love shoot #10: just the two of us {valeska & mark}

I am completely smitten with today’s wedding, an intimate, sun-drenched celebration with just four guests and a completely loved-up couple.

Valeska & Mark contacted one of my favourite South African wedding photographers,  Monica Dart, just a few days before their wedding.  I am mighty glad they did.  A gorgeous, happy bride, a stunning venue and a sexy and intimate couple shoot, I just love it!  Monica is coming over to the UK this summer, and I can’t wait to meet her in person!

From Valeska: Mark is from the US and I am from Germany but we both have been living in North Carolina for several years.   We actually met through my work, Mark serves on the board of directors of my organization. We knew each other for two years before we started dating secretly as we didn’t want any one on the staff or board to know that we were seeing each other! After our relationship become more serious, we informed my boss about our “status” and he was absolutely laid back, thinking that when I initially had to tell him “something” he expected the worst. He simply laughed and told me he was happy for us.

We both love the outdoors, beach, and good food and wine. The proposal happened last year when Mark and I vacationed in Yellowstone, America’s oldest national park. We stayed there for 10 days and hired a professional guide who spent his time with us riding on horseback through the mountains and camping in a little tepee tent. One evening Mark called me over to the meadow where all the horses and mules were grassing freely and proposed to me with a silver ring that was decorated with local gems. And I said “of course” :-)

We chose South Africa because we had 14 days of vacation and decided to spend this time on another continent.  We debated between S.A., Namibia, and Botswana as we heard only positive stories about each country and the unique safari experiences.  Our travel agent recommended Franschoek as a destination. After all she knew that we envisioned a private and intimate wedding and that we have an affinity for wine! So it all matched.

We chose to have a small wedding because we both are very private and getting married in a different country was the right platform.  Also, Mark and I had both been married before and had a big ceremony, so basically, ‘we have been there, done that, got the t-shirt’. Franschoek was truly the perfect and most romantic setting. Moreover, and most importantly, having an intimate wedding allowed us to share our day and we didn’t feel like that we had to announce our commitment to our friends and family. We also felt a great relief in the amount of stress that we weren’t pleasing other people, but were able to share that with each other. It reached all of our exceptions and we did not feel disappointed or sad that our loved ones were not there. After all, we still intend to host a big party in the summer this year to celebrate the tying the knot!

What were the most important things you considered while planning your wedding?
The most important thing was the environment, aesthitics and simplicity

Where did you find the ideas that inspired your day?
Three glasses of excellent champagne! and writing my vows

What was your lasting memory of the day?
For Mark it was when he initially saw me and how happy I was.  For me it was speaking out my vows.

What advice would you give other brides planning their intimate wedding?
Keep it simple and don’t try to please others. It is your day and be egotistic for once! Also, it helps if go abroad and don’t invite anyone :-)

Valeska and Mark, I love your attitude to your wedding and I hope you have a very long and happy marriage!

Dress: David Meister (USA)
Shoes: Etienne Aigner
Venue: Franschoeck Country House and Villas
Flowers: Florist next door
Hair & Makeup: by the Bride
Groom’s Suit: Personally tailored
Catering: Franschoeck Country House and Villas


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.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.


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