Our lastest blog visits South Africa for the wedding of Jessica and Michael. The theme encompassed local traditions with the protea flower with pinks and dusky greens to resemble the national plant. For anyone interested in going away for their wedding, this is the perfect story for inspiration.
How did you and your partner meet?
We met on our first day of university back in 2008! Mike lived in the halls of residence flat one floor above me. Throughout university we were friends, but didn’t start dating until our final semester of 3rd year as we were both in relationships until then. We started chatting on university nights out dressed as pints of Guinness and superheroes – and haven’t looked back since!
Tell us all about your proposal – where, when and how?
Mike proposed to me while we were living in Hong Kong, in August 2017. We’d had a long period of time where every time we went away on holiday everyone was expecting us to come back engaged – and Mike was very aware of that! He wanted it to be a complete surprise when it happened, and it certainly was!
One Wednesday night I came home from work and he asked me if I wanted to go for a drink. It had been a long day, so I said yes with enthusiasm. There was an incredible rooftop bar at the Excelsior hotel just across the road from us, which has THE best view of the Hong Kong harbour and skyline.
It was where we went for a drink the first night after moving to Hong Kong, where we had celebrated all our special moments, and where we took every family member and friend who came to visit us. When we sat down and were staring out at the sunset, Mike started talking about how many amazing things we had done together over our relationship, how far we had come, and all the incredible moments we had marked at that bar with the people we loved the most.
I remember thinking it was a bit strange as he isn’t usually one for long sentimental chats! He then said really casually, ‘there is something I’ve been meaning to tell you…’ and started to get down on one knee.
However, he was recovering from knee surgery and it took a while, I thought he had dropped something and was worried about his knee so started trying to get down too. Then he pulled out the ring – an absolutely beautiful princess cut diamond from my favourite jewellery designer – Lauren B of New York. And then it hit me!
He said “what I’ve been meaning to tell you is that I love you more than anything, and I want you to be my wife – will you marry me?” I was SO shocked – I kept asking if this was really happening – and then when it sunk in that it was, I said an over-the-moon yes! Then the tears started flowing… we ordered champagne and sat drinking it together overlooking the incredible view. And then Mike added another surprise in – all our friends were waiting to celebrate with us at another bar! Off we went to join them! On the way I called my mum and my best friend, I can still remember the excitement so clearly, I was so happy I felt like my heart might burst! Such a romantic proposal and such an amazing surprise!
When and where did you get married?
We got married at the insanely beautiful Vrede en Lust wine estate in Franschhoek, South Africa. A deeply historic wine estate nestled at the foot of the mountains – this stunning venue absolutely captured our heart and made for the most incredible day!
Did you have a specific theme or colour scheme?
We wanted our wedding to be soft and in keeping with the beautiful surroundings. We also wanted to have an African flavour to the day as South Africa is such a meaningful place to us and for many of our guests it was their first time in the country.
An African choir sung me down the aisle, our menus were in the shape of Africa, and the main meat dish was Springbok fillet. We had a gin station serving local gins with lots of different mixers and local herbs and berries. We also worked a few elephants into the decor – my favourite animal, and the unquestionable emblem of Africa.
The flowers for the day played off the main accent of Protea flowers – the national flower of South Africa. We worked our colour scheme off of the inspiration from the Protea, soft dusky pinks and dusky green hues. It all came together so beautifully.
How did you feel when you said yes to the dress?
My dress shopping experience was so incredible, thanks to the staff at the Tailor’s Cat. My dress was actually the first one I tried on… as soon as I put it on I felt transformed; was a true Cinderella moment! I tried on lots of beautiful dresses afterwards, and really liked a lot of them, but the dress I chose just felt like The One.
The silhouette is stunning, I absolutely loved the subtle details – the gorgeous lace work, the beautiful low back, and the train was an absolute show stopper! I was smitten from the moment I put it on, and I could tell my mum felt the same as she welled up with tears when I came out the changing room wearing it!
What was your most favourite and memorable part of the day?
The most memorable part of the day is a hard one to choose as there were so many beautiful moments I’ll treasure always… getting ready with my bridesmaids and my mum, dancing away under the African stars, the incredibly moving speeches… I think the best moment has to be walking down the aisle, to the sound of the beautiful African choir, past our dearest family and friends, and seeing Mike at the altar with tears in his eyes, looking at me with so much love.
I will never forget that moment or how I felt. It was just such an incredible day – an amazing party in the most beautiful place in the world. It was so special to share a place that means so much to us with the people we love most.
Do you have any advice for brides to be?
My big piece of advice is to find a photographer you are super comfortable with! The photos are so much easier and more fun if you’re able to be yourselves in front of the camera, and have fun! A massive part of that is about your relationship with the person behind the camera. We were SO lucky with Christine, our photographer. She was so fun, so hilarious, and completely put us at ease. She made a huge impact to our day and the photos came out so well because of it.
Photographer // Christine Le Roux
Videographer // Ebert Steyn Films
Wedding Dress Designed // Marina Liana
Hair and Make-up Artist // Lisa Brown Make-up
Bridal Boutique (Shoes) // Emmy London
Wedding Venue // Vrede en Lust
Wedding Planner // ido4u Events
Florist // N Concepts and Designs