Warm Karoo Wedding
A Hot Summer’s Chapter
I will always enjoy weddings in the Free State. Not only do I get to visit my parents, but I also get to reminisce on my childhood. The smells, the sounds and even the skies – it all comes together in to one past dream. The warm weather on this wedding day truly emphasized all those senses which all led to a wedding I am unlikely to ever forget. Here follows the story of Ilze & Jacques’s tale.
A High School Sweetheart Promise:
Jacques and I are high school sweethearts. We met at a sweet-sixteen barefoot-and-headband-party. He fell in love first and I followed a few weeks later. Fast forward six years down the line and we’ve never been happier.
She: Since the moment I met him, he made me laugh. He was a rugby player with an obsession for all things nerdy. From the get-go he made me laugh. He’s a romantic at heart and from the first day we met, he made me feel special and valuable.
He: The moment I met her I could immediately see there was something different about this girl. I am normally indecisive about what I want and if, I in fact want anything. But I knew that I had to have her. Her beauty, her drive and her honesty are some of the many qualities that intrigued me from that first moment. She did not make it easy but I was determined to pursue her.
A Treasure Hunt to “I Do”
I’m a very intuitive person so it takes quite a lot to actually surprise me. He planned out every single detail like a Russian spy. Under false pretences, we flew down to Strand in Cape Town. I was under the impression that we were there to celebrate Jacques’ grandfathers’ birthday with the family. Everyone was in on it. My mother-in-law actually packed fake suitcases as they were supposedly driving from Bloemfontein to Cape Town just a few hours after us. I suspected something but convinced myself that it was selfish to think of my own engagement on Grandpa Kelly’s birthday.
When we got to their holiday home in the Strand, I was actually the one to suggest that we go and have a late lunch down the road. At the restaurant, Jacques got up and went to the restroom. A waiter brought me an envelope saying that I was supposed to go outside and get into a white car.
When I got outside, the whole street was full of white cars. I was confused for a moment and scared that I might get abducted if I got into a strangers car. Luckily I recognised one of our friends in a white car. I got in the car and received a second envelope. It was a treasure hunt. I had to figure out every clue on my own and every envelope had a puzzle piece with it. Eventually the clues led me back to their home. Once upstairs, I had to assemble the puzzle which turned out to say “Sal jy met my …”
The last clue asked me to go down to the beach and find him. When I got there, a small table with candles and champagne was set up. He was standing on the windy beach and first mocked me for taking so long to build the puzzle. He then asked me what the puzzle had said. I told him that the puzzle was incomplete and only said, “Sal jy met my…” He then opened up his jacket and he was wearing a black shirt that said “TROU?” With not a single doubt in my mind I said yes!
Laid back Inspiration
From the start we wanted a wedding with a relaxed and laid back atmosphere. We lived and breathed the motto: A beautiful wedding people might remember for a while, but a fun wedding they’ll remember forever. I actually had the décor and venue figured out before we even got engaged (after six years a girls’ mind cannot help but wander).
I got inspiration form everything and everyone. Lots of older people actually had some very good ideas and some parts of the wedding just popped into my mind while I was at work. Lastly, I can honestly say that I am now a professional Pinterest guru.
A Venue that captured their hearts:
When we first started talking about marriage we drove around Bloemfontein and when we drove onto the Warm Karoo property. I told Jacques that this was where I was going to get married. After the engagement we viewed every other venue in and around Bloemfontein but my heart was already set on Warm Karoo and no other venue could match it. I was especially drawn to the wooden beams in the chapel and in the main hall. I thought that it would make for great photos, and it did.
A Dress made to fit:
I never really tried on a lot of dresses. I knew what I liked and what I felt comfortable in. I’ve always said that I want a wedding dress that fits me and not a dress that I have to fit in to. I’ve never heard a bad word uttered about Julie Wedderburn and I now know why. She made me feel so comfortable and confident. She is a perfectionist and really does go the extra mile. She was honest without being offensive and if I could do everything over, I would choose her time and time again.
Friends on Hair & Make-Up:
Long-time friend and my most trusted beautician, Lucinda Lombard from Almyhart was in charge of making my bridesmaids even prettier than they already were. Amy Olden did my own airbrush makeup and made me feel so good about myself. Even without the makeup. Jana Azar is also a friend of mine and I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to do our hair on the big day.
