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South Africa’s Exciting New Monthly Wedding Magazine

June 2012 R24.95 (incl. VAT)


Into Shape! Wedding Customs Around The World

9 772225 719005


Real Brides Share Ideas

Mother Nature’s Contribution

Real Weddings

4. Samantha & Jonathan Lee 8. Lauren & PJ Fryer 12. Wedding Customs Around The World


14. Angela & Nick Parry 18. Nastasjia & Lynton Peters 22. Ashley & Struan Stanford 26. Caroline & Keith Clover 30. Mother Nature’s Contribution


32. Leone & Chris Coetsee 36. Great Expectations 38. Hayley & Lucien Vallun 42. Wedding FAQs 44. Jinnie & Alex Yeo 48. Leanne & Andrew Williams


52. Toni & Kurt Lindley 54. A Funny Thing Happened ... 56. Getting Into Shape

Cover Bride: Samantha Lee Photographer: Justin Erasmus

REAL BRIDES is published independently by RamCom Publishing (Pty) Limited. To advertise call: (031) 765 7314


IN THIS ISSUE Another fabulous array of Real Brides sharing their wedding planning experiences and their big days with readers. Their individual stories are packed full of useful advice and their photos will no doubt give brides-to-be many good ideas - from venues to make up and bridal gowns. REAL BRIDES is a bridal magazine with a difference ... a BIG difference. We have the edge as there is a brand NEW issue of REAL BRIDES out on sale every single MONTH. Visit our website – – and you can also find us on Facebook. 1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 3

SAMANTHA & JONATHAN LEE “Walking down the aisle and seeing Jonathan’s face, was the highlight of my day.”

THEIR sisters were best friends in primary school yet Samantha and Jonathan quite strangely only met through mutual friends many years later. Was your proposal a big surprise? It was a surprise! We had spoken about getting married but I didn’t know he was going to propose at that time. We went away to a Spa for the Valentine’s weekend. On the Saturday morning Jonathan got up quietly then called me and told me to meet him at this lookout point. By then I was suspicious! When I got there I could see how nervous he was. He had written “Marry Me” on the rock and he had laid out a heart in petals. Very touching.

How did you go about choosing your wedding date? We knew we needed time to plan, so we decided on 2012 which was a year from our engagement. We decided to get married in the month of April as it fell between our birthdays - my birthday is in March and Jonathan’s is in May. We chose the Easter weekend, not only because it is meaningful, but because of the public holidays therefore people could travel and the date also fell in the school holidays.

How many venues did you look at – did you consider an array of different areas? We looked at about eight venues in total ranging from Ballito on the north coast to other venues inland.

What made you choose Nkuthu Gardens as your venue and did they come up to expectations? We chose Nkuthu Gardens because of its beautiful gardens and also because there is an outside area with an alter for the wedding ceremony. It was also reasonable in price. And yes, they did live up to all our expectations.

The best thing about Nkuthu Gardens as a venue? The grounds are beautiful.

Did you use a wedding planner? No.

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“Make lists. They really saved me!” Venue: Nkuthu Gardens – Dress: VIP Brides Shoes: The Hub Hair & Make up: Make up 4 Art Photography: Justin Erasmus - Music: DJ Shaun Flowers: Flower Fusion 1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 5

Was the reception set up at the venue done the day before or on the actual day of your wedding? Most of it was set up the day before. There were some odds and ends to do on the day.

What did you prioritise when it came to planning your wedding and how much time did you have to plan? The object was to make our wedding as perfect as possible without spending too much money! Though we actually had 13 months to plan, I only really started in about October.

Were you able to stick to your budget? No! There always seem to be things that you didn’t think about which pop up as you go along.

How did you go about choosing your bridal party? As my chief bridesmaid I chose my best friend Jade, who also happens to be my sister. Then there was my husband’s sister Sandra, who I am really close to, and then my third bridesmaid was my good friend Simone.

Tell us about your photographer and why you chose him. Our photographer was Justin Erasmus. We chose him because he pays so much attention to detail in order to get the right shots. He also happens to be a friend of my fathers. Working with Justin was great and his photos are stunning.

When it came to choosing your wedding gown, did you have a definite idea of what you wanted and where did you start looking? I did have an idea. I looked everywhere in Durban, from boutiques to big shops. But I kept going back to show people the same dress so I knew it was the one.

In choosing your decor – did you have a theme and a colour scheme? Yes, I wanted pink in my colour scheme.

What worked best on the big day? The flowers were so beautiful – so much so that many people thought they weren’t real!

Any nerve-wracking moments or anything that didn’t work out quite as planned? At about 8pm I started feeling sick! I just couldn’t breathe in my wedding dress anymore, I felt nauseous and just had to take my dress off! Luckily my sister had brought a knee-length white dress with her so I changed into that and felt much better and could get back to the fun.

Where did you honeymoon? We went to St Lucia for four nights and then to the Umfolozi Game Reserve for two nights.

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Nkuthu Gardens

Your wedding day is a day that will always be memorable. At Nkuthu Gardens, we specialise in making it memorable for all the right reasons. Nkuthu Gardens is situated on the banks of the Nkutu River, about 45 minutes away from the centre of Durban. Conveniently positioned midway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg makes Nkuthu Gardens easily accessible from all major roads. Discreetly tucked away from all the hustle & bustle of city life & nestled in a beautiful lakeside setting, our scenic beauty makes Nkuthu Gardens an ideal location for that perfect fairytale wedding. At Nkuthu Gardens we are able to host both ceremony & reception. This way, once the ceremony is over, guests can mingle before the reception begins with no need for anyone to drive to a different venue. We also offer on site catering &

décor which further adds to the convenience of the all inclusive approach. This ensures that everything runs smoothly under the supervision & guidance of our in house functions co-ordinator. At Nkuthu Gardens you can be assured of a warm welcome & undivided attention from both management & staff. Perhaps more importantly, it is our experience, commitment and attention to detail that sets us apart. At Nkuthu Gardens, we take pleasure in offering you personalised service with flexible packages to suit your individual requirements. We are able to accommodate parties of up to 180 guests. Please feel free to contact us for more information. • 167 Inanda Road, Waterfall • (031) 763 4149 / 082 681 8506


“Establish your budget. Be realistic. Don’t get so caught up in the ‘wedding’ to the extent that you forget that you are about to enter into a marriage. ” AS students at University in Pietermaritzburg, Lauren and PJ first met on a fun night out at a club. Did you want to get married at a particular time of year? Yes, we had a year to plan our wedding and we really wanted an April wedding as the weather in KwaZuluNatal is always stunning in Autumn.

How did your planning go? I absolutely loved planning our wedding and we had plenty of time on our hands so there was no pressure. I think one of the most difficult things initially was the budget chat with our parents. But once I knew what I was working with I could plan away.

How much was done online? I used the internet to source a lot of suppliers and to get quotes.

Did you know what type of wedding you wanted? I always had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted in my mind.

How many wedding venues did you look at and what made you choose the one that you did? We only looked at one. We wanted a big venue that suited our personalities and Shalwyn had everything we were looking for. We wanted our guests to feel completely relaxed and at home in our venue. PJ’s family come from a farming background and are passionate about the bush and, with Shalwyn being based in the Tala Valley and on a sugar cane farm, we knew it was the one for us. The venue itself was perfect for us. It is an old shed restored and transformed to an elegantly rustic taste. Handmade driftwood chandeliers cast romantic hues against the block walls and large wooden doors open wide onto an expansive deck overlooking the Tala Valley. Whist we had our photos taken our guests enjoyed a few sundowners on the deck and the big rugby match of the day was screened for those who wanted to watch it. Our friends and family love a good party and the bar area linked both into the venue and onto the deck so the party never felt divided.

