Today’s wedding is special to me in so many ways. First of all, the bride and groom happen to be dear friends – Claire is another of my Minerva girls, from our time at varsity. She’s one of the most strikingly beautiful women I know, and she also happens to be lovely and whip smart – someone whose opinion I really value. She and Andrew returned to SA from their home in Singapore for their Pilanesberg wedding (I was also lucky enough to attend), which was seriously so much fun. I think one of the things that really struck me was how well it flowed – from the ceremony looking out over the breathtaking African bush (so much in the wild, in fact, that we had rangers patrolling the perimeter with guns throughout) and the sundowners which followed (such a wow moment), to the canapés on the lawn, to dinner and speeches and then a long session on the dancefloor, everyone was moved on quickly and unobtrusively, and it really contributed to the success of the day I thought. Another thing was the entertainment – they had a choir for the ceremony, bagpipers and a drummer throughout (including the dancefloor!) and a sax player for the reception. The pipe and drum were from Transvaal Scottish, which was my grandpa’s regiment in WW2, and since I inherited my love of the wild from him too, it was particularly special for me. So all in all, one of my all-time-favourite weddings! Andrea Carlyle was there to take the gorgeous pics (and to listen to my friends and I talk nonsense in the jeep while we chased a lion sighting on the way to the reception!). And stay tuned, because in a very short while I’ll be sharing Claire and Andrew’s video (with a very brief spot-the-Gaby cameo appearance from me!). Read more
Straight off, I am just going to say, I LOVE this couple’s proudly South African styling. Sazi’s shweshwe ruffled dress especially is just the bomb, and they’re perfectly co-ordinated which (Brangelina and the Beckhams taking it too far aside) makes for the most amazing pictures. Of course, it always helps when you have a fantastic photographer, and today I’m so happy to share the work of Yolande Snyders. You may remember Yolande as one half of the Desert Rose Project team, and I’ve got to know Yolande a bit via email as one of our sponsors over the last couple of months. She’s such a honey, and I so admire her enthusiasm not just for her photography but for her community. Awesome. Anyway, Sazi and Khulile, today’s super stylish couple, decided to have their engagement pics taken wandering around Simon’s Town (one of my fave Cape spots), including in the toy museum, which is such a fun touch. It’s the perfect portrait of a perfect Cape afternoon. Read on for more of their love story… Read more
You know those random discussions you have in the pub on a Sunday afternoon, like the one where you try to decide which superpower you’d have if you could choose? For me, it’s an easy answer. Teleportation, baby. I mean, just imagine it. Quick jaunts to Bora Bora. Never having to commute or use public transportation. Going back to South Africa whenever I want to. Not missing a birthday or a wedding or just lunch with the girls, ever again. That is pretty much the ultimate for me. So sometimes I think about how I wish I had that superpower, and one of those times recently was when I was invited to a fabulous launch, with a high tea and some of my favourite South African wedding suppliers. Boo. The launch in question was for the Aleit Group and Uwe Koetter Jewellers Bridal Experience, a luxury bridal expo that is taking place throughout October. For the rest of the month, you’ll be able to visit the Uwe Koetter showroom in the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village and see the bridal couture ranges from Didi Couture, Robyn Roberts, Elbeth Gillis and Hendrik Vermeulen, as well as offerings from a range of other exclusive service providers. It’s also a chance to see the brand new Halo Collection, SA’s grandest collection of large stone diamond rings, from Uwe Koetter.
It’s funny how the drinks you like change with age, isn’t it? I mean, when I was 18, I drank a lot of alcopops, but I wouldn’t be caught dead with one now. And at that age, I thought whisky was vile, but now I quite like a one from time to time (although, I’m sorry purists, mine’s on the rocks). Due probably to the fact that a few years back I dated a guy who really loved the stuff, and I came to appreciate it more after a distillery weekend in Islay, Scotland. Maybe that’s appropriate, because there’s something a bit more sophisticated about whisky – it’s to be enjoyed slowly, not downed or drunk through a straw (what WAS that anyway, eighteen year old Gaby?). Point is, I think a whisky (or whisky and cigar) bar is a really lovely addition to a wedding reception, and something that usually makes the groom’s eyes light up in the planning. So I was delighted when SBB reader Claudine got in touch after her own recent wedding to share how she and her groom Richard created a whisky/whiskey bar for their wedding – and how you can too! All images are by the awesome Laura Versveld, who is based in Mpumalanga. (You can also see the whole of Richard and Claudine’s wedding on Lovilee.) Take it away, Claudine! Read more
They say when you know you know, and that must have been true for Johnny, who first fell for Mariaan when they were children! So cute. This pair of barefoot farm kids grew up to be free-spirited adults, and threw a laid back country wedding that had a touch of carnival celebration. I LOVE that they used what they had, and this turned into fruit on the tables instead of flowers (Johnnie is in the fruit business), barrows and crates full of fynbos, and what is without doubt my favourite bar of all time. I also love the boho flowergirls and the little pageboys in top hats! The relaxed vibe was perfectly captured by Carmen Visser, who’s been kind enough to share her beautiful pictures with us today. A farm wedding is actually super appropriate for me today, since I’ll be spending it styling a special inspiration shoot in a farm setting – hold thumbs for me that we get some unseasonably fine weather! Read more
So… you’ve met the man of your dreams, you’ve dated, you’ve met each other’s parents, you’ve realised you want to spend a lifetime together, and the moment you’ve been waiting for since you were a little girl has finally arrived. Not THAT big moment (we’ll assume he’s already popped the question) – the moment you get to go into a wedding boutique and play dress up. The first time you really get to feel like a bride, when your mom will well up and your best friends will sigh, and you’ll all drink champagne and say yes to the dress. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from visiting both high end boutiques and (sometimes slightly dodgy) budget ones with friends, not all dress fitting experiences are made equal. And nothing makes you feel less bridal than getting stuffed into a shabby sample by a grumpy assistant in a tiny changing room with peeling wallpaper and a curtain hanging precariously off the rail.
