I knew I never wanted a traditional dress all along, it just wasn’t me. I wanted something fresh, that made me feel happy and comfortable – not only in the dress but in my own skin. Discovering Brit & Bride’s studio
was a happy accident that resulted in the most stunning dress I could ever imagine! Brit was such a pleasure to work with and when I showed her my initial ideas of the style and colour, her excitement totally confirmed my decision on the bold colour choice and from then on we referred to it as “The Dress of Golden Dreams”. Brit inspired me to incorporate my dad’s memory into my dress as a piece of jewellery which ultimately became the feature on the back of my dress. I designed an anchor which I had made by my friend Tonia of Create Happy Thoughts (who also made my gorgeous ring!) which my brother engraved for me with my dad’s initials and our wedding date so that I felt like he was still a part of our day and an honoured guest. After the wedding I turned this feature into a pendant that I can now wear whenever I want to remember my dad or our wedding day. Another piece of jewellery that I cherish from the day, are my striking earrings that I had made by Brit’s sister-in-law, Michelle, using old gold of my mom and gran’s to create them. I think the warm, rich, bright colours I chose for my bouquet were a perfect compliment to the colour and simplicity of my dress and it made sense to choose flower-crowns for my bridesmaids as their dresses were already covered in a bold tropical print.
As we never had a specific colour palette to follow, Alex’s outfit also evolved from a surprise impulse buy when I spotted a pastel tropical print shirt in Burton’s
shop window that I thought he would look really good in. Alex then chose an unusual dusty pink pair of chinos from Ted Baker
which I secretly checked would look good next to a colour swatch of my dress fabric! Thankfully the colours complimented each other well, but with the unusual colour palate, and the bold print of my bridesmaids dresses, the groomsmen’s outfits were only decided on about 3 weeks before the wedding day. My mom was one of the only people who knew all colours of the different elements and suggested a pale coral colour for their shirts which seemed to pull the whole tropical theme together.
Alex and I woke up early on the morning of our wedding and stole some quiet time together to practice our vows to each other down at the lagoon where we would stand later that day in front of all our family and friends. These quiet stolen moments created the calm I needed for the day and gave me a chance to reflect on all the hard work that had brought us to that point. I also thought of the one person who should have been there celebrating with us; my dad. Overwhelmed with emotion, I looked up to see my mom standing at the top of the stairs, smiling and waving at me. She came down and hugged me and we had a little cry together for my dad – It was like he sent her to comfort me just in that moment that I so desperately missed him.
Our afternoon ceremony took place alongside the idyllic lagoon with a tepee altar and Adam Sandler’s “Grow Old with You” playing while guests gathered on rugs and cushions to witness our union. Our friend’s husband performed the ceremony which was incredibly honest and personal as we wrote our own vows and included 2 of our favourite readings that we asked Alex’s brother and step-father to read for us. My mother said a beautiful prayer for us which was extra special as she included a poem that she had chosen to read for us too. It meant so much to us to be able to include so many of our family members into the most important part of our day.
The reception was held in the old breeder dam under a Bedouin tent, strung with festoon lighting and low, candle-lit, Moroccan-style tables featuring geometric copper sculptures bursting with flowers and lots of brightly coloured rugs and cushions for everyone to sit on. Planning from abroad meant we needed some help, so we hired a friend of my mom’s that we trusted to do all our flowers and help us hire and coordinate our décor. Gail was brilliant at keeping us on track with each stage and perfectly interpreted our intended mood and style for the décor.
With both of us being creative people, we knew it would have some sort of handmade element that would be a true expression of ourselves and something we wanted to share with our guests. This personal detail took the form of about 100 dreamcatchers of varying sizes and designs that we (mostly Alex) made with each of our guests in mind. Dreamcatchers form part of the story of how we got together so we decided to use them as a backdrop to our celebration and we put a name tag on each one for our guests to take away at the end as their wedding favours. Out of panic that we wouldn’t have enough to hang in the surrounding trees and still create this feature backdrop inside the tent, we hired some additional modern macrame dreamcatchers from Artesense, which were stunning and tied in beautifully with ours.
The Photography & Film
What surprised us the most about the planning, was how organically it all seemed to come together. Nearly all our suppliers were friends, or friends of friends that had been recommended to us that just seemed like a natural fit. One of my bridesmaids and oldest friend, Szerdi
, and her hubby Andy, did our incredible pictures and I’m so grateful to her for recommending our videographer, Wes, from The Shank Tank
, because the video he made of our day is just magic! Even though Alex wasn’t convinced at first and our budget was stretched, I insisted we had a videographer as the pictures and video are the only real takeaways you get to keep when all the fun’s over.
Szerds also recommended my super talented and bubbly makeup artist Brittany Jane
who also did my hair while my other bridesmaid, Barbs, did all the bridesmaids’ hair. Barbs’ husband, built us a bar out of wooden pallets to serve as a DIY G&T station and we saved money by doing a bring your own booze situation, which I think our guests really appreciated as it meant they could drink whatever they wanted and not be limited to what we provided. Barbs also put me in touch with friends of hers that are another husband and wife team that do catering. We had delicious rum cocktails and a harvest table for guests to mingle around post-ceremony followed by a spit-braai later in the evening. My Maid of Honour’s mother made our wedding cake and cupcakes for us in 3 delicious flavours. As it was my mom’s birthday on the Sunday, we saved the top tier of our cake especially to surprise her and had everyone gather in the communal kitchen, each with a giant sparkler (left over from our first dance) to sing Happy Birthday when she walked in, which was great! Even our DJ for the wedding was a family friend of my Maid of Honour. The only supplier we didn’t know was Aisle Hire It
, who did our Insta-booth which was such fun and definitely got everyone in the party mood!
We didn’t want anything to feel forced, and the fact that so many of our friends and family came together to help us pull off this amazing day, just fills our memories of it with even more love and appreciation! It created the most beautiful honest vibes of happiness, love and fun – not only for the day, but the whole experience. One of the best memories I have is of our family and friends helping us to set everything up the day before. There was a real sense of love and support for this special day of ours.