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Venue: Shalwyn Video: Paula Morrison Photos: Saysha Baker Music: Jason Elkingston Make up: Belinda Forster

“We had the most amazing honeymoon. I love the beach and PJ loves the bush so we spent a week in the Seychelles and then a week at Kirkman’s Camp and Ngala Private Game Lodge back in SA.” 1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 9

Did you use a wedding planner? I didn’t. I had a wonderful support base and together with the ladies at the venue we were able to save the additional cost and plan all the details ourselves.

Gift registry? We used Boardmans, @Home and Woolworths. However, if I had to do it all again I think I would use an online registry such as Yuppiechef. There were a lot of headaches dealing with some of our merchants.

Your best/most useful gift? We were so spoilt. As we weren’t that established when we got married every single gift, no matter how big or small, has come in handy. My one bridesmaid made us the most beautiful and delicious wedding cake as a gift. She put so much effort into it and it was definitely one of our most special presents.

What do you think about requesting guests for money instead of gifts? Personally I am not a fan of this at all. It is not about gifts or the money, it is a celebration of your love and union. Guests often have to spend money on the hen’s/bull’s parties, accommodation for the wedding and then also a gift. Having them at your wedding is a gift in itself! Gifts that have had some thought put into them often mean, and are more treasured, than receiving cold cash in an envelope.

Did you have a hen’s night/bachelorette party or kitchen tea? I had the most wonderful day, my Mom and my bridesmaids arranged a Mad Hatter’s tea party and I was Alice in Wonderland! We had all the older ladies and my friends around in the morning for the tea. My close girl friends and I then headed on a Midlands road trip where we spent the night. It was such a special day and evening.

What was your colour theme? I wanted very classic and natural colours. We went for creams, blush shades and then silver candelabras, rose bowls and silver family heirlooms for the main table.

Highlight of the day or any special moments? Walking down the aisle with my Dad was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Wow, I’m normally a pretty composed person but nothing prepared me for the tears that came as I set eyes upon my future husband.

What worked best? The venue and caters were so organised that it made the day stress free. Having an owner-run wedding venue really helped as they have a vested interest in every aspect and the service was out of this world. We had a plated main course of lamb shank and they served 200 guests in less than 10 minutes!

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Wedding Customs EVERY country and every culture around the world has different customs relating to weddings. Some are amusing, some are strange and some border on the bizarre!

Three changes

In modern China, brides pick not one wedding dress, but three. First, there’s the traditional qipao or cheongsam, an embroidered, slim-fitting frock that’s usually made red for weddings, because red is a strong, lucky color in Chinese culture. Next, the bride might swap into a white poufed ball gown that wouldn’t look out of place at an American wedding — a bridal nod to the popularity of Western trends. Finally, the bride ducks out of the reception to change into a third dress, this one a gown of her colour choice or a cocktail dress.

Painted Hands

Before an Indian bride gets married, she and her female friends and family decorate their hands and feet with elaborate designs called menhdi. These temporary designs are made from the plant dye henna, and they last just a few weeks. The menhdi designs are incredibly intricate and take hours to apply, not including the time the bride must wait for the henna paste to dry and stain her skin. Turning the occasion into a “menhdi party” makes the process more fun — and friends and family are present to help the bride out with anything she might need while she’s being adorned.

Jumping the Broom

A number of cultures, from Celts to Roma (or Gypsies) have incorporated some sort of leap over a broom into their wedding traditions. Today, broom-jumping is most often found in African-American weddings. The tradition is rooted in the days of slavery when marriage between enslaved men and women wasn’t legally sanctioned. In the antebellum period, enslaved men and women would declare their union by jumping over a broom together.

Mazel Tov

The breaking of the glass in Jewish weddings, in which the groom crushes a glass under his foot at the end of the ceremony, is a tradition with unclear roots. Some hold that the breaking glass symbolises the destruction of the great Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, while others say that the broken glass is a reminder that joy should always be tempered. Either way, breaking the glass is usually undertaken in the spirit of happiness today, with wedding guests calling out “mazel tov” (good luck!) after the glass shatters.

Baby Bridesmaids

Royal weddings in the United Kingdom do bridesmaids with a twist. Usually, the bride’s attendants are young girls rather than their contemporaries. At Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding

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in 1947, there were eight bridesmaids, most younger than the 21-year-old bride. Diana Spencer had five bridesmaids when she wed Prince Charles, the youngest of whom was 5 and the oldest was 17. Royal bride Kate Middleton took it even younger in her 2011 wedding, inviting Prince William’s goddaughter and Camilla Parker Bowles’ granddaughter, both 3, to accompany her down the aisle.

Cake Pulling

In Peru, single female guests take part in a tradition a little sweeter than a bouquet toss. Charms attached to ribbons are tucked between the layers of the wedding cake. Before the cake is cut, each woman grabs a ribbon and pulls. At the end of one ribbon is a fake wedding ring. The guest who picks that ribbon is said to be next in line for marriage.

Slaughtering a Cow

Traditional Zulu weddings are marked by vibrant colours and dance-offs between the bride and groom’s families. Like many brides across the world, Zulu brides might start the day in a Western “white wedding” dress, but change into traditional tribal clothing after a church wedding. In a traditional ceremony, the groom’s family slaughters a cow to welcome the bride. The bride places money inside the stomach of the cow to symbolise that she is now part of the family.

Joyous Processional

Lebanese-style weddings kick off with music, dancing and joyful shouting right outside the groom’s doors. This is the “zaffe,” a rowdy, traditional escort made up of friends, family and sometimes professional musicians and dancers. This group escorts the groom to his bride’s house, and then sends them off in a shower of shouted blessings and flower petals.

Ransom for the Bride

Russian grooms have to work hard to claim their brides. Before the wedding, the groom shows up at the bride’s home and asks for his beloved. In jest, her friends and family refuse him until he pays up in gifts, money, jewelry or simple humiliation. Grooms are forced to do silly dances, answer riddles, and perform goofy tests of worthiness like putting a nappy/diaper on a baby doll. Once the groom has sufficiently impressed friends and family with this bridal ransom, or “vykup nevesty,” he’s allowed to claim his bride-to-be.

Paying for Shoes

While Russian grooms pay ransoms for their brides, Pakistani men have to pay up if they want to keep their

Around The World the wedding ceremony. While the newlyweds are busy gazing at one another, the bride’s female relatives make off with the groom’s shoes and demand money for their safe return.

Photo: Pierre Bassani

shoes. After a Pakistani wedding, the couple returns home for a ceremony called the “showing of the face.” Family and friends hold a green shawl over the couple’s heads and a mirror as the bride removes the veil she wears throughout

1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 13


“If it’s going to be cold, triple check with your venue beforehand that they do in fact have heaters!”

THIS sporty couple first met during a water polo sports tour when they were both students at University. They became an official item some months later. How long did you have to plan your wedding? About eight months. Compiling the guest list was difficult. It was hard cutting numbers and making decisions on who to include.

Where did you look for inspiration? The internet and magazines - from browsing different dress styles to looking for venues and getting general ideas.

What made you choose your venue? We looked at five in total. Old Halliwell has beautiful surroundings and views, a unique warm feeling and nice accommodation on site. We were attracted by the barn house feeling too.

Did you use a wedding planner? No. Luckily we have talented, creative, helpful sisters, wonderful Moms, and awesome supportive family!

Gift registry? Boardmans and Mr Price Home.

