“We wanted a story not a wedding album filled with pictures” were the words used by Mike and Jay when choosing their photographers Knot Just Pics. In our mind, we could not have thought of a better pair! Andy and Szerdi are fast becoming the best story tellers on the wedding scene and we at Hooray can honestly not get enough of their work!
Andy describes to us how he was immediately sold after reading their initial email which included the words, Freedom Cafe, Brunch Wedding, Star Wars and Nev the Barber and looking through the pictures below you can see how every single part of this relaxed day time wedding had been planned to perfection. Our personal favourite is their Mimosa bar and we seriously cannot get over their Storm Trooper cake topper! Cuteness!
We Hope that this encourages you to do things your way. Whether its a brunch wedding serving mimosa’s or an intimate evening celebration. Let your wedding be a reflection of you and your love and rest assured that everything will fall into place. And in the words of these amazing men “And even if you have planned the day to the T, on the day, the plan becomes a guideline and you have to set it free and allow it to unfold.”
Over to Mike & Jay!
HOORAY: Tell us a bit about yourselves.
MIKE&JAY: Mike is an architect and Jay is a Financial Manager.
We can hardly believe that we already been together for over 8 years – it really does feel like a life-time and no time at all. We met via a mutual friend, Jay’s best man, Jeff. It was a brief encounter: Jay was leaving as Mike was arriving, it was quick handshake (a grumpy one at that) but it started up a great friendship which quickly escalated into a romance. We officially started going out in December 2007 and what followed was a crazy adventure of dating, some travels and generally figuring each other out. In June 2012, we took part in the Put Foot Rally – a 10 000km charity drive through sub-Saharan Africa in a vintage Merc – and on 2 July 2012, on the shore of Lake Malawi, Jay proposed.
HOORAY: Freedom Cafe is not a typical wedding venue. What were your reasons for having your wedding at this cafe/restaurant?
MIKE&JAY: Agreed – to be honest, the lead up to our big day involved much driving around and deliberation in where we were going to find a venue that really captured what we were looking for. We had no specific place in mind to start with but we were keen to use the venue to generate some of the inspiration for the day so that the concept and place ran together. This meant that the venue was critical. We visited many a venue that, while very pretty, were quite traditional and placed a huge emphasis on the more feminine elements that tend to make up weddings – we’re talking a lot of pastel shades, lace and taffeta – and we soon realised that this was not going to work for us! Factoring in the time and season and considering that many of our guests were traveling from far, we wanted to be central and have an outdoor brunch wedding – not only did this allow us to show off our city but our guests could enjoy a quick visit to the beach while in town. Despite being an autumn wedding, Durban remains tropical year round. The bold and edgy urban venue really framed this and provided an additional layer for us to respond to. Working with the opportunities presented, we linked the soft, tropical, Durban feeling to the strong architectural/urban identity of the place, and threw in a little Star Wars too. Emphasis was on keeping it local and timeless.
HOORAY: Star Wars? Epic theme! Tell us why?
MIKE&JAY: Obviously we are both huge fans and in all honesty, we knew there would be storm troopers involved from the time Mike said yes, it was just a case of what scale they would be! In addition it was a surprising, playful element that provided us with a thread to accent and pull the theme together – a sort of conceptual rallying point. From the Save the Dates to the boutonnieres the trooper’s added a subtle reminder that this was our day.
HOORAY: We see that you walked down the aisle together. Was this a decision that took you a while to get to?
MIKE&JAY: Implied gender stereotyping – the plague of the gay wedding. In a way, a gay wedding is easier to arrange than a straight wedding as you can choose which traditions to uphold and which to adapt. With us both being traditionalists with a view of equality to our relationship, this was a tricky one to balance. There was no “giving away”, no bouquet and no garter (thank heavens!) but certain forms need to be observed or celebrated otherwise it just becomes another party. We approached from the sides and had our guests in a ring around us – another move the break formality but also free up the ceremony. We didn’t force the process, we started with the big vision and worked our way down to the mechanics of the day and adapted what we needed to.
HOORAY: Origami is a labour of love. Who did all the folding for you?
MIKE&JAY: Jay sourced the design online and we went through a couple of trial pieces, trying to get the simplest, most effective forms down, and tested different paper. Once we had it down, we asked our incredible friends to lend us a hand – in fact, they offered!
HOORAY: There were a lot of speeches. Who spoke? And what moments stand out to you?
MIKE&JAY: We were insistent that speeches be kept to a minimum – all too often one attends weddings where the speeches seem all but continuous – filled with love and best wishes but they do tend to lose the audience. As such, we had the Oscar Awards 2 minute limit! We had speeches from the MC (Mike’s sister), the Grooms, Best Man, Best Lady, Mother of Groom (Jay) and Father of the Groom (Mike). Moments that stand out for Mike was his dad saying how proud he was of him and Jay’s mum saying she was thrilled she didn’t have to contend with a daughter-in-law. And for Jay the best moment’s had to be Mike’s speech and his mom’s quip about not having to deal with a daughter-in-law.
HOORAY: Highlight of your day?
MIKE: A number of moments stand out for me but foremost of these is the look in Jay’s eyes when we were standing before the officiant and returning to the reception after the photos to be welcomed by the whole wedding party – overwhelming love and support from the people that truly matter in your life.
