The Oaks Estate Wedding
A full moon chapter.
Natalie & Rian’s The Oaks Estate Wedding will always be one I will remember. Their compassionate way of life, their kind natures and genuine emotions shared on the day are some of the rare gems we still find today. Their wedding took place a day after my birthday and on a full moon evening, so the best birthday present I could have received from anyone, was to be invited to document their special chapter and milestone of their union, so unique and so blessed in love.
Enjoy their wedding with me by reading their story below:
How a new journey started.
My ex husband actually introduced us. It was a work introduction but secretly my ex thought that we would hit it off, which we clearly did. We had such a good connection and rapport from the beginning. I knew that didn’t come along everyday. Rian still had to learn that and he was going through a divorce after 16 years of marriage.
There are some keen attributes about each other that draws us closer
Rian says that when I enter a room my smile and personality changes the atmosphere. To me, Rian is a good man, not an everyday find, and of course his ‘George Clooney’ good looks! haha!
The proposal that didn’t include a tree.
The proposal happened on my birthday. He took me to the plot we had bought together, told me that my birthday present would be the cornerstone of our new home. I was expecting a tree. He got down on one knee and presented a beautiful Protea diamond ring. Not quite a tree!
Rian’s cousin is quite a famous designer and I went to see him for my dress. However, in my heart I wanted to not have my dress made as I was too nervous. I wanted to see my dress, fit it on and immediately know I had found the one. So I didn’t use Victor Kok, but he did give me the name of a very talented photographer who had taken photos for his website. When I saw the photos I knew she was the one! My Pilates instructor happened to mention Elizabeth Stockenstrohm for wedding dresses and I fell in love with her style! I found the one that fit my personality and style on the day.
I used Talita from Mist make up who does airbrush make up resulting in a very natural finish. I went to Talita for my hair and make up trial and then also ended up doing microblading through her. At the end she felt like a friend! As I didn’t want bridesmaids she was the one who helped me get dressed.
Greyton was a special place for us as we had spent an impromptu and very romantic weekend there after a break in our relationship, and that weekend will always be considered as a special reunion. After the engagement we decided to tour some of the wedding venues/farms around Greyton. The Oaks Estate was at the end of the road and when we saw its beauty and elegance I just knew it was the place for us.
Our wedding is what I believe is termed a destination wedding. It was held on The Oaks Estate and took place over the entire weekend, The actual wedding had the theme of an elegant dinner party, complete with a jazz band and wine and food pairing.
We used Marianne , the owner of The Oaks Estate as our wedding coordinator. She knows The Oaks Estate the best and it all looked unbelievably beautiful! From the wedding arch she built and decorated to the beautiful flowers everywhere! Lanterns and firepits throughout the garden. It all created a fairtale look!
Most memorable moment of the day:
The merging of our two families in such a special way as part of the ceremony. Rian stood at the alter flanked by his two eldest boys. I had my son walk me down the aisle, led by the little ones Caitlin and James. We exchanged vows on the most perfect of winter days with the mountains in front of us, the birds chirping, donkey baying and our good friend leading us in our exchange of vows!
Landi and Ronel made both Rian and I feel so relaxed. I knew I was in great hands with Organictales. We didn’t want to be away from our guests for too long and Landi respected this and kept her shots within the allocated hour. However, in that hour we went bundu bashing up mountains, into forests, chasing the sun to get what I know will be unbelievable shots!
Rian used his creative designer who specialised in videography to shoot our wedding video and he created a stunning montage including drone footage of the farm.
Rian and I both love music and one of my desires was to have a jazz band at the wedding. Landi told me about an amazing band she had just seen at one of her previous weddings which I then got in touch with. Dan from Shoutmc provided both the jazz band Moonshine and a DJ. The jazz band was one of the highlights for me really adding to the theme of elegant dinner party!
The Oaks Estate recommended Herman and Phillipus form 254 , just down the road from her at their farm, Driefontein. They invited us to one of their Sunday lunches they do on the farm and we were sold! As Rian and I are foodies, great food had to be a big part of the wedding. I was inspired by the Tasting menu served at Chefs Wharehouse and that became our inspiration. Herman and Phillipus were very excited as they had never done anything like this before. We had a three course tasting menu paired with some exceptional wine chosen by our friend Shelley who is somewhat of a wine expert!
We had a cash bar since wee supplied all the wine and bubbly but thought it best that people pay for their own hard tac
Shelley’s Pairing with the Menu:
In selecting and pairing wines with food, two primary aims evolved:
for the wine to complement and highlight the main components and special notes within the food, and for the selected wines to reflect and celebrate some of Nat and Rian’s special experiences and qualities.
Black Oyster Catcher -White Pearl
Like our couple, this is a full-bodied and complex wine, the components of which have been handpicked with care, and allowed to join and release their unique qualities with minimal interference.
