How did you meet?
We met at an old club, which has long since closed down (shout out to anyone who remembers the golden days that were Olive Lounge). A mutual friend introduced us and as I walked back inside with another friend, I looked at her and called, “Dibs!”
How did he propose?
In the comfort and privacy of our own home. If he pulled out a ring in the middle of a restaurant, I would have been mortified – clearly, the man knows me. I came home from work on a Friday afternoon. Everything looked the same, but then when I walked inside, he had written me the most beautiful letter and displayed a whole bunch of pictures of us together throughout the years in our home. At the end of the letter, he wrote I must follow the paw prints (he had printed out and stuck little dog paw prints on the floor leading outside), so I did and there he was in our garden with my dog in his arms. My dog is 17-years-old now and is a HUGE part of my life. The fact that he incorporated her into our engagement was so special. I love that he took something so special to me and was able to make our engagement unique and memorable. I also loved that he proposed in our home. It’s a home we bought together and a place where we share our time and where we have planned our future. It makes sense to start the journey there.
What was the easiest and most difficult part of the wedding planning process?
The easiest part was the dress (once I had decided what I wanted). The hardest part was letting other people help me because I’m a bit of a control freak and don’t like to rely on other people to do things that I know I can do myself.
Do you have any tips to make the most out of your planning?
Call in your favours! If you have a friend who enjoys organising events, ask if they will help you out. If you have an uncle who owns a printing company, ask him if he can give you a discount. Weddings are expensive, so if you can save a couple of rands here and there, do it. It’s your wedding and most of your friends and family will be happy to help out if they can.
Also, wedding favours – don’t stress about them. Most of our guests ended up forgetting theirs afterwards, so unless it’s a little chocolate that they can stuff in their face as soon as they sit down at their table, I don’t think it’s something you need to spend your money on. I DIYed a lot of our décor, including the flower arrangements, so it can be done. It saved me about R10 000 on flowers.
Another fantastic brainwave I had was to make little goodie bags for the kids. We had five at our wedding and they sat at their own table and each got a little gift bag filled with activities to keep them busy while all the “boring wedding stuff” was going down.
When and where was your wedding?
12 November 2016 at Blackhorse Brewery.
Did you have a specific theme/ambience?
We wanted to keep beer and festivity at the core of the day. I wouldn’t say it was “beer-themed”, but it was at a brewery, so we incorporated beer where we could to make the most out of the beautiful and unique venue. We didn’t want our wedding to be too rigid and formal, so we tried to keep it a bit more casual and fun – beer really helps to achieve this.
Tell us about any special details, ceremonies or moments.
My aunt is a pastor and she very kindly married us. My husband and I are not religious, so I asked that she please make the service about us and the love we share. She did a fantastic job and so many people commented on how beautiful it was. She also got it done in 15 minutes – so I think that’s something that deserves some praise. Another thing we did was have Marryoke. This is basically a music video of the day set to a song of your choice. I had to hound all of our guests and send them reminders of the song and the lyrics for months beforehand so that they could learn it. In the end, it came out AMAZING! We now have a video of all the highlights of our day set to one of our favourite songs.
I wish that I had a bit more time to spend with my guests. I did wander around and try to engage with everyone, but I would have liked to have spent more time with them. The day just wasn’t long enough.
How did your groom react when he saw you for the first time in your wedding dress? Did he cry?
He looked panicked! It was like one of those “deer in the headlights” moments. But it faded away and all I could see was love in his eyes. Neither of us could stop smiling from the second we saw each other.
Do you have any tips, words of wisdom, tricks or hacks to share with brides-to-be?
Don’t get too swept up in the moment. Be present and enjoy the day with your partner. It’s your day after all. Also, whatever comes your way, just go with it and make the most of it. There is no point in bursting into tears because it’s raining. Of course, it’s not ideal but most venues have a back-up plan and while the day may not unfold the way you had hoped, it can still go ahead. I think brides sometimes lose track of what is important. Your wedding is not about the fanciest venue, the tastiest food, the most beautiful dress or the most expensive wedding favours – while all these things play a part, the main goal of the day is to get married and to take that first step into a lifelong commitment with your partner. Don’t let wilting flowers or a storm prediction ruin your special day – take it in your stride.
Details of suppliers:
The average South African mostly associates Buddhism with wise proverbs, peace and bald men in orange dresses. But there is much more to this 2 500-year-old religion than meets the eye. With over 360 million followers globally, it’s unsurprising that Gauteng boasts the largest temple in Africa, nestled in Bronkhorstspruit (of all places).
Built in 1992, this 12-hectare property was donated to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order by the Bronkhorstspruit City Council. It has grown into a religious and cultural centre of great standing within its community and global Buddhist network. Probably best known for its large, Chinese New Years event, usually in February, the centre is also a well-known meditation retreat venue. It is a fantastic place to engage in cultural sharing and learning - ideal for curious visitors and practitioners alike.
Located about 70km outside of Joburg, it the perfect destination for when you're on a mission with meaning: Attend a Chinese Dharma Function or go on an Eastern Retreat. Buddha considered time priceless, which is why his teaching encouraged giving it away freely. In keeping with this belief, monks, nuns and visiting facilitators often give generously of their time to lead retreats, so the cost associated with the retreats only serves to cover the temple’s running expenses.
Aside from the retreats, Buddhist events are usually ones of great celebration, fanfare and food. The recommendation from those in the know is to get there earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to allow you to fully explore this haven of Chinese culture, architecture and art.
In the words of Buddha, “Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow death comes.” So waste no time in getting to Nanhua to explore the spiritual side of Jozi.
Address: 27 Nan-Hua Street, Bronkhorstspruit, 1020
By Veronica Botes
Have you been to the Nanhua Temple? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.