Jenna And Mariska
There is something so magical about South African weddings. We have a vibrancy and uniqueness about our country that lends itself to the magic of every wedding day.
Jenna and Mariska’s wedding, certainly had this magic.
Pre-wedding safaris, midnight pool sessions and magnums for dessert, Jenna and Mariska’s wedding day seemed to be a party of note and we just loved all the special details they put into it!
If you are considering a “safari wedding”, read on for some major inspiration!
Photography by Bianca Wilde Photography
Hi guys! Please introduce yourselves to the Hooray readers…
J + M: We’re Jenna & Mariska – we met back in April 2016 at Jen’s best friend’s kitchen tea.
Hooray: Tell us about your proposal
J + M: On Christmas Day 2018 Jen gave Marisk a stocking filled with all of her favourite things. The last item that Marisk pulled out was a ring from the bottom of the stocking – Jen then popped the question!
***HSN: This is major proposal goals!
Hooray: What was it like getting married at a Game Reserve?
J + M: Zebra Hills has always been one of our favourite places in the World, let alone South Africa, so to be able to get married there was absolutely phenomenal. We are both outdoor people and really love and care about nature so getting married at a game reserve was always going to be on the bucket list!!
Hooray: Pre-wedding safari? Tell us more!
J + M: We went up to Zebra Hills on the Thursday before the wedding and had our closest family and friends there with us for the build-up. We got to go on several game drives (with some awesome sightings including lion cubs!!) and spent some quality time with family, some of whom came over from Germany & England to join us for our big day. It was also nice to have those few days to unwind before the big day! Once we were up there, we were able to relax as it is about a 3 hour drive from home. If something had been forgotten, there was not much we could have done about it, so there was no more stressing or planning anymore! We could just enjoy the exquisite game reserve!
Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding?
J + M: We wanted a very unique menu that people would remember! In the end we went with mini bunny chows as our starter, and lamb on the spit for mains! Dessert was mini Magnums (and wedding cake of course!).
We also decided right from the start that we both wanted to wear wedding dresses, and didn’t want to see each other’s until we walked down the aisle!
Hooray: To clarify, did you get ready together? And go your separate ways to get into your dresses?
J + M: So, we saw each other the morning of the wedding when we woke up, but as soon as we started having hair and make up done we were kept apart!! Our bridesmaids worked together to make sure our paths didn’t cross! As our hair and make up were done in one room, Jen would have to move out of the room and be kept away somewhere while Marisk came in to do hers and vice versa!
Hooray: Gosh, all the tears as Mariska walked down the aisle! Can you chat more about this moment and how you felt?
Jen – I honestly don’t think I will ever forget that moment or the emotion I felt in that moment. I knew I would cry when I turned around to see her but I don’t think I could have imagined THAT level of emotion! And Marisk is normally the emotional one, but she kept it together! I had to wait for what felt like a lifetime to turn around, and I remember saying to our marriage officer, Pierre, “Please can I turn now, please” and when he finally said OK it was just such a mindblowing moment. Marisk is such a stunner & seeing your soulmate walking towards you to marry you definitely brings out all the emotion that builds up in the journey to your wedding day.
Marisk – Since before the wedding Jen has always said that she would not be able to keep the tears away (and she’s not a crier), so I had been preparing myself to be strong and to try not to cry. But with all the emotions building up and seeing her eyes full of tears I just couldn’t keep the tears away. I even joked with her while walking down the aisle by telling her she’s making me cry.
Hooray: Tell us about your bridal party?
J + M: We had always decided we wanted 1 Bridesmaid each. Marisk’s obvious choice was her only sister. Jen’s was her best friend of 20 years, who’s kitchen tea we met at! Tarien & Casey threw us an amazing Mexican-themed Bachelorette – which Tarien flew in for from Germany for 4 days (3 weeks before flying in again for the wedding!!). This was a massive surprise! Thankfully we didn’t have any bad experiences with our bridesmaids – we chose them well!
Hooray: What role did your parents play in your wedding?
J + M: We did have some financial assistance from our Dads, and our Moms bought both our dresses and accessories – this took a massive burden off of us and meant we could truly have the wedding we wanted.
Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Jenna: Marisk spent quite a lot of time on Pinterest, maybe about 5 hours a week?! A lot of the final products were ideas she got straight off of Pinterest (we can’t take full credit for it!).
