Michael + Jenn | Real Wedding Feature

A wedding out of every girl’s dreams.
Picture this: a week in Mauritius, sipping on cocktails, surrounded by your loved ones and at the end of the week, you get to marry your best friend. Now that’s what I call Paradise!
Jennifer & Michael were blessed to be able to spend a whole week with their nearest and dearest on an island before they said their “I do’s”, and their pictures show all the love and relaxed vibes that everyone was experiencing.

We would be lying if we said we were not green with envy looking through all their beautiful images, but they definitely helped us escape, so without further adieu, get ready to be swept away by Jenn & Michael’s wedding day.

Tell us about yourselves…
Jenn: Our names are Jennifer and Michael. We met at Icon nightclub in Sandton through a mutual friend

Hooray: Tell us about your proposal

Jenn: Mike went all out when he proposed to me. He chartered a luxury private yacht in the Greek ocean and got down on one knee to ask me to spend the rest of our lives together. Greece is our annual holiday and a very special place for us, and I now have a Greek surname, Stamatiadis. Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding?
Jenn: The wedding march when my dad and I walked down the aisle, and an 8 meter long train and veil. Hooray: Love your matching Louboutins, is there a story behind this?
Jenn: I am a shoe lover! My favourites are my Louboutins and I knew I would always wear a pair at my wedding. I bought mine with my mom on a trip to Spain while wedding dress shopping, and I convinced my husband to wear a pair too! Hooray: How did you choose your photographer?
Jenn: I love very natural, documentary style photography and Ayeh K fitted perfectly into the style that we wanted. After meeting her it was a no-brainer, she is so lovely and is now considered a friend. Hooray: How did your guests react to a destination wedding? Were there any special people who were just unable to attend?
Jenn: We managed to negotiate a very good price for all the wedding guests. It is an all-inclusive resort, so there was no additional costs when there. We did activities every night like a private beach barbeque and private drinks on the beach before dinner and one day we rented 7 speed boats and went to Ile de Coco Island. All of the extras were covered by my parents, which made the trip financially worth it for our guests. We really wanted to spoil each guest who made the effort to come. I had a few special people who couldn’t make it, some who just couldn’t afford it and others who were pregnant and couldn’t fly. We expected 60 people, and had 100 guests in the end. Hooray: How did you choose your veil? We are a sucker for sparkly!
Jenn: My veil was inspired by sun rays. As it was an outside ceremony, Warrick Gautier and I thought about something different and something he hadn’t done before. Something that also represented an island wedding. We came up with the idea of sun rays shining down on us, the beads were hand sewed like rays of the sun from top to bottom. Hooray: Michael’s reaction when he saw you gave us all the feels! How were you keeping it together?
Jenn: I wasn’t! I was completely hysterical until about half way down the aisle. Mike hasn’t cried since he was 11 years old, so obviously I have never seen him shed a tear and truly didn’t expect him to. This made it even more overwhelming for me as he is not an openly emotional person at all. I was incredibly emotional before I walked down the aisle, when I saw my mom and brothers walking down. My Dad was helping me, as emotional as he was also becoming, and said “Darling, you have that veil to hide behind, I have nothing!” I will never forget it! Hooray: Tell us about your bridesmaids and groomsmen? Could you share with us the best and worst of your experience?
Jenn: We are blessed with the most incredible friends. My bridesmaids went all out in spoiling me in every way possible. When we arrived home from Greece, we were so surprised to come home to our entire apartment decked out in engagement décor, Greek music and food and loads of champagne with our special people there to congratulate us. Our bed was piled with “Mr. and Mrs.” gifts, a Martha Stewart wedding book and wedding stationery to start planning! From there, I was spoilt with countdown gifts from 1 year. From 6 months, each of my bridesmaids took me for a day out to do something. I loved to countdown each month which was SO special and thoughtful. Ending with my Bachelorette weekend, where I was taken to a 5 star boutique hotel for a slumber party with my girls and my mum, and then had a Greek Goddess themed bachelorette with all my girlfriends which was a huge party. Even in Mauritius, 2 days before the wedding they set up a champagne picnic for me, they were every girls dream bridesmaids and went over and above in every single way. Hooray: Tell us about the maintenance of that train? Was it manageable, or worth the extra?
Jenn: It was quite high maintenance to be honest! But with all my bridesmaids helping hands it was a bit easier. The train was attached to my over skirt – so when I took it off my dress. the train was only about 2 meters which was a lot easier. As it was a beach wedding, we had our photos done on the beach and the train did get full of sand, but it was SO worth it and I wouldn’t go back and change it if I could Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