Some of your favourite gifts? I loved everything from our wonderful feather duvet and beautiful linen to our gas skottel and all the unique personal gifts. The DVD that Nick’s sister did for us was very special. We hadn’t particularly wanted to get a professional video done, but hers was so wonderful and personal. It has been really special watching it since our big day.

Your opinion on requesting guests for money instead of gifts? I’m not that keen on it. I’m sure most people would prefer to give a gift card rather than cash.

What was your colour theme? Dark burnt red/mahogany, light dusty gold, and white.

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“ Throughout our wedding we were surrounded by love and incredible generosity.” Venue: Old Halliwell Country Inn Bridal gown: Meryl MacKenzie Video: Paula Zografas (family) Photos: Julia Rees Photography Music: Derek Bennet Make up: Meryl Kaumpek

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Best moments of your big day? So many. My husband’s speech – loved it. Also our best man’s speech, Dad’s speech and the messages from our special friends overseas. And our first dance.

Any surprises? When I woke up at dawn on my wedding day there was a reedbuck standing on my veranda!

How many guests? 141.

Any special guests? I’m so glad my grandfather made it to our wedding, as he has since passed on. It’s great to see him in our wedding video, jiving away with all the ladies on the dance floor. And of course all the guests who travelled from overseas to share our day – we even had one guest who rode his bike all the way from Windhoek to our wedding in the KZN Midlands!

What worked best? Our bridal party and family. We were surrounded by love and incredible generosity. I also really enjoyed the Friday night (pre wedding night) when my side of the family spent the evening together having a braai at the venue. My brother-in-law, Craig, made a really special speech and it was a very warm, happy evening together. Nick did the same with his family. It was exciting to spend the evening apart with our own families just one last time.

What didn’t? The Midlands can get really cold in June and the venue assured us that they would have plenty of heaters if the need arose but, they actually only had one! Most disappointing.

Any tips or good advice for brides-to-be? Don’t be afraid to let your venue know exactly what you want and how you want it. Don’t be shy as it is your day after all. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff, if small things go wrong on the day, it’s ultimately unimportant and you ought to be too happy to worry anyway.

Honeymoon? Thembi Elephant Lodge (North Coast), then we went on to Kosi Forest Lodge. We really enjoyed staying local and being able to relax.

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NASTASJIA & LYNTON PETERS “Exchanging of vows that Lynton and I wrote for each other was the most memorable part of our wedding day.”

THE word cute quite accurately sums up this couple who met at University where Nastasjia obtained a BSocSci in Industrial, Organisational and Labour Studies and Lynton a BSc in Electronic Engineering. Their four-year relationship led to the most romantic proposal, followed by a fairytale wedding. How long were you together before you got engaged? Four years.

Tell us about the proposal. Lynton took me out for a cruise on a private yacht and we sailed out into the ocean. He then pulled out a Memory book which he’d made going back to the time when we first met and started dating. In the Memory book Lynton had written short stories to go with each picture and on the last page he’d written “Kiss me, I have a question.” I followed the instruction and he then went down on his knees at the tip of the yacht and asked me to marry him. Magical!

How far in advance did you choose to have your wedding after the proposal and why? We decided on a wedding date about a month after we got engaged. Since we were in a long distance relationship – I was in Durban and Lynton was working in Johannesburg – we were not too keen on a long engagement. We didn’t really want to spend more time apart and we knew we were ready. We got married a year and three months after we got engaged.

Did you have a hen’s party / kitchen tea / stag night / bachelor / bachelorette party? If so, what did you do and what did you enjoy most about it? Both Lynton and I had a bachelor/bachelorette party. Well, for Lynton it was more of a party weekend as he and his groomsmen went to Cape Town. I am still not too sure about all the details! I had an extremely fun bachelorette party hosted by my Maid of Honour and bridesmaids. It had a Caribbean theme, which was amazing, and I enjoyed the surprise entertainment!

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“We went to Thailand for three weeks for our honeymoon - a great and very romantic honeymoon destination and we got the lovely secluded beaches we wanted.”

Venue: The Gateway Hotel Photographer: Richard Cholwich Videography: Karen le Grange Bridal Gown: Bridal World – Durban Wedding cake: Arriba Chocolates Make-up: Make Up Your Mind 1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 19

How did you go about the wedding planning process? Did you do it yourself, how long was the planning process and how did you find it? We planned the entire wedding by ourselves. It took us about a year. We started off our planning by making a list and prioritising. As the days passed we gradually moved down this list. Though planning is extremely hectic it was also most enjoyable – I loved every bit of it. Once we had decided on the wedding venue then everything else kind of fell into place.

The most difficult part of planning? Choosing guests.

How many guests did you have? 200.

Tell us about your venue. Our reception was held at The Gateway Hotel. It was perfect and the food was very good too.

Your theme/colour scheme? The theme was an inside garden with fountains. Our colour scheme was apple green, white and silver touches. The centre pieces were crystal candelabras and crystal vases filled with lovely flowers.

Any special touches? Our photographer suggested a big framed picture of ourselves which we then got all our guests to sign and write messages on. Much better than a guest book, which often gets shoved away in a bookcase or a cupboard somewhere.

How did you choose your photographer? Richard Cholwich did our engagement shoot. As we totally loved his work and we enjoyed working with him we got him to shoot our wedding as well.

Did you have a videographer? Yes - Karen Le Grange. She was incredible as she managed to capture all our special moments and the finishing touches were amazing.

What was the most memorable part of your wedding day? Exchanging of vows that Lynton and I wrote for each other.

In hindsight – is there anything that you could have done without or saved on? Probably the decor, which actually ends up by being quite a big cost. All the little things add up to quite a lot and they are often actually not really necessary. Otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing, it was our day and it was our fairytale

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ASHLEY & STRUAN STANFORD “If I go to weddings and they ask for money I take a gift!”

EVERY sister is playfully warned against kissing any of her brother’s friends but, in this instance, it worked out absolutely perfectly! How long did you have to plan your wedding? We had quite a long engagement as I had to finish the last year of my degree so; we had about 13 months to plan.

The most difficult part of planning your wedding? Drawing up the guest list and then the logistics as we got married on Struan’s family farm in Kokstad.

Was getting married on the family farm a given? Pretty much. We decided right away that we would get married there.

Did you use a wedding planner? No, I did all the planning.

What did you find most helpful during the planning stage? The internet. I dealt with the caterer, photographer, printers, décor hire and all my guests via email.

Gift registry? I had one gift registry at Boardmans and then asked for gift vouchers from Woolworths and Game. I also did the online thing with YuppieChef – which was lovely and convenient for a lot of Kokstad people as the town lacks most of the big shops.

What do you think about requesting money instead of gifts? I don’t feel it is right at all and find it rather rude. A lot of people find it very awkward to give money. I found having a registry and asking for gift vouchers worked well for us, it gave people the choice. You always do get some money anyway and I think it is the gift giver’s personal choice. If I go to weddings and they ask for money I take a gift! You also get such useful things as gifts – things that you wouldn’t think to buy yourself.

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“A shabby chic, Biggy Best wedding theme helped mould our day into a unique occasion.”

Venue: Springville Farm, Kokstad Photography: Wade Howard Music: Mega Music Make up: Jenna Wicks

1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 23

Your best/most useful gift? Probably my slow cooker and recipe book – Kokstad is absolutely freezing in the winter and I think it will be put to good use.

What was your colour theme? A French country them, so our colours were soft pink, cream, white, beige and grey – a bit of a mix ‘n match.

Highlight of the day? Having all my friends and family with me on the farm and dancing away till 2am.

How many guests? 210.

What worked best? Working to a theme that suited the farm, it was a true reflection of our lives. We even got married in the shed!