Fortunately, that doesn’t have to happen to you. If you read the blog regularly, you’ll know that a brand new branch of Olivelli has now opened in Cape Town, and as well as drop dead beautiful dresses, Olivelli is all about personalised service. Owner Natasha Colson, who was inspired to open her own branch after a blissful experience as a bride at the flagship Gauteng Olivelli store, is passionate about making all her brides and their guests feel like royalty when they come in for their fittings. More than just another wedding chore, it’s an experience. Read more
If you caught my ‘Inspiration Board revisited’ post on Saturday, you’ll be as excited as I am to see Gina and Ben’s fabulous Moroccan-style wedding. I absolutely loved how Gina pulled everything together (and talk about handmade – this is what happens when a talented artist does DIY!) in a way that was a classy nod to all things North African, without being completely over-the-top or costume party. If you’re considering a theme for your wedding, you could really take a page out of her book. My absolute favourite detail is the tiles she used (and made!) as runners, with the same motif repeated on her invitations and cake. The white tiles look amazing under the silverware, and the pops of colour in the flowers and candles are just mesmerising. I also adore the colour scheme in general, and Gina’s striking mantilla veil (not to mention her dress – LOVE the texturing!). The venue (Fairhill Lodge) is quite classic, but with low tables, floating candles in the water feature and some hanging lanterns, it’s transformed into a Moroccan fantasyland. What a pleasure to feature it here today, and even more so since I’m sharing Bernard Bravenboer‘s bewitching photographs of Gina and Ben’s big day. Enjoy! Oh, and PS, if you have the same theme in mind, don’t forget to check out our feature on Moroccan-themed wedding details. Read more
When Justin and I can’t decide which take away to order we tend to adopt the Lorelai Gilmore approach of ordering all the top contenders and enjoying any left over’s in the week that follows. Sometimes ordering more than one thing and combining them creates a unique and rather remarkable experience, the whole sometimes being even greater than the sum of its parts. Pasta on a pizza for example. Ambrosia. So when we realised that the venue we first fell in love with couldn’t fit all our wedding guests – I think we adopted a rather similar mentality. Completely discarding this perfect venue somehow seemed like a step in the wrong direction. Surely we could find a way for it to add something wonderful to the wedding experience, set the tone, the ambiance, stir up the excitement perhaps? The solution to our wonderings? The rehearsal dinner.
Happy weekend! I have a special little bonus feature for you today, and just a tiny taster of a stunning wedding I’ll be featuring next week. Gina is the first bride I’ll be featuring who requested one of my inspiration boards, and I wanted to show you a bit of how her original ideas developed before you catch the final result. When Gina first emailed me, she was feeling like she had all these ideas but couldn’t quite picture it coming together, and wanted the design of her wedding to look cohesive. First of all, I should say that this is such a common feeling amongst brides – in fact, I hear this from almost everyone who requests a board – so if you have reached that stage then be reassured that it’s completely normal! In fact, creating a board at this stage in the process (or revising one you already have) is a great idea, because it lets you see the bigger picture (and sometimes spot from a distance when one element isn’t working with the others). Anyway, back to Gina, who had her heart set on a Moroccan theme for her and fiance Ben’s big day, but wanted to make sure it didn’t turn out looking like a tacky theme party.
Gina had a couple of colour schemes in mind, and when I created her board, I chose the one that was clean white and green, with a little touch of deep purple (using a white base with little touches of colour moved away from the Arabian Nights party vibe). Gina had access to Moroccan decor items, and I suggested scattering these around, with hanging lanterns as a key piece. For the tables, I suggested either a print tablecloth or a white one with tiles used as a runner. I also suggested low tables and a bedouin-style breakout area, and directed Gina to a few links, including this gorgeous Sunday Suppers take on Moroccan dining. Here’s the inspiration board I made for Gina: