Welcome back folks! I know you were loving Part 1, so here’s the second half of the beautiful wedding of Jacqui and Neil – enjoy!
After the service, Neil and I stayed behind with Jules to take a few photos. The rest of the guests headed back to Rockhaven Farm where pre-dinner drinks and canapes were served on the lawns and in the boathouse. Rockhaven has the most beautiful gardens full of roses and lavender and a spectacular view of the dam and mountains so we kept the decor very simple. We chose white couches and chairs for lounging on, wine barrels at the entrance to the boat house and apple and orchid floral arrangements. Elgin is famous for its apples so we also used them to hold our place names. I’m a teacher so the apples and the chalkboard with instructions about seating arrangements were in keeping with that too. We had placed guests on one of three tables (named London, Belgium and Dubai after our moves) but they could pick where they wanted to sit and used the apple with their name on it to mark their place. It saved us a lot of agonising over seating arrangements and left people free to sit with someone they wanted to chat to.
My mum made a few photoboards with pictures of Neil and I over the years and hung them on the walls of the boathouse. It was a fun personal touch which our guests enjoyed. We served a mix of SA and Indian inspired canapes with local Silverthorne bubbly and Doc ‘n the Croc provided light, jazzy background music to keep the guests entertained. To introduce a touch of India before dinner, we had baskets of bangles and bindis for all our female guests to wear. Two of our friend’s daughters handed them out and helped our guests to put together sets of bangles. All our guests loved them and a few of the men were spotted in bindis too! After pre-dinner drinks, baby sitters took all the children up to the main house where they had games and dinner before bedtime so that their parents could enjoy the evening child-free.
We wanted to change things up a bit as the sun set and the guests moved from the gardens to the large barn where the reception would be held. Lamps had been lit along the edges of the fountains outside the barn and the water was covered in brightly coloured petals. We had chosen warm orange and burgandy table cloths with an Indian print on them. (The same print and colours were the inspiration for all our stationery.) Bright orange, pink and red flowers added to the Indian vibe. We toned things down a little bit with stone coloured napkins, table lamps, mirrored vases and mirrors under the candles. The tables at our wedding were named London, Belgium and Dubai after our moves. We had had the print from the invitations printed onto the dance floor and a mix of purple and orange lamp shades suspended over it.
We also tried to reflect our backgrounds in the menu and wine list and sourced as much as we could from the Elgin Valley. Niki and her team from Zest catering in Botrivier did such a great job. We had a roasted butternut salad with goat’s cheese, crispy bacon and toasted almond flakes as a starter, followed by an Indian main of lamb curry, paneer and spinach curry in a creamy tomato sauce, chaat ratnesh (spicy seasoned potatoes), basmati rice, yellow daal, naan and roti and cucumber raita, tomato salsa and coconut and green chilli chutney. The Indian guests felt right at home and the SA and overseas guests loved trying Indian food. The dessert was wedding cake ( the groom is known for his love of cake), Belgian chocolates (we lived there for a while so our Belgian friends flew them in for us), barfi (an indian sweet) and koeksisters. All our wines (except the Silverthorne bubbly) were local to the Elgin Valley. We used wines from Belfield, Paul Cluver, Iona and Beaumont Estate and our guests really enjoyed trying wines from the area they were staying in.
Just before dinner, Neil surprised me and all of our guests with a fire dancing show. It was fantastic to be surprised and got the evening off to such a great start. Our DJ kept everyone on the dancefloor all night with a real mix of international music and old favourites. Our first dance had to be a salsa as that was how we met!
We could not have asked for a better day and nicer people to share it with. Having a wedding planner really paid off on the day as we had nothing to worry about except enjoying ourselves with our friends and family.
Jacqui’s advice to other brides:
- Choose your bridesmaids carefully! I had three and they were such an amazing support team, making sure I took time out from all the organising, taking over my To Do list, ad helping to make all the preparations so much more fun.
- Choose a couple of areas to involve your family in so they can contribute but not so much that they spend the whole day running around and missing out on the wedding. My Dad was in charge of signposting and directions and paid for the hire of the church, my Mum made up the bouquets and buttonholes and the photoboards and Neil’s family took me sari shopping in India and helped to pick out all the items we needed for the ceremony.
- Having a whole weekend to spend with everyone was amazing. We had so many people from overseas that one day would have been too little time to spend with them. A post-wedding brunch is also a good time to catch up with all the gossip from the night before, and they didn’t add a huge amount to the total cost of the weekend.
- Money spent on a good photographer is never a waste. We loved our photos and in hindsight wished we had booked Jules for the braai and brunch too. Take the time to choose someone you feel comfortable with as they are going to spend the whole day with you. We loved working with Jules.
- Use local resources. Our venue providers and the girls at the Elgin Tourism Office were a huge help with finding appropriate accommodation for all our guests and making sure people found their way around and enjoyed their stay.
- Take a few moments in the church and at the reception to look around you and to lock the day into your memory. It goes by so fast and it’s lovely to have a few minutes to pause and take it all in.
Thank you so much, Jacqui and Neil! Wishing you both every happiness and blessing in the years to come.
Venues: Pre-wedding braai – Southhill; Ceremony: Applethwaite Farm Church; Reception – Rockhaven Farm; Post-wedding Brunch: Highlands Road Deli
Wedding planner: Christina Holt for Wedding Concepts
Photography: Jules Morgan
Videography: Vicky Goslin
Flowers & décor: Sorrento
Flowers for bouquets and buttonholes: Linda Keevey at Heaven Scent Gardens
Catering: Zest Catering
Cake: Kanya Hunt – +27 82 375 5200, [email protected]
Wine: Paul Cluver, Belfield, Iona, Silverthorne, SouthHill, Highlands Road Estate
Hair & makeup: Sebastine Pepler
Local expertise: Elgin Tourism Office