Real Wedding at Rawdons Country Hotel {Candice & Justin}

Well, it’s always a very special day when I get to share one of our real life bride’s weddings with you all. Because I don’t know about you, but I feel like these ladies become friends, and by the time I have read all about their inspirations and ideas and shared their excitement, I can’t WAIT to see how it all turned out and feel like I was there to raise a glass to their happiness. So it’s with great pleasure that I’m sharing the first of our 2013 RLBs’ weddings with you today – our lovely Marie Antoinette bride, Candice. I’ve loved reading her lyrical descriptions of the wedding she dreamed up, inspired by Versailles and Downton Abbey and even a little by The Hobbit. I sighed over her gorgeous themed rehearsal dinner and engagement shoot. And now I can finally show you Candice and Justin’s elegant, heartfelt wedding, photographed by an incredible team of US photographer Alicia Swedenborg with our very own Catherine Mac second shooting. Wow. It is AMAZING. And be sure to read Candice’s beautiful description of the big day, because if that doesn’t make you sigh, you don’t have a romantic bone in your body. So without further ado, here’s Candice…Read More

Marie Antoinette Rehearsal Dinner

So. I’ve written this introduction six times, and I keep going back and deleting the whole thing. Because, basically, I seem to have run out of words to tell you how thrilled I am with this feature. It’s a first – we’ve never done rehearsal dinners before – but it’s also completely unique AND it comes from one of our very own Real Life Brides. That’s right – Candice is a married woman, and she’s back to share a couple of pre-wedding events before we do the big reveal of the Big Day. For those of you who have followed along, Candice is our Marie Antoinette bride – she and fiancé Justin were in love with and inspired by everything to do with Versailles. They even found the perfect venue, Casa Labia in Cape Town, but unfortunately had to change plans when they realised it was too small for their party. Now, most people would just give it up, maybe go back for an anniversary, but not these two. Instead, they decided to kick off their wedding celebrations with a rehearsal dinner at the venue (read the whole story here). And they dressed up for it in custom made period costume. And they did a couple shoot beforehand. AND Candice wore an exquisite lace dress she bought from Etsy. AND they got Catherine Mac (whose photos make me covet every one of her weddings) to be there with her camera. You guys, it’s pretty much a wedding blogger’s dream, and this isn’t even the wedding! So sit back and enjoy every inspirational image – with more to come from Candice very soon. (Oh and psssst, you can see more of Catherine’s lovely pics over on her blog.)Read More

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake #7: The Details

It’s four o’clock in the morning and I’m singing “I could have danced all night; I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more. I could have spread my wings, and done a thousand things I’ve never done before…” whilst searching for pictures of wedding décor online. I think it means we are officially in the final stretch. Less than two months to go! :))

So, how will we decorate our wedding? Well… there’s table settings, for which I found myself reading a book on French and English etiquette (which I am utterly relishing) to be certain as to which cutlery to hire. There are colour schemes, where contemplation has brought me to the interesting conclusion that I am completely smitten with the colour seafoam green (or perhaps it’s just these shoes?).

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Let Them Eat Wedding Cake #6: The Dress

I’ve never been one to not know what I want. I have almost always had rather specific and clear preferences and ideas about what I do and do not care for. I know what I like and if I cannot find that I can most certainly always find what I do not like to rule things out. I don’t like horrors, I don’t like skiing, I don’t like bubblegum flavoured anything, and I don’t like minimalist design. What I do like… well since this is a dress post…

Beautiful luxurious fabrics, layer upon layer of soft, sheer material draped ever so delicately, as if angels have placed it to effortlessly express the femininity of its wearer. Ethereal. A dress that moves as you move, that seems to float as if itself experiencing the lightness of being so superbly and hopelessly in love. In the world of the dress I love Elie Saab, French Chantilly and Alencon lace, creations from the 1920s.. wedding dresses.

There is something about a wedding dress. It somehow isn’t just a white dress, or a pretty outfit. It says something. It emanates something. Maybe it’s the joy that shines out of the bride herself, or the enchantment of her devotion that gently settles on her cheeks like the snow that creates Evangeline’s dress in the movie Nanny Macphee. Maybe it’s the way the groom looks at her, which seems to expose and magnify both inner and outer beauty for all to appreciate or maybe it’s simply the shared knowledge of the magnitude of what wearing the dress means.

And I guess what I would like most out of my dress is for it to make me feel like a bride. Authentically me, but also special, because the day is special, the moment is special.

Colour-wise I would like it to be ivory – I am completely taken with the creamy look of the dress in this picture!

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Let Them Eat Wedding Cake #2: The Inspiration

I think it’s a gut thing. Or an equilibrium thing. Or something to do with getting that sense of peace and calm and ‘wow, I can imagine it this way’ feeling. That’s how I knew that the church was ‘the one’, that’s how I chose my dress, it’s how I chose my cake, and it’s how I have been trying to choose all the many things in between. And so when we started thinking about themes and places that have inspired us, it didn’t take us long to decide.

Versailles. Paris. Does one really need reason to be inspired by such things? I had heard of the beauty and magic of France and was proud of my French heritage, but it wasn’t until I’d climbed up from the metro and experienced it, that I really knew. And I say experienced because it wasn’t just a storybook-like beauty that greeted me, but an air of something, a feeling, a magic – you couldn’t get this from pictures. “Every man has two countries – his own and France”, and we felt just that as we stood looking over the Seine with perfect snowflakes falling ever so gently, or when we went back in the spring and sat around a fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries eating our breakfast baguettes. Paris swept us off our feet, filling our minds with possibilities and creative aspirations. A day trip to Versailles made the word ‘wow’ seem completely overused, but it was on a return trip to Marie Antoinette’s Petite Trianon and Hamlet where we really found the four-year-old-in-Disneyland, ‘I can’t quite believe this is real’ type of happiness. And so that was it. Marie Antoinette had seemed to love beautiful things – dresses, cakes, shoes, opera – interests which she’d famously indulged, but she’d also loved nature, and the sanctuary of her Hamlet. And these are the elements we would like to bring into our wedding. There will be no palace or attempts at creating one, but perhaps the finer things might be brought through in the details. Marie Antoinette enjoying tea in her garden perhaps. Royal, but familiar.

When I picture our wedding I picture one of three things. The first is the ceremony, walking down the aisle with my dad, and seeing Justin waiting for me at the altar; another is an aerial view of myself, arms out and spinning slowly, taking all the prettiness in, taking in the magnitude of the day, trying to store it all in memory, and trying my very best not to let it pass too quickly. The third is more of a feeling that accompanies the image of myself staring at our finishing reception through a window, feeling excited, happy, content. Feeling that everyone knows how much we love them, everyone knows how incredibly special they are, people are happy, and that it was a good day.

Enjoy the prettiness!

Sources: Flower girl {S: Tamara Menges; P: Archetype Studio Inc.}; dress with flowers; macaroons with rings {S: Plan On Forever Events; P: Ruth Eileen Photography}; pink shoes {S:Catherine Sheppard of The Life Styled; P: Elizabeth Messina}; rose with ring {S: Lovelee Affairs; P: Paperlily Photography}; Laduree cake; Marie Antoinette’s hamlet; film stills from Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola (2006); escort cards with carnations {S: Before I Do Events; P: Josh Elliott Photography}