Hooray: How did you choose your photographer
J + M: We had shortlisted a potential two – but after meeting Bianca and her husband Brendan we decided it was a perfect match. Our “meet and greet” turned into a 2 hour bonding session! We found we had loads of things in common, and her amazing photography skill wasn’t the only thing she would bring to our wedding!
Hooray: Your dresses are both so gorgeous, did you go shopping together or were they a surprise?
J + M: Ahh, thank you so much! From the start we didn’t want to see each other’s dresses, and we didn’t until Marisk walked down the aisle. We each went shopping with our Moms – and we are so glad that we did it this way because it made it that much more special!
Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
J + M: We’re sitting here racking our brains – we literally couldn’t have asked for anything more, as cliched as that sounds!
Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
J + M: We had decided from the beginning we wanted to plan our wedding ourselves, not fully realising that it’s quite a mammoth task! So juggling the planning with full-time jobs and a social life was quite hectic, but SO worth it!
Hooray: Shots for the bouquet toss winners? Tell us more.
J + M: So 90% of our guests are already married (perks of getting married in your 30’s!) so we decided everyone could be involved in the bouquet toss (guys or girls!). Marisk had said she was going to throw to the back of the group so I told her I would throw to the front! Well, her throw didn’t make it past the front row!! Kirsten, who flew in from Dubai for the wedding, & Tarien (Marisk’s sister & bridesmaid) caught the bouquets – the prize for which was a shooter with the two brides!
Hooray: Magnums for dessert, LOVE! What made you decide on magnums?
J + M: Because they’re amazing! We both love magnums and thought it would be a nice touch given that we got married in the middle of Summer. Why stick to the conventional?!
Hooray: The dance floor looked festive, any funny moments?
J + M: The first thing that comes to mind is Wade getting almost everyone on their knees on the dance floor while “Samsara” played, and had us all doing dance moves that he was actually making up in the moment! Just to name one! There were quite a few entertaining moments when bugs/insects/spiders would land on people – that’s when the best dance moves came out! Not to mention the massive spider that was found on Jen’s dress while dancing!
***HSN: I would die if a spider was on my wedding dress, eek!
Hooray: “Midnight” pool sessions – planned or spontaneous? Also looked like a bit of a “trash the dress” session? True or not?
J + M: We had always said we thought everyone would end up in the pool, because of the heat. We had actually told people to bring their costumes which were clearly not needed since everyone got in in their clothes! It was impulsive that we jumped in the pool in our dresses, but by then a few people had already gone in the pool so it was inevitable we were going to end up in there as well!! Definitely wasn’t a trash the dress – we’re still going to do that, properly! Bianca has already given us some ideas!
Hooray: Finally, the best moment of your wedding day?
J + M: How do we choose one?! I think we’re going to have to answer this separately!
Jen – I walked down the aisle first, and had to wait for the marriage officer Pierre to tell me I could turn around to see Marisk. That moment seeing her has to rank right up there with the best moment of my life, let alone wedding day. And then later on in the evening in the pool with my (finally!) wife in our wedding dresses, looking around at all of our mates fully clothed in the pool dancing with us – I remember just thinking “wow this is epic”!
Marisk – Realising that we had all of our closest family and friends from all around the world in the same place, all there to celebrate our love. And then having the most awesome party afterwards where we all ended up in the pool and where we had to tell the DJ to pull the plug at 3:30am!
***HSN: 3:30 am, wow! This was definitely a party of note, how amazing!
Jenna and Mariska, thank you so much for sharing your special day with us. We know it will inspire many other couples to stay true to themselves and have fun with their wedding day!
We wish you many happy years together, filled with more adventures and midnight pool sessions!
Photographer – Bianca Wilde Photography
Venue – Zebra Hills Safari Lodge
Catering – Zebra Hills Safari Lodge
Planner – Mainly Marisk!
Flowers – Sue Harding from Flowers by Sue
Décor – Provided by us and set up by Zebra Hills Safari Lodge
Signage – Amy Faile from Willow T Designs
Hair & Make up – Laura Smith from Laura & Co
DJ – Pierre Venter-Maher from Pierre Live
Dresses – Bride & Co
Videographer – Alastar Ngwenya