JAY: The entire day was magic, and just amazing how it all came together in its own way(although not exactly to plan – I am the guy with the spreadsheets!), but the most special moment was just before we walked to the ceremony Mike and I had a quick glance at each other, exchanged a silent “Are you ready?“ And we gave each other a little nod. That moment really sums up the day and the vows into a tiny gesture.
HOORAY: Who did the catering? The food looks DELECTABLE!! Tell us about the food – who chose the menu, was there a particular item people enjoyed? Were people satisfied with canapés as opposed to a full meal?
MIKE&JAY: Pre-Reception snacks where from Jay’s mom Keryn, Mike’s sister Ursula and our friend Mary-Anne North. The reception was catered by Renegade Kitchen – they specialise in whipping up sumptuous easy eating snacks and meals. We discussed what we were looking for with Lucy and she proposed a menu of expertly crafted, seasonal eats and canapés – our only pre-requisites were that they be delicious, easy eating and seasonal – NO BUFFETS! Seems that the guests loved the food – it was all so fresh and very different to the usual wedding fare. Almost a year since the wedding, our guests still discuss the canapés! it was more than enough food, particularly for a well-timed Sunday brunch. We just wish we had stolen a moment to enjoy it a bit more, but as the Grooms we were running around too much to try them all out!
HOORAY: We love Knot Just Pics. We would like to hear what attracted you to their work? Why you hired them? Or what you enjoyed about having them shoot your wedding.
MIKE&JAY: What really drew us to Knot just pics was their incredible collection of photographs online – I know that sounds silly but they really do capture the most exquisite moments. We are not for traditional portraiture – while this may float some people’s boats we prefer photographs which tell a story. Andy and Szerdi’s photography is strongly influenced by their travels and consequently is more journalistic / narrative in nature. This is exactly what we were looking for – we wanted a story to be told, not an album to be filled.
HOORAY: We recently featured the wedding of a same sex couple whose photographer cancelled on them once realising that they weren’t a heterosexual couple. Did you experience any problems like this?
MIKE&JAY: That is truly appalling and quite sad. We did not experience any troubles but we did slip in a mention of this as we went with service providers and suppliers, and the like just to be sure there were no strange surprises.
HOORAY: It looks like you have an amazing group of friends and family. Was your decision to get married well received?
MIKE&JAY: Our families and friends were delighted for us.
We only received a single objection to attendance on religious grounds from a friend, it wasn’t done in a mean way or callously. Although a surprise, everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and as long as we all treat each other kindly and with respect there are no hard feelings.
HOORAY: Do you have any advice for guys out there planning a wedding? Any dos, don’ts or words of wisdom?
MIKE&JAY: The count-down to the wedding day is crazy, you blink and 2 months becomes 2 days, blink again you are hugging the last guest goodbye at the reception. It can take you a bit by surprise if you don’t take a step back every once and a while and breathe. It is your day as a couple and your names are on everything, but even though it is your day, a wedding celebration is actually for your friends and family. And even if you have planned the day to the T, on the day, the plan becomes a guideline and you have to set it free and allow it to unfold.
To spread the work load, and involve our loved ones in the prep and planning; we had the best-lady (Anthy), maintain a wedding blog for updates and the travel registry, our MC (Ursula) took charge of the ladies hair and make-up arrangements (We really had no idea about the planning that goes into that) and let us not forget team Origami.
On our officiants recommendation we didn’t ban guests taking photos. In her experience, it really can be a mood dampener. So we asked the guests to stay clear of the paid professionals, and to use our Hashtag on Instagram so we could see their experience of the day.
There are very few rules or norms for same-sex weddings to follow, you can do whatever you want and make your own memories and traditions.
For additional wedding help, there is a candid site for Grooms called “the plunge” which is very handy, and the Martha Stewart Check List is really comprehensive.
However in general the only real head’s up we can provide, is happy guests make a happy wedding party.
Groom’s hair: Nev The Barber
Jewellery: Wedding bands
Shoes: Newport and Trenery
Florist: Supply: Fresh Flowers 54 Florida Rd, Morningside 031 303 2407
Venue: Freedom Café
Styling and origami: DIY with our incredible friends
Most hardware supplied by Freedom Café
Vases: Natural Nostalgia And, Highway Function Hire
Caterer: Renegade Kitchen
Pre-Reception snacks from Jay’s mom Keryn, Mike’s sister Ursula and our friend Mary-Anne North
Groomsmaid Dresses: All their own, sourced independently
Groomsmen Outfits: All their own sourced independently
Grooms outfits: Various Mix
Jay was wearing his father’s wedding waist coat from 1985 which was altered by
Ann’s alterations 0734307793 (Kloof)
Otherwise Topshop, Zara and Spaceman.
Wedding planning: Ourselves
Mike: Co-ordination and Design
Jay: Admin and Budget
Stationery: Mike handled the design work
Antalis (Paper supply)
Papersmith & Son (Envelop supply)
Print Room, Glenwood (Printing)
Thank you cards: Nifty 250
Entertainment: Aden Hinds
Our iPod playlist
Transport: Mike’s Sister Ursula and our friend Pauline’s Fiat 500’s
Photography: The amazing Andy and Szerdi from Knot Just Pics