Jenny and Jurie
Imagine being a week away from your dream wedding, only for it to be on the verge of cancellation and then definitely cancelled by the Thursday – nearly within your reach, but stolen from you at the last minute!
This was the reality for many South African brides – and the stress and emotions of constant postponing and wedding planning for a lot longer than expected really caused a lot of pain.
Jen and Jurie had to postpone their wedding day, and through all the stress, Jen was really battling with making definite plans to have a beautiful day! After some coercing from her bridesmaids, Jen was finally open to having an intimate ceremony at home, with just immediate family and bridesmaids.
Let me just say, I am SO glad those bridesmaids did that!
With their “dog of honour” by their side, Jenny and Jurie said I do at their beautiful home in Muizenberg.
Hey guys, please can you introduce yourselves to the Hooray readers…
Hey, we are Jennifer & Jurie Wessels! We actually met long before we dated, I was in school still and Jurie was in University – we had a crush on each other for years but nothing ever happened! When I was out of school, Jurie organised a hike with my best friends and me. On the first night of that hike, we had our first kiss. He is not a big partier and says it was the best way to “woo me”. We have been together for 9 years now and after having to postpone our first planned wedding, we got our first house as a way to commit to each other and find a solid foundation. This ended up being our next wedding venue.
Hooray: Can you tell us about your proposal?
Jen: Jurie planned a weekend away at a place called Sanbona, a game farm near Montagu (we are rock climbers and always visit Montagu – Montagu was also the venue of the original wedding) He planned a weekend away for his birthday to surprise me… I’m not gonna lie ideas and thoughts about a proposal ran through my head! On our second night, Jurie organised an amazing picnic setup, after a game drive – picnic blanket, pillows, rose petals and champagne set up under an acacia tree. My heart started beating like crazy and when we sat down, we chatted for a bit. I had given him his birthday gift that morning – a few pictures of us on our adventures. He looked at me and said, “In the spirit of gift-giving, I have something for you”. The box was bigger than a ring box, so I was a bit confused. He was nervous and shouted out the words, “in the box is a promise and a question”. I opened it and found a dog collar so I thought he was surprising me with a dog, looking around with confusion with all that was going on, he had to say it again and I then saw the ring tied to the collar and he said “The promise is we will get a dog and the question is will you marry me?” and I said, “of course”.
Hooray: Let’s start off with the difficult one, how badly did COVID affect your wedding plans?
Jen: We planned our initial wedding in 2020 (March 21) which meant the first-ever president’s address, where he said no more than 100 people could gather, was the Sunday before our original wedding date. Our original venue was in quite an isolated area in Montagu and we had 80 people confirmed. So, in the chaos and fear we thought we were okay and communicated to our guests, we could go ahead. The week escalated and we also had to consider the suppliers in the numbers, which combined with the fear and uncertainty at the time, was really overwhelming. That week was intense, speaking to suppliers, navigating all the fears of our guests, suppliers and us. On that Thursday morning, the gathering numbers went from 100 to 50, so we had no choice but to postpone, but it felt like at least the decision was taken out of our hands, and to be honest, it was a relief. We went to the venue anyway to have a last getaway before what we anticipated to be a lockdown.
Some people had already travelled from Joburg and decided to join us, we had a very special weekend which many refer to as wedding 1.0. That gave us needed energy for the lockdown to come.
We sat with the uncertainty for a while as there was really little in our control. We bought our house in November 2020 to feel as though we could anchor ourselves. We also bought our long-anticipated first dog, who was able to be the ‘dog of honour’
At the beginning of 2021, we went back and forth but eventually said rather than dealing with the stress of gathering too many people, we will have a small ceremony at our home with our parents & our bridal party. Once we feel confident again with groups, we can have a larger celebration.
Hooray: How did you deal with the emotions of postponements and uncertainty of what would be?
Jen: We have a wonderful support system and people were really understanding and empathetic. No one really had the answers, so we tried to anticipate what we could in terms of the third wave, lockdowns, curfews etc. and adjust accordingly. To be honest it was difficult to feel motivated to start again but my amazing bridesmaids gave me a supportive and helpful push in the right direction. They recommended maybe we do a smaller ceremony, which helped me compartmentalise and move forward bit by bit. Compared to the first wedding where I mapped out where people would stay and vehicles to move them around, this time around I made it ultra-flexible and at the end of the day, we got to have a pretty unstructured, intimate and special wedding in our first home together.
Hooray: Where did you and your girls get ready?
Jen: At my dad’s place up the road in Muizenberg. They all stayed over the night before and it was really special to have that time to spend with my dad and my girls the night before and on the day. They also have a beautiful view overlooking Muizenberg, where we now live.
Hooray: Their “dresses” are really unique… what made you decide to go with a “top and bottom” look?
Jen: I thought it might be more cost-effective if we could make skirts and they get their own white tops, my Maid of Honours boyfriend’s Gran sewed them and I paid for the material and the girls paid for the service. I like how they could each bring their own personality to it and also that it isn’t one-toned and matchy-matchy.
Hooray: I get GOOSEBUMPS watching you walk down the aisle… what was going through your mind then?
