When this wedding appeared on my Facebook page shortly after New Year, I immediately contacted our friend Micaela from Micaela de Freitas Photography. We just HAD to feature this gorgeous NYE wedding complete with jaw-dropping sequinned gold wedding dress and hot pink flowers.
Jesse and Niki-Jay had the most beautiful NYE wedding set in the Cape vineyards with their closest family and friends. They partied until midnight and celebrated the new year with the most insane pair of gold takkies and a pinata filled with delicious Ferrero Roches.
Enjoy this trendy wedding, and be inspired.
HOORAY: Tell us a little about yourselves. Where are you based, how did you and Jesse get engaged and what was the vision you had for your wedding?
NIKI:Jesse and I are based in Chicago but we got engaged in Johannesburg (where I was living before I moved). The vision for the wedding was a glam, but not stuffy party to announce our marriage to our friends and family – we’d actually gotten married in April already but none of our friends or extended family were present.
HOORAY: Your decor is just out of this world and we are obsessed with your naked bulbs, use of hot pink bougainvillea and don’t even get us started on your gold pineapples – was this what you always envisioned for your reception?
NIKI: I always knew that I wanted to turn the place into a jungle, so the hanging terrarium boxes and naked bulbs were part of the plan from the start; but the dark pink flowers and gold pineapples and pears with name tags, came about because my dress was so shazam that to have really pretty or delicate flowers and table settings would have looked all wrong.
HOORAY: As you guys are based in the USA, how did you decide on Cape Town? And on your Venue?
NIKI: We’re both from Cape Town and our families and friends (mostly) all still live there. In terms of the venue, we wanted to do it outside since the winelands are exquisite, and it was in the heart of Summer. Also, being in the USA made us appreciate the outdoors a lot more since the venue options for weddings in the USA are studios, hotels or restaurants.
HOORAY: Jesse’s look is super toned down in a simple black ensemble with tie. Did he know what you were wearing and then dressed accordingly, or was it just a happy accident?
NIKI: So he didn’t know what I was wearing but he was given strict parameters – I pre-approved his suit… nothing could have been worse (visually) than us clashing at the altar.
HOORAY: What was it like planning your wedding from abroad?
NIKI: It was less stressful than you would imagine because I had my mother and sister visit venues on my behalf, and I had the world’s best wedding planner, Michelle Bothma from Avante Garde Events. My advice to new brides is if you don’t feel like your planner understands what you want and what kind of bride you are, then you should politely move on until you find the right relationship. Michelle was unbelievable – she just “got” me and was delightful to work with.
HOORAY: Okay…THAT DRESS! Did you always envision getting married dripping in gold sequins?
NIKI: I didn’t actually have a dream dress in mind except I knew that a traditional dress was not going to suit me. There was lots of back and forth with my two closest friends about whether it would be a good idea to do that much sequins at a Summer wedding but ultimately it just felt right for my personality and style.
HOORAY: Little bit of an awkward question, but we have all worn sequins before – was it scratchy?
NIKI: That dress was so comfortable; absolutely no scratching and light as a feather despite being fully sequined. The fabric my dressmaker chose was already lined; and then she put in another layer of lining – the most uncomfortable part was trying not to damage it while carting it around on an international flight.
HOORAY: What was it like planning a New Years Wedding?
NIKI: So much fun, but in retrospect I should’ve had it before Christmas actually – then I would have been able to enjoy the holiday season a bit more without my father trying to add jazz bands and other bells and whistles at the last minute.
HOORAY: We love that you guys got married outdoors under an arch of bottled flowers. We know that the rules on this can be pretty sticky with some churches. Were there any problems arranging this with your pastor?
NIKI: Neither of us are religious and the whole affair was quite non-traditional in that we had already had a civil ceremony earlier in the year. That was small though and only our immediate families were present; so we enlisted the services of one of my best friends to conduct a “refresher” ceremony on the day for our friends and extended family. It was great, but flew by so quickly that the confetti wasn’t even ready by the time we finished the ceremony.
HOORAY: How did you family and friends responsd to the invite of a New Year’s Eve wedding? Could anyone not make it due to “other plans”?
