Tash and Garth

Tash and Garth are like many other 2020 couples, they had to postpone their wedding day.
But when the opportunity arose for them to say their I do’s, they JUMPED at the opportunity.

Yes, it was an intimate ceremony, but even though it was “small” on people, it was big on fun, celebrations and love.

Tash shares a little bit more with us today about her and Garth’s amazing wedding day, as well as some advice and tips for those brides that are on the fence about going ahead with an intimate celebration. 

Hey guys! Please tell us more about yourselves.
G + T: Our names are Garth Nel and Tash Nel. We have been together since June 21st 2015, but we’ve known each other since 2011. We are going on 6 years this year of being together. We first met at school, Garth is 2 years older than me so we weren’t in the same grade. I was in grade 8 and he was in grade 10, I had heard about him a lot because a few of my friends had a crush on him. We officially only met on a school bus on the way to a swimming gala, I’m not a good swimmer I’m more of a runner so I went as a spectator for the school. We sat next to each other on the way back and spoke the whole time, after that we got each other’s BBM pins and started talking from there. It was only years later that we started dating because I moved to Australia for 2 years.

Hooray: Can you tell us about your proposal?
Tash: Our proposal was so romantic and so unexpected. We had always discussed getting married one day, it was something we spoke about very early on in our relationship. When we first started dating we didn’t know for sure what the future would hold, but we knew for sure that if we made it through all the hurdles that we wanted to spend forever with each other. When our relationship got closer to taking the next step, we discussed designing and making a ring instead of him buying a ring off of the shelf. I sent him a few of my designs and I went with him to size my finger and discuss some ideas I had. I was then “fired” from the design team and was in the dark until his proposal. I thought many times he would propose and he didn’t, so that why it was unexpected when he did finally propose because it was at a time I didn’t think he would. We went on a cruise to celebrate his moms 50th birthday. On the second day he knew for sure he was going to propose and I kept talking about these stairs in one of the lounges and how beautiful it would be for photos of the two of us. On the final night is when he knew we were all going to be dressed up so that there was no suspicion. He was so nervous and irritated the whole day and I didn’t pick up on any cues. He kept delaying taking the photo by the stairs because the lounge was always so full of people and he’s quite shy. I still remember being so annoyed telling him it’s just a damn photo and he mustn’t care about the people, obviously having no idea what was about to happen. We went to the top of the stairs and his brother was filming, we thought he was just taking photos, and his brother was acting so weird, then before I knew it he was on one knee asking me to be his forever. I was so nervous and shaking afterwards I almost fell down the stairs!

Hooray: Let’s start off with the difficult one, how badly did COVID affect your wedding plans?
Tash: COVID definitely affected our wedding plans! Garth and I have known each other for a long time and when he proposed on the 21st of February 2019 I was over the moon. I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life, I’ve always been a girly girl and dreamed of my special day! I knew immediately we had to start booking a venue and vendors because I knew that sometimes people book over a year in advance for weddings. Once we had a day I made sure immediately that my photographer and DJ lined up and everything happened just from that point. Garth and I had been waiting for over a year and we were just so excited for this special day. Then lockdown and COVID hit and I was still very naive and hopeful that this would be a 3-week thing. Eventually, at the end of March, I had to make a decision and it was so devastating. We postponed it for another year. My heart broke but I knew it was going to be okay in the end, just because my wedding was cancelled didn’t mean that our love was cancelled!

Hooray: How did you deal with the emotions of postponements and the uncertainty of what would happen?
Tash: My emotions were definitely all over the show. I’m a super-emotional person and this day meant a lot to me so I was really heartbroken to have my day be so close and have to then postpone it. Luckily I had a really good support system. All my lovely vendors were in contact with me, my bridal tribe and my mom showed such love and support. What also helped was being part of the Hooray support Facebook page and knowing I wasn’t alone! I think what made it better is that Garth and I did a DIY home photoshoot on the day of our wedding and just tried to make the most of the day! That made it so much better to deal with rather than waking up and sulking knowing it was supposed to be my wedding day, we made it fun and memorable!

Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding
Tash: 100% the photographer. I’m all about moments and capturing moments. I’m the one on holiday to nag about taking photos the whole time, and while at the time it’s sometimes annoying, when we look back we have so many beautiful memories. I’m so scared with phones and digital photos that our memories get lost, then one day when you want to show your kids your young life you won’t be able to because the photos somehow got lost or you simply forgot to take the photo. Having a really good photographer was non-negotiable. Those memories are forever and timeless!

