WEDDINGS

real wedding: a touch of the farm {gill & matt}

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Hi my loves! SUCH a pretty & fun wedding to share with you today – and a great example of how you shouldn’t be afraid to shake things up from the traditional order of the day! Gill & Matt’s country chic celebration in South Africa was captured by Kirsten Mavric, a London-based photographer who’s creative style and amazing use of colour makes her images jump off the page.  And with a fresh yellow, black & white colour scheme, I’m sure you’re going to love it as much as I do!

Gill’s vision for their day was a relaxed celebration with a touch of South African charm and farmyard chic.  She included sweet farm animal touches at the place settings along with personal notes for each guest, lots of yellow and typically South African flowers. So different, and pretty!  Not keen on the idea of a first dance? Gill & Matt love swimming, so decided to go for a first dip instead! Love!

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Here’s Gill with their story ~

I like to believe I know my shape better than anyone, and what makes me self-conscious is not necessarily what a designer would consider an unattractive feature, but it is MY little insecurity. I also had to consider my budget and how much I wanted to spend on a dress I would only wear once, so I had a look at all the clothing pieces in my cupboard that make me feel good about myself and I chose features like cap sleeves to hide my “swimmers arms” , and an empire line skirt to disguise my lack of a waist, and I then started to look for ideas online. I worked with a dressmaker, Julie Douglas, to construct a frock. It was important that the dress fitted perfectly and that I was comfortable. A very valuable exercise was to make a mock-up of the dress (but in black fabric), which I wore to an event a few months before the wedding. Not everyone will have this luxury, but I learnt so much from the mock-up dress that we changed for the wedding dress.  I wore black two-toned Mary Jane style shoes with a medium heel, so that I could navigate the lawn to the altar!

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The bridesmaids were in identical yellow summer dresses, all of which were made by Julie Douglas, the dressmaker I used for my own dress. Matt wore a dark grey tailored suit (which we decided to invest in), with a yellow tie to match the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen wore black suits with silver ties. All the men wore a single yellow rose on their lapel.  My hair stylist, Cindy from TOSCA , made the long drive into the country to help me and my bridesmaids look fantastic! I wore my hair down with a simple braid on the side and minimal make-up, as I still wanted to look like myself.

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Our wedding venue lies on the banks of the Breede River, in the South African country side, surrounded by farmland.  I used only local and quintessential country blooms, Barberton Daisies and fynbos (“fine bush” which is indigenous to South Africa) My bouquet was made up of 25 yellow roses to accent the colour scheme of the wedding – yellow, black and white. I used local suppliers for all the main elements, including the cake and the appetizers.

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The only noteworthy décor pieces were the two beautiful, large chandeliers, which we hung from the trees, under which were the reception tables. Keeping with the “country chic” theme, we used storm lanterns for lighting and fresh flowers on every table.  For each guest I designed a personalized button badge with their name on it, and a “country icon” eg. A chicken, sheep, cowboy hat, cactus, windmill etc. These were placed at the guest’s table setting, along with a printed card for their message to the couple. At the centre of the table was a plain glass pickle jar onto which was painted a block of blackboard paint. We the table number on the jar and guests could post their message into this jar.  We decided to include disposable cameras on each table for the guests to capture themselves and their dinner-mates. Although there was plenty of wastage, I am happy with the rough charm these candid pictures have. Everyone looks so happy!

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What made our wedding unique was the introduction of the “country chic” theme. We asked all of our guests to dress smart casual with “a touch of the farm”. People then interpreted this in their own way and arrived wearing pretty summer dresses and wellington boots, checkered ribbons at the end of pigtails, large cowboy hats and feathered country fascinators. We also developed a website for our wedding, where guests could RSVP, look at images of the accommodation on offer, and submit three songs for us to include on our playlist. This went down very well as every now and then someone would cheer “this is my song!”

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After looking at many different photographers’ websites, I chose Kirsten Mavric Photography, because of her unconventional style and eye for clever compositions. I love her dedication to capturing the image as close to perfect as possible, without having to do too much in postproduction. This is the sign of a true professional! She was always around, but practically invisible and the result was that Matt and I got a storyboard representation of the day. We are nothing short of THRILLED!

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I have always been a water-baby and my passion is open-water swimming. Matt and I decided that we would be much more comfortable if we were true to ourselves, so instead of a first dance, we decided to have a “first swim”! We announced during the cutting of the cake that we would be forgoing the first dance for a dip in the river, and we invited our guests to join us! Matt and I then went and changed into swimming costumes, onto which the words “Just Married” had been printed. To our surprise, we were joined by more than half of our enthusiastic guests, all geared up to take on the water! On the count of three, Matt and I dashed for the river, followed closely by our guests. The photo opportunity was priceless!

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My advice to future brides-on-a-budget would be not to get wrapped up in expensive traditional décor and flowers, but rather incorporate small creative details like the personalized button badges. Not only did these look cute at the place settings, but were great ice breakers. They also doubled as wedding favours as I saw most of my guests leaving the next day with their badge pinned to their luggage !

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Suppliers:

Photographer: Kirsten Mavric Photography // Dress: Julie Douglas, // Hair: TOSCA // Venue: Round the Bend Lodge, Swellendam

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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