In the beginning…
How did you meet?
We were both expats living in Abu Dhabi in the UAE and, funnily, we were both on the rebound! We met through mutual expat friends and went out a couple of times. Since the day he sent a humongous bouquet of roses to the school where I was teaching, we have been inseparable.
How did he propose?
Oh man! He went to great lengths to keep the proposal a surprise. There is a five-star hotel in the Liwa area of the UAE (the name of the hotel is Qasr al Sarab) that is literally in the middle of the desert. I was treated to a luxurious weekend away and at sunset, on the balcony of our private villa, he dropped to one knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring… and I, of course, said yes!
What was the easiest and most difficult part of the wedding planning process?
The easiest part of the planning process was probably deciding on a venue – we knew what we wanted and were lucky enough to find a beautiful venue without much hassle. The most difficult part was probably arranging the smaller details from the other side of the globe.
Do you have any tips to make the most out of your planning?
Delegate! Whether it’s to a wedding planner, your mom or a bridesmaid, delegate.
About your special day…
When and where was your wedding?
10 August 2012 at Meerendal Wine Farm in the Durbanville Wine Valley in Cape Town.
Did you have a specific theme/ambience?
We had a travel theme and incorporated memories from all the countries we visited together as well parts of an Antjie Krog poem about how, when we meet our soul mates, we can put our roadmaps to life away and simply walk this life hand in hand. We wanted our big day to be classy but casual and tried to create an elegant but relaxed ambience.
Tell us about any special details, ceremonies or moments.
Oh, there were so many! My hubby came to see me just before the ceremony – we wanted a couple of minutes to ourselves before I came down the aisle in front of all our loved ones and those last not-yet-married moments I’ll treasure forever. We also offered out guests Emirati headdresses as favours – these made for some epic photos as the evening progressed. Also, I accidentally put his wedding band on the wrong hand!
Looking back, is there anything you would’ve changed or done differently?
I would have had another slice of wedding cake! I honestly look back on my wedding day and am still so happy that everything went really smoothly and all according to plan. We had a blast.
How did your groom react when he saw you for the first time in your wedding dress/attire? Did he cry?
His face was alight with genuine joy and love. No tears, just one huge happy grin.
Do you have any tips, words of wisdom, tricks or hacks to share with brides-to-be?
I told myself from day one of the wedding planning that the most important thing is that I get to wear my dream dress and marry my dream guy. Everything else would be extras. And in the end, I have cherished memories of a relaxed, blessed and beautiful day. So, ladies, keep your focus on your gown and your man above all else.
Also, the pastor who performed the ceremony reminded me to take my time down the aisle. Make eye contact with your loved ones as you walk and cherish the moment. I vividly recall beautiful smiles and happy tears from my friends and family as my Dad and I made our way down the aisle to my future husband. Super special memories!
Details of suppliers:
- Venue: Meerendal Wine Farm
- Gown/dress/attire: Elizabeth Stockenstrom Exclusive Wedding Dress Design
- His suit: Romens Mens Clothing
- Decor: DIY
- Catering: Barn & Lawn Restaurant
- Cake: DIY
- Flowers: DIY
- Stationery: DIY
- Entertainment: Pieter van Helslandt
- Rings: HooDoo Design
- Photographer/videographer: Charl Smith from Agape Studios / Claire Newton from Cape Video
- Make-up/hair: Inge Brentzel
- Transport/accommodation: DIY
- Planner/coordinator: DIY
- Wedding favours/gifts: DIY