What didn’t? All ran smoothly, just a bit of rain and mud, which didn’t affect much.

Honeymoon? Thailand.

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CAROLINE & KEITH CLOVER “I think the yellow we chose worked best with the overcast weather, it really stood out and brightened the day.”

A LONG friendship as University students eventually led to Caroline and Keith becoming romantically involved. How long was your planning process? A year.

Did you encounter any difficulties during your planning? I guess trying to keep our guest list to 150 people - we wanted to invite everyone! But, I didn’t find planning at all difficult or stressful in fact I loved every minute of it.

Was the internet helpful in planning your wedding? Yes, it was definitely a huge help.

Did you attend bridal fairs? Yes, but mostly just for the fun of it as I already had a very clear idea of what I wanted. So, I didn’t glean very much from them at all.

How many wedding venues did you look at and what made you choose Cathkin Farm? I looked at loads of venues on the internet but we only actually visited one. We were up in the Berg for a long weekend and we drove past a beautiful farm that had a chapel! On closer inspection we found it also had an old dairy milking shed which had been converted into a wedding venue! It was breathtaking – rustic but elegant. We booked the venue the following week!

Gift registry? We had one at Boardmans and at Woolworths.

Your best/most useful gift? Our families all clubbed together to give us a cash gift, which we used to buy some beautiful furniture for our new home. That was by far the best gift.

So, you obviously approve of requesting cash instead of gifts? I think it is very practical. However, I think it best to only ask for cash from family and very close friends. It can seem very impersonal and a bit rude to ask for cash in a wedding invitation but it just depends on the circumstances.

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“We had to sing bah bah black sheep before I walked down the aisle, to calm my niece.” Venue: Cathkin Farm, Central Drakensberg Bridal gown: Vintage style strapless dress in Chantilly lace made for me by Meryl McKenzie Photos: Julia Rees Photography Music: Derek Bennett Make up: Meryl Kaumpek Bridal car: A Toyota Prada – we needed 4x4 in that weather!

1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 27

Did you have a hen’s party or kitchen tea? Yes, I had a kitchen tea followed by a fun hen’s party, which was a bus booze cruise around the Midlands Meander.

What was your colour theme? Sunshine yellow, beige and white.

Any extra special moments on your big day? My Dad walking me down the aisle.

Anything funny happen on the way to the chapel? Indeed, we had a very funny moment outside the chapel. It was bucketing down with rain. Myself, my five bridesmaids, my mother, my father and my two little nieces quickly managed to dash from the car to the chapel doorstep to get out of the rain. In the rush my two-year-old niece tripped and fell whacking her head on the front step! She burst into tears and we all had to sing “Bah, bah black sheep” to get her to stop crying! The guests inside the chapel could hear us all sweetly singing in tune to Bah, bah black sheep and were most confused! All of this just before I walked down the aisle to get married!

Any surprises? Rain, rain and more rain!

How many guests? 146.

Guest favours? Handmade earrings for all the ladies made by myself, and then handmade fishing flies for all the men as my husband is an avid fly fisherman!

What do you think worked best? I loved the colour choice of yellow. It was also great to have the chapel and the wedding hall all in the same place.

What didn’t work? Our yellow rose petals (for confetti) got drenched in the rain, so we couldn’t have any confetti thrown!

Any tips or good advice for brides-to-be? Enjoy every minute of the planning. It really doesn’t need to be stressful. Get creative! It can be so much fun if you let it.

Honeymoon? Central Kalahari in Botswana.

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Mother Nature’s Contribution WHAT would a wedding day be without flowers? They are an essential part of any girl’s big day and allocating a fairly generous part of your budget to having beautiful blooms can never be regretted. Once the ceremony and reception venues have been booked and you’ve decided on the colour of your bridesmaid’s dresses you can begin looking around for a suitable florist. The coordinator at your chosen venue is a good place to start as far as your floral enquiries are concerned as he/she can help to point you in the right direction. They will have worked with numerous florists and will have a list of recommendations – or they may even insist that you use their designated florist. Recommendations from co-ordinators are extremely valuable and it really will pay to listen to their advice.

Keep your eyes peeled for ideas wherever you go. If you spot a particularly spectacular floral arrangement find out where it came from and note it down. Do your homework and visit florists in your area looking for ideas and advice. Ask to see albums of photographs of their work and contact the people who have given them glowing testimonials. Talk to your pals who have recently gotten married and pick their brains too. A huge percentage of business in the wedding industry comes via word of mouth. Once you have narrowed your choice of florist down to two or three, call them to set up an appointment so that you can sit down to discuss your ideas and, most importantly, your budget.

THEME Make sure that your florist is familiar with your venue for, as well as suiting a colour scheme you will need to decide on the style of your floral decorations which is generally determined by the overall style and theme of your wedding. A country wedding, for example, can be complemented by informal bunches of flowers in rustic wooden or china containers, whilst a more contemporary wedding might call for slick arrangements using beads, lovely ribbons and glass vases.

COLOURS Choosing the colour of your flowers can be a difficult decision, but generally they should complement all aspects of your wedding. Consider flower colours only after you have chosen the colours of your bridesmaid’s dresses and other aspects of your wedding – you will find that you already have a pretty good guideline. Flowers give you the perfect opportunity to combine colours that match, not only the colour theme of your bridal party, but that will also enhance the aesthetics of your decor.

BUDGET It is relatively easy to stick to your floral budget with a little careful planning. Your florist will tell who what you can and what you can’t afford on your particular budget and will help to tailor your ideas accordingly. If, for example, you’re a big fan of yellow roses, you’re not going to be able to cover your venue with them unless you have an unlimited budget. As a compromise, use any expensive flowers that you have your heart set on sparingly – perhaps even just in your bouquet. Seasonal flowers are generally superior in quality as well as being significantly better value for money so stick to flowers that are in season.

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IN SEASON Seasonal flowers are generally superior in quality as well as being significantly better value for money so stick to flowers that are in season. The season of your wedding may affect your choice of colour scheme, but is can also help with the choice of flowers for your big day. While flowers are abundant in the spring and summer, there is also a great selection of seasonal blooms in autumn and winter too. Here are some suggestions: Summer: Combined shades of pink with green and white; cool white; hot pink; luxurious gold. Autumn: Russet orange and yellow; gold and ivory; lilac and gold; chocolate brown and pink. Winter: Rich red and green; ice blue and silver; lilac and purple; winter white; black and white. Spring: Soft golds; spring green and white; candy colours.

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“We went to Phuket in Thailand for our honeymoon and it was amazing. I would go back anytime.” AN ordinary night out at a friend’s house turned out to be the most important night of Leone’s life as this is where she met Chris - the man that she would eventually marry. How long was your engagement? We got engaged on the 10th October 2010 which makes it 1 year and 5 months.

Did you want to get married at a particular time of the year? We didn’t have a specific time in mind, we booked a photographer first and then everything else just started falling into place. Our wedding date, the 31st March, turned out to be an important day for our family as my Mother also got married on the 31st March. I believe that date was fate for us.

In terms of planning, what did you start with? The photographer was the very first priority on our list. We wanted someone who could capture the essence of our big day, because it was to be the most important day of our lives. The photographs will be all we have as reminders from that day. Next we went to lots and lots of wedding expo’s and bought a lot of wedding magazines and books - only to mess up my head even more - as most of the ideas we had, changed and improved.

Were you able to meet your own deadlines or could you have done with more time? There is never enough time to plan your perfect wedding. But, more time also means more work! Not everything goes according to plan but in the end you make it work in the time that you have available. Having more time would have helped a lot. Two days before the wedding I did not even have a cake! My loving Grandmother however stepped in and created the perfect cake. I had so many ideas for what sort of cake I wanted and no one seemed to understand what I wanted, but she came to the fore and managed to make a cake incorporating all of my ideas.