When hearts collide – The most memorable moment:
Her: The most memorable moment of the day was when I touched his arm at the end of the aisle. I was nervous as my Dad and I walked down the aisle. When my Dad handed me over to him and I got to put my arm through his, my whole body relaxed and my heart felt at home. I knew that what we were doing on this day was straight out of the hand of God.
His: My most memorable moment is captured in the moment right before she walked in and the moment I saw her as she walked in. I am normally not an emotional person and I was not sure if I was going to shed a tear at the moment she walked in. But before her song started playing, a bag piper named Mark played a beautiful song to celebrate her Scottish heritage and that was when the waterworks started.
An officiant with soul:
Pastor Leon Fourie officiated the ceremony. He and his wife have been married for 25 years and we wanted someone dear to our hearts to marry us. We also did our pre-marital counselling with Pastor Leon and his wife so he knows us on a personal and individual level as well. I would recommend pre-marital counselling to every newly engaged couple as it keeps your mind on what’s actually important during wedding planning and helps with what comes after it.
A Photographer who walks the journey:
Just after our engagement, Jacques and I discussed three things that we wanted from our photographer. We wanted someone with experience, someone who would be committed to us and with whom we could form a comfortable and relaxed friendship. And lastly, we wanted great results. Organictales ticked all the boxes and then included a few more. Her service before, on and after the day was impeccable.
The importance of our wedding photos came down to this: After spending months and months planning the cake and décor and dress and shoes and venue and food and wine and vows and speeches, we wanted it all captured in time in a creative and artistic way. We want to look back in 40 years’ time and still feel the same emotions that we experienced on our wedding day. We wanted photos that would last a lifetime because that’s what we want out of our marriage.
A professional and creative videographer:
A wedding video was one of the few things my new husband just wouldn’t budge on. After realizing what a wedding costs in real life we desperately tried to cut down on a few things. I immediately thought that cutting the wedding video would help. Luckily, Jacques wouldn’t hear any of it. It was one of the few things about the wedding that he wouldn’t compromise on. Today I can only thank him for that.
Raisingflags is as good as it gets. We decided to get wedding videographers as well as a photographer because we wanted every single moment, every laugh and every cry captured in time. A photo captures a moment in time, but we wanted to capture the atmosphere of the day as well. Francois and his team delivered professional and friendly service, both before on and after our wedding day. It was great to hear that our photographer and videographer actually organized to meet each other before the wedding, just to plan how, when and where they would be shooting.
I wanted a yellow gold ring because I wanted to do things differently. I originally chose a design that, Pinterest recommended. Jacques received two of the three diamonds from his parents and bought the third one himself. My sister designed the ring according to the three diamonds and included some of the original design as well.
We chose Jacques’ ring while walking around in jewellery shops. I wanted his ring to also have some gold tones to match mine. He wears his rubber wedding ring most days but puts on his real one every chance he gets.
A Coordinator included:
Warm Karoo includes its own wedding coordinator. She comes in a small and friendly but dynamite package that is Tammy. Tammy was there to guide and advice from the beginning to the end. I trusted her with literally EVERYTHING. It was because of her that I could rest easy the night before the wedding.
Music to bring the feet out to dance:
Starsound delivered exactly what we asked for. It was great that they knew the venue and that the venue knew them. From the entrance until the last song, the DJ’s were great. We could not have asked for better.
A Perfect day to cherish:
I wouldn’t change anything about the day. It was perfect from the beginning to the end. If I could, I would make the day a few hours longer. Just to celebrate our perfect day for as long as I could.
Ilze & Jacques’s Advice to Other Couples:
To any couples still in the whirlwind that is planning a wedding, I would advise that you make time for your better half without all the wedding mojo. It’s really important to try and switch off from wedding planning and to remind yourself why and for whom, you are doing it all. Remember that your wedding is just one day in the rest of your life. Try and soak up all the little details, capture every moment in your mind. Make time for your guests, but do spend a few moments alone with the most important person there.
Thank you to all the service providers who contributed to the day: