WEDDINGS

Karen & Dave’s Romantic Vintage Carnival Wedding

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Ask me about my favourite part of today’s wedding and my answer won’t be the quirky décor or tattooed bride in her pale mocha dress, the cool grooms wear or mismatched bridesmaids dresses, the carousel or carnival games, the pretty flowers or emotional ceremony – although they are all amazing.  It’s Karen and Dave’s huge sense of FUN!! The atmosphere of your wedding is the hardest thing to create – but with their quirky sense of humour, cheeky grins and playfulness this couple pulled it off. To a tee.

Captured perfectly by Claire Nicola, their South African farm wedding is a true inspiration for any couple looking to do things a bit differently!

Karen shares their story ~

There’s just no way to sugar-coat it.  We were both having some fun on a Facebook app called “Are you interested?”  Apparently we were interested.  After a few weeks of correspondence, we decided that our first date would include a game of pool, which we both claimed to be absolute masters at.  I let him win, of course, but only because he had already won me over. The proposal setting was a sunset yacht cruise through the Knysna Heads, on the coast of South Africa.  The sunset was spectacular, but the ocean swell a bit more intimidating than had been predicted.  The ring was a little big on my finger, so I was allowed to wear it for only a few seconds before it was quickly removed and packed away safely for fear of losing it overboard.  Apart from Dave turning a little green around the gills (I was not joking about that swell), it was perfect!

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My dress was made by a lovely local dressmaker, Darryl Hogan.  I love its simplicity, elegance and timelessness.  My bubblegum-scented shoes are from the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Melissa range – bought online.  My veil was crafted by the talented Gwyneth.  My locket was a very special gift from my mother.  I must share that I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect strapless bra, which I found in the Wonderbra Ultimate strapless. {I can vouch for this, I wore one on my wedding day too – Amazing!} I’m really more of an outdoor girl, so when it came to hair and make-up, I was a little lost.  I knew I wanted my hair up to show off the birdcage veil and I wanted to have plaits for texture, but that was the extent of my personal preferences.  I gave my hair and make-up team the freedom to be their creative selves and they didn’t disappoint.

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We got married at the exquisite Towerbosch, just outside Stellenbosch.  We had decided on a theme before looking at any venues, which definitely helped in refining our search. Towerbosch means Magical Bush and it truly is magical.  The spectacular location, expertly styled décor, superb food and the fantastic functions team all contributed to an endless string of perfectly crafted moments. I decided early on that even though our overall theme was vintage carnival, I didn’t want the carnival elements to overpower the romance of the day.  For the girls, we kept the look very soft and romantic – the boys had fun with their accessories and the braces gave them something to fidget with during the ceremony.  We also themed the guests’ dress-code “vintage chic”, without any guidelines.  We wanted to see what everyone would come up with.

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We found a lot of inspiration from wedding blogs and theme searching in general.  Once the basic ideas were there, we allowed our creativity and personal taste take over to give it our own feel.  We did not allow ourselves to be restricted by the carnival theme though – if we found an element that fitted with the overall feel, we went with it.  Dave owns a marketing, design and events company, so the expertise that we had access to from his team certainly made things a lot easier. bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (5)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (2)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (4)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (1)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (3) bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (6) bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (30)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (9)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (11)bloved-uk-wedding-blog-romantic-carnival-wedding-claire-nicola-photography (8)

Fortunately our theme meant we didn’t have to settle on just a few colours, but we did decide upfront that we didn’t want a loud circus effect or any loud or bright colours (except for the guys’ shoes, of course).  Our preference was for a more muted look.  The existing interior venue décor has a vintage country cottage feel and didn’t need much from us, so we focussed our efforts and all carnival elements outdoors.  It really was a lot of fun and, with the help of my mom, aunt and bridesmaids, we DIY’ed our way through most of it – bridesmaids dresses, bunting, sign post, kissing booth, candle lanterns, seating arrangement board, table numbers, cake stand and cake, popcorn holders, candy apples… it’s a long list.  The invites and signage were done by Dave’s team.  For the tables, I opted for sunflowers, because they have such a happiness and warmth about them.

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photography

I came across Claire Nicola King’s site whilst trying to find directions to someplace completely unrelated.  I loved her work and I was instantly drawn to her energy and excitement.

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favourite moment

Walking down the aisle, surrounded by friends and family – and of course seeing Dave’s face.  Our entrance song was The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” and I felt enveloped in love at that point.

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first dance

 Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight” – the acoustic version.

advice

I am sorry that we did not hire a videographer. 

Create a wedding mood-board.  Hunt the internet for images and ideas that have instant appeal and keep referring back to them, adding and removing as your dream wedding develops in your minds. 

Don’t over-extend yourself – financially or emotionally.  Planning can and should be exciting and fun – as soon as it becomes anything else, stop, breathe and collect your thoughts.  Then speak up or make a change.

***

Suppliers
Photographer:  Claire Nicola // Dress:  Darryl Hogan// Accessories: Veil – Gwyneth Barnard // Shoes: Vivienne Westwood by Melissa  // Bridesmaids dresses: DIY // Groomswear: Trousers – Big Blue; Braces – Tie Stop; Poor boy caps – Markham // Florist:  Moondrops  // Cake: DIY // Hair & Make-up: Marié Malherbe // Catering:  Towerbosch  // Music: Andy Hawes – Cape DJ’s // Stationery & Signage:  Brainstorm Events   //  Planning & Co-ordination:  Brainstorm Events
bteam-bloved-author-louise

Louise

After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

You’ll also find me working as an Editorial Stylist, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as contributing as a founding member of bridal inspiration hub Aisle Society, and running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive from our super pretty base in London. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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