REAL WEDDING | pink hair, a vegan picnic, bring the kids


Gemma reached out to us via Instagram after we featured her friend Rochelle’s wedding on the blog. After seeing just one photo from Durban photographer Kristi Smith we knew we were in for a treat. Red hair, Vegan picnic style meal and an exquisite slim fit dress with plunging neckline, forest inspired appliqué and removable tulle skirt. Need we say more?

Gemma and Geoff have a beautiful little boy who they included in their wedding celebration. If you are in the throws of wedding planning and are having to make that tough decision of whether or not to include kids in your wedding, here is some advice from an earlier post that might guide you in making a decision: Regret No Kids

HoorayWeddings_KristiSmithPhotography_005HoorayWeddings_KristiSmithPhotography_002 HoorayWeddings_KristiSmithPhotography_003 HoorayWeddings_KristiSmithPhotography_004 HOORAY: 3 things stand out to us. Red hair, Vegan meal and that dress. Let’s start with the hair…You look like Ariel 🙂 How long has your hair been this colour? Was it a tough call to keep it like that for the wedding or was it always going to be red?
GEMMA: Yes the red hair 🙂 It was one of my favourite things about the look I had in mind when I imagined myself walking down the forest aisle. It was always going to be a shade of red, yes. When myself and Geoff met a few years ago my hair was always fun and either red-orange or pink-red, in a Mohawk, shaved on the side or something of that sort. I absolutely LOVED the phase of me having my red hair and when I fell pregnant with our beautiful Riley Ray I decided to stop with the hair dye and give it a break. So, needless to say, once the actual wedding date drew closer I was not pregnant (sho) and no longer breastfeeding (yay!) so I decided to go back to the more “fun” self I was when we first met. Geoff loved my red hair, he says it’s wild and fun, and hey, if one day I want to look at a calmer version of our wedding photos I’ll just look at the black and white copies.

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HOORAY: It is so lovely to see your son involved in the wedding. Did he have any special roles? Any advice for parents getting married as far as the little one is concerned?
GEMMA: It was really quite special to have our little boy with us on such a special day. Riley was meant to have the rings attached to him and to bring them up to us at the right time during the most special ceremony on this planet (conducted by my cousin Tanya Visser) BUT we lost the rings. So we had to improvise and use rings belonging to one of my bridesmaids Kerri and my dad for the actual ceremony (don’t worry they were found at the bottom of a grocery bag two weeks later, the joys of having a toddler go through your things). Otherwise no, we decided that the day was about us and our love for one another so we really just let the little one have a good time with the family and our lovely nannies who we had helping. We then carried on with our day baby free. Advice I have for any parents having a wedding would really be to remember that yes, you have a baby or a kid, and yes they are completely involved in your lives, but this is one day I think you really deserve to just let loose and have a good time stress-free. So get some good nannies on duty and let them do their thing and try to have a parental duty free day if you can. Oh, and make sure baby has a camp cot in one of the grannies rooms for the evening of course.

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 HOORAY: Did you plan your wedding from CT? Why was that and was it difficult to achieve? Any advice for brides planning a wedding outside their city?
GEMMA: Yes most of the planning was done from CT as halfway through planning the wedding we decided to move to Cape Town for business reasons. It was difficult but really it was all about keeping constant emails going with everyone and making sure everyone had a good idea of what our idea was for the day. I can’t say it was stressful doing it from a distance because it was such a relaxed day, all I had to make sure of was that all the service providers that I needed were in fact booked and chatted to. Thanks go to Rochelle (one of my best friends and bridesmaids) who gifted me with a proper wedding planning diary. I didn’t think I needed one until I had a look inside. My suggestion to anyone doing the same is to GET A WEDDING PLANNING DIARY!

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HOORAY: Your dress is out of this world.  Please tell us about it. Who was the designer? What was the inspiration behind the skirt?
GEMMA: Ahhhhh my dress. I just love love love my dress so much. Even thinking back now I can not fault it. Yolande Wortmann made the dress. She made my best friend’s dress for her wedding (Rochelle Botha) as well as our bridesmaids dresses for the same wedding. Rochelle’s wedding has actually already been blogged here. The choice was easy. It was all about trying to explain to her what I had in my head. Forest-pixie-hot-princess-bride-with leaves growing up my body and a fairytale poofy-but-not-too-poofy skirt, I think was my description and she got it so spot on! We decided on a few extra pieces of lace on the top half so as not to give the oldies and my new family a scare and it worked out beautifully! The look of the dress with the big tulle skirt was my initial idea, but then Yolanda said she literally couldn’t stop when working with the lace and she decided, herself, to make the dress a little more special and different which meant I could remove skirt but still see the lace down my body while I was wearing it. It was my dream dress and more! (Courtesy of my mother. Thanks Mom for the perfect wedding gift).