NIKI: Most people were super duper excited that it was on NYE, and others did have other plans but that’s also fine – it kinda weeded out people who don’t feature that much in your lives anymore. To be fair, some had legit reasons for not being able to come – like performing at the Fugard Theatre… I think that’s a pretty decent excuse and she’s a very close friend.
HOORAY: Cape Town is flush with photography talent, how did it come about that you flew Micaela in from Durban?
NIKI: I had become friends with Micaela when I lived in Durban in 2013; I loved her photos and we always joked that if Jesse and I got married that she would do the photography.
HOORAY: What did you enjoy most about having your photos taken?
NIKI: I really loved our time in the Vineyards – it was super peaceful and gave us some time to relax and be alone with one another… and to giggle about the things that went wrong – something will always go wrong!
HOORAY: In therms of catering, did your venue offer a specific menu or were you involved in the food choices?
NIKI: The venue let us dictate exactly what we wanted on the menu – the chef was such a sweetheart and tailored the menu based on what we explained were our favourite kinds of food. He did a mix of canapés during the cocktail hour including dim sum, calamari ‘n chip cones, beef fillet and other bits that I can’t quite remember now (it’s all a blur). For mains we had a buffet-to-table meal because I didn’t want the stuffiness of a plated meal and I didn’t want people to feel like they couldn’t have seconds. I hate the process of people queueing to get food at a buffet table so that was a happy medium. The main meal included roasted pork, pulled pork spring rolls, spit-roasted lamb, confit sweet potatoes, herbed fish and then some summery salads and mushroom risotto for the vegetarians.
HOORAY: Nothing on a wedding day ever goes according to plan. What problems did you run into?
NIKI: Things that went wrong happened early on – the confetti song started skipping despite the music having played without a hitch in the hour prior to that (I’m told by the guests). The ceremony flew by so quickly that my wedding planner hadn’t even gotten the confetti yet, so we stood at the alter staring into the faces of our closest friends and family for an awkward amount of time. You have to laugh that stuff off otherwise you’ll just be miserable for the rest of the day.
HOORAY: Your cake looks absolutely divine. What flavour did you choose and why?
NIKI: That cake was even better than I dreamed it would be – I concocted the idea from textural elements I’d always hoped someone would put into cake form. The bottom tier was a chocolate biscuit cake – basically an enormous wedge of fancy fridge cake; the top tier was a layered chocolate ganache cake and the pouf on top was silky, soft Italian meringue which was blow torched for texture. The guests loved it. I think they were grateful it wasn’t fridge cake.
HOORAY: Where did you get your gold takkies from? We can imagine that it was a nice relief to get into flats after a long day in heels.
NIKI:The takkies are from Jeffrey Campbell here in the U.S and I actually had them way before deciding on the wedding dress. They’re so comfortable and still give me a bit of height (I needed it because the dress had a train) and I knew I would be miserable if my feet were hurting on the dance floor, so they were such a relief. Though what’s pretty funny is that friend of Jesse’s told him “I just saw your wife take off an enormous pair of gold platforms and change into … another pair of enormous gold platforms”.
HOORAY: Anything you would have changed or done differently?
NIKI: I would have had bridesmaids. I thought it would be silly since I’m a bit older, but now I realise it would’ve been a way to have alone time with your closest friends, they help to keep you calm and I would’ve had a squad to walk down the aisle with me… it was kinda lonely hanging out with the hair & make-up artist all afternoon.
HOORAY: Come on! A PINATA! Who’s idea was this? How did it all go down?
NIKI: My idea! I wanted some action on the dance floor and a good reason for us all to be on the dancefloor at midnight. It was enormous and filled with Ferro Rochers (mostly because they were gold). It took a good 10 minutes to beat it into submission.
HOORAY: Did everyone party until midnight? I am assuming the Pinyata was cracked at the strike of 12?
NIKI: Yes we ripped it apart at midnight and then had to ring in the New Year at about 12:15. Everyone was good at pretending we didn’t miss the actual count down. We booked the venue till 2am as we thought people would be tired by then – the wedding had, after all, started at 5pm. Much to our surprise, 2am rolled around and the party was still going strong. We probably would have stayed till the staff locked us out, but the DJ had already booked her cab into town.