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Finding my stolen horses in Lesotho

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Bring My Horses Home.

This is a story of how my two stolen horses were rescued and recovered from deep inside of Lesotho.  It’s a chapter in my life which highlighted my strengths and reminded me of the deep connection I once shared with my equine companion; A stubborn, yet gentle chestnut pony named Ginger.

Growing up together.

I remember like it was yesterday.  As a little adventurous girl waking up before dawn; the farm, nestled in a valley still asleep.  I would sneak out with a slice of bread and a bridle to fetch my pony, Ginger.
In the cold morning air we would be off on a brisk trot down the valley and finally up the hill where the sun was waving its good morning rays to the waking farm.

Ginger was a gift from my uncle on my 9th birthday in 1996.  A young, confused little 3yo colt arrived on the farm.  At 14hh, much smaller than the working horses, his wide eyes and bushy red mane didn’t exactly steal my 9yo heart immediately. He had a choppy stride, not the most comfortable seat, a stubborn streak, but a big and willing heart.

As a young steed, Ginger was nothing but trouble.  A master at opening any gate, he often had the whole farm up in arms at midnight, when he thought it the best time to visit the other horses for a rendezvous under the starlight. He was a handful to say the least.

With patience Ginger grew up with me.  Tolerating getting his hair braided, tangled, washed and groomed.  Never a horse who really cared much for rubs and hugs, but always excited when taken for a swim in the dam.  His love for water has always been our most favourite bonding time after a long ride along the farm, exploring every inch of every hectar.

In my high school years, I was introduced to Arabian horses and after some hectic saving I bought my first registered Arab mare. I registered with the SA Arab Horse Society and had a small Arab breeding stud for a few years with another mare and stallion on lease. After finishing University in Stellenbosch I secured a job abroad, so I decided it best to sell the Arabs, but I kept the last filly born in 2010. This little filly, named after her Grandmother, was Anisa. She was kept both for sentimental reasons as well as her beautiful, curious temperament.

By this time Ginger was way in to his teenage years and was the grumpy old grandpa gelding used to wean the babies. He was good at teaching the foals manners without hurting them as well as keep them company. In hindsight this means he filled a parental role to Anisa and has been her only companion after her mother and siblings were sold. The two horses are therefore quite close.

The Theft.

I currently spend the majority of my days in Cape Town, where I am based as a professional photographer.  With Ginger now being retired at 26 years of age, I visit him on the farm several times a year since my career makes my schedule quite flexible.
It was coincidence that I was in the Free State to cover 3 weddings when I also found out that I had to get unexpected hip surgery scheduled for 26 June. My stay in the Free State was therefore prolonged and I see now how this was a blessing in disguise.

On the morning of 23 June, the groom who is the horses’ primary care giver since my parents moved to Bloemfontein due to safety concerns on the farm, gave us a call to report the horses missing. He had tracked their hoof prints along with 5 sets of human shoeprints for 10km before losing them when they crossed a steel bridge over the Caledon river and disappeared on a tar road. He walked all the way to town, which is on the border of Lesotho, to report the matter to the police who did not give him much guidance or help. As soon as we got the news we drove straight to the police station.

Frustration started to build when it took 4 separate visits to the Police station before they finally agreed to let us open an official case. Police officials only visited the farm more than 24 hours later and disregarded important and crucial evidence left on the scene.  My trust and faith in the officials’ competence started to dwindle due to the way the matter was handled.  For some reason they refused to question everybody present on the farm during the event of the theft and a key suspect whose footprints were a 100% match to those found alongside the horses’ hoofprints, were merely let go since he was underage.

I was however determined to locate my horses so I made a Facebook post with photos of my two horses offering a reward for their safe return. It wasn’t long until their photos went viral and people from all over the country started sharing the mission to find them.  Trying out every possible way to locate my horses, I asked for people with drones to please come and help us search from the air.

The next day two people with drones came out to help search the surrounding area from the sky. Due to the fact that my confidence in the  authorities’ competence have dwindled, I decided to hire a private investigator and I started a Facebook page for the two horses which spread like a wild fire. We searched the area from the sky for hours without success. We approached the local sheep and cattle herders in the surrounding mountains and in my broken, limited Sesotho skills asked them if they had seen the horses? One of the sheep herders was busy trying to rescue one of his newborn lambs who wouldn’t suckle and as I tried to help him and tell him about the horses, he recognized me from many years ago as a child, when I bought a young filly from his son and thus was eager to help us out. I got briefly excited when he confirmed seeing two horses matching the description of my two ponies, but my heart sank when he confirmed that the horses were taken in the direction of Lesotho. It is common knowledge that once an animal crosses in to the vast, mountainous country of Lesotho, it is almost impossible to ever find them again.

With a heavy heart we drove to the Tsupane Boarder Post to spread the word about the horses.  There I met a kind and willing Police Officer from Lesotho.  He could hear in my voice how dear the horses were to me and promised me that he would do everything in his power to help bring the horses home.  Over the next few days he kept reassuring me via Facebook Message that his informants were out searching every day.

Knowing that my surgery lay ahead and that I was physically limited to go and search for my two beloved horses, the worry was growing strong and fast inside of me. This is when I knew I had to get a private investigator on the case both in South Africa as well as in Lesotho.

People from all over the country sent messages of support, offering help, searching with me and keeping an eye out.  Many times this would cause heartache when people who meant well, sent photos of dead, starving or abused horses to me, asking if it wasn’t possibly my ponies.  Knowing that they were only trying to help, I knew that I had to face the reality that there was in fact a chance that my ponies might end up that way. With the help of a Sesotho speaking childhood friend who grew up on the farm with me, we translated a Facebook Sponsored post in to Sesotho and targeted the nearby Lesotho towns and surrounding areas to spread the word.
The post gathered many comments and shares and among them there were countless racially charged comments from local Lesotho people, however there were many more who saw my plight to find my two ponies and who were willing and wanting to help.

3 weeks went by with not much news; many leads that ended cold or were false.  The private investigator in South Africa visited the farm and questioned everyone present the day of the theft.  They uncovered many leads which the Stock Theft Officers didn’t really care to look at and my serious determination to solve the case started to sink in to everyone present.  People started realizing that I was not planning on giving up and that I will do whatever it takes to uncover the truth.
I had my surgery in the meantime but it was so far from my mind that I did not even notice most of the pain or discomfort.  The hours before the surgery I lay in my hospital bed talking to the private investigator and following up with the police.  I did not have time to even think of the discomfort – I just wanted my horses home.