Jenn: Being abroad, the planning over email was difficult. My mom and I were lucky enough to do a site visit and see the resort beforehand which was great, so I knew where everything was and exactly what to expect. The “island style” delayed responses was the most difficult hurdle for my “get it done” attitude, I only received my flower quote a week before I left for my wedding week! Hooray: How difficult was it finding service-providers? Where they all from the Island or did you fly some over?
Jenn: The hotel is very experienced with hosting weddings and they provided an event company that provided the majority of the wedding décor. The fireworks were organized with a Mauritian company too, as well as all the flowers in the reception and for the ceremony. I flew my make-up artist, my photographer and my videographer from South Africa and treated them to join us for the week of the wedding. I used a lady in JHB to create all my wedding stationery and flew it all over with me. Hooray: The best thing about a destination wedding?
Jenn: If I could recommend having a destination wedding to anyone who can do it, it would be the first thing I would recommend! The best thing was to have all the guests together for a week to get to know each other and spend time together. I got to spend so much time with my most-loved and there were so many friendships formed between strangers which will last forever. Mike and I didn’t spend our whole wedding “catching up” with people and saying “Hello” to everyone because we had a whole week behind us with everyone to do that. Hooray: The worst thing about a destination wedding?
Jenn: It’s definitely a more difficult and more stressful planning process. Mauritians are very relaxed and have no real sense of urgency, and because my whole wedding was planned via email, it was frustrating not getting answers and waiting a lot longer for clarification on everything. I am lucky I am not an anxious person, but about 2 weeks before the wedding I started suffering from a bit of anxiety. (They hadn’t sent my flowers quote until 3 days before I left for Mauritius!!) I was lucky enough to do a site visit with my mom 10 months prior to the wedding, which was absolutely essential for me. I got to meet everyone face to face and knew who I was working with, as well as could choose exactly where I wanted the ceremony, canapés and reception. Also because they had met me face to face, it was a much more personal planning process. Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Jenn: 1 hour max Hooray: Your bridesmaids and groomsmen look like they had a bit of a dance-off during their entrance? Tell us more
Jenn: Yes I loved that! Our MC’s were ABSOLUTELY incredible, on another level, and they planned with the bridal party to choose a song and do an entrance, as well as Mike’s and my parents. It really got the whole crowd excited and ready for a very festive evening! Hooray: Dress number two is just as gorgeous! Tell us about this one!
Jenn: This was made by my very talented friend Chanelle Cindy Botha. She also made a dress for me for each night of my wedding week so I felt like a princess every night. She made my beautiful bridesmaids dresses too! This was much more comfortable and much easier to wear for the dance with my dad and then the dance with Mike. After 12 midnight. I changed again into a short party dress also by Chanelle as we moved into an underground area which they converted into a disco until 5am!
***Hooray Side Note: This sounds like the biggest party ever!
Hooray: Your top 3 tips to anyone planning on getting married in Mauritius
Jenn:
1. If you can, do a site visit
2. Do your homework on suppliers and always negotiate prices – they try their luck!
3. Get to the resort at least a day or 2 before all your guests. This allows time for settling in and any last minute things. Also get a rooming list and transfer schedule of all your guests to personally greet them all as they arrive, I did room drops in each guests room – each guest received an Armani perfume/cologne with a personalized sticker on the box as well as the itinerary for the week.

Lastly, I think it’s extremely important to make each guest feel special and appreciated for being there. I wrote each of them hand written personal cards to thank them for being with us which was given with their perfumes and itineraries. Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time?
Jenn: Absolutely nothing! Hooray: The best moment of your wedding day?
Jenn: Our first dance, when the cold fireworks erupted on the chorus of our song. And the MC’s video they created for us which they aired at the beginning of the reception.

Jenn, thank you so much for sharing your special day with us, we loved hearing all the ins and outs of planning a destination wedding – we will be eagerly awaiting our invitations to your 10 year anniversary celebration 😉

Magic Makers

Venue: Shandrani Beachcomber
Photographer: Ayeh Khalatbari Photography
Videographer: Calvin Thompson – The Wedding Crashers
Flowers and Decor: Events by Bedouin
Wedding Dress: Warrick Gautier
Bridesmaids dresses: Chanelle Cindy Botha
Hair: Shandrani Hair Salon Staff
Make Up: Chanelle Cindy Botha 
Grooms attire: Tailor Me – Bespoke Suits
Catering: Shandrani
DJ: DJ Franki
Cake: Shandrani

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