love shoot #21: antique-inspired affair {liz & jeffrey} part one

Happy wedding Wednesday lovelies! I’m completely thrilled to share today’s romantic and intimate wedding, for so many reasons!  From the US, Liz & Jeffrey decided to get married at the most picturesque stop as Jeffery sailed round the world as part of an International Yacht race; they settled on Cape Town as the perfect setting for their day.  You know by now how I feel about this part of the world, so needless to say, I am delighted with their choice!

With just weeks to plan their big day, from the other side of the world, and with Jeffrey in the middle of the ocean, they got in touch with Kate Rawbone at Wedding Concepts to help turn their ideas into reality.  Wedding Concepts is one of the top wedding coordinators in South Africa, and I have long admired Kate’s ability to create the most elegant and personally detailed weddings for her clients.  Add photographer Gavin Casey’s talent at capturing the emotion and intimacy of the day, and you have perfect combination.  And that’s before you add to the mix a covetable fish-tailed Vera Wang dress, an amazing venues, and dusky pink and plum florals, to.die.for. Remember my post last week on venue lighting? Well, this is what I’m talking about! Soft, twinkly, glowing lights add the most amazing atmosphere to this meal! You can see all the gorgeous details this afternoon in Part Two!

Hawksmoor House is also one of my favourite intimate venues, combining stunning winelands scenery with historic Cape Dutch architecture and antiques, it provided the perfect backdrop to Liz & Jeffrey’s vintage-inspired African affair!

Beautiful bride Liz explains the story of how they were just meant to be

Like everything about our entire relationship, even from the beginning, the wedding was a very serendipitous event!  Jeffrey and I have know each other for over 15 years. Dating VERY briefly in our mid-20’s and reuniting several years later by accident, our relationship has been enduring for almost 10 years! We’ve had our ups and downs like every couple, and talked about getting married on a few occasions, but never seemed to be on the same page. Last year, we were having a lovely, intimate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, and literally had a very casual conversation about getting married. We were both ‘all in’ and call it more of a ‘suggestion’ than a proposal. It is amazing how much that one conversation shifted the dynamic of our relationship from a feeling of uncertainty to a comfortable high. We never thought we HAD to get married like everyone else, but once we decided to do it, it made everything so special and wonderful. No formality or planning…serendipitous!

The ‘suggestion’ happened in July of 2010, but we were unsure when and where to tie the knot. We live in America’s #1 wedding destination, Charleston, SC, and figured we would take advantage of such a lovely venue; however, Jeffrey was not too keen on sharing our day with 100’s of people. I tried narrowing down our list of friends and family but it became a chore. So I thought of another plan which was more like our personalities anyway. We’ve travelled so much independently as well as together over the years and it seemed sensible to choose a destination wedding with a unique venue.

Jeffrey has been working for nine months on an around-the-globe yacht race called the Velux 5 Oceans which has five stop-overs throughout. Beginning in October from La Rochelle, France and heading to Cape Town, South Africa, for the first leg, we had initially intended to marry in France; however, it turns out it is very difficult to legally marry in France, so we shifted our attention to Africa. Jeffrey LOVES South Africa and really wanted me to join him during his month long stay, so I thought, lets just get married there. A long story shortened, it did not seem possible to pull it off since it was almost November, and I was awaiting permission from my employer to take those dates in December since there was a meeting conflict. After canceling the wedding plan a few different times, I was finally given the green light to proceed…serendipitous.

Since Jeffrey was out of pocket with the race, I was really alone in planning our wedding journey. This was fortuitous for Jeffrey, since he would have hated having to manage this project in any capacity! :-)

I jumped on the computer and started looking at a variety of venues throughout South Africa, but mainly focusing on Western SA and the winelands. I stumbled upon an interesting venue, Hawksmoor House, in Stellenbosch, and contacted them with a plan. I could go on and on about this venue from the beautiful house and gardens to the accommodating staff including Gezania, Justine, and Maike who made our stay so personal, like home. I would encourage anyone to get married here or visit for a couple of nights while roaming the wine country. It is a magical and comfortable place…a serendipitous find!

While the dates were available, the staff at Hawksmoor suggested I contact Wedding Concepts in Cape Town to help with the coordination of the wedding details. So thankfully I was introduced to Kate Rawbone. Kate is such a lovely lady and very professional. She is up to date on the best vendors and really caters to your every need. I literally wanted everything to be as much of a surprise as it could, so I gave Kate carte blanche with the planning. Of course she gathered some personal details, but really conceptualized the whole day herself, and I must say, it was AMAZING. We were so pleasantly surprised as were our twelve guests who were able to join us on such a long journey. Thank God for Kate and Wedding Concepts, or I would have never been able to pull off a wedding in Africa in less than 6 weeks on my own!

Hiring a great photographer was a high priority for us since so few people would be attending the actual ceremony. We wanted someone who could capture the day informally but artistically. I browsed many weddings on the Wedding Concepts site and got a feel for different ways of capturing the day. Based on my feedback, Kate forwarded a few different photographers’s sites to review. While they were all amazing, I invited Gavin Casey to join us on our day. I could spend a lot of time describing Gavin’s professional, but relaxed demeanor and his unbelievably artistic eye, but I will spare you a long read. Let’s just say, the day was captured just as I had imagined. I did not want posed/forced images, just casual, like our group. Gavin’s photographs are rich, colorful, and often bold images that reveal so much personality. They tell a great story.

The main ingredient we were looking for was simply a beautiful and casual day with a vintage feel. Like we were at home, but really in Africa!!! Neither Jeffrey nor I wanted to stress about details, and Kate took great care of us. She orchestrated the day perfectly.

Check back later this afternoon for the gorgeous vintage African-inspired details in Part Two!


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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