Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun…

I cannot be the only person who gets goosebumps just from hearing the theme of this wedding day?

Lauren and Chris said their I do’s in front of their nearest and dearest.
She wore a coral wedding dress, he wore a leopard print shirt.
Lightsabers came out at the end of their first dance, and a flash mob with ALL of their guests had Lauren in absolute hysterics… without giving too much away, it included aunties dancing to “from the windows, to the walls…”

I believe in magical moments, and when you see how the sun came to bless their wedding day, you too will feel the magic of this wedding day and how Here Comes The Sun, really played it’s part!

Grab yourself a cup of coffee, and get ready to enjoy our first Real Wedding Feature for the year!

Hey guys, please can you introduce yourselves to the Hooray readers
Hey! We are Chris Greeff and Lauren Woods (now Greeff). We met on Tinder (can you even handle – “swiped right” into perfection with this one). We have been together for almost 3 years.

Hooray: So, can you tell us more about your proposal?
Lauren: Yoh, it was feels. He did it in our home, on a regular Thursday night at like 9 pm. My friend and I often go for dinner on a Thursday night. So he had been in secret little cahoots with her and asked her to set up a dinner for us (I suspected nothing as we did it often). While I was at dinner, he set up our bedroom with candles and wrote a massive “MARRY ME” on our bedroom wall in rose petals. I arrived home from dinner and went into the room and he followed behind me, when I saw the message on the wall, I turned around to be like “shut up your face!” and he was on his knee. 

Only then did I realise why my best friend was “ordering dessert” and then “coffee” and then “maybe a cup of tea” to draw out our dinner haha. I thought she simply couldn’t get enough of me but nah… girl, was texting him under the table the whole time and he was like “delay her – it’s not ready yet” haha. 

Hooray: Here comes the sun. Can you share more with us as to why you chose this theme for your wedding?
Lauren: About 3 years ago, I went through a horrible divorce. Cheating husband and all of that fun, haha. Anyway, I left and felt liberated and found myself, you know, all of that great stuff.
Then I met Christopher and those that know my story, know that I consider Chris and our connection to be a beautiful little reward at the end of a complicated journey.
That’s exactly what this day was to me, a celebration of life’s unexpected yet impossibly perfect little rewards.
There’s this quote that says: “He broke down her walls without her even noticing, and when he rebuilt the walls he added windows to let the sunshine in”.
From the moment Chris started loving me back together, it was like discovering sunshine.
Hence the concept I chose for our wedding – here comes the sun.

Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding
C + L: Relaxed vibes and intimacy. We didn’t want it to feel stuffy and formal and uptight. We wanted everybody to feel chilled and relaxed and like they could shout and clap and “woo hoo” and wolf-whistle whenever they felt like it. We wanted the people there to be people who we had real, raw and deep relationships with who knew both of us well and play a role in our journey (past and future).  

Hooray: Your bouquet is actual GOALS! Are those peonies I see?
Lauren: Right?? Nix from Buttons and Blooms is almost TOO good with florals – I’m a little bit obsessed with her. She created this beauty. Yes, you do see some Lil peonies all up in there. I really wanted the coral ones but they weren’t in season, so we searched for ages to find some artificial ones that weren’t fake-looking (many did not pass the test haha) and then Nix mixed them in with the fresh flowers in my bouquet.

Hooray: ALL the emotions during your ceremony, the tears were definitely flowing all around! Tell us more about this.
Lauren: All of our guests were such a close part of our story and so it just felt like everybody was celebrating our joy as if it was their own. My dad officiated our ceremony and Chris and I just adore him, so that felt so meaningful and precious to us. My (perfect) mom walked me down the aisle, and she is known for hitting a driz when watching a tv advert, so it didn’t take much to get her howling before we even made it to the aisle. That set me off. And then I locked eyes with an emotional Chris standing at the end of the aisle and I. Was. Tickets.

Hooray: Had you always wanted a small wedding or did ‘Rona change your plans?
C + L: We had always wanted a small wedding, so we were lucky. We wanted an obligation-free guest list, so we used this concept: if you wouldn’t message them and ask them to meet up for a coffee or a dinner cause that would be awkward, then you aren’t close enough with them to add them to the list.

It definitely worked wonders – we didn’t have to have a single awkward obligatory convo with any estranged aunties.
***HSN: This is pure genius and should be used for all weddings moving forward!

Hooray: What advice would you give to brides who are on the fence about having an intimate ceremony?
Lauren: Dooooo it! Those workmates and fringe friends will understand – blame the ‘Rona and hire a videographer. They will probably be relieved that they can watch a 6-minute video instead of having to sit in the ceremony sweating, to be honest.

Hooray: Additional to that, do you think intimate celebrations are the way forward for weddings?
Lauren: I do (see what I did there? 😉

It’s a win all round – it’s easier, you spend less on food and drinks and it makes the day feel really special and meaningful. I like to think that weddings are moving more towards being about a celebration of marriage and less about just being a huge party, and I think intimate celebrations are the start of that.

Hooray: How did you choose your photographer?
Lauren: I have worked with Dean Maber a few times before and I love his edgy, contemporary and unrehearsed style. He photographs moments as they happen and he doesn’t do the whole posed vibe – we are not about that life. The main reason though was that he is just a wonderful man and his personality was something that we wanted around us to share in our most precious and secret moments – it felt like having a friend there, or at least a helluva cool cousin. 

Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Lauren: I would say at least 27 hours a day – give or take.
***HSN: Industry experts say this is the average time spent on Pinterest for a bride to be 😉

Hooray: Did you have a bridal party? Tell us more.
Lauren: Because of the fact that we chose to have an intimate wedding of only 50 guests, we wanted it to feel like all of our guests were bridesmaids and groomsmen and they pretty much were. But we each just chose 1 person to stand up there with us. Chris’s best friend, Jacques, flew from Cape Town to be there (and stepped off the plane looking like he had just stepped off the stage from playing a live rock set). My girl, Dena, stood up there with me (she’s the sneaky restaurant tea-ordering bandit). My best friend, Karla, lives in New Zealand and Covid kept her from standing up there with us but she was there in spirit (also, she sent letters that Dena gave to me before walking down the aisle – cue the tears from me and my mom). I asked a few of my best girls to come and get ready with me and that was fun and special.

Hooray: A CORAL wedding dress, love! What was it like working with Hanrie?
Lauren: Shucks, thanks. I wanted my dress to represent the way that I was feeling inside – just joy and happy and “it is well with my soul” vibes.
Hanrie was incredible – she just “got me” and knew exactly what I wanted.
We had an ongoing thing where she kept pushing me to add things to make my dress “just a little bit more bridal, babe” and I’m so glad she did. She and I got so excited about sharing ideas and evolving the idea of this design. Your dress designer is going to be handling your boobs like, a lot, so you want it to be somebody who you actually enjoy. The whole experience of her making a bespoke dress was just magical – from the planning meetings to the mock-ups to the fittings to the champagne collections with gifts while we all got totes emosh haha. Also, she created this entire situation on the back of my dress BY HAND. That woman is a magician.

Hooray: What role did your parents play in your wedding?
Lauren: Both sets of our parents gave us a financial contribution to the wedding and then we paid for the rest ourselves. My dad actually officiated our ceremony and married us and my mom walked me down the aisle. My parents gave a joint speech together where mom brought the emotions and dad brought the dad jokes (um, adorable much?) 

Chris’s mom baked some of our desserts for us (hello, millionaire shortbread of my dreams) and the dads did all the hard graft in packing and unpacking booze and boxes and all of the things. We are so lucky to have parents who are troopers. 

Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
Lauren: I would bottle the joy that we felt on that day and fill balloons with it and give them to Chris to keep forever.

Oh, and I would eat more of the food and drink more of the alcohol. You can get caught up in the vibes and you sometimes lose the chance to experience and enjoy the details in the way that your guests do.

Hooray: The Barn Owl, the perfect wedding venue for you?
Lauren: Perfection. We wanted a place that was beautiful, to begin with, and really didn’t need anything to make it look gorgeous. The black-framed windows and high ceilings are so our vibe, so this place was a shoo-in for us.

Also – the jungle vibe, pink bathrooms! Guys – do yourselves a favour and go check them out.

Hooray: Okay, hold up. Lightsabers? Tell us more.
Lauren: Chris is a bit of a geek (wait, what? the guy who loves Star Wars, surely not? I know, right?) Anyway I wanted to surprise him so we arranged a bunch of lightsabers and at the end of our first dance, we killed the lights and all of our best friends surrounded him and I with lightsabers while the Star Wars theme song played.

I’ll have you know that at that moment he exclaimed through near-tears: “This is the best moment of my life!” (to which my internal response was “I walked down the aisle towards you just a few hours ago, but mkay. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Moving on…)

Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
Lauren: Oh no biggie, just a world crisis and pandemic – you know, the usual. 

We had to postpone our wedding due to Covid and then it was a constant worry about whether lockdown rules would affect it or not. Every time Uncle Cyril addressed the nation, we were pooping bricks. But that was the only hurdle, we decided that anything besides actually being married to each other at the end of the day, was futile in the greater scheme of things. 

Hooray: Finally, can you tell us the best moment of your wedding day?
Lauren: The surprise flash mob that our families surprised us with right after our first dance. I’m talking about the best thing you have ever seen. For months and months leading up to the wedding, they had secret group chats and conference calls where my cousin co-ordinated them and trained them for their parts of the dance. It was the most meaningful gift we have ever received. The gift of imagining your dad’s both practicing a dance routine before bed every night so that they can make you laugh is a gift that will make you feel more loved than you could ever imagine. My cousin, Erin, planned the whole thing and she used all of our favourite songs. Watching the dad’s all dance to Johnny Clegg and the mom’s and aunt’s dance (WITH GRAPHIC ACTIONS) to Lil John’s “sweat drop down my balls” is a gift in itself. 

Lauren and Chris, thank you so much for sharing your absolutely magical day with us.
I am a firm believer that smaller, more intimate weddings are the way forward and your day is proof that you can still have the most magical day and the biggest party, without having 100+ wedding guests!

Wishing you both many more happy years ahead filled with all the sunshine, love and good vibes!

Venue: The Barn Owl
Photographer: Dean Maber
Florals: Buttons & Blooms
Dress: Hanrie Lues Bridal
Co-ordination & Styling: Kitted
Groom and Bridal Party styled by Kitted
Videography: S&B Films
Live music & DJ: Your Human Jukebox
Makeup & Hair: Blush Pro Makeup
Catering: The Barn Owl
Cake made of cheese: Indezi River Creamery
Stationery: Mia Maciver Designs 

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