I wished there was a way I could tell my two ponies that their mom was coming for them. That they should stay strong. I was so worried about Ginger, who by now is 26yo and has lived his whole life showered with love on the farm. My heart was broken knowing he was being ridden with his arthritis joints after being retired for years already. I was weeping for Anisa who I know was probably separated from Ginger shortly after being stolen and that she would become anxious without him. I was sad knowing they were starving with the limited access to food and water in the rough, mountain terrains of Lesotho during its harsh winters. I wished the thieves could have at least taken Ginger’s arthritis supplements with him to ease the pain.

Landi Groenewald Photography

Photo by: Johann Latsky

14 days without news finally got to me and for a brief moment I thought I lost hope.  I considered accepting the fate of my two horses and moving on. But all the thoughts of their well being in harsh Lesotho kept motivating me to never give up. After 23 years of loyal devotion to his little rider, I could not give up on Ginger in his old day. It was my duty to do everything to find him after he kept me safe for so many years.  Every day I kept following up and calling around to find out anything new.  The Private Investigator from Lesotho drove to Bloemfontein to come see me and discussed possible options and ways to help the case. Informants were also working alongside the Lesotho Police to track down the trial of the horses.

On 11 July I received a phone call… the call I’d been waiting on for days. Ginger had been found! I received a photo from the Tsupane Police Officer confirming it. I couldn’t believe it! I burst out in to tears knowing that it should be so much easier to find and track Anisa as well. Half an hour or more later, I received the second message from the same officer with a photo of Anisa found in Ribaneng – a small village in Lesotho. Both horses found on the same day! They have travelled over 200km on foot within 19 days.

I posted the happy news on Facebook and asked for people with a horsebox and loading knowledge for assistance.  Lots of people following the story offered their assistance and help.  I however received a phone call from the South African Stock Theft Unit telling me to remove the question asking for help since they will be the officials loading the animals.

Landi Groenewald Photography

Photo by: Johann Latsky

The Rescue.

The next morning, we left Bloemfontein bright and early to go fetch my ponies. A videographer friend who initially helped to search from the air with his drone, came along to document the happy reunion so that all of South Africa who has been following the story, could share in the moment we were reunited.

But the day did not go by without its difficulties.
Since I was on crutches following my surgery, I was unable to drive so my father took the role as driver.  Being required to identify my horses we were requested to accompany the SA Stock Theft Officials at the loading.  When we entered through Van Rooyens boarder post, both the videographer and I were only stamped on the South African side at departures, and not stamped at the Lesotho immigration office as entering.  We told the Stock Theft officer that we are required to stamp in to the country, to which he told us that as long as we are with him, we are safe.  We explained that it really is crucial for our passport stamp history to reflect accurate travel itinerary, but we were not stamped in to Lesotho which would lead to further complications later that same day.

When we arrived at Matelile police station where the horses were taken to the previous day, I saw both horses together. Tied up separately a few meters apart. They had no access to water or food. I whistled and both horses’ heads shot around and neighed. I was on crutches, so I first hopped over to Ginger. Anisa, being a feisty Arab is prone to being skittish so I didn’t want to scare her by approaching her first while on crutches. While I was standing at Ginger and putting his halter on, Anisa kept calling and giving little nickers. I then slowly hopped on over to her. Gave her a small bit of bread (their favourite treat) and let my father and an officer help with taking off the halter she had on and replacing it with her own. Being on crutches made it hard to handle the horses.

 The Loading.

Ginger was unsure of the horsebox, even though he has been in one a few times before in his life. The excited shouts and laughter from the local people about the events made him nervous and unsure. Being on crutches it was hard for me to led him in and reassure him as he kept resisting. Luckily, he is such a bombproof gentleman that with a bit of pushing and guidance from behind, he was in the box.

Anisa’s loading process was however tragic. I was not allowed to load her due to my own injuries, but my advice on how to load her and the methods that should be followed to calm her down, were all ignored. Arabian horses in general, although very attention friendly, are very hot and skittish in temperament. Sudden movements or sounds can spook them dramatically and I kept warning the officers and helpers about this. My worst loading fear came true when I saw her jump up in the air and straight in to the door latch. A deep cut ripped in to her chest and blood started flowing rapidly. I knew I had to stay calm but it was very hard and naturally I flipped after witnessing the very thing I kept warning against.  The SA Stock Theft Officers told me, with finger pointing in my face, that they will no longer “help” me to load the horses and that I should do it on my own.  This after I initially organized my own loading team and trailer with skilled horse owners and was told by officials that it will not be allowed.  I felt powerless to my bone from the frustration and anger that was building, since these very officials described their duty to do their jobs as “helping” me and doing me a “favour” after I was refused to bring in my own loading team and my advice on how to load my own horse was ignored which resulted in serious injury.

I left my crutches and took control of my horse. With my painful operated leg I led her away from the box to try and calm her down. I gave the lead rope to the videographer who came with us to capture the reunion and ran to my car where I had an ice-cold 5L bottle of water. I quickly rinsed the wound with the hopes that the cold water would slow down the bleeding.

The small miracle.

The whole day my phone wouldn’t connect to roaming services in Lesotho and I was previously unable to make any phone calls, whatsapp messages or connect to data, but when I tried again at that moment, it finally connected by itself which allowed me to make a phone call to our vet in a panic. She sadly informed me that she is not allowed to enter and work in Lesotho as a vet since it is another country. She was also not in the area that day.

I started panicking because the bleeding wouldn’t stop. The vet said she organized ACP calming syrup and a painkilling injection at Ladybrand Animal Clinic. Being the only other person with a passport and drivers licence, the videographer had to stop filming and jumped in to my car to make the long journey to Ladybrand, going via Maseru Boarder post which took hours.  The videographer struggled to get through the boarder post because he did not have a stamp entering in to Lesotho from that morning.  He got threatened to be arrested, have his video equipment confiscated and being fined for being in the country illegally. After much hassle, he finally managed to convince the officials at the boarder post that this was an emergency and they let him through.
The police officers decided to go on lunch for the entire time the videographer was away while we waited on the medical supplies.  This meant it was only my dad and I left with a dehydrated, old horse boxed since early morning and an agitated, injured hot blooded Arabian. We ourselves had no access to drinking water, food, lavatories or shade and my newly operated leg was starting to throb from having to manage an injured horse without my crutches. This was possibly the longest 4 and a half hours of my life, waiting for the medical supplies.

In that time I managed to calm Anisa down. I sat on the ramp of the box and just stayed there with her, talking to her. I moved in to the box gradually little by little every 10 – 15min. She followed me calmly in to the box several times, but as soon as her hind legs would step in, she would reverse out again. At one point I finally had her in, but there was nobody there to close the ramp behind her since all the officers were away and my dad could not possibly close the ramp quickly enough by himself. I felt defeated knowing she had to be evacuated immediately for medical care, but knowing we were stuck there with no help.