Jen: It was a long day of getting ready and anticipating the day. When I left the evening before, all the furniture had arrived and wasn’t set up so it was difficult to picture everything together. Disclaimer: Jurie didn’t want the furniture set up because he is obsessed with his lawn and didn’t want it to be ruined. The wind kept picking up and that was also making me nervous but mostly, he is there for me when I am nervous and calms my anxious soul. I was eager to get down the aisle and when I saw him a flood of emotions came from all the stress and all the hopes that we could finally get to experience this day. I was excited to finally be able to read my (lightly adjusted) vows to him and share the love we had with our nearest and dearest. I was also so excited and overwhelmed to see everyone and how everything, counter to what I expected, was just imperfectly perfect. I felt so surrounded by love and community and family, in comparison to all the months of isolation, it was a crescendo of emotion and love.
Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Jen: You don’t even want to know – two postponements and over two years of planning!
Hooray: How many people were you able to have at your wedding?
Jen: We were able to have 30 guests. As we bought our house in lockdown, we didn’t know how many would be too many in our garden. I actually took pillows and mapped them out to feel confident that there would be enough open space for people to roam freely without feeling cramped.
Hooray: What safety precautions did you have in place?
Jen: Sticking to hard and fast rules on numbers helps you feel better about decisions made. We said bridal party and parents as to not offend and tried to stick to that. Guest lists are often difficult and we missed those who weren’t there but we streamed both the ceremony and speeches to our larger family and now I have those to look back on. I had sanitiser bottles at various stations and we were mostly outside on our lawn. In our gift bags, we had a buff for guests with our names. We had finger foods and small bowls of food that we handed out to align with the ‘Morrocan feel’. Also, people have come this far in the pandemic and as much as you can control some things, you have to know you can’t control everything and everyone needs to make their personal decisions of safety.
It broke my heart not to have my grandparents there but I went a few days before to visit them and share my love. The perfume I had from my Gran was my “something borrowed”, which helped me remember her throughout the day, cause smell is such a memory producing sense. My Grandpa wrote something that my step-sister, Jena, read among the speeches. I hope this brought them a bit closer to the wedding in an indirect way.
Hooray: How did you choose your photographer?
Jen: Instagram – I had been following Grace for years before and she is incredible at whats he does! I knew the first two things to get is venue and photographer. She made magic of our day.
Hooray: From what I can see, your decor complimented your home perfectly. Did you take your home aesthetic into account when choosing your colour palette for your wedding?
Jen: Weirdly, it was the same colour palette as the original wedding. I can’t tell you how many times I said the words “burnt orange”, but I’m sure my husband can attest to that. Maybe it was a subconscious aspect when choosing the historic home with a red stoep and orange tiled roof but it fit my lifetime aesthetic.
Hooray: Your dress is to die for… was it designed or off the rack?
Jen: The dress was actually a matric dance dress I got in Canal Walk. I wasn’t the same size as the previous year, because of lockdown, and also felt like for the smaller wedding I might want a different, more relaxed look. It was a lot less than other bridal dresses cost. I think because I took the stress off the grander wedding with all the bells and whistles and just leaned into the intimate and personal vibe it made everything a little more down to earth and easy (I mean it still was a wedding so there was stress, but it felt more about Jurie and me than maybe the previous one would have been)
Hooray: LOVE your couples shoot… what was your favourite part?
Jen: Adventuring up to the mountains with Grace, who was so personable and gave us a little break to think of ourselves. The wind added magic to the shots and I remember crying when I first saw the images.
Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding
Jen: My non-negotiable was an amazing photographer and Grace was honestly wonderful! We had a lot of stress postponing the first one and she as a wonderful and kind gesture for taking the responsible choice of postponing and knowing we had to make a tough decision, after a year of planning, offered us a couples shoot (not all suppliers were as kind). She was also so amazing to the build-up and on the day and it just made it so easy-breezy and what she produced was beyond what I could expect.
Flowers were also something I know makes the aesthetic just perfect and my friend Robin Clark dedicated so much time saving us money with dried fillers and THE MOST INCREDIBLE and dreamy, flowers and arch of my dreams!
Hooray: Your cakes are adorable… who made them and what flavours were they?
Jen: My caterer Theme Cuisine organised the chocolate cake (Jurie is a chocoholic and we NEEDED a chocolate one for him) My amazing, bridesmaid, florist and overall dream Robin Clark Made the delicious carrot cake that was to die for. She also pressed some flowers which they put on the cake that day.
Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
Jen: As there was a curfew, I would have actually preferred to have started the wedding earlier and enjoy more time with loved ones.
Hooray: Finally, what was the best moment of your wedding day?
Jen: So hard to say because it was all perfection but I hadn’t seen any of the decor together before, it felt so peaceful and calm walking into your own home full of loved ones just beaming for you. Seeing my husband made me just break down after all the nerves and I have the ugly cry photos to show for it. The ceremony was so easy, I finally got to share my vows with my love and hear his and our dog was there to join in on it. I thought it would be the party to look forward to but the ceremony was so sentimental!
Jen and Jurie, thank you so much for sharing your absolutely gorgeous day with us – it really has such a magical feel to it!
Wishing you many more happy years ahead in your beautiful home, I am sure there are going to be so many happy memories made in those walls!
Photographer: Grace Charlotte Photography
Decor Items and Florals: Robin Clark
Furniture Hire: Limitless Events
Catering: The Theme Cuisine
Crown: Llamas in Tiaras
Side pieces for the arch: Knap