Did you stick to your budget? No, not at all! We changed so many things. Every time I saw something I liked my mother told me to buy it as we would eventually make it fit! In the end however everything went together perfectly.

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“It is your wedding so do what makes you happy. Your wedding must represent who you are.”

Venue: Louig Giano - La Mathil Dress: Baronne Bruidshuis - Danie Shoes: The most difficult decision of all, I had two pairs - high heels and flat pumps. Make-up: Hair & Beauty Innovation - Mica Fragrance: Britney Photos: Chilli Pix Photography - Eugene Music: DJ was included with the venue

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Is there anything that you think you could have done without? Stress! Not really anything, there was a lot more I had wanted to do.

How many venues did you look at and what made you choose the one that you did? We looked at quite a few. There are so many great venues that it is actually difficult to choose. We had already paid the deposit for a venue when I came across the venue of my dreams. So, we had to change everything. You have to find the place that screams out to you!

Did the venue meet all your expectations? Absolutely. The venue also lent itself to the most beautiful photographs.

You bravely flew in the face of tradition by choosing to wear a colourful wedding gown, what made you decide to do that? The dress was just so ME - it speaks my whole personality! I could never see myself getting married in a white dress. My life quote is: “I was born to stand out so why fit in?”

Where did you get your dress and how many others did you consider? Barron’s Bruidshuis designed and made the dress. The fittings were so much fun. I would have tried more if I hadn’t found ‘the’ one! Every dress was so pretty, but just not me.

There was a lot of detail in your décor…tell us about it and who did it. Every little thing had so much meaning to us. It’s the small things in life that matter the most. My Mother and stepfather made everything themselves. Made by hand by the people we love. Very little was actually bought. We spent weekend after weekend cutting, painting etc. It was a great family effort ,everyone jumped in and did something. They made our day so very special.

Did you have a wedding planner? No, my mother does wedding and function planning, she helped so much. I wanted to participate in everything and not have anyone else do everything.

How many guests did you have? 108 people graced us with their presence and every one of them means so much to us.

What do you think worked best? We did not have the usual champagne for toasts, we had shooters instead. Guests really liked this a lot but one just has to remember to think about your nondrinker guests too.

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

YOUR wedding is just around the corner and then, following the excitement of your big day - the honeymoon. But, it’s not your usual holiday excitement.

questioned think outdoor sex is ‘spontaneous and thrilling’. Novelty is powerful. But if you want to do this, make sure that you really are alone – although the thought of being discovered can actually be part of the attraction!

Honeymoons come with their own set of clichés – namely that you will spend your first few weeks as man and wife experiencing the best, wildest and yet most romantic sex of your life. We’re all familiar with the Hollywood stereotype – the impossibly beautiful couple sticking a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door, then retreating with a chilled bottle of bubbly for days at a time, only to emerge with tousled hair and beatific smiles on their faces! It’s a lot to live up to.

Great sex on honeymoon isn’t just wonderful for the memories it creates, it can also have a profoundly bonding effect. Some couples may feel a bit flat after the wedding. You’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about the wedding and wanting it to be the best time of your life. When it is all over you may feel as if it is the end of something instead of it being the beginning of something else.

Add to that the fact that you’ve probably been lovers for years, plus a dash of post-wedding exhaustion, and the idea of compulsory three-times-a-night earth-shaking sex on honeymoon might even feel slightly daunting.

This is where a fantastic honeymoon can really help. When you make love, your body releases hormones in the brain which reduce stress and anxiety and create stronger feelings of affection between you and your man.

Honeymoon hype can put pressure on couples.

Make the most of your honeymoon by telling people you meet – hotel staff, restaurant owners – that you are newlyweds. They are likely to make an extra fuss over you – and a bottle of wine chilling in your room can help get you in the mood. Also don’t plan too many outdoor activities. If you are already tired, day trips can just end up feeling like work.

Anxiety and a poor sex drive go hand in hand. If you’ve paid a lot of money for your honeymoon and have been looking forward to it for a long time, you might have built up some overly high expectations of the romance and the amazing sex you’ll experience. Remember, you are still the same people living in the same bodies. And nobody can be in “romance mode” all day, every day. So what can you do to overcome your worries and keep your expectations realistic? The secret is to talk to one another. Be honest. If you are worried that you will be expected to swing from the chandeliers every night then say so. Your fiancé might be feeling the same pressures. And, if you are really looking forward to it, communicate that too. Tell each other about what you’re hoping for from your honeymoon. That will build intimacy between you, and nothing is sexier. It’s something of a myth that sex is better when it’s spontaneous. You planned your honeymoon, where you’ll be going, where you’ll be staying, and that’s going to make it better. The same applies to sex. Planning creates anticipation. And anticipation creates arousal. On your honeymoon you will have plenty of time to build up to sex. You’ll be able to dress up in your sexy lingerie, have a relaxing bath or shower – maybe together – and spend time fantasising. Sexy talk is important. For some reason, sex is the one area where we expect our partners to read our minds. Rather than gambling with your sexual satisfaction, tell each other what you want. One of the biggest turn-ons for many honeymooners is the chance of al-fresco sex. Indeed in one survey half of all couples

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Hotel rooms are nearly always incredibly sexy places, with ensuite bathrooms and those deliciously smooth sheets that you can’t wait to rumple. Have fun.

Kloof Country Club can cater for up to 200 people & 400 people for Marquee Weddings. Tel: +27 (0)31 764 0555 Fax: +27 (0)86 616 2526 Web: Email:

HAYLEY & LUCIEN VALLUN “My grandmother gave me her pink pearl earrings and necklace that my grandfather had bought for her in Mauritius. I wore them on the day and felt honoured to be entrusted with pieces that will now become sentimental family heirlooms.”

THIS fabulous couple met whilst helping a mutual friend move into her new flat and they clicked. Whilst driving home after a lovely Sunday afternoon picnic spent together it suddenly hit Hayley like a ton of bricks that Lucien was the one for her! She drove straight to his house to declare her feelings, which were luckily reciprocated, and they haven’t looked back! How long did you have to plan your wedding? When we got engaged in August last year we had an April beach wedding in Mozambique in mind – we’d been to Inhambane for a few days in September last year and found the perfect venue. We were delighted to find out we were pregnant in October so had to reconsider the wedding arrangements. We didn’t want to delay getting married until after the baby as I knew that the little one would take priority and we would probably have ended up getting married in court. We decided to pull the wedding forward to March and keep it local, small and intimate to share our little piece of heaven with our closest friends and family. I spent the month of November conceptualising and working on a budget, I gathered pictures from magazines and the net which I collaged in a visual diary. I really found this helped with all my vendor appointments as it gave them a good idea of what my final vision was. The planning slowed down in December as most vendors were either busy with yearend functions or shut down for this period. I used this time to filter through various vendors and to get quotes. From 9 January – 10 March I did the bulk of the work finalising details.

Your best find? The caterer, Vanessa from Exquisite Tastes. She made everything fresh from scratch at the venue on the day and everybody raved about the food.

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“I wanted to give a practical favour to guests. So we filled Consol jars with preserves. The lids were decorated with fabric matching the table overlays with lace trim.”