With my phone battery dying rapidly whenever connected to roaming, which also depleted my data bundle at a rapid pace, I connected to Facebook to update everyone waiting in anticipation.  I asked for help loading.  I made sure to mention the exact location, the situation and the nature of the injuries as well as the crucial fact that my battery is dying and that people should please only contact me if they can physically come and help.
With the great amount of people following the story, it created a bit of a dilemma.  I received 100’s of whatsapps (depleting my data and battery further) asking unnecessary questions like “Where are you”  or “You need to evacuate the horse.” or  “Apply honey to the wound”  The majority of the messages and calls received were completely unhelpful since I stated the exact location in the Facebook post already and being in the middle of nowhere in Lesotho I had no access to the miracle remedies people were so eager to give advice on.  I knew that these were all people just trying to help, but in the heat of the moment they caused so much damage since the people who were actually able to come and physically help us, were unable to get a hold of me since my phone died due to all the unnecessary calls and messages.

The videographer finally returned after 4.5 hours of driving as fast as he legally can. The officers only arrived back shortly before the videographer did, after I made a frantic phone call to the Provincial Head of Stock Theft in Bloemfontein. After we administered the emergency medication, Anisa climbed in to the box like an angel!

And finally… we were on our way back home!

The horses traveled over 200km on foot.

The stolen horses traveled over 200km on foot.

Back Home.

We arrived on the farm way after sunset at around 19:30. We unloaded the horses. The vet could not perform any surgery at that time of night due to limited light and the amount of stress already sustained by both horses. We were so grateful that it was a rather cold night with frost which helped to stop the bleeding.

The next morning before sunrise I went straight to their paddock and my heart just melted in to another puddle of tears when both horses greeted me with happy nickers and whinnies.

The vet arrived bright and early and got to work immediately. She first gave Ginger an overall check up, listening to his heart beat and intestinal sounds. He was severely dehydrated and malnourished and had a urinary tract infection, but the vet was not too worried about his condition and was confident that he would make a full recovery.

She then started to mend Anisa’s wound. Due to the wound already being more than 12 hours old, some of the skin already died. But she did her best to save as much of it and stitched the wound shut from deep inside to out.

We got a massive donation of 12 bales of lucern and 12 bales of teff from our neighbour and both horses were slowly put on a recovery diet. Anisa bounced back to her old condition in no time. Ginger’s condition started picking up as well, but at a much slower pace. After 10 days he was slowly introduced to concentrates again and his joint supplements were reintroduced to his diet after 2 weeks in order to not put too much stress on his kidneys in the beginning.

Both horses are now safe, microchipped and have made a tremendous recovery. They are under 24-hour surveillance while their stall door will be fitted with an alarm and camera to guard them at night.

At Ginger’s old age, it was decided that he will be happier to stay on the farm where he grew up, instead of being moved down to Cape Town where I live now. The move to a new climate and environment and smaller paddocks would be extremely stressful on his body and mind.  We therefore decided to increase the security on the farm rather than move him.

Anisa has gotten her African Horse Sickness Vaccinations and is ready to apply for a movement permit and travel passport, however we are not making any hasty decisions since we would hate to separate the two horses from each other.  We would therefore rather try to prevent the events from repeating themselves by putting other security measures in place instead of disrupting their lives with more traveling.

Perpetrators Unknown.

I have royally irritated the SA Stock Theft officers that were on the case, due to the fact that I have reported the initial way the case was handled, as well as the numerous errors that were unnecessarily made, to senior members of the force. As a result, they have refused to give me any information on exactly who has been arrested.  To this day I still do not know who stole my horses or how they knew about them.  I do not know how or exactly by whom they were found, although I do know that it was not by the SA Stock Theft unit or their informants, but rather the kind and helpful Lesotho Police Officer from the border post who promised me on that first day that he and his informants will do everything in their power to locate the horses.  Due to the fact that it is a cross border case and because SA Stock Theft is keeping their lips sealed on how my horses were stolen or found, the Lesotho officer has not been able to give me any information pertaining to the details of the recovery.
As a result, I have not been able to pay out the reward since I have not received this information and am not prepared to hand over the reward to SA Police officials.

I was informed on 07 October 2019 by SA Stock Theft that a trial will take place on 12 November 2019 in Wepener Magistrate’s Court.

I would like to thank every single person who followed their story and who prayed and wished for their safe return. I truly believe that the universe listened and brought them home after hearing a whole country’s prayers for their safe return.  Everyone who contributed to the search, rescue and recovery in any way – I know that somewhere in life, the favour would be returned to you.  May you all be blessed and your pets and animals live long happy lives.

Massive thanks to Carl Viloria from The Spiffy Chap, for helping to search from the air with his drone and documenting the entire rescue operation and compiling it in a very professional diplomatic manner.  Without you coming along that day, I’m not sure what we would have done without someone being able to drive all the way to the nearest vet for medical assistance. Thank you!

Daniel Polaki

The Private Detective from Lesotho was also one of the kindest most genuine people I got to meet during this entire situation.  Always being calm and rational.  Always thinking about new solutions.  I truly met a great friend.

 

Onwards and Upwards!

I’m looking forward to the day I’ll be back in the saddle again.  I have my whole career to be thankful for because of my old Ginger pony.  Read more about how my love for my equines pushed me in to a career as photographer by clicking here.

And lastly: Such a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to Jacki Bruniquel who came all the way out to the farm and spent 3 wonderful days documenting the bittersweet images a few weeks after the recovery.  Ginger is still struggling to gain weight again at his old age, but slowly and surely we’ll get there again.

Horse Portraits by Jacki Bruniquel

Photos by: Jacki Bruniquel

 

 

Sheep decided to photobomb this wedding and here are the results!

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The Nightjar Wedding.

~The log cabin tale.

 

Where the story began.

We first met when we were introduced by a mutual friend at a bar. Our friend handed me Mark’s business card as some sort of a pick up line but we were both shy and never really said anything to each other the whole night. With the weeks that followed we kept bumping into one another until one night on the 1st of June we were the last people standing after a friend’s birthday. Neither of us were ready to retire for the night so I invited Mark to come to my place and watch movies with me. Mark accepted my invitation. When we arrived at my place we started talking and ended up speaking for hours. We did eventually watch a movie and four days later he took me out on our first date.

Although our initial attraction may have been a physical one, our late night conversation made us realize how much we had in common from our general interests to our similar tastes in styles, music and food of course. Between us there was very little we could disagree upon. For me Mark was the most genuine and kindest person I had ever met. For Mark he loved my honestly and kindness (something we seem to share). He also enjoyed my cheekiness from time to time.

A Proposal as a Birthday Present.

