South Africa Destination Wedding

Coordination: Wedding Concepts
Photography: Gavin Casey
Cinematography: Swee
Venue: Vrede en Lust
Stationery: Lara's Designs
Flowers: Fleur Le Cordeur
Cake: Kanya Hunt
Caterer: Lust Bistro and Bakery
Hair: Yolande Du Toit
Lighting: Something Different
Entertainment: amaAmbush

Read on for advice from the bride on how to plan an unforgettable destination wedding week of fun for the guests, some of the stress causers, and how you can work around them, so helpful!

I was so psyched and excited about having so many loved ones fly into South Africa and see what I have fallen in love with, I planned quite a few activities. We had buses picking up all of our friends from Latin America, Europe, and the US around Cape Town every morning and going on some sort of excursion. From Table Mountain and Robben Island, to the Cape of Good Hope and Penguin Colony visit, to game drives, to a full day wine tour with chocolate tasting - every single day was jam-packed. Our guests absolutely loved it and I think it's very important that, when a destination wedding is planned, you ensure there's lots for your guests to do. The problem was I organized all the tours myself, buying the packages from an agency that also provided transportation. But by making myself responsible for every person my phone would start ringing very early every day, people would get left behind or lost (and no one had cell phones once they left their hotels as they were avoiding roaming charges)...ahhh! In the end I wasn't able to properly enjoy most of the tours and by the time the Rehearsal Dinner came around I was absolutely shattered. Fortunately my friends and mother-in-law stole me away early, gave me a sleeping pill, and I woke up refreshed and bursting with happiness, excitement and emotion on our wedding day. Mike & I had a lovely breakfast with our closest friends and family that were staying with us at Vrede en Lust, and then off I went to start getting ready with my friends. The day itself couldn't have been more special, fun, and perfect.

Advice: Hire a good wedding planning team - everyone at Wedding Concepts, Kate our planner especially, is incredible. They not only saved us cash, they dealt with all the admin for us from afar and basically just made our dream day a reality without us having to do more than look at pics, answer emails, and give our ok's.

One of the best things Mike and I did was, between our portraits and going into the canopy for the reception, we stood under a tree, looking around the wine farm, watching our family and friends chat and enjoy themselves, and we talked about the ceremony and our interactions with everyone up until then. We were able to share what we had felt throughout the ceremony, relive the excitement and emotion, and we said a little prayer of thanks for everything. We both still talk about how that was one of the best parts of the day for us and kept us connected.

All of our ideas came together so beautifully; the whole thing exceeded our expectations. The Wedding Concepts team executed things perfectly and we couldn't have asked for better vendors, photographers, location, food, flowers or anything! The two things that come to mind on the wedding day: 1) We didn't give our photographer a list of specific people or types of pics we wanted to be sure we had, so, for example, there aren't any pictures of my brother-in-law and his wife, while we had lots of pictures of other couples repeated. Also, fun and funny pictures with the bridal party! They're almost all quite formal, although Gavin is brilliant at catching impromptu photos so there were loads of those with the gang to make up for it. The pictures are all incredibly stunning, and we know it was our bad to not communicate this properly (or at all, really!). 2) We didn't get a chance to try the appetizers which we heard were delicious! It was because we were off taking pictures of the two of us, but we could have arranged for the MOH or one of the mums to bring us some of the tasty snacks. Also, Mike never tried our wedding cake! Which is a huge pity because it was his favorite - red velvet - and just thinking about it makes my mouth water.