Venue: Private residence in Lonehill Bridal gown: Bride and Co, Sunninghill Photographer: Chilli Pix Photography Make up: Mandi Clarke Flowers: Dilightful Wedding Flowers Caterer: Exquisite Tastes Staff hire: Hospitality Kings Cupcakes: Maxine Bekker Iced cakes Lighting and Bedouin tent: Sound Media Table, chair and crockery hire: MPR Hire Flooring: Instant flooring

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You chose to get married in the grounds of a private home? We were sharing some of our planning frustrations with friends over dinner regarding selected venue’s rigidity on head counts, menus and prescribed vendors. After doing extensive research I believed I could get better value for money and get exactly what I wanted with the vendors I had in mind. Initially I thought we could also save on some costs however it didn’t work out any cheaper than a venue. Our friends kindly offered their home as a platform for us to create our dream wedding, which worked beautifully with their large garden.

Was there not a lot more work to planning a wedding at a private residence as opposed to using a conventional wedding venue? Yes, I had to make sure that everyone knew exactly what to do that week and on the day so I could relax and enjoy my wedding day. A good friend of ours was a fantastic MC and clipboard manager; he played a critical role ensuring that the day ran smoothly. Having selected good vendors was important, they were all very professional and once they had been briefed they all fulfilled their roles perfectly. I did create a detailed spread sheet that I forwarded to the wedding party the week of the wedding. It listed each person’s responsibilities, detailed order of events, contact details for all parties involved and their movements so they were able to continue independently. Although we were able to use the vendors we liked, a lot of work went into small details that a venue would normally look after. Having additional extension cords, clean-up crews for during the wedding and the day after, additional security for outside parking, signs and demarcating areas, décor for additional outside areas. Most of all we had to plan and execute the wedding with the utmost consideration and respect for the couple’s home and garden.

What were the pros and what were the cons of having a wedding at a private residence? Pro’s – We had the freedom to express our own individual taste and create a personal intimate ambiance which wouldn’t have been possible at a hired venue. We had carte blanche regarding the order of events, the style of dining and no curfew. The venue was close to our home and I spent the day getting ready there. The run around was minimal and I was very relaxed on the day. Con’s – We had a beautiful Bedouin tent outside but had to have flooring put down to protect the grass and create a stable footing environment. It rained for two days before the wedding and although we had a back-up plan in case of bad weather on the day, it could have been disastrous. You don’t have the freedom of a cash bar on a private property as you need a liquor license. The set up costs of creating an outdoor venue equals that of venue hire charges you don’t really end up by saving that much.

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Would you recommend this route? If you have a good relationship with the home owners, good project management skills, professional vendors and the head count is suitable for the size of the property I would highly recommend it.

Did you use a wedding planner? Having a baby on the way helped us focus our budget on what was really important to us and I opted to plan the wedding myself in order save in this area. We did spend more on the catering, bar and photographer. I did a lot of window shopping to get ideas and to compare costs. Once I decided what I wanted I knew exactly what was available and where to get it. It was hard work and I had to be very well organised but I enjoyed every moment. However, after planning a wedding myself I can definitely see the value in acquiring the services of a planner.

How did you go about choosing a photographer? There are so many wedding photographers out there and initially I wanted to forego the expense for a cheaper alternative but I’m glad we didn’t. I didn’t want the classic bridal shots that you see every day. I was specifically looking for someone who could capture the day in an honest, intimate way. When I saw Eugene’s quirky magazine advert I just had to meet with him and we clicked instantly. He had some great ideas and was very open to all of mine. We did an engagement shoot for our canvas which our guests signed which was a great warm up for the wedding and got my fiancé comfortable with Eugene. Eugene and Zule have a wonderful way of becoming part of the event without being obtrusive, they engaged well with the guests, which resulted in some great shots and they added to the fun of the day. They were one of the vendors that really went the extra mile.

You chose quite an unusual, very soft and feminine theme? I built the theme around my wedding gown. I knew I would be limited in dress silhouette choices as I would be 7 months pregnant on our wedding day so I had to buy with the bump in mind! Not only was the fit perfect but I loved the soft floral organza overlay of my dress. Combined with the lovely outdoor spaces we were going to utilise, the timing of the ceremony and the casual atmosphere we were looking for, the floral garden party theme came together nicely.

How many guests? The final head count was 60. We were blessed that a lot of our overseas family could join us for the day and we decided to have the children join us as they are very much part of the upcoming generation of the family. I was able to spend time engaging with each one of my guests and spent quality time with everyone without compromising my enjoyment. We knew everybody at the wedding - there were no random plus one’s which also helped keep the costs down.

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Wedding FAQs QUESTIONS about a multitude of different aspects concerning weddings abound. Here REAL BRIDES answers some of the most frequently asked questions. I want to choose quite a modern dinner service on my gift registry. My Mum says that would be a mistake and that I should rather choose a style that will not date. Who’s right? You both are. The best registry is a mix of core pieces (for example, gold-banded dinner plates) that you won’t tire of after a few years and trendy items (lime green striped or paisley accent plates) that complement those basic pieces and give them some punch.

I would like all the girls in my wedding party to wear updos. One has short hair. Can I suggest she gets extensions? You could, but why? The days of the cookie-cutter bridesmaids are long over – you want a group of friends who look special and well-coordinated, not like an assembly line of clones. Bear in mind that nobody will even notice or care that your friend has a different hairstyle to the other girls. And remember – a happy bridesmaid makes for good photos!

My 12-year-old niece is going to be an attendant – should she wear the same dress as the bridesmaids or the flower girl? Junior attendants usually wear an age-appropriate version of the bridesmaid’s gowns – which means no low-cut necklines or high slits. If the big girls are going strapless then your niece could have capped sleeves. Or, if they’re wearing slinky slip dresses, put her in an A-line style with skinny straps. If you are a still in doubt, the smartest thing to do is to ask her mother what she feels would be most appropriate. Just a touch of blusher and a dab of lip gloss will make any young girl feel special too.

I don’t have sisters, but I do have a cousin that I’m very close to – and a best friend I’ve known since childhood. Who so I choose to be my Maid of Honour? This is a no-brainer – choose the one you feel closer to. There is no rule that says relatives are the default option if you have no sisters. The MOH should be your most beloved pal, as well as the person most likely to remain calm in case of a bridal meltdown. If this describes your girlfriend, choose her. Unless you and your cousin are as close as sisters, she’s probably not analysing this as much as you are.

Is it okay to invite my best male friends to my bridal shower? Of course. But even men who are super in touch with their feminine sides would probably run screaming from the room if forced to endure a traditional shower. It also then means that your fiancé could invite his best female friends to his stag party? Kind of defeats the object, doesn’t it? A far more inviting option is a co-ed party where, along with the usual female suspects, the groom, his male buddies, and assorted husbands and boyfriends can all congregate for a meal.

My parents are divorced and have a hard time being civil to one another. How can I ensure they are on their best behaviour at the wedding? Help avoid unnecessary contact and possible conflict by seating your folks in separate pews at the ceremony, and asking them each to host a table (far apart) at the reception. It can’t hurt to have a talk with them, urging each to be polite to the other. They know that the big day is all about you and not about them.

My mom-in-law-to-be has offered to address the invitations, but her handwriting is loopy and childish. How can I tell her without hurting her feelings? She’s just trying to help and it’s a generous offer since it’s a time-consuming job. Let her know how grateful you are, but explain that the task has already been given to somebody else. Since it sounds like she really wants to help out, it would be smart to find another task for her that’s of similar significance but that doesn’t involve penmanship. Perhaps she could make or help you package the wedding favours?

Some of our friends are real pranksters and I’m worried that they’ll pull a prank on our wedding night. How can we avoid becoming victims? Practical jokes come with the territory – boys especially just love them! Aside from keeping the wedding-night location a secret, you could have a serious sit-down beforehand and declare your wedding a prank-free zone. But unfortunately even that is no guarantee as it may even serve to spur them on!