The proposal was masked as my 25th birthday at Meerendal Wine Estate. All of our friends and family were waiting inside the restaurant to surprise us as we walked in. Right before we sat down to eat lunch Mark wanted to make a speech during which he proposed.

The choice behind the venue.

The style of our wedding was rustic chic – most of our inspiration followed the booking of our venue.  We were initially interested in a De Uijlenes wedding because it was a beautiful farm venue which offered an outdoor ceremony area as well as a cosy log cabin for the reception. Essentially I think it was the rustic feel of the venue itself that drew us to it because we are simplistic and down to earth people.

Something borrowed, something white.

The dress was hired (somewhat my something borrowed) from Urban Bride. Strangely enough the dress was not supposed to fit me at all since the sizing was too small, but, when I tried it on it fitted perfectly as if it was made for me.

Anja Le Roux did my make-up, although she no longer does make-up for weddings she offered her services because she is a dear friend to me. All of the bridesmaids jumped in to assist me with my hair.

An officiant with a touch of humour.

Andred from I Do Weddings officiated the ceremony. We were referred to him by another officiant, Troy Goldie, when we found out he was not available for our wedding date. We chose him because without having to explain in excruciating detail he had us pegged and understood exactly what we wanted – a well-rounded ceremony that was personalized, relaxed, serious when it needed to be, had a touch of humour to keep things light, and retained our guest’s attention throughout. We also felt that during our ceremony he spoke to us in a way that calmed our nerves and made us feel as though we were having a conversation just between the three of us.

Love and Memories go hand-in-hand.

It’s difficult for us to pinpoint the most memorable thing from our day. To us everything was perfect… Then again, the love that was shared with us on that day from our guests has to be the most memorable. We can personally say that on our wedding day our hearts felt so full that they were going to burst!

Husband & Wife Coordinating Team.

We had an “On the day” wedding coordinator which was included in the venue hire. We found this service extremely beneficial as our coordinator was helpful when planning various details of our wedding. On the day I have no idea what we would have done without our coordinator as she ensured all our service providers arrived on time and that the day ran according to plan. Everywhere we needed her, she was there. Everything we hadn’t thought of, she had.

We would like to highly commend Christien and Nel Schrecker from Husband Wife Team for their incredible service. They assisted with our planning, supplied our décor, made our very scrumptious wedding cake and provided our on the day wedding coordination. They are a power husband and wife duo!

A picture is worth a thousand words.

As the idiom says, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this is the epitome of Landi’s work. Landi is a talented photographer who is able to capture the essence of a wedding day in a way that words could not simply describe. Our wedding photography was extremely important for us and Landi exceeded our expectations. Her services at our wedding were truly the greatest gift anyone could have given us and we can only compliment her on the outstanding work she did.

There is a special story behind the engagement ring…

In April 2016, 8 months before Mark proposed, the person who was tasked with wrapping up his grandmother’s estate contacted him. According to the gentleman Mark’s grandmother, Lily, had set aside some money which she has specified was only supposed to be released on this particular date 3 years after she had passed away. In her will she stated that the money was for her grandson Mark to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend Holly. Strangely enough Mark had already begun the process of saving up to buy an engagement ring in order to propose so everything had been perfectly timed. Liliy had only known me for fewer than 10 months, but, she knew her grandson Mark and somehow she knew that someday we would get married.

On The Menu:

Pre Snack / Starter:
Harvest Table with homemade bread, party wheels, biscuits, homemade jams, butter, cheddar cheese, camembert cheese, brie cheese, sweet chili cream cheese, salmon cream cheese, chicken liver pate/snoek pate, vegetables crudities, preserves, assorted cold meats.
Main:
Pulled pork, slow cooked in ginger beer, served with spring onion, coriander, sour cream, Mexican three bean salad, baked sweet potato, aubergine lasagne bake, grilled corn with butter and parsley.
Dessert:
Churros with a chocolate dipping sauce.

 

On the Playlist:

Rory Batl-Ax Rijkers was our DJ. He played a great selection of music and managed to keep our guests dancing until the reception doors eventually closed at 2am (Mark and I included). As a matter of fact, three guests attending another wedding at De Uijlenes came to join us because they heard us having such a joll on the other side of the farm.

Challenges Overcome.

If we could change anything it would be to have all the speeches in one go instead of doing two here and two there since people tend to all run out for a smoke so you have to heard them all back inside again.

We had the most difficulty with the bridesmaids’ dresses because we wanted to have them made. But, if I could advise anything rather buy dresses for your bridesmaids because this eliminates a lot of potential headaches. The infinity dress is super versatile for any body types and comes highly recommended in my books.

It was extremely helpful to choose a venue that offers multiple services/an all-inclusive package such as catering, décor, wedding cake, venue setup, accommodation, flowers etc. This eliminated having to deal with multiple suppliers and transporting of various items.

 

Honeymoon tales!

Eat. Sleep. Swim. Repeat.

We spent a week at Emeraude Beach Attitude in Mauritius which was the perfect place for some much needed RNR after months of wedding planning and preparation. During the week we indulged in the buffet, drank unlimited cocktails and lounged by the poolside/beach.

On one of the evenings the resort arranged a romantic four-course dinner for us which rendered us unable to move from our seats.

We also took some time to go snorkeling (which we loved) and took a boat ride out to explore Île aux Cerfs where we met a few little critters.

 

Wedding Day in One Sentence:

Just as our cake topper said it was truly the “best day ever”

 

 

Service Providers:

Venue: De Uijlenes
Photographer: ORGANICTALES
Dress: Urban Bride
DJ: Rory Rijkers
Officiant: Cape Town Officiators

How a Fortune Cookie predicted this Pregnancy

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Newlands Forest Maternity Photos

~Zara’s first chapter.

Let me read your fortune.

Donna: I took about three different pregnancy tests that afternoon. It showed all positives. It was so overwhelming. I so much immediately wanted to share the news with Graeme but decided to wait and do a surprise announcement the next morning. The pharmacist said it was better to test in the mornings for confirmation.

So, I went to buy a few fortune cookies at ‘Jewel of the East’ in Rondebosch. So, what I did was that I wrapped the one fortune cookie in a wet damp serviette and microwaved it for 30 seconds. I unwrapped it and opened the soft fortune cookie and swopped the note out with my handwritten one. I then closed the fortune cookie and it went hard in a few minutes. I put it back in the same plastic packaging and used the GHD to seal end of the packet. It looked brand new and not tampered with.

Graeme: I got up early in the morning as usual and I went to make my coffee and Donna’s tea for her sleeping in bed. The weird thing was Donna was up and about as well, with a big silly smile on her face.  I felt there was something going on. Then, Donna said that she has a surprise for me. It was a fortune cookie but I still had no idea. And when I opened the fortune cookie. It said ‘You are going to be a father J ”. I felt so overwhelmed and started getting teary eyed.

