mingling with their guests. At the same time, we had booked the super-talented Greg Lumley, and of course we wanted to get the best out of our photo shoot. So we decided to split up our day and have our ceremony and picnic followed by a two hour break where guests could go for a wine tasting, a quick wardrobe change or, as with my father-in-law, a quick nap! This gave us uninterrupted, stress-free time to do our couple shoot before meeting up with our guests again at the reception. It was intimate and so relaxing. We had the best of both worlds.
We started at Hawksmoor House for the ceremony – walking down the aisle with my dad and feeling him hold my hand so tightly was one of the highlights of my day. I work at Hawksmoor regularly as a mobile massage therapist, and it feels like home to me now, so it was the perfect choice for us to be married on the farm. Both of us wanted our ceremony to be personal and real. It felt like we were in our own living room with our friends around us, uniting in the presence of God. I had chalkboards put up with simple promises to Riekert in our marriage, basic thing that were important to him: “I promise to always hold your hand”, “I promise to share my chocolate Nesquick with you”, etc. Our minister surprised us with unrehearsed questions that we had to answer facing each other. He made us connect in a way that I will never forget. This unlocked a lot of emotion, but set a genuine tone for the rest of the day. Our wedding was planned around fun, and turned out to be quite emotional – couple, guests, videographers, even the minister had tears!
We had the reception at Eaglesvlei. Riekert is a musician and when his band had just started they used to practice on the farm even before it was a ‘venue’. It was an obvious choice as we absolutely love it there – it’s modern, not your typical wedding venue, and has excellent food and service. Shaun, the manager, really went out of his way for us.
We made all the décor ourselves with lots of help from my mother. We sourced branches, painted them white and draped them with tons of fairy lights. They served as modernised Christmas trees, giving a festive feeling. On our tables we had simple aloes in large glass dome vases. My father brought them all the way from Albertinia in his trailer. All of this was easy to set up, and now serves as great decor in our new house. Each family member also now has a white ‘Christmas tree’ as a memoir of our wedding. My talented sister made my bouquet, sourcing everything from their farm.
Instead of expensive flowers or favours, we decided to give our guests experiences. This included interactive African group drumming just after the ceremony, the release of helium “prayer balloons” (there’s something magical about 100 red balloons in the sky) and an excellent live six piece brass band at the reception. We wanted to invest in unforgettable memories.
My advice to other brides is to enjoy it, stress is overrated! The week before your wedding, forget about satisfying your guests and all the hundred little small details. Connect with your partner and start building your marriage and not only your wedding day. Also, advise your guests not to greet you at the end of the evening with long goodbyes. Rather encourage them to hook up with you after the honeymoon to tell all. You could spend about three hours of your night saying goodbye, and you would much rather spend that time dancing the night away and waking up with blisters on your feet!
Congratulations, Riekert and Iza! Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness.
Photographer: Greg Lumley
Makeup: Sebastine Pepler
Venue for ceremony & picnic: Hawksmoor House
Reception venue: Eaglevlei
Bouquets: Anli Wahl 072 218 8340
Picnic catering: Picnics – Tammy
Dress: Hans Zerwick
Band: Gary Deacon Band
Drumming: Duncan 082 738 2933
Minister: Pieter Barnard
Videographer: Gerrit Visser
DJ: Theo from Deejays +27 (0)21 872 5303