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!

Jana & Ewert

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.

Jana & Ewert

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.

Jana & Ewert

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!

Jana & Ewert

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In The Beginning... 

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.

About Your Special Day…

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.

Looking back, is there anything you would’ve changed or done differently?

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.

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