Can you guess the gender?

Graeme: I always wanted a girl and I always knew it was going to be a girl. I knew I was going to get a girl anyway because of my sins. Haha. And my wish came true.

Donna: Being the tomboy in the family, no doubt, I always had a feeling it was going to be a boy. Looking at my family side, all boys were born first. The boys outnumbered girls by 3 to 1. So, when we went for a fetal assessment scan at 12 weeks and she was a girl! I just couldn’t believe it! Graeme was right!

 

A name for a Star.

Graeme: We were going through a million names and one day I came across Zara, the name just felt right. It sounded exotic and unusual to me. I like the Z. It is the last letter of the alphabet and it means Princess in Russia or star in Arabic. 

Donna: Her full name is Zara Georgia Galloway. Why I chose Georgia as a second name is that she named after both my deceased grandmothers from my side of the family. Both had the names Georgina.

Actually, Zara was conceived the same week when my grandmother passed away. I could pinpoint the date with my ovulation days. It is quite bittersweet because my grandmother is always asking when we going to have a baby.

 

 

Book your photo session by clicking here.

How this one-eyed horse became a therapist

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Bazzy – The Pirate Horse.

~The Animal Therapist’s Tale.

When it started.

I started riding in Sweden as a child. I never had my own pony or horse, though. I stopped riding at 20 when I went to university, and only picked it up again in South Africa when I was way over 30. Bazzy, who I bought in 2013 after leasing for a couple of years, is the first and only horse I’ve owned. When I bought him, he was in his teens already and a level-headed, easygoing horse—just what I wanted to get me back into the swing of things.
We’ve had our ups and downs. He’s been hospitalised three times since I bought him. Twice for a persistent sinus infection—he ended up having three teeth taken out and holes drilled in his face. The scars are still visible. Then last Christmas he suffered an eye injury and subsequent infection, and his eye needed to be taken out. He has recovered remarkably well, despite getting on a bit (he’s turning 20 in September) and I’m already back to competing my ‘pirate pony’.

Bazzy the therapist.

Bazzy is my therapist, my gym, my child and my valued employee. He costs a bomb but then I don’t have to spend money on therapy, a gym card, or school fees… It’s a bargain, if you think about it.

The Five Day Ride.

I try to ride five days a week. Bazzy is getting on a bit and it’s important for him to keep moving, or he can get stiff. Just like me! I have a flexible job that allows me to ride during the day (I’m a journalist and I work from home). I’ve also chosen to limit my workload so that I earn a bit less but have more free time to spend with my horse.

What kind of riding do you compete in?

We showjump in the lower grades. I’ve done the odd dressage show. We used to compete in showing—working hunter classes—but we can’t do that anymore since he’s lost an eye. He’s not exactly ‘true to type’ anymore.

What have horses taught you?

To be in the moment. I have a very cerebral job, and I constantly worry about deadlines, editors, having too much work, or too little. But when I go to the stables I forget about everything except what is in the moment, because that’s the only way you can communicate with horses so they understand. When I get back in my car, it’s as if I’ve spent a couple of hours in a different world. That’s incredibly special.

What made you decide to do a photo session with your horse?

I’ve wanted to do one for a while, but then he lost his eye and I was reminded that nothing lasts forever. I didn’t want to try to recapture the past, but to capture the now—scars, wrinkles and all.

 

Book your session by clicking here

 

Look what happened at this Rainy Knorhoek Wedding

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Rainy Knorhoek Wedding

~A Rainy Chapter.

All the weather channels predicted rain on this Knorhoek Wedding day, and dark clouds were looming with heavy drops all day.  Although, as a wedding photographer, I was beyond excited about the overcast light, I couldn’t help but secretly worry that the beautifully planned outside ceremony might possibly get moved inside.  But oh boy – all the element were so ready to celebrate this Knorhoek Wedding day and right as the first kiss were about to happen the most beautiful sun rays broke through the clouds and trees to congratulate Zurena & Wayne on their promise to one another.  Read their story here:

 

When eyes met across a dance floor and a beautiful story unfolded.

Bride: Our eyes locked across the dance floor for the first time. It was his broad shoulders, strong jawline and beautiful hazel-brown eyes that first lured me in. However, I soon fell head over heels in love with his genuine, kind and humble character.

Groom: We saw each other across the dance floor for the first time. Somehow I felt immediately that there was a connection and an attraction. Her spontaneous laughter, similar outlook, philosophy on life and just her loving nature attracted me to her. She showed me how to love and how to receive love.

A Proposal after a silent drive.

We had been talking about getting married long before the actual proposal so I knew it would happen at some point. However, with Wayne being a very ‘matter-of-fact’ guy, he did it the only way he knew how. We were strolling around in the mall and he suggested that we head into the jewellery store. He then asked me which rings I fancy and insisted that I try a few on. I was hesitant as I was not sure whether he was kidding or not. After some convincing I settled on a ring and we left the store. On our way to the car I asked him whether we were ‘engaged now’ to which he replied, “Don’t jump the gun.” After a long, silent drive home, he opened up a bottle of wine and popped the question.

A Vintage Romance Wedding Style.

We both like all things vintage and I wanted to add some femininity so we ended up with ‘vintage romance’.  We wanted a timeless and elegant atmosphere so we combined some very rustic items with touches of gold and lots of greenery. This was complemented by the soft blue and pink accents in the flowers and other décor.

 

Knorhoek Wedding Venue.

We chose Knorhoek as our wedding venue as it just represented everything we had envisioned. We wanted an outside ceremony among the trees and they were able to offer this and more. What really bowled us over was the absolutely gorgeous restaurant that was already decorated to suit our theme and it made for a very intimate and cosy setting. Furthermore, they took care of the flowers, catering and having a guesthouse on the farm made everything more convenient.

Inspiration from her Mother’s Wedding Dress.

My mother’s dress was very modest and I always thought she looked so classy on her wedding day so I wanted to emulate that. I always knew I wanted a lace dress – it is soft and feminine and timeless. I chose a mermaid style dress with a boat-neck and open back. I wanted modesty with a hint of sexy. The detachable skirt added a touch of drama – just enough to make my dress extra special. After a long search for the perfect lace, I had the dress custom-made by Shienaaz Adams.

 

Make-up and Hair by Zylia Lennox.

Zylia Lennox! What a marvel of a women – beautiful inside and out. She did a fantastic job on everyone and she was super professional from day one. I would recommend Zylia not just because she is excellent at what she does but also because she is a genuinely kind person.

An Endearing Wedding Officiant.

