~A Countryside Chapter.
When I first met Sian and Michiel, I instantly felt like we connected. We started talking and laughing like old friends. Over the months leading up to the wedding, we exchanged endless voice notes and messages, so by the time of the wedding day, it felt like capturing a good friend’s memories. Sian and Michiel’s families were so welcoming and open to receiving me as part of the day, which made this one extra special to photograph.
The Riverside Proposal:
I planned to ask Sian to marry me on the way to her graduation at the University of the Free State. We were staying over on the Orange River on the way and I thought it would be the perfect location to pop the question. Things didn’t work out quite as planned. I had hidden the ring in the boot of the car under the felt lining so Sian wouldn’t accidentally find it. I suggested we walk from our chalet down to the river bank to enjoy a drink and had planned to grab the ring on the way but Sian (being averse to any form of cold, and this was Colesburg in June) refused to walk and demanded to drive instead. I scrambled to get the ring without her seeing anything when we parked at the river (approximately 400m from the chalet) but by the time I opened the boot Sian was already standing next to me. Sian still asked what I was looking for and I said “nothing” and walked down to the river with no ring, just bubbly and two glasses. We then proceeded to finish a bottle of bubbly on the banks of the majestic Orange River, with a beautiful sunset perfecting the scene. All I could think was “might as well drink”. Eventually we went back to the chalet and I was like, well, I’ve done all the planning already, my nerves were shot, and I wasn’t going to do this to myself again, so it was pretty much now or never. Sian was in the kitchen of the chalet and I went down on one knee in front of the oldest microwave we’ve ever seen and asked her to marry me. Fortunately, she said yes, or she wouldn’t have had a lift home (or, to graduation).
Maggie Sottero Wedding Dress.
I initially found an amazing mermaid style white lace dress but was dissuaded from wearing it by people who thought I could find something better or didn’t consider it to suit my personal style. I then had a dress made which didn’t work for me or do my figure any justice at all. Two weeks before the wedding I saw the 2019 Maggie Sottero range and fell in love with one of the styles which I then sourced at a boutique in Cape Town. It was pure luck that they had my size in stock and ready to go. It was something so different from anything I had seen or tried and I knew I had to wear it. No one would ever have expected that dress, including me.
Down to earth wedding.
We initially planned to have a small gathering of people. Absolutely just our nearest and dearest. Both coming from Afrikaans families, we realised that having a small wedding was a very remote hope. I guess we were inspired by the “boere troues” we have been used to all our lives; where there is an emphasis on family, good music and great food. Everything else was ancillary. We never decided on a particular style and instead went to a number of bridal expos and décor places and by a process of elimination decided on what we liked and didn’t like. To be honest, we loved the venue and worked around what the venue had to offer, rather than imposing our style on the surroundings. We kept everything quite rustic to fit the forest vibe at Allesverloren and kept the wedding to just the right level of informality for it to be gracious but not pretentious.
Allesverloren Wedding Venue.
We literally got out of the car at the venue and felt right at home. It was actually only the second venue we had gone to view. Allesverloren itself is so well equipped we really didn’t need to hire a lot of things in and we knew this would simplify our lives quite a lot. Allesverloren also speaks for itself – it is surrounded with beauty, it is a three minute drive from the heart of Riebeek-West, and the catering was done on site. It was a sensible and beautiful choice and it worked for us.
Landi is great in every way. She is talented and her personality is as beautiful as her work. It was a pleasure working with her and having a photographer who would and could work around what we wanted. Something couples will always tell you after their wedding, and us included, is how quickly the day goes. Hours feel like minutes and the time is swept away so quickly. It is impossible to take note of every moment and every guest. The photos are all you have left of the day when it’s over, so it’s important to have them done right
Planning your own wedding.
We did not have a wedding planner. I wanted to be in control of every aspect and manage the budget myself. Michiel laughed when he read this because the budget fell by the wayside quickly. In retrospect I wish I had appointed someone to manage the event on the day but I feel that allowing someone professional to arrange your whole wedding, who can bring options to you as opposed to you seeking them out yourself, constrains your planning and your personal style. I say this because a lot of the things Michiel and I ended up using (and not using) at our wedding was found through our own research. I feel a planner would have pushed their ideas onto us and made the event less “ours”. But I would advise brides to be to seek help, for at least on the wedding day, as the process is extremely time consuming and exhausting.
Allesverloren Wedding Catering.
Bertus Bester at Allesverloren was at the helm of the delicious food served on the night. For starters, we served our wedding cheese cake (literally wheels of cheese stacked on top of one another) together with the famous Allesverloren rustic harvest table while we disappeared to take our photographs. For mains, we had deboned, chargrilled lamb shoulder with a mint Greek yoghurt; chicken phyllo parcels with mozzarella and sundried tomato; potato bake with parmesan, cream and onions, Mediterranean oven roasted vegetables, Greek salad, and Spanish potato salad. At our menu tasting we couldn’t decide between the Spanish potato salad and potato bake so we opted for both. For dessert we served lavender infused crème brulee and the wedding cake which was a chocolate and Swiss buttercream sponge cake. We opted for a Mediterranean influenced menu as we married in December and knew that it would be quite hot and didn’t want to serve food that was too heavy in the heat
Other Service Providers:
Bridesmaid dresses: Hoiden – www.hoiden.co.za
Suits: House of Monatic – https://monatic.co.za/
Pocket squares: WEEF – https://za.weefwear.com
Groom and groomsmen shoes: Instep at the Bay Harbour Market – https://www.bayharbour.co.za/traders/fashion-jewellery/
Accomodation: Riebeek Valley Hotel and de Langenhof Guesthouse – http://www.riebeekvalleyhotel.co.za/ / http://www.delangenhof.co.za/
Personalised water: Just Water WC – https://www.justwaterwc.co.za/
Bottled beverages: Chill Direct – https://chilldirect.co.za/
Flowers and décor hire at reception: To-Nette’s – http://to-netts.co.za/
Cheese cake: Fairview – https://www.fairview.co.za/
Cake: Velvet Cake Co – https://www.thevelvetcakeco.com/
Sound: Dirkie G Productions – https://www.facebook.com/DJDirkie/
Officiant: Ds Jan van Heerden – NG Kerk Vishoek – http://www.ngvishoek.co.za/
Rings: Cape Diamonds – https://www.capediamonds.co.za/
Videography: Grootdors Produksies – http://grootdorsproduksies.com/
Stationery: Tara Megan Goodwin Art – https://mobile.facebook.com/Tara-Megan-Goodwin-2088241787871836/