The Start: It all started with a kiss. Seriously, it really did. I'd known my husband Kenny in my early twenties when he was a professional cricketer. We had mutual friends, and always said hi. I thought he was arrogant and full of himself! When our paths crossed again 16 years later at a friend's birthday party, my eyes rolled. Later that evening he suddenly leaned forward and kissed me!
To my surprise there was an explosion of chemistry! He called on the Monday but I didn't pick up. When I listened to his message I couldn't help phoning him back - “I know it feels like a month since you last saw me, but it's only been two days and I know you can't stop thinking about me, so how about we go for dinner tonight?” The person I thought he was and the person I found underneath all that bravado were completely different. I found this beautiful, honest and big hearted man. The Proposal: Seventy two days later, we hiked up Table Mountain on Valentine's Day. When we eventually got to the spot he was looking for, there was white sand, water and absolute silence around us. He proposed then and there and it was the happiest moment in both our lives. The theme: We wanted a wedding with few formalities and a venue where guests could easily mingle, an “Italian feast” with long tables, great music, fun and laughter in a stylish environment. A church, meringue dress, traditional wedding marches weren't our style. Our favourite restaurant in Cape Town is The Grand Beach Café in Granger Bay, a boat house converted into an avante garde restaurant with a wooden deck, private beach and blue sea. Grand and stylish, but with a sense of peace and tranquillity and, of course, very romantic.
The Décor: My mother had passed away a few years ago and, with most of our budget going on this fabulous venue, it was up to me to make our wedding day the most special and memorable day I could. I spent hours and many early mornings Googling décor ideas, dresses, flowers, table settings, music – you name it, I Googled it! I was consumed for months, but we put together exactly want we wanted for our day. If you get professional, reliable suppliers, half your worries are over. I was relieved when I found wedding co-ordinators who agreed to be there on the day and make sure all my suppliers and ideas came together.
I wanted a lounge area on the wooden deck with black and white ottomans, coffee tables, scatter cushions, floating candles and lanterns. The restaurant would have white roses in vintage silver ice buckets, sparkling diamante candle holders and antique candelabras, grey striped tablecloths and table names of cities we love made from wire and shiny beads. When we checked the weather for our special day, it wasn't looking good – my heart sank as I pictured my ceremony under open skies fading away. But Kenny kicked into action and hired a bedouin tent - the beach and sea could still be seen; it was perfect. There was a thick pathway of pink petals and rose heads alongside a white carpet to walk down the aisle. The Night Before: My three bridesmaids and I stayed at a luxurious B&B. We had our nails done, drank champagne, ate chocolate (which Kenny had delivered) and had so much fun. The Big Day: On the big day, a feeling of absolute peace and happiness came over me. Walking down the aisle with my father to “What a wonderful world” by Sachmo and seeing how beautiful everything looked was exceptionally emotional. Seeing Kenny with the sea behind him was a moment I will treasure the rest of my life. Our celebrant made us face our guests, which was a wonderful idea - during the ceremony we could look at all our special friends and family and really take the moment in. After the vows our saxophonist,guitarist and vocalist sang “All you need is love” while we walked back down the aisle with our guests cheering, clapping and throwing petals – what a memorable moment! The Photos: Our photo session was on the beach while guests mingled on the deck to jazzy sounds, champagne and canapes. Female guests were given grey pashminos and the guys winter scarves to keep the chills away. During our photographs the heavens opened and we had to run for the tent. The rain didn't last for long and we were blessed with two rainbows which formed huge arches in the sky over the ocean. A photobooth was thoroughly enjoyed by the guests, especially dressing up with all sorts of accessories. The photos we received were hilarious. Everyone stuck their photos in a guest book and wrote a message to us. The best decision we could have made was hiring one of the best photographers in Cape Town who was worth every cent and more. John did such an amazing job capturing every moment of the day like a movie. His photography is so natural and emotional and the moments he captured, not only of the bridal couple, but of our guests and venue is truly a treasure to keep. The Reception: We had chosen a song for each of those who made a speech to the merriment of everyone, especially when the DJ played “Daddy Cool” while my father was walking up. Speeches over, our guests enjoyed a delicious buffet by professional chef and personal friend, Seelan Sandoo. Italian salads, exceptional lamp chops, prawn and crayfish seafood curry, baby chicken, alia olio spaghetti, crispy fries and more, followed by pavlova, Italian kisses and watermelon.
Then the party started. Our DJ had everybody off their chairs and dancing - in the restaurant, on the outside deck - there was so much genuine happiness, fun and laughter in one place it was incredible.. Final Thoughts: Our wedding day was honestly filled with true friendships, family, genuine happiness, fun, laughter, love and celebrations – I can honestly say that all my dreams did come true.