Our wedding was officiated by Father Stephen Tekana. We chose him because he made us feel comfortable. Our pre-marital sessions were long chats over tea and it felt as though we were simply visiting an older and wiser friend. He has a very endearing persona and had our guests captivated throughout the ceremony.

A Violin, Cello and Flute.

The beautiful setting came to life as the string quartet from Zest Music started playing. They set the tone for the day and created the perfect atmosphere. Our pre-drinks and reception music was provided by Ingrid Wolff.

The most memorable moment.

Bride: It has to be walking down the aisle, trembling and nervous and facing my husband-to-be for the first time. When he looked into my eyes as we were about to say our vows, my soul was at peace and my heart was smiling.

Groom:  As my bride walked down the aisle, my back was faced towards her. The string quartet was playing “A thousand years” in the background. Simply knowing that this is the most important defining moment in my life and knowing that my bride was walking towards me, the tears rolled down my cheeks uncontrollably.

Towerbosch Catering.

The food was provided by the Towerbosch venue. We had a smoked salmon and asparagus starter and the main was a buffet style feast (served at the tables) that consisted of slow cooked lamb, sirloin, a melange of vegetables, couscous, a red onion and tomato salad and the best roast potatoes ever! This was followed by a granadilla panacotta.

Wouldn’t change a thing!

Both my husband and I had wished the rain away but when it eventually started raining, it actually contributed to the cozy and fun atmosphere inside the restaurant. So, no. I would not change anything.

 

The Wedding Photographer Experience.

I am going to be honest and admit: I fought for Landi. Wayne is very budget conscious and it took a lot of convincing but I am so very glad he conceded and today he is even happier that we chose her. She is so bubbly and friendly and made us feel comfortable from day one. I really admire her passion for photography and it is reflected in each and every image. She was very professional at all times and I am eternally grateful that she even got Wayne to enjoy having his pictures taken – he was very camera shy at first. Lastly, if you are looking for someone who will go the extra mile to get the perfect shot and to ensure her client’s satisfaction: choose Landi Groenewald from Organictales Photography.

Groom: Landi, you are certainly unbelievable. The casual, yet professional approach made it very easy for us, especially me. I do not like somebody taking photos of me, but you had me it smooth, comfortable and easy experience. THANK YOU.

Advice to other couples:

Bride: Don’t spend too much money on a cake unless you’ll be serving it as dessert. Our guests were not concerned with the cake at all and we forgot the top tier at the venue. If you are going to have a guestbook, ask your bridal party members to ensure your guests sign it – we forgot about it and so did our MC. The most difficult was coming to an agreement on wants versus needs. The important thing is to be willing to compromise and to remember that the day is about the two of you.

Groom: It is important that you create a budget and try and follow it tooth and nail. It helps having a T-accounting system as it provides a concrete indication of a money trail. Furthermore, if you intend using a service provider, ensure that you read the fine-print and understand its implications on the budget.

The Wedding In ONE SENTENCE.

It was simply magical and an unforgettable experience.

 

 

Service Providers on the day:

Venue:  KNORHOEK TOWERBOSCH WEDDING VENUE

Photography:  ORGANICTALES – LANDI GROENEWALD

Hair & Makeup:  ZYLIA LENNOX

Music: ZEST MUSIC

Fairy Lights: JOLI CREATIONS

Accessories: Hashtag with Love

DJ / Music: Ingrid Wolff from DJ Dean

Unity Candle: Unity Candles / Arlene de Jager – 0846277607

 

Hudsons Wedding – Lisha & Sebastian

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Hudson’s Wedding

An Austrian Chapter.

Lisha & Sebastian’s wedding was the kick start to my 2018 Autumn Wedding Season.  With a beautiful warm day and not a hint of wind, it definitely was a perfect day to exchange promises.  Read their tale below.

 

An Online Gaming Story.

We met playing against one another online in 2004, we became rivals, competitors and then friends… Years later we were chatting online (as our friendship was based online) and decided to get a coffee together…. We met, chatted, stayed way passed a reasonable time and found ourselves on a 7-year journey to the most beautiful day… The day I married my best friend. The attributes that drew me to Lisha… Her unending and unfathomable happiness, her positivity and her eyes. That’s what got me to buy her coffee the rest was just perfection.

What attracted me to Sebastian first was that he has the ability too always see the best in every situation, his charmingness and that he always made me smile till my cheeks hurt … let’s not even get started on the handsome topic.

How did the proposal go down?

Hmmmm, a lot of sweat, sore fingers and subterfuge.  I lured her to my family’s holiday house, sent her for a hot bath and told her to really soak and enjoy it… while doing that I made Dinner (Ravioli which i had prepped before) and lit 200 Fairy lights and placed them all over the room. I had a roaring fire going in the fire place and had set the table in the middle of the room… When she came out of the bath, there was a trail of candles from her door to the table and me…. Desert was the most sweet when she said she would marry me. Yes, I was on one knee.

What was the style of your wedding?

Lisha really spear headed the style of the wedding, it was more of what it shouldn’t be than what it should be, because you can define something so Organic into a box. The wedding was not going to be a Cinderella ball, or an earthy farm style but rather just an amalgamation of what she felt best personified our tastes and you wonder why I married her ?

 

How did you choose on your venue?

We Looked at a lot of venues and some of them were great but unrealistically priced and some of them had aspects that were beautiful but then lacked a reception area… in the end we found the Hudsons at the Vredenheim and we knew after walking the grounds that it had everything we wanted and more! Long grassy gardens, beautiful flowers and fountains, willow trees, a lake, friendly people and beautiful seating areas….

Is there any special story behind your rings?

Lisha’s Engagement ring I made myself as we are manufacturing goldsmiths… Her wedding band was her own design with the uniformity of the channel set diamonds to match her engagement ring and with the rose gold filigree underneath to complement the delicacy and bring out the beauty of the design.

How did you decide on your dress?

After many many dress fittings and feeling unimpressed I went for a consultation at Didi Couture. I got her contact details from my bridesmaid and mc who got her dress made by her. After going to Didi I was blown away by her honesty and friendliness, she made me feel at home. I was looking for something comfortable and breathtaking at the same time. She made exactly what I had in mind with her amazing style and perfection.

Who made sure your Make Up was perfect?

I did get quotations from many different vendors, I am not an everyday make-up wearer so I was looking for something lite and airy, then I found Talita from Mist Make-up, she does airbrush makeup which is just that and it is tear proof as well. When she did my make-up on the day it was beautiful and suited my personality and skin perfectly.

The most memorable moment of the day:

The most memorable moment of the day was when Lish first came into view in her wedding dress and started walking down the aisle towards me… I’ll never forget the moment till the day I die and probably not even then.