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HOORAY: The highlight of my day was…
GEMMA: For me it was for sure the ceremony, having my mom and dad walk me down the aisle to the most emotional looking husband-to-be at the other end. I’ve married the perfect man for me and that feeling was completely felt in that moment. Also, my cousin did the most unbelievable, non-religious ceremony celebrating our love and life. It was truly something to witness.
GEOFF:  Seeing my bride walking down the aisle, standing there, holding her hands and thinking, “Wow, she is lovely”

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HOORAY: Haycroft is a fairly new venue. How did you come to hear about it? What did you love most about it?
GEMMA: I actually came across Haycroft during a wedding expo that I was personally exhibiting at (my Make-up artistry business) and as I had a look at the pictures it was a done deal. All I ever wanted was the forest wedding vibes and I thought I was going to have to settle for more of a “get married under just one really impressive tree” vibe. So it was love at first sight venue wise. The venue was, in fact, not even completely built when we looked and booked, but I knew it would be perfect for what we were wanting – a mostly outdoors morning wedding. My most favourite part of the venue was, of course, the forest ceremony as well as the set up they had directly after the ceremony on the deck overlooking their dam for our cocktails and canapés. It worked well with our Bohemian feel of blankets and scatter pillows on the floors and live music.

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HOORAY: Who did your catering for you? What were the hurdles you faced planning a vegan meal? And do you have any advice for other vegan brides?
GEMMA: We had such lovely caterers for the wedding, Hamblins Catering from Pietermaritzburg. They were suggested to us by the lovely Pippa from Haycroft (our venue) as their chosen caterers. Hamblins were unbelievable from the get go. They helped us form a vegan menu that our guests would enjoy and made sure people would not “miss” anything that they were used to having on their plate. The biggest hurdle with having an all vegan wedding was really to pick out meals that even the biggest meat eaters would eat, recognise and enjoy without judging it too much. Especially since my Dad and stepmom had offered to cover the meal costs to spoil us, and they LOVE their meat. To be honest though, the biggest thing I had to keep in mind is that people will ALWAYS judge the food they receive at a wedding. With this in mind, we chose something hearty and wholesome (an unbelievable potato and lentil curry), something fun (burgers and wedges) and something sweet and different (beetroot tartlets) and I think overall the meals were enjoyed. If I have any advice for anyone aspiring to have a cruelty free wedding I would suggest doing what we did with the main meal and making it fun. We had all the options set out on each table, more than enough to try some of everything. This made it easier for them to find what they enjoyed the most and then more of that could be served. The “communal eating” style went very well with the feel of our wedding which was all about love and family and fun, nothing too serious.

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HOORAY: Best spent money was on…
GEMMA: Dress (Mom’s money though. Thanks Mom)

HOORAY: In hind sight, we could have done without….
GEMMA: Hmmmmm , I don’t think we would have done without ANYTHING! We literally kept everything minimal. It wasn’t a very showy wedding because we were doing everything for just us and not to try and impress anyone. So spending wise, we don’t regret a thing.

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HOORAY: Do you have any other advice for brides-to-be?
GEMMA: I do have a small piece of advice. When planning your wedding – do it for yourself. It’s about the love that you are sharing, not how much money you can spend or how flashy you can be. It’s the most unbelievable day with family and friends and you need to spend as much time as you can enjoying that, not running on a time schedule to complete the formalities of a normal wedding. Also, we did our photo shoot at the end of the day and not directly after our ceremony, this allowed us to celebrate what just happened with all our loved ones on the deck outside for a few hours and to drink and be merry with them. They didn’t spend two hours having a party without us while waiting for our return 🙂

Venue: Haycroft Farm
Photography: Kristi Smith Photography
Wedding Dress: Yolande Wortmann
Catering: Hamblins Catering
Live music: Tylor D’s and Beat-route Jazz band
Cake: Chef Alex Poltera
Flowers & Decor: Labola


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