Got a question concerning your big day? Email us at: 42 • REAL BRIDES • 1 June 2012


“Take time out on the day to spend with your hubby as you can get caught up. Pull him aside and take a breather.” THIS couple had friends from the same circle so they would bump into each other from time to time. They met up again at a birthday party six years ago and spent the whole night chatting. Alex took Jinnie’s number and soon after that they became inseparable. Tell us about the proposal. We took a year off to travel and while passing through Hong Kong, where Alex used to live, he took me up to a place called The Peak. The view is spectacular you can see the whole harbour and city. I was sitting on a rock taking it all in when Alex all of a sudden went down on one knee. I quickly realised what was coming and wanted to burst out crying but I managed to laugh instead and screamed Yes!

How long did you have to plan your wedding? A year.

Where did you find or look for inspiration? Bridal magazines, bridal fairs and the internet.

What was your priority in terms of planning? I was most excited about finding my dress so I started with that. I then chose the colour scheme and then the venue.

Did you stick to your budget? Just! Alex managed to rein me in! If it wasn’t for him I definitely would have gone over budget. It’s so easy to do but if you decide what your maximum budget is and stick to it, you’ll be glad you did. We had a spreadsheet listing all the items that we needed to get: Bridesmaid dresses, cake, suit etc and then suppliers’ names such as makeup artist, venue, photographer, DJ and so on. We kept track of everything by having different columns showing the total amount for each item or supplier, the deposit we had already paid and what was left to pay. This way it was quite easy to keep a handle on what we were spending.

Was the time of year important to you? Yes, I wanted an outside ceremony so I wanted it to be warm and sunny.

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“For our Honeymoon we did something we had wanted to do for a very long time - we went to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas. It was one of my best travel experiences ever! Venue: iNsingizi Game Lodge & Spa Dress: Jade Daniels, London Shoes: Ivory wedges, BHS, London Make up: Lindsay Nixon Flowers: Cindy Rynhoud Photography: Kevin Bender Photography Stationery: Monique Mann

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What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? Drawing up the guest list. We wanted a small, intimate wedding but choosing who to leave out can become complicated. There are always friends who you were once close to but haven’t seen for years and that you all of a sudden feel obliged to invite.

Did you send out a “Save the Date”? If so, do you think it was necessary? Yes, we did and I think it was necessary as most guests had to book flights and hotels.

Tell us about your invitations and how far in advance did you send them out? Alex is very creative, so he did our invitations. We printed them ourselves and had them sent out six months before the wedding date.

Did you have a hen’s party / kitchen tea? I did. I had one in London (where I live now) before I got back to SA. We had a cocktail-making class followed by drinking and dancing, and the girls did a quiz with me during dinner, which was really fun! They’d called Alex up a few days earlier and asked him a number of questions and then they asked me those same questions to test how well we knew each other. There were questions like: Who is Jinnie’s celeb crush and what was your most romantic moment? Whilst it was very funny it also made me realise just how well we actually know each other!

Most treasured wedding gift? A stunning framed dragon carving from a friend in Hong Kong, who flew over for our wedding. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon and a dragon is also considered a good luck symbol. The Chinese also consider Dragon years to be the best times to get married!

How many venues did you look at and what made you choose iNsingizi? We considered quite a few! As I was planning my wedding from London, I couldn’t actually look at the venues in person so I had to choose by looking at websites and photos of venues on the internet. This was really nerve-wracking as not many venues in SA have decent websites with good, clear photography showing off their space. Alex and I knew what we wanted though and narrowed it down to a few contenders. We loved the backdrop that iNsingizi had to offer. We had the ceremony outside on the deck and the surrounding views from there are breathtaking. Also, it’s a perfect venue for an intimate wedding as the reception space is not too large. I also liked the fact that my guests could stay over with us the day before and after the wedding. There were just enough people to book up all their accommodation and we had the whole place to ourselves for a few days.

How many guests? 30.

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Tell us about your menu. Food was important to me and I wanted to make sure we had something for everyone so we chose vegetarian, chicken, beef and lamb option for the mains. I had a beef curry option on the menu too, which Alex thought was pretty weird, but coming from Durban my family and I absolutely love curry! Starters were simple but tasty: Bruschetta with a variety of seasonal toppings. Mains were a choice of spinach, butternut and feta phyllo pie, chicken parmesan topped with a sherry cream sauce, roast lamb with rosemary and basted with mint or beef curry served with poppadoms and sambals. On the side there were baby tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto salad, mushroom and rice salad, seasonal roasted veg and roast potatoes. For dessert we had Mini pavlovas filled with cream and seasonal fruit or chocolate mousse cups. We also had a sweetie table with chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and some sweets where guests could help themselves. We had little sweetie bags on the table, which the kids loved.

In hindsight, is there anything that you would have changed or perhaps feel that you could have done without? One problem with organising a wedding from overseas is that you can’t always meet people in person before the day. There’s not really anything we could have done differently here, but in an ideal world I would have liked to have met with each person personally and spent time going over exactly what I wanted for the day.

How did you go about choosing your photographer? I searched on the internet and found a list of photographers in the Durban area, then looked at all their websites. Some photographers only have a few photos on their website. I chose Kevin Bender because I loved his classic style of photography. He had albums online of all previous weddings he has photographed so I could look at a lot of his work, which made me feel confident that he did a great job every time. My advice would be to find a few photographers whose work you like the look of then contact all of them asking for quotes and their availability as photographers tend to get booked up months in advance. Kevin was great, he made me feel completely at ease.

Did you make a list of your photographic requirements? I looked online and found a few photos I liked from other people’s weddings. I printed the ones I wanted to copy but because I couldn’t meet up with Kevin before the wedding (I was in London and he was in SA) I never gave them to him and even though I had them printed out, I forgot to bring them with me on the day! My advice would be to discuss everything you want with the photographer before your big day. It’s good to look at poses and ideas for photos beforehand if you’re not a natural in front of the camera.

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LEANNE & ANDREW WILLIAMS “For our honeymoon we were fortunate enough to stay at Umngazi River Bungalows! We had such a fantastic time and felt completely relaxed.”

THIS union is a classic love story. In 2010 Leanne and Andrew walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid and groomsman at a friend’s wedding. A couple of years later they walked down that very same aisle as the bride and groom! You fell in love at a wedding? As the bridal procession walked out of the chapel at Providence in the Natal Midlands, I had the distinct feeling that Andrew and I would be walking out of a chapel again one day, but the next time as husband and wife. I kept my thoughts to myself but soon realised that Andrew felt the same way. A letter in the post confirmed this when he said he hoped one day that I would be walking down the aisle towards him again, only this time, in a white dress! And so our journey progressed and on the 7th of January 2012, we were also married at Providence, the place where our love story began.

Your décor/colour scheme? I wanted the décor to have a simple yet elegant colour scheme. We used whites and creams and chose antique styled silver rose bowls and candelabras for the tables.

Your choice of venue came up trumps? Kevin and Fern, the hosts at Providence, were excellent in making sure that all the small details were remembered on the day. From setting up the reception room to the finishing touches on the cake, everything was exactly what we had hoped for and more.

Tell us about your bridesmaids. Two of my bridesmaids live a fair distance away from me. My sister, who was Matron of Honour, in Australia, and Lindi, in East London. Dress fittings were a slight problem as both of my “long-distance bridesmaids” fell pregnant before the wedding so it was just as well that I had always wanted a short, loose fitting dress for the four girls to wear on the day.

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“All the small details before the day never matter on the day. The happy, relaxed, loving atmosphere was what I remembered most.”