For me it was when I was walking towards and then down the aisle, I was so nervous I was trembling. As I was walking though the rows of family, friends and loved ones I looked up and saw Sebastian face, it was as if my heart shifted to tranquil quietness and my soul could breathe. In that moment I have never felt so much happiness and loved so completely.

Who officiated the ceremony?

Our Officiant was – Willie Viljoen, after meeting him and a few others we both felt that he was the right pick and that he understood us and who we were. We did not supply him with any material and we were not disappointed.

How did you experience your Photographer’s services on the day?

Wow…. The photographer’s services were and are above and beyond… ORGANICTALES was on time, friendly, straight to the point, comforting, complementary and helpful all at the same time. She would move the room around and get you involved, laugh with you and put you at ease. She would requisition a boat to cross a lake for a perfect shot… and even scale a tree to get the perfect angle. I’d say that as far as services go, how can you describe someone or a relationship of services rendered if you then befriend them like they are family or an honored guest because they were that…. I’m at a loss for adjectives. Their role in the day was irreplaceable and unforgettable.

 

Who were your videographers and how did you experience their presence on the day?

Mustard seed films – They were the perfect complement to the photographer’s entourage in the way they stayed out the way but where present and how they made you feel comfortable and feel befriended at the same time. They offered valid points, opinions and were constantly on the ball. They helped make the whole experience that much richer and fuller without making you feel uncomfortable or like you had the paparazzi after you.

Who were your caterers?

The Caterers were the venue themselves The Hudsons at the Vredenheim, the food was great, well planned and made brilliantly. For Starters we had Roasted Vegetable & Feta Tartlet with Tomato & Basil Coulis, Mains was Prime Roast Beef with Chef’s Gravy, Traditional Chicken Pie. Served with Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Savoury Rice, Pumpkin Fritters, Greek Salad and for Desert we had Home Baked Malva Pudding with Custard or Ice cream and ended with our amazing 3 tier Wedding Cake.

If you could change anything of the day, what would it be?

I wish we could have extended the evening more, added a few extra hours into it, like made it a 36 hour day instead of 24 hour day!

 

Advice to other couples still planning?

Talk to each other, be open and be willing to compromise for middle ground… also start early and don’t settle for anything but the perfect “thing” for you 🙂

 

Tell us about the honeymoon!

Honeymoon still coming! but we went away for 4 days to a spa and retreat to be alone and just be together without anyone or anything to pull us away from ourselves 🙂

Describe your wedding in ONE sentence.

The most unforgettable, beautiful and amazing day one could spend with family and friends to join two souls who know they are meant to be together.

 

Vendors and Service Providers on the day:
Venue / Decor / Ceremony:
Hudson’s Venue – 021 881 3590

Photography:
Organictales – 071 274 8358
Assistant – Karien Saaiman

Dress:
Did Couture – 082 772 2033

DJ:
Dean – 0849224757

Makeup & Hair:
Mist Makeup – 084 444 5266

Bridesmaid Dresses & Groomsmen Ties:
Joan – 083 259 5073

Officiant:
Cape Marriages – 071 677 6072

Videography:
Mustardseed Films – 073 923 1112
Video Diary:
Clifford Wort – 083 419 1251

Invitations:
Good Letter Best – 021 510 8600

Bride & Groom Prep Accommodation:
The Wild Mushroom – 021 881 3586

Cake:
Wade’s Cakes – 082 932 4522

The Beauty in the Beast

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The Beauty in the Beast.

~An Equine Tale.

A while ago I published a blog post that depicted my journey in to becoming a photographer.  This journey kick started with my childhood love for horses and the adventures and companionship they brought me. If you haven’t read it, you can do so by clicking HERE.
Claire and I have been connected with each other via social media for around 12 years because of our shared love for horses.  We even share a birthday! Therefore I was quite excited and honoured when she asked me to do a shoot with her and her horse, Olympic City aka BEAST.
Here follows their story:

A Childhood Dream Becoming a Lifestyle

I started riding at the age of about 11 or 12 years old.  It was something I always wanted to do and my mom surprised me by booking me on a pony camp.
Horses are basically my lifestyle now.  Living on our own property means you have a constant responsibility, and your priorities have to adapt.  Riding was my one “happy place” getting through the terrible teens, and I’ve met most of my closest friends through horse riding.  They also taught me dedication, perseverance, humility but also confidence in myself.
Their role is also for me to learn as much as possible.  My intention is to compete my horses and I always have a desire to keep learning, keep growing and always achieving the “next level.”

 

 

A full time passion and responsibility:

I ride on average 6 days a week.  Usually 2-3 horses exercised a day (ridden or lunged) but this varies depending on whether I’ve got injured horses or adhoc riding work. I have regular clients and offer adhoc exercising for some extra income to afford my lessons.
Sometimes if I don’t have a day off during the week, it can become difficult to coordinate them all in a day sometimes.  I exercise 2-3 before work in summer or 2 after work.
In winter it’s a lot more difficult so I’d ride 1 in the morning, 2 in the evening and increase the numbers on weekends.  I do work a full time job and I teach for the riding school half day on Saturdays.

The different disciplines explored:

I started out show jumping but it just wasn’t Beast’s thing, so we started dressage.  Once I started understanding dressage and feeling the difference it made in Beast, I couldn’t get enough.  I’ve dabbled a bit in eventing and loved it, but I’m now most ambitious in dressage and just play in other disciplines.

 

Inspiration behind a photo session:

I’ve wanted to do a photo shoot with Beast for years and have been putting it off because of costs.  Beast is my first horse I’ve owned solely and we’ve been together almost 12 years.  It was a real roller coaster of a time learning on him as he was actually way too much horse for me and I was way too much of a novice to know this.  But we managed to accomplish and fail at enough things to get as far as we did by doing Elementary dressage when I had only ever dreamed of Making Elementary level with him.
Last year his age kicked in a lot and sooner than I expected.  Instead of just retiring him from competition we made the decision to retire him to just hacking.  I was devastated even though my gut feel knew it was coming.  I knew it was now or never for a photo shoot as he started dropping muscle quickly and I wanted to remember him healthy and strong.

 

Location:  White Hourse Stables

To book  your own shoot – click HERE

Riaan & Mardené

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Riaan & Mardené

– A Thirsty Chapter.

