Real Wedding at Club Havana, Halfampieskraal {Marelize & Roelf}

There’s so much about this wedding I love. I could go on about the details or the venue (OMG the venue – a Havana-style cigar lounge in the middle of farm country? How cool is that?) or Riekert Cloete’s phenomenal photographs, but anything I write is just going to take away from what the bride has to say. At the end of the day folks, THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. It’s love. And I am just privileged to share it.

I met my husband in Stellenbosch, but not while were still studying, I was working at the university and he was doing his articles at a law firm in Cape Town in 2006. We got married four years later. He is the most amazing person I know. We have huge amounts of fun together. In fact, I think that sums up our relationship: we laugh all the time, and yes, I still think his jokes are funny! He is very affectionate and has no problem showing it in public, and I love that about him. He has so many nicknames for me that I can’t keep up – he calls me something new and funny every day. The weirdest thing is, we don’t share the same interests at all! We don’t have the same taste in movies, music, books or even food, but still we are best friends and he is my favourite person to do stuff with. He is very quiet and an introvert when he meets new people, whereas I am the complete opposite. I don’t mind strangers. He is very calm and level-headed and would never say something without thinking, and I do all the time. He doesn’t show emotion, and I show it too much. He can sit still for hours, and I am hyperactive. We do, however, have one very important common ground: we share the same approach to life and love. We both give all or nothing and we have huge respect for each other. I just love him more than I can bear. 

We had a very intimate wedding – only 59 guests (only people who are really part of our lives) were invited. We wanted something very informal, and I wanted the wedding to be different to other weddings. I didn’t even want a traditional wedding dress, and my shoes were leather sandals. Roelf didn’t wear a tie and he wore sneakers. I didn’t wear a garter, and I didn’t throw a bouquet. It was in many respects not a traditional wedding, starting with when I walked down the aisle to the song ‘Dearest’ by Buddy Holly. Seeing Roelf’s face when he saw me in my dress was one of my favourite moments of the day… I’ll never ever forget that feeling. I cannot describe it. I cried throughout the whole ceremony! 

We also didn’t want a specific colour scheme, but because the venue was already so amazing and colourful, we decided to make the gift boxes white, red and black. We wrote a very personal letter to each and every one of our guests and put it in the gift box together with a mixture of old fashioned sweets, including Wilson toffees.

I came across the venue long ago in Visi, and I saved the details on my phone. I always knew I wanted an unconventional venue. No vineyards. ;) I told Roelf about it when we got engaged and he immediately loved everything about it! We drove out to the farm one day and booked the place immediately without looking at any other venues. It was perfect for us. They also do only one function per month, so we could choose any weekend in March. I’ve been to weddings at venues where they host more than one wedding on the same night and you can actually hear the other wedding party’s music. We didn’t want something like that at all.

All our friends arrived together in an old, almost antique yellow school bus that picked them all up at their guest houses in Napier (the nearest town, 25 km from the farm) as we didn’t want anyone driving back on dirt roads that they don’t know. That was such a big hit with everyone, so much so that Roelf and I felt like we really missed out on all the fun on the bus!

We did almost everything ourselves. My bridesmaid did my hair. Roelf made the invites and menus – he almost planned more than I did and he was super super excited about everything! I have such a cool man! We also made the gift boxes ourselves.

Our tip is to spend the whole wedding day with the person you are going to marry if it is possible. We went to the venue with four friends the day before the wedding and, although we didn’t believe in being separated for weeks before the wedding, I did follow a bit of tradition and shared my room with my bridesmaids that night. Then at 3am Roelf sent me an SMS from the room right next door, asking if I was still awake. Of course I was and we both sneaked out on to the veranda and sat chatting until the early hours of the morning. We had an incredibly special day together. We all had breakfast together on the wedding day, and we sat on the veranda of the main house for hours that morning thinking about the party ahead. I was the most relaxed bride in the history of weddings, and we just chilled out the whole day. I said goodbye to Roelf only about three hours before the ceremony when I started to get ready with my two bridesmaids.

The most important piece of advice is to RELAX. There is absolutely no reason in the world to stress about anything, and every reason to relax and enjoy everything. Unless you’re marrying the wrong person, why on earth do you want to stress? Two minutes before I had to walk down the aisle I realised that I didn’t have a bouquet. So I took two long white roses from the vase in my room (my mother sent them to me) and tied a ribbon around them, and that was my bouquet. The most beautiful thing ever. Don’t forget the reason behind all the organising. Many people get so wrapped up in the decor and flowers and what not, that they forget they are getting MARRIED to the person they love most in the world. This day only happens once and if you’re going to stress about it, you won’t enjoy it – I’m sure of it. It’s the one day where all your favourite people in the world are there with you at the same time at the same place, so have fun because getting married is SO much fun!

A HUGE congratulations to you two, Roelf and Marelize – and thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story with us!

You can find more from this happy wedding on Riekert Cloete’s website.

Service providers:

Venue: Club Havana at Halfampieskraal
Flowers, décor & catering: Jan-Georg & Cobus from Halfampieskraal (“not only the best food I’ve had at a wedding, it was the best food I’ve had at ANY function”)
Photography: Riekert Cloete (“the best photographer in the world – I’ve been walking around with his number on my phone for four years”)
Dress: Elbeth Gillis (“she can make miracles happen I’m sure of it – I’m thinking of reasons to go back top her to have another dress made!”)
Rings: Viljoen Jewellers, Paarl (“they went out of their way to make everything perfect”)
Makeup: Iza Cloete (“she is just the most beautiful person I’ve ever met and she felt like one of my bridesmaids, even though I didn’t know her before the wedding”)
DJ: Viljoen Wessels (“he even got my grandmother to dance he was SO good – no one sat still, we danced way past our ‘curfew’”)
Cake: Anien Le Roux


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