Melissa & Byron | Real Wedding Feature

We first saw Melissa and Byron’s wedding on instagram and thought “HOT DAMN!”.
These two certainly know how to work their magic behind the lens.
We got in touch with them and their amazing photographer, Zandra from Conway Photography, and were thrilled when they agreed to let us share their day!

Melissa and Byron met through a mutual friend and have known each other for 14 years. Just friends at the beginning, Byron had to make some moves to get himself out of the “friendzone”.

Images by: Zandra from Conway Photography

Hooray: Please tell us your names, how you and your husband met + how long you have been dating.
Melissa: The love story of Melissa Ilsley (formerly Jordan) and Byron Ilsley. We met through a mutual friend around 14 years ago. Back then we were just friends, each had relationships that came and went. Friends that soon turned into best friends a couple years later. Best friends started turning into something… a little more. We ignored all the feels, well we tried to ignore them. Me trying particularly harder than Byron, and Byron trying even harder to get out the “friend-zone”. Well he succeeded and I realized what an absolute keeper I had <3 We have been best friends for 12 years and dated for the last 6 of those years.

Hooray: So Byron had to charm his way out of the “friendzone”, any awkward or interesting stories to share?
Melissa: I can’t deny he is quite the charmer! It was more of a maturity thing and me eventually realizing it was him that I wanted and couldn’t live without.

Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding?
Melissa: To do things our way! It was our wedding and we were going to celebrate this special day the way we wanted to.

Hooray: Tell us about your proposal
Melissa: It was true fairytale! We were having a family holiday in Cape Town and decided to do Franschhoek for the day. So we hoped onto one of the wine trams and did some wine tasting, went for a stroll through the vineyard at Holden Mans wine estate. It was lunch time and I was particularly hungry at this stage of the wine tasting adventure and wanted to go back to the restaurant to eat. Byron convinced me to walk to the stream that we could hear trickling nearby. As we approached the stream, I glanced to the side of me and saw a picnic set up…. When you know you know!!! And I just knew. He dropped to one knee and held out the ring I had always wanted. We were both so excited we could barely eat our incredibly yummy picnic. We were however able to pop a bottle of champers. The setting was really beautiful with the Franschhoek mountains in the background and vineyard and stream to the side of us, Byron had even printed the cutest polaroids of us which lay all over the blanket.

Hooray: What role did your parents play in your wedding? Did they contribute financially?
Melissa: We funded the wedding ourselves with some contribution towards catering. We had help along the way with family offering to bake our wedding cake along with other bits and pieces that helped.

Hooray: How did you choose your photographer?
Melissa: I had been following Conway Photography for some time and just completely fell in love with their romantic moody feel. It wasn’t even a question. I knew i wanted them to capture our day

Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
Melissa: Trying to follow the budget was challenging. Saying yes to things you love and want and not really need was difficult. Because who doesn’t want giant B&M marquee signs or a cool photo booth, the most amazing sparkler send off. I lie- I needed all of that! Haha.

Hooray: Your creative shoot was SEXY! Did you guys feel comfortable behind the camera?
Melissa: Completely comfortable. Zandra’s guidance was so professional. She made it quite special and intimate for us. We loved doing the creative shoot.

Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Melissa: Pinterest and I have a love hate relationship. Love for the amazing ideas that flooded my screen and hate for the amount of times i came across something new and had to have it.

Hooray: Tell us about your bridesmaids and groomsmen? Could you share with us the best and worst of your experience?
Melissa: Our bridal party is more like family we have chosen. We had the most amazing, thoughtful and helpful bride tribe and the groomsman. They made sure we were well taken care of. They arranged special dinners for us, even a surprise picnic after the honeymoon. Best bachelorette and bulls we could have ever asked for! They are our bests and we couldn’t have gotten married without these people by our side. There honestly was no bad experience with them.

Hooray: Your cake is absolutely amazing! Who did end up baking it?
Melissa: The top tier, we went traditional, fruit cake with lots of love poured into it… by love I mean brandy, baked by Colleen Wood, Byron’s aunt.
Middle and bottom tier was a vanilla and carrot cake baked by Roxanne and Wesley Merven, Byron’s sister and brother-in law.
***Hooray side note: This is SO special!!

Hooray: The best moment of your wedding day?
Melissa: Wow. That’s impossible to choose just one so I’m going to have to choose a few. For me my favourite moments were 1) walking down the aisle 2) saying our vows 3) creative shoot because we were able to spend some time just the two of us in the most beautiful setting, full of love 4) entering the reception with our bridal party was also a silly amount of fun!

Hooray: Tell us more about Byron’s speech?
Melissa: Byron took my hand and guided me to the center of the dance floor where there was a chair waiting for me, I sat down really confused as I had no idea what was going on – one of our favourite songs was playing softly in the background which immediately gave me goosebumps! He then stood in front of me and began to talk about where we came from 14 years ago to how we got to our wedding day. It was beautiful to hear our love story in his own words. At one point he looked up from his iPad and saw that he had the whole room sobbing with happiness. I of course couldn’t contain my emotions either. (I might be biased here but, BEST grooms speech ever!)

Hooray: First dance, choreographed or not?
Melissa: We love dancing at weddings together, but we didn’t want to wing our first dance. We practiced once or twice the week before just to cover the basics of when we wanted to dip and when we wanted to twirl.

Hooray: It appears that the boys had to fight it out for the garter, can you tell us more?
Melissa: There were a handful of men who were single and oh did they make it their mission to catch that garter. Complete determination like I’ve never seen before. They really made it quite entertaining for us!

Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
Melissa: Absolutely nothing

Hooray: Did you two go on a Honeymoon? Where to?
Melissa: We did a “familymoon” in Mauritius for one week and had the best time exploring the island. Byron’s sister and family recently immigrated to Mauritius so it was great to spend some time adventuring with them. In total there were 10 of us having a mini family vacay and we had such fun together and made some amazing memories. The second week was pure island bliss, just the 2 of us at an all inclusive resort, tanning, sipping cocktails and eating all that we could.

Service Providers:
Dress: Jeannelle L’amour Bridal by Casey Jeanne
Videography: Pierric Lagesse from Video Playback Productions

Hair and Make Up: Candice Mills from Blush Make Pro Make-up
Protea Bouquets: Lily of the Valley
Venue: Shalwyn
DJ: David Yapp
Catering: Hamblins Catering
Photobooth & Marque Letters: Aisle Hire It
Decor: Chisel Design Studio
Glass Candle Holders: Desire 2 Hire


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