It’s dry.  When the sun is not scorching the earth and licking up the last bit of moisture with its flaming tongues of thirst, it is the wind that evaporates any traces of water in to thin air.
This is what the Western Cape is currently facing.  With none of the regular lush green landscapes we are used to, we are now learning to find the beauty in what we once saw as devastation.
The dry, sandy banks of dried up reservoirs have become art.  We see the bittersweet beauty of white dust reflecting the pink sky.  A world transformed.  A reminder that love will conquer our deepest fears.  Love can florish where we plant it – we just need to believe.  Here follows a story:

 

 

Book your photo session by clicking here

Stilbaai Beach Wedding

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Stilbaai Beach Wedding

– A Sandy Chapter

I concluded my 2017 wedding season with a highlight trip to Jongensfontein.  A small beach town a few kilometers from Stilbaai.  Like most destination weddings, I arrived the day before and met all the close friends and family as we sat around a big camp fire eating barbecued ribs and chatting about the next day’s celebrations.
I think by now most people know that one of my favourite parts about being a wedding photographer is becoming friends with so many wonderful people.  The journey leading up to these celebrations is one filled with excitement and hope and I truly feel blessed to walk this journey with so many new friends.
Here follows the unity of Chris-marie & Steyn Wessels:

 

Growing up as friends

We’ve known each other for most of our lives. We both grew up with our families camping in Jongensfontein over holidays.  This is how we met. We only really got to know each other at the end of 2012. First it started as friends and quickly escalated to something more. It was his blue eyes that drew me to him!

 

A Christmas Present:

On Christmas day 2016 we celebrated our 4th year anniversary. We spent the day with his family, but when we got back to Jongensfontein, we went for a walk on the very same beach we got married on.  He dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him!

A Rustic Beach wedding

We decided on a rustic theme and got most of our inspiration from social media, pinterest, friends and family.
We wanted both a beach and a farm wedding. So we decided to get married on the beach where we got engaged and to have our reception on a horse farm, Jongensdal, just outside Jongensfontein.  This venue fitted our ideas perfectly.

A dress tailored to her liking

I bought my dress on Gumtree! I took it to the very talented Esna Saayman from Riversdale, who changed the dress to my liking. I wanted an open back and a lot of lace. She made sure that the dress became a dream wedding dress to me. The veil was bought at Bride & Co and was a 5 meter long ivory veil with lace outlines.

Rings plain and simple

We both like a plain setting and that’s how we decided on our rings. My ring was made at Viljoens juweliers in Worcester and Steyn’s wedding ring was made by House of Kallie with a wood inlay. The wood inlay is something he really wanted. My wedding band is a Swarovski rosegold ring.

Sister Love

Stephanie Kamfer from “The Beauty Spot” and Natasha Henning, a cousin of the bride, did a great job with the make-up of the bride, bridesmaids and mother of the bride.
Mariaan Odendaal, the sister of the bride, and Verna-Marie Beukes, a close friend, are both employees of Scar Hair in Cape Town and took care of Chris-marie’s perfect hair.
Martelize Wessels created the wreaths for the bridesmaids’ hair with greens, folded flowers and roses.

Riversdale NG Church

Ds. Deon Beyers from NG Church Riversdale West officiated our wedding. This is the Chrurch I grew up in. He was very well prepared and gave a wonderful message at the ceremony. He also prepared us for the ceremony during a practise session on the beach the day before.

A Photographer with Experience

Landi from Organictales Photography was very professional and we could see that this was definitely not her first time taking wedding photos. She went the extra mile and tried to capture every moment of our special day. She made us feel at ease and was not just a photographer, but also became a friend. Pictures are all you have left after your wedding day and we wanted to make sure we had the best photographer capturing our special moments.

Videographer in motion

Henlu & Karin Cronje from “Cronje Productions” did an excellent job at recording our special day on camera. They literally think about every little detail. I would definitely recommend them to anyone that is getting married.

Memories with Friends and Family

For both of us the most memorable moment of the day was when we walked in at the reception and everyone waited for us with sparkles and something to drink.  We could see everyone was having a good time which definitely set the mood for the evening.

A Cash Bar with Cocktails

Hansie Saayman Bar services made gin cocktails, cosmopolitans and had lots of ciders when the guests arrived at the reception. Red wine, white wine and grape juice were from Calitzdorp Wine Cellar and Champagne from KWV. Hansie and his team were very organized and had more than enough available for everyone.

Friends and Food!

Now this is a surprise to everyone… We didn’t have a caterer.
 Breads and spreads were made by the bride, the mothers, and grandmothers of the bride and groom.
A close friend of ours did a Lamb Spit for the main. Our farm neighbours organized the kitchen, made the roasted veggies, potatoes and pumpkin fritters. My two aunts made the salad and tropical fruit sticks!
 Everyone was so helpful and this was much so cheaper than caterers.
Menu:
Starters:
Snacks and a variety of breads and spreads
Main:
Sheep spit
Sheep spit rolls with mozzarella and bacon inside.
Roasted Veggies
Crispy Potatoes
Pumpkin Fritters
Salad Sticks
Tropical fruit sticks
Desert:
Wedding cake – Carrot cake
Ferrero Roche Tower
Doughnut wall
Take-away/eat-in portion deserts: Chocolate mouse, peppermint crisp tart, cheese cake and strawberry tart.

Music and the Ocean

 Charles Du Preez from “Just For You” made sure everything went according to plan with music and sound at the ceremony as well as the reception.  He did an exquisite job. One of my bridesmaids, Irma Du Toit, sang a beautiful song at the ceremony called “Far away” written by David Edwards.  Jeandre Schultz from the band ‘Slow Jack”  in Cape Town, played the guitar while Irma sang while we signed the register. This was a very special moment with the ocean waving in the background and all our friends and family witnessing our union.

Chris-marie & Steyn’s Advice to other couples:

Planning a wedding is a very big step. Be organized and double check everything. Get a good photographer and videographer, because this is all you have left at the end to keep as memories. It is important to have a DJ that knows what they’re doing. Sound and music can make or break a wedding. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Make use of your loved ones, friends and family for advice and planning. Our friends and family were very helpful and without them, our wedding would not have been the same.

Multiple Destination Honeymoon!

We had such a lovely Honeymoon driving from Stillbay to Mosselbay and spending the night at Nyaru Game Lodge. From there we went to PE and then to East London. We had a lovely time at Coffee bay next and had the privilege to see Hole in the wall. We were traveling along the coast till Durban where we got onto the MSC Sinfonia for a 3 night trip to the Portuguese Island.

Wessels Wedding in ONE sentence: 

The best party we ever had!

 

 

List of Service Providers:

Photography: ORGANICTALES
Caterers: Friends and Family
DJ: Just For You
Bar:  Hansie Saayman Bar Services
Dress alterations: Esna Saayman
MAU: Stephanie Kamfer & Natasha Henning
Hair: Mariaan Odendaal & Verna-Marie Beukes
Videography: Henlu Cronje

 

 

 

 

Watch Chris-Marie & Steyn’s wedding trailer here.  Filmed and compiled by Henlu Cronje Productions

 

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