Described by the estate as an exceptional food wine, it is fully French in origin . the 60% Sav blanc brings fruitiness and a crisp minerality. which matches the green asparagus, and complements our rich and flavourful N European salmon. The 40% wooded Semillon offers a mouthfelt creaminess. as well as citrus and ginger notes, which are also to be found in the warm and gently spiced pumpkin soup, with its gingerbread croutons – isn’t that such a clever idea ?! Together the complexity and creaminess of the blend stands up to, and complements, the foresty burnt sage butter and the softly piquant shells of the pasta.
And then, to return to our couple and their union: this beautiful blend comes from the BlackOysterCatcher winery at the Cool southern tip of Africa, at Elim – which is right near Nat’s holiday home at Struisbaai, which has for some time already been shared with and enjoyed by this new blended family.
Fairview Piekenierskloof Grenache
Our second course is a Mediterranean course of risotto and caprese salad. It is paired with Grenache, a cultivar originating in the Mediterranean region as well.
You may be interested to know that Pinot Noir is the red wine recommended to be served with seafood risotto. I believe Nat and I show our class (or strength of personality? or lack of class?) by rejecting this lighter pinot noir, which is made from vines that are quite fragile and difficult to grow. Instead, we have chosen a wine light enough to respect rather than overpower the delicacy of the seafood – but a more robust earthy peppery option to meet the richness of the risotto as well as our desire for abundance and wildness … sorry I’m getting carried away let me just refer to the wild red berry flavor.
This particular Grenache was sourced from Fairview, where we have spent many good times with a friend of ours who manages the farm there.
Like each of these two beloved and newly married people, these Grenache grapes from the Piekenierskloof, north of Paarl near Citrusdal, are amazingly robust and rewarding living things.
The high lying vines, withstand and even thrive in poor environments and under extreme (weather) conditions, to deliver profound style and joy. Sound like our peeps?
Grenache is usually used in blends to provide backbone (our couple has plenty of that) and to support other varietals in living their best life (our couple , as you know, are dedicated parents and back friends in this way too).
Fairview has allowed Grenache to have its day in the limelight and be the centre of its own story, as we do for Nat and Rian today.
Some of you may have been exposed to the combination of red meat and chocolate some years back, but we are not going retro tonight.
And while it is no mystery how Nat feels about chocolate… [for laughter]
there is some ongoing and unexplained mystery about the name of this blend from Boekenhoutskloof in Franschoek, as it is not a chocolate wine.
The wine, like our couple, has secrets to keep – in this case the secret of a changing but consistently high quality and rich blend for each season (or year).
The wine, and Nat and Rian, are full in body and structure and flavor.
This 2016 blend, which is a Rhone (rather than a Bordeaux) blend, comprises 79% syrah (the French style of shiraz), Grenache (11%), Cabernet Sauvignon (6%) in new oak, Cinsaut (3%) and Viognier (1%).
It seems important to acknowledge the role of intuition and pure indulgent pleasure in the couple’s choice of this wine.
Because the wine offers an indulgent pleasure: Opulent and silky on the palate, deep with red and black fruit, soft in spice and tannins, slightly sweet with hints of violet and turkish delight, a breath of black pepper, a long lingering finish .. which all together actually bely a good press of alcohol…
And the highly personal and instinctual, rather than cerebral, forces involved in making this a favourite wine of Nat and Rian , have also resulted in the presence of a wine on our tables that has been described as a red for reds – and what are we about to enjoy but a course of red red and red meat !
A wine that is sweet and soft enough for the heat and fragrant spice of the curry, dark and structured to complement the delectably rich and tasty parcels of lamb with mushrooms and port, and refined and peppery enough for the classic beef fillet and its creamy sauce.
So, a nod to our beloveds for their good taste, and an invitation to the figurehead on the label of this brand to accompany Rian and Natalie: a lady who carries a dove of peace and hope, and guards intrinsic quality.
A magical day surrounded by love and beauty!
The day was a fairytale and I would change nothing! Other than the fact that our MC drove off with our keys so we had to, along with all our kids, sleep in my parents cottage. My mom woke up the next morning to find a kid on every couch! Her response was: “Oh how lovely! You are all here!”
Advice to other couples:
Plan as much as you can before the time but then there comes a point where you have to leave everything in the hands of the professionals you have hired and just relax and enjoy the day! The other thing I would really recommend is a wedding weekend. The Friday night dinner is an icebreaker for the bride and groom to greet their guests and for the guests to get to know each other. This takes so much pressure off the day, as everyone has already met and you don’t have to go table to table. We could actually just relax and enjoy our dinner!
Service Providers –
(PLEASE DO NOT LIFT IMAGES FROM THIS WEBSITE. PLEASE CONTACT LANDI BEFORE DOWNLOADING IMAGES)
Photography Assistant & Second Photographer: Ronel Strauss
Venue: The Oaks Estate
Dress: Elizabeth Stockenstrom
Make Up & Hair: Mist Make-up
Music: Shoutmc – Moonshine Jazz Band
Catering: Hermand & Phillipus @254 Driefontein Farm Restaurant