Hooray: How did you choose your photographer
Tash: When Garth and I first started dating I had a few photographers I was looking at for my big day. Suddenly Courtney came up and I felt my other photographers were becoming repetitive in their photos. Like the people were different but the poses were the same for all their weddings. Courtney’s photos are so natural and more prompts as opposed to poses. I started to gravitate more and more towards her as our photographer. When we got engaged I wanted to meet with her as soon as I could because I know how fully booked vendors are, sometimes a full year in advance. Once I met with Courtney the decision was over, we clicked instantly and had so much chemistry. She made me feel so relaxed and like I’d known her forever, Garth is super camera shy so I knew she would help him feel relaxed too! Having an engagement shoot before the actual wedding day helped so much too. We had so much fun and got a taste of what things would be like on the day, our engagement photos were so beautiful and so much fun. I would recommend anyone to Court! She’s such a genuine person and I would consider her a good friend of mine rather than just someone who took my wedding photos!

Hooray: What safety precautions did you have in place? Do you have any cute suggestions/ideas for other brides?
Tash: We made sure with our vendors that all safety precautions would be taken, especially regarding food etc. We encouraged everyone to wear masks if they were uncomfortable and to keep a social distance. Luckily it was such an intimate wedding, 45 guests and 5 vendors that would be with us continuously, (DJ, photographer, videographer). I would definitely suggest to other brides to have sanitisers available and just do whatever makes you the most comfortable!

Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Tash: Hours and hours!! I’m so OCD and I’m such a planner! I have been dreaming of my day since I was a little girl and just over 6 years ago I started my board. Once I was engaged I added to that board like crazy just dreaming of my big day and how to make Pinterest ideas into a tangible day. I didn’t hire a wedding planner, I was my own wedding planner and I loved it. I designed mood boards for each of my big vendors so that we had clear ideas together and I didn’t have to show them all over my phone. My dress designer, Lauren Judith Anne told me that to this day she has never had someone give her such an organised mood board with exactly what they would like!

Hooray: Tell us about your bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Tash: Our bridal tribe was just the best! On my side was my two sisters and my two best friends I met while studying. My other very good friend and her husband were a part of our team but immigrated to the UK that same year. On Garth’s side, it was his brother and 3 of his good friends. One of the guys is my best friend from high school so it was mandatory he was a groomsman, although now we argue about whose friend he is as he has become close to Garth too! We didn’t have any negative experience only positive, my team was so organised and more than happy to follow any instruction or idea I had. They were our dream team!

Hooray: What role did your parents play in your wedding?
Tash: Our parents played a huge role in our wedding. Garth and I really wanted Courtney for our big day, so we decided to save up money of our own a year in advance to be able to have her capture our special day. Our parents helped us a lot with the financial side of our big day and my mom was my little helper. Anything I said I needed or wanted for the big day, she would hop online and do her research and then the two of us would brainstorm how we were going to make it possible. She was such a rock for me as well as she’s also been looking forward to my wedding day ever since I was little. It was such a good bonding experience for us and definitely brought us closer.

Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
Tash: Honestly the only thing I would change was the time that everyone left. We had to crunch a whole wedding day knowing that at 9:30 everyone had to be out. Everyone was having so much fun, not one person was excluded from the dance floor! Just as we all felt the night was getting started we were told that the bar was closing and we had to start ending the night. The venue turned the lights on the DJ played the final song then all went quiet. Garth and I hadn’t even cut the cake yet or had dessert! So we had to rush to do that because I wanted those photos, so it sucked to feel rushed after waiting so long for this special day. Other than that we still had such a good night! We got back to our honeymoon room drunk and Garth carried me in like in the movies, I still would do it all over!

Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
Tash: Budget! Everyone would ask me what our budget was and I sat there clueless. I have never gotten married before so I wouldn’t know what a reasonable budget would be. I asked around for all the big things and then would run it by both our parents to be like “is this okay?” I was the first of my friends to get married so I also couldn’t ask them for advice. We did a lot ourselves with the idea to use things afterwards for our home. For example, our menu and the guest list were on a mirror instead of wasting paper. That way afterwards we can take the vinyl off and use them in our home. We bought our own ice buckets instead of renting and we have used them afterwards for my sisters 21st and Christmas and will continue to use them. Our round wooden boards saying “welcome to our beginning” we turned into a coffee table afterwards, something beautiful and special for our home.

Hooray: What did you enjoy most about having an intimate ceremony?
Tash: I absolutely adored my imperfect, perfect intimate wedding! Yes, we had restrictions and curfew but it was still a day I will never regret! What I loved most was the fact that there was no “fluff”. You have to invite this Aunty and that friend’s plus one even though you haven’t spoken in 5 years or don’t even know that person. There ends up being so many people who aren’t there for you or your partner, they judge every decision you’ve made and are there basically for the free food and drink. I had only 45 guests, every last one of them was close family and friends that are super close to us. It made the day so emotional because every last person was there for the sole reason to bear witness to Garth and Me being united. They were there for us and us alone and it shows in the photos and the effort that they made. It truly was an intimate wedding and we just had so much fun with all our guests, to the point where the venue switched on the lights and told us it was time to go.

Hooray: Any advice for brides that are on the fence about having a smaller wedding?
Tash: I think this question definitely differs from bride to bride depending on what’s important to them. When Garth and I made the split decision to have a smaller wedding, we went from 100 guests to 45, which was so difficult. We decided that actually getting married was more important to us than just the wedding day. I said to him that if we are to get married I still wanted my dress and the cake and the photos, I still wanted the day of my dreams but just fewer people. If the wedding day is more important to you than the marriage of your partner then wait until COVID isn’t around, which is still a long way away. But if you want to get married and still have your beautiful day with all your vendors, you just have to adjust your guest list to the most important people!

Hooray: Any other advice you would like to share about your day
Tash: My advice is to definitely take it all in and don’t allow the restrictions to ruin your day in any way! We were level 4 when we got married so we had to exit the venue at 9:30, which is so early for a wedding to end. That didn’t stop us from having the best time, all our guests were on the dance floor until the DJ played the final song and the venue switched the lights on! Normally people leave weddings in waves, the venue had to ask everyone to leave and no one wanted to go! Even with restrictions and people being cut my wedding day was everything I wanted and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Hooray: And finally, the best moment of your wedding day?
Tash: This is such a tough question! We got married during level 4 of lockdown, Cyril spoke the week of our wedding and lifted the curfew the day after our wedding! So yes we had a curfew of 10 PM but everyone had to leave by 9:30 to be able to get home and ensure staff had packed up etc. Despite all this, we truthfully had the most wonderful and magical day filled with beautiful moments. The people we really wanted were there (max of 45, 5 were our vendors) so it was definitely emotional. My dad is a really tough man and I can’t even remember when was the last time I saw him emotional for anything. Seeing him full-on cry when he first saw me in my dress was a moment I will never forget. He was so emotional the whole day including the father-daughter dance. A moment I will never forget, everyone was getting ready to drive to the ceremony. The photographer and videographer were trying to get alone shots of me and as I look over, my dad is holding my bouquet, staring at me and shaking his head and getting emotional. That was something only he and I shared, it was so special.

Tash and Garth, thank you so much for sharing your magical day with us.
I hope that your lives are filled with nights that go way past 9:30, filled with all the love, all the partying and all the people who made this day as special as it was!

Photographer: Courtney Clegg Photography
Videographer: Conway Photo And Film

Venue: Barker Manor
Decor: Planned To Perfection
Flowers: Sarah Stewart Flowers

Food: Bleu Berri Concept Catering
Dress and Robe: Lauren Judith-Anne Design
Hair and Makeup: The Glam Hair & Makeup
Bridesmaid Dresses: Hamilton Clothing
Ties: Knotted Ties

Nails: Sindi from Partners
Garter: Luna intimates
Veil and Wedding Masks: Sasha Lee Westwater
MC and DJ: KZN Wedding DJ

Photobooth: Photobooth LAB
Rings: Haskins Jewelers
Neon signs: Aisle Hire It
Laser-cut name tags: Signmaster

Unplugged and Welcome Sign: VJK signs
Cake Toppers: Hooray Weddings
Double Peacock Chair: The Wedding Table

Wedding Cake: Roz’s Beautiful Wedding Cakes
Garth’s suit: Shadows Store
Pastor: Daniel Finlay from Pathfinder Ministries
Perspex Ring Box: Epro Products
Bride Pyjamas: Adore Couture

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