Szerdi (from Knot Just Pics) and I have never met, but we struck up a conversation over Facebook. We got chatting about the blog, about wedding photography, about crazy clients, about beautiful weddings…and then she sent me a link to Kerryn & Jeff’s wedding. DONE! Within a few minutes I had Kerryn’s email address and was asking questions about her wedding – and since then I have been just dying to share the images and story with all of you.
You might think that 2 weddings is a bit excessive, but once you scroll through the photos you will see how incredibly organic both celebrations were. Their first wedding was held in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park where Kerryn had grown up and where her parents still live, and was attended by only their parents and siblings. Szerdi and Andy drove the back roads of the Kruger, enjoyed mostly by elephants and leopards, and got some killer shots of the couple before returning to Kerryn’s family home, where they were welcomed by the sight of the great baobab tree covered in fairy lights.
Their second wedding, was purely a reception and an opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion with friends in JHB. It took place at Arts on Main in the centre of Johannesburg city. They spent a lot of time decorating their courtyard, but a massive JHB thunder storm rolled in and the whole event had to be moved indoors – not their first choice, but stunning none-the-less.
A few words from our lovely bride Kerryn:
As soon as we got engaged, we knew that we didn’t want to have a big, traditional wedding. We were always keen on having a really small and intimate ceremony with our closest family members, and then having a big party (essentially the reception) with all our friends and the rest of our families on the following weekend. Although we really enjoy going to more traditional weddings, it just didn’t feel like us.
I grew up in the Kruger National Park (lucky me), and that part of the country is naturally very close to both of our hearts. Having our wedding ceremony there was thus a pretty simple decision to make. As most of our friends and a lot of our family are from Johannesburg, we decided to hold the “reception” in the Jo’burg CBD, so that most people didn’t have to travel very far. It turned out to be a great decision, as almost everyone we invited came. It also made the two events extra memorable, because we really couldn’t have picked two more different locations. On the first Saturday we were standing in a dry riverbed, making sure there were no dangerous animals around. A week later, we were standing under a bridge in downtown Jo’burg against a backdrop of street vendors and grafitti-covered walls. Another bonus about having effectively two weddings is that I got to wear my awesome dress twice!
Because the Kruger wedding was so small, it was super relaxed and easy to plan and set up. There were only ten people, so the biggest challenge was actually just making sure everyone felt like they were contributing and adding value. We divided up all the tasks beforehand and gave everyone a little project to focus on, which seemed to work out pretty well. Both the ceremony and dinner in Kruger were outdoors, so we were pretty lucky that the weather held out. The backup plan was to literally have the ceremony and dinner on my parents’ verandah. Although it has a nice view, it wouldn’t have been nearly as charming.
And then the JHB wedding... We weren’t so lucky with the weather the following weekend in Jo’burg. It absolutely poured down in the afternoon and we had to move the whole party from a lovely olive-tree-filled courtyard into an old warehouse on the same property. It wasn’t the biggest deal though – the smaller space actually seemed to keep the whole thing quite contained. The only irritating thing was that we had spent the whole morning decorating the courtyard. It would have been nice to have a bit more time to decorate the warehouse, but these things happen I guess. Catering for ten people was pretty straight-forward, but we definitely over-catered at our reception. We did build-your-own-burgers for the main course and on the manager’s recommendation we catered for almost two burgers per person. We didn’t end up needing nearly that many, so I guess we could have saved a bit of money there. But at least no one went hungry.
Before we met all our guests in the warehouse, we went on a little photo mission with our awesome photographers, Andrew and Szerdi from Knot Just Pics. We were standing under a highway flyover to keep dry, when a a group of street musicians walked past, realised that we were getting married, and asked if they could play us a song as a wedding present. Obviously we said yes. As they serenaded us under the bridge, with the rain pouring down on either side of us, we were able to practice our first dance for the very first time. With all the stress leading up to the day, it was something that we had completely forgotten to do!
The best advice I got was to not sweat the small stuff. I’m an art director and graphic designer by trade, so I couldn’t help but spend some time on the décor and the identity for the invitations etc. But I did try and keep it simple and not do a hundred elements. I think what worked nicely was doing a few things things really well, as opposed to making sure that every napkin was the perfect colour.
We both really love travelling, and there was a general travel/adventure theme to our reception. We made some bunting out of printed fabrics that we’ve collected on our travels (although that was mainly hanging in the courtyard in the rain!), and we also made little postcards out of some of our favourite travel photos, which we stuck on all the tables. They have nothing to do with travel, but we made sure that we had tons of fairy lights, which are always a win. These were especially good for making a relatively drab warehouse look a bit more charming at night.
Another little thing we did that went down really well and ended up being really special, was the spare wheel for our Land Rover that everyone wrote a little message on. We drove around the outline of South Africa for our honeymoon and it was awesome to take everyone’s special wishes along with us.
All in all, I don’t think we would change much if we did it all again. We had the best time ever, and we’re pretty sure all our guests did too. It would have been nice if it didn’t rain at the reception, but there’s one more story we should tell you, that makes us think maybe the rain wasn’t such a bad thing after all…
Wedding Dress: Lunar
44 Stanley Ave, Milpark Johannesburg Tel: +27 11 726 5558, Fax: +27 11 726 5559 e-mail: email@example.com
Kruger wedding shoes: Country Road
Joburg wedding shoes: Aldo
Flower Crowns: Juliet Honey
Hair: Whyatt http://www.wyatthairdressing.com/#about
Kruger makeup: Sister-in-law
Jozi makeup: Amber Clare van Winsen
Jozi venue: Arts on Main market space (backup for The Canteen)
Jozi Catering: The Canteen, Maboneng Precinct
Jozi Wedding Cake: The Tart
All Flowers: Imvubu Farm, Nelspruit (Sister-in-law)
Jozi Accomodation: 12 Decades, Maboneng.
Kruger planning/catering/décor/accomodation: Lyn Maggs