Venue: Providence, KZN Midlands Photography: Alexis Diack 1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 49

How did you seat the single people? I had a few single friends and so did Andrew, so we mixed up our table seating plan quite a bit so that our friends, who didn’t know one another, could mingle. It was so great to see people interacting with one another so happily and really enjoying the day.

Stand out memories of your big day? My most special memory of the day was walking down the aisle to finally join together with the man whom I loved and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Greeted by the love of our family and friends, I felt so whole and beautiful as we embraced God’s plans for our lives. At that point, the months of planning and preparation melted away as all I noticed was the happiness around us. I was only reminded of the flowers, décor details and cake by the beautiful moments our lovely photographer Alexis Diack captured for us on the day. Our reception was full of fun and laughter. The best man, James, kept everyone enthralled and he reminisced about his brother. The food Fern prepared was delicious and catching up with friends who had traveled a long distance for the wedding was very special.

Any extra special guests? It was so wonderful having my older sister Nicole, who had traveled from Australia, right by my side the whole day.

Something old? I wore earrings that I had been given two years before my wedding day by one of my friends. It was the pair she had bought for me to wear when I was a bridesmaid at her Providence wedding.

Something new? My pretty wedding dress was new, as were my shoes.

Something borrowed? I borrowed my mother’s veil from her wedding, and simply attached a new silver hair comb to it to make it my own.

Something blue? My mother’s friend kindly offered to sew me a garter and she attached a blue ribbon to it.

You were very well prepared for your first dance? After the meal, I changed into a short dress and Andrew and I opened up the dance floor to Frank Sinatra’s classic Fly Me To The Moon. My mother’s friend Liz Roberts had taught us a lovely dance and we had such a great time flying across the dance floor. Then the night really did get underway and the DJ kept everybody dancing for hours. What a wonderful beginning to our marriage, filled with such hope of the blessings to follow.

50 • REAL BRIDES • 1 June 2012


“Enjoy every minute. Take time to look around and watch your guests having fun and enjoying spending time with you.”

PRIMARY school teacher Toni and her husband Kurt first met when they were 12 years old. They both love to visit new places, socialise with friends and family, shop, party, watch live music and they attend a lot of gigs. How long were you together before the wedding proposal? 11 years!

Tell us about that magical moment. It was Easter 2009 and Kurt had booked a cottage in Cornwall. He always goes for an early morning run so when he left early I didn’t think anything of it. A few hours later we walked to the beach and he had written “Marry Me” in the sand!

How far in advance did you choose to have your wedding after the proposal? We decided to wait two years so we could enjoy being engaged and enjoy planning the wedding. It did however unfortunately take three years due to me becoming very ill.

How did you go about the wedding planning process? We visited South Africa last April to view the venue; we worked with the wedding planner at Tala who was fantastic. Once the venue was booked then we started to slowly plan everything else. Both Kurt and I truly enjoyed every minute of the planning and would do it all over again.

Did you have a hen’s night / kitchen tea / stag night / bachelor / bachelorette party? We both had two events, one in England and one in South Africa. In England I went to Cambridge and we went punting on a river in fancy dress and played games. In Africa we dressed up, played games and went out into Durban. Kurt went to Ireland with a small group of friends and took part in the touristy things, then in Africa he went up the coast with a large group of English and South African friends. His weekend was filled with many antics and injuries!

52 • REAL BRIDES • 1 June 2012

“The bar staff were great fun and got involved with our fun photographs, our guests loved them.”

Venue: Tala Game Reserve - Dianne and Miki were true stars. Photography: Thea Cogill – Tink Photography – fantastic Videography: Karen Le Grange – super, made us feel very comfortable Music: Sound Solutions – the dance floor rocked all night 1 June 2012 • REAL BRIDES • 53

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ... GETTING married is a serious business but, almost without exception, every wedding day has its lighter moments.

Vroom, Vroom...

My Dad has a vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle that he absolutely adores. As the chapel was only a short distance away from where the bridal party got ready he insisted that we had no need for a bridal car – he would deliver me on his Harley. I knew it would make him really happy so I agreed. My dress was quite tight so I couldn’t sit astride so I was kind of perched on the seat side-saddle style. We arrived with a flourish but Dad hadn’t bargained on the loose gravel on the driveway outside the chapel. The back wheel slid out as we skidded to a halt and I was pitched off head first. Meg.

Head Over Heels...

My bridesmaid accidentally stepped on my train as I was walking down the aisle and I did the classic head jerk backwards in front of everyone! Brenda.

My lovely wedding shoes were brand new and the entrance to the church was tiled. It was raining when we arrived and I had to run from the car with my dress just about hitched up to my chin. I slipped on the wet tiles doing an almost perfect cartwheel and landed up in a heap at the feet of some of our guests who were standing just outside the church doors! Alison.

Quick Fix...

What’s In A Name...


My younger sister was a bridesmaid at my wedding. When we were getting ready the zip on her dress fell apart and as there was no time to fix it my Mum grabbed a needle and cotton and sewed her into the dress! Emma.


The limo came to pick us up and it started rolling down the hill with my Mum and bridesmaids inside. The driver luckily managed to run and get in and stop it before it crashed into a concrete wall! Sue.

Ring A Bell...

Our wedding ceremony was a full Catholic Mass and at one point in the service an altar boy rang the bells. This prompted one of the little ones in the congregation to shout out: “Mom, can I get an ice cream?” Elizabeth

Do you have a funny wedding story to share? Send it via email to and the best story will win a subscription to Real Brides.

54 • REAL BRIDES • 1 June 2012

Our celebrant said: “We are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of.....of...... of.......of......” (picture him screwing up his eyes and trying in vain to read our names written on a scrap of paper which he had left on the lectern) “of....of....” he continued....then came a flash of divine inspiration as he settled on “these two young people”! Patricia.


When we went to kneel at the altar at a really serious point of our wedding ceremony, a wave of stifled laughter spread through the church. The groomsmen had chalked the words “HELP ME” on the soles of my hubby’s shoes! Fay.

No Reason...

We went to a friend’s wedding with our very active toddler who was about 20 months old. Boredom soon set in and he started crawling around under the pews stacking all the hymn books and kneelers. The ceremony had got to the point where they ask: “If anyone knows of any reason why these two should not be wed, speak now...” To which my son screamed No! No! No! (I was trying to pick him up off the floor at the time!) Justine.

Getting Into Shape

THE wedding date is set, the venue is booked, the photographer is booked and now you are looking for your dream wedding gown. You thought you were a Size 32 but, after celebrating your engagement, you find that those size 32s are a bit of a tight squeeze. You need to shed just a couple of kilos to get back to your ideal weight for your big day.

Here are some handy hints to help you on your way: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Keep a photo of your dream wedding gown handy at all times. Weigh yourself every morning. Start your day with a high-fibre, low-sugar cereal. Stop putting sugar in your tea and coffee. Consult a personal trainer for a customised work out. Buy bright, fun work out gear. Rope in a friend to exercise with you at least three times a week. Don’t drive if you can walk to your destination instead. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Cut out fizzy drinks, stick to diluted fruit juice instead. Eat more chicken and fish and less red meat. Snack on fresh fruit, nuts and veggies instead of biscuits and chocolate. Take lunch to work and avoid convenient fast foods. Eat a salad instead of a sandwich. No white bread, rice or pasta – trade them in for the brown versions. Cut out sauces and salad dressings. Limit your intake of alcohol. If you need a sugar fix, suck a hard-boiled sweet. Try to drink more water. Get plenty of sleep.

56 • REAL BRIDES • 1 June 2012


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