Dani and Ross
I fell in love with this wedding day the first time I saw a Sneak Peek on Oh Happy Day’s Instagram page… a lover of all things pink, I just knew that I wanted Hooray to share it!
Dani and Ross said their I do’s on a summer day in Franschoek, and to say their day seemed perfect in every way is an understatement.
Planning a wedding from afar can be difficult, but with the OHD team on their side, Dani and Ross really pulled off the most amazing day – a Morris Minor “just married” car, a floral arch straight out of every bride’s dreams, oyster shucking and the beautiful mountain backdrop… absolutely heavenly!
Okay, enough from me, let’s hand it over to Dani and Ross.
Hooray: Hi guys, please introduce yourselves to the Hooray readers.
D + R: We are Dani Cyrus and Ross Mac Connell. We’d been together for 12 years by the time we got married. I’m from Durban and he’s from Cape Town. We met in London in 2008. Turned out he went to primary school with one of my best friends from university who had invited me over for a braai. I walked into my friend’s living room, Ross and I met eyes and the rest is history. We started dating a month later, moved in together 3 months later, got engaged 11 years after that and got married a year after that. We wanted to be sure. 😉
Hooray: Tell us about your proposal
Dani: Every year on Boxing Day when we are in London, Ross takes me to my favourite restaurant, Dinner by Heston. The drive there and back takes you past the Albert Bridge, which is the gorgeous pink bridge over the Thames and my favourite place in London. On our way back from lunch, the sky was a perfect pink and grey and it was quite warm for December so we decided to stop and walk and take some pictures, right by the bridge. There was not a car in sight or any other people which is really unusual, and as we walked over he got down on one knee and popped the question. I was totally taken by surprise. He had also arranged for my best and his best friend (husband and wife) to pop up at just the right moment with champagne and my fur baby, Teddy the Labrador, and we all stood on the bridge drinking champagne and celebrating. It was incredible.
Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding?
Dani: The weather! Just kidding. It’s the only thing you can’t control! The look and feel. I really wanted a romantic vibe in the decor and execution of the formalities. The whole purpose of a wedding is to share your love with those that matter most to you in the world and I wanted that sentiment to be echoed in everything. Oh Happy Day nailed that for us in the vendor selection and articulating our wants and desires into something tangible.
Hooray: Speaking of the OHD team, what was it like working with them?
Dani: Planners are so important as they ultimately execute your vision and I have heard so many disaster stories from friends about how they have been let down by their planners. I am so blessed I chose OHD because they were amazing. As a bride living abroad, I was really concerned about how I would manage everything from so far, but they made it seamless. We spoke on FaceTime, WhatsApp calls and messenger so often, that I felt like I had my close friends looking out for me and planning my big day, rather than strangers that I hadn’t met before (and I did only meet them in person a few months before the wedding!) They really take your day personally and go over and above to bring your dreams to life. They are open and honest about what works and what doesn’t, what fits with your budget and also what is a complete waste of time (because let’s face it, we all get a little carried away sometimes!). Even after the wedding, when we were picking up the final pieces, they were incredibly supportive and helpful, making sure everything was closed out. We still speak all the time, reminiscing about the day.
Hooray: We love all the different shades of pink! What made you choose this colour for your wedding?
Dani: I love summery pops of colour, especially the blend of corals with watermelons and fuchsia. I knew I wanted it lush and green too, so those colours provided a wonderful contrast. My husband and I are fun-loving, bright, party people and I thought those colours best represented that side of our personalities. There are also so many wonderful flower options in those colours so it meant we could go wild with the choice.
Hooray: That floral archway is just GORGEOUS! Was it everything you ever dreamed of?
Dani: Everything and more! It was absolutely breathtaking! That, set against the backdrop of the mountain, saying my vows to the love of my life- I have no words.
Hooray: How did you choose your photographer?
D + R: We had investigated some photographers online and on Instagram but we hadn’t quite hit the right note until our planners put together a shortlist which was very much in line with the romantic style we are looking for. We saw Roxanne’s work and we fell in love. It helps that she is so responsive and an amazing person too!
Hooray: Your dress has so many intricate details, was it designed or off the rail?
Dani: I wanted something romantic and flowing but that also made me feel like a bride. Everyone thought I’d wear something more fitted as that is my usual style, but when I started trying the dresses on at various shops, I didn’t feel as bride-like as when I had something with a bit more skirt to it. South Africa is really hot in February and the tulle skirt meant that it was loose and light around my legs but still had a beautiful full A-line skirt that accentuated my waist and showed off the gorgeously hand-beaded top half. It was made by Gozde Karadana who is an up and coming Turkish Designer. Her dresses are beautiful, and I bought it off the rack at Angelica Bridal in London. It was stunning as it was but there were a few things I wanted to customise to make it a little more me which she was so flexible about and I really appreciated that. For example, I cut away some of the skirt, inserted the slit, and took out a criss-cross back feature. The style though was everything I had dreamed of and totally fitted that fairytale theme. I did go to 8 stores. I did try on 35 dresses. I did overthink it. But when I tried on this dress, I just knew. And my husband absolutely loved it!
Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Dani: In the beginning quite a lot, but I actually found my real inspirations on Instagram because there is so many “real brides” stuff on there. Also, it’s much easier to track and follow suppliers through it.
Hooray: We love the live band, tell us more about them.
D + R: The acoustic reception band, Bottomless Coffee Band are just the best. They are a husband and wife duo, taking South Africa by storm. Not only do they have amazing vocals, but they play a whole host of instruments between them. They are super talented and are also the nicest, most genuine people too.
We also had an amazing band that kicked off the dance floor later on in the evening, Me and Mr. Green. They really got the party started with their excellent covers and pyrotechnics. We danced until our shoes fell off! Literally!
Hooray: Tell us about your bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Dani: My 2 bridesmaids Lianne and Leila have been my best friends for the last 12 years. Almost as long as I’ve been with Ross and almost all my London life. We have been through thick and thin together and I was a bridesmaid at both their weddings. Ross’s groomsmen, Jack and Ali he’s know since he was 5, so 33 years! And Brett is married to my best friend Leila. Ross was a groomsman at all of their weddings. (We have been to a lot of weddings!!)
Finding outfits that fitted with the theme was tricky. We wanted a relaxed, romantic vibe, but didn’t want to be too informal. It took ages to source things because we are based in the UK and we were looking for Summer things in the middle of winter! Franschoek is notoriously hot in February too and I wanted the bridal party to be comfortable and cool on the day. Also actually finding things that meet your vision is hard. But in the end, I think we nailed it. But it was trial and error for a good 3 months!
Hooray: Oyster shucking – we love the interactive vibe of this, what made you go with it?
D + R: We are both mad in love with oysters and bubbles. We had seen this concept at a friend’s wedding and we could not resist! I think I ate most of them!
Hooray: Your getaway car is so dreamy! Is this a hired car or is it in the family?
Dani: The Morris Minor 100 is so super special to us because it belonged to Ross’s stepfather who passed away late last year. We were so sad he didn’t make it to the wedding, but having this car which was one of his favourite collector’s items, was our tribute to him. That and that the copious whiskey shots at the bar! He was a proud Scotsman after all!
Hooray: What role did your parents play in your wedding?
D +R: Our parents contributed minimally financially as we didn’t want them to fork out what we could afford ourselves, but they contributed an enormous amount of emotional support. They were very much involved in helping put together the vision on the day and helping with coordinating family member’s accommodations and transport which was tricky to facilitate for us from abroad. They were also really great at keeping us pragmatic and not going too overboard which can happen when you get caught up in the excitement of it all.
Hooray: Dani, your face speaks a 1000 words as you walk into the magic that is your reception… what were your thoughts at this time?
Dani: All I thought was “wow, this is perfection”. It was exactly as I had dreamed- the perfect blend of fairytale and romance.
Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time?
Dani: The screens I used to shield the guests from seeing into the venue. They were fixed and should have been moveable.
Hooray: Any advice to other brides planning their SA wedding from afar?
Dani: Get a planner. It’s not an expense, it’s a necessity. They have a network well beyond your imagination and know how to execute your vision. They become the most important part of the planning process and if you choose well, they are more than just your planners, they become your friends who really do have your best interests at heart. When planning a wedding, it might be your everything, but vendors have many other weddings to plan in advance of yours, and sometimes that can be frustrating when you want responses. OHD made me feel like ours was the only wedding they were working on (even though I know they had loads leading right up until a few days before mine!). They were so responsive and kept me updated, they dealt with all the vendors which was so helpful when I was working full time, and they really took all the pressure off of me so I could just enjoy my day.
Hooray: Okay, it’s getting hot in here! Why did Ross take his shirt off?
Dani: Haha! Ross has a bit of a reputation for ripping his shirt off at parties. We wanted to be as authentic to ourselves as possible on our wedding day – it wouldn’t have been a party if he didn’t! And he set the rest of the guys off too. We had a whole hoard of topless men running around by the end. The ladies certainly weren’t complaining 😉
Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
D + R: Trying not to go overboard! It’s really hard when there are so many beautiful things out there and so many amazing options for the day. At the end of the day, you want to be authentic and real to what is truly you and not detract from why everyone is gathered together in the first place.
Hooray: Finally, please tell us the best moment of your wedding day?
Dani: Gosh, so hard to pin down, I have a top three!
Walking down the aisle with my mom (my dad has passed) and seeing the love of my life waiting for me at the other end of the aisle;
The confetti throwing was epic, we got pelted and laughed so hard!; and lastly
Walking into the reception venue for the first time and seeing how beautifully it had been decorated took my breath away.
Dani and Ross, thank you so much for sharing your picture-perfect, pink wedding day with us today!
We wish you many happy years together filled with oysters, bubbles, and cuddles with Teddy!
Photographer: Roxanne Davison
Venue: La Paris Estate
Planners: Oh Happy Day
Decor and flowers: nConcepts & Designs
Videographer: James Peters Films
Stationery: Indigo and Ivory
Hair and Makeup: Cecilia Fourie
Bridal hair and all nails: Claire from Plaits
Food: Food Fanatics
Band: Bottomless Coffee Band
DJ: Me and Mr. Green
Dress: Gozde Karadana
Shoes: Sophia Webster
Rings: Ant Hulsen