I can’t believe I’m married a year today! That time’s flown might be a cliché but it’s also a total understatement.
I planned & managed our wedding entirely from Jozi, with about 4 trips to Cape Town over the 6 months it took to plan. We had the help of an amazing wedding coordinator, Nicola Jane Gibberd in the last 3 months. I loved every bit of the planning, as stressful & chaotic as it was to juggle work, travel & just life in general. It paid off beautifully as we only flew into Cape Town late afternoon the day before the wedding. Most people thought we were crazy to arrive so late, but everything went off exactly according to plan, even the weather, which had been forecasted to be 90% chance of rain!
My wedding invites, ready to be shipped! We chose a Tiffany & Co colour scheme & added a touch of chocolate-brown.
Planning a destination, cross-cultural wedding isn’t simple but my OCD tendencies definitely helped in a big way! For example I drew up a detailed schedule of the actual day to make sure we kept on time as well as a list (with contact details) of all stakeholders (suppliers, our parents, MC etc.) & distributed it to the afore-mentioned stakeholders 48 hrs in advance. I had a weekly Friday 8:30 am teleconference with Nicola (based in Cape Town) that, as time went on, became the highlight of my week!
Here are some of the lessons I took away:
- If I were to give you only one tip, it would be to surround yourself with people who demonstrate from the get-go that they are keen & reliable. If for e.g. your bridesmaid isn’t returning your calls, get a new one. I’m not kidding. She’s showing you (with some advanced notice, thankfully) what you can expect from her on the day. You don’t need the stress.
- Decide on the nonnegotiables upfront. For me it was the headcount (we had 120 guests), halaal food (a challenge!), an outside drinks area & the venue couldn’t be anywhere that even nearly resembled a wine farm, obviously.
- Brief all your suppliers in writing & include pictures (Google!). It takes time to write a brief, but it also forces you to think through what you want quite thoroughly. This also makes it easier to brief for e.g. 3 florists at once to get a quote, giving them all standardised info.
- Don’t let anyone move you off what you want. It’s good to get opinions, but those offering them have had their wedding day or they will have their day. This is yours.
- Hair & make up trials aren’t negotiable. You’re going to your wedding, not the movies.
- Ditto for a menu & cake tasting. Why would you take any chances, its your wedding day!
- I can’t stress the importance of your wedding photographer. A good one will easily add R 20 000 to your decor. Browse their portfolio & meet with a few before you decide. We flew to Cape Town to interview 3 before choosing. This isn’t an item to skimp on…
- A save-the-date is a must to allow people time to make travel plans. Push people to RSVP & set the date RSVP date at least 6 weeks in advance. This was a foreign concept for my Muslim family. There is no sadder sight than an empty chair at your reception, especially when you are still paying for the ill-mannered person’s food. Remember to allow extra time if you need to post invitations, especially if its going overseas.
- Do as much as you can before the wedding e.g. make sure that you send suppliers your banking details in advance for them to refund your deposits. That’s not what you want to spend your honeymoon doing…
- Start saving now! Even if you aren’t seeing anyone or thinking about getting married. Don’t pay for any part of your wedding in debt – what an awful way to start your marriage.
Here are some pics from our day…
The day’s festivities kicked off with our nikkah (religious ceremony), at Masjidul Quds in Gatesville. After the nikkah we had a quick brunch at my mom’s house with close family where I wore my 1st dress for the day (the benefits of being a Muslim bride!).
For the reception (the main event even in a Muslim wedding, we had ours at The Hilton Hotel Cape Town) I chose a really classic, understated look.
My 2nd (main) dress. I loved my wedding make up.
I always knew my bouquet would be arum lilies, love them!
I had a small entourage, just these two cuties 🙂
This is hands-down my favourite picture of the day.
Our wedding favours & menus carried through the Tiffany & Co theme & we also used some embossing with a “W&A” logo stamp that we had specially created. We used white orchids on the guests tables – I don’t think there is a prettier flower on earth!
Our cake tasted as good as it looked. It was white chocolate pistachio.
I love this picture of my grandfather falling asleep at our reception, shame he’s 83!
We opted for a buffet style to offer guests a variety.
We just about managed to squeeze in a sunset shoot.
Traditionally at the end a Malay wedding one of the aunts (from the groom’s side) escorts the bride from the reception back to her parents home, where she is fetched by her husband & taken to her new home. We improvised!
I got lucky in that so many of the suppliers I had hand-picked to work with were nothing less than phenomenal & I know that my standards are set pretty high. I proactively wrote quite a few letters of recommendation after the wedding.
Writing this post made me reminisce a lot about so many of the details of my wedding I’d forgotten. It was a beautiful from start to end & I have loads to be thankful for 1 year later – this from a girl who thought she’d never get married 🙂
Venue: The Hilton Hotel, Cape Town
Photographer: Riekert Cloete Photography
Dress designer: Kubra – 082 557 0090
Hair: Adiel at Hair Studio
Make-up: Ryan Neves from Chanel 074 7575 282
Bride’s shoes: Palazzo Pitti
Groom’s suit: Carducci at Khaliques
Groom’s shoes: Carvela at Spitz
Groom’s shirt & tie: Café Cotton
Wedding planner: Nicola Gibberd, of Nicola Jane Events
Cake: Roxanne Floquet
Stationery: Renaissance Creations
Flowers & decor: Jenny B Flowers
Other decor: Styled Functions