Navy & Coral Family Farm Wedding
I always find it lovely when couples are able to find a wedding venue that doesn’t just tick the boxes of budget, location and service, but when it has an extra-special meaning too. Alisa & Dermot tied the knot on his family farm in South Africa, nestled in the Stellenbosch mountains with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. With guests travelling from all over the world to celebrate their marriage (Alisa is from New Zealand) it was the perfect place for them to bring their families together. They chose a classic navy scheme with a pop of coral – picked up perfectly in the flowers using local flowers & foliage. Alisa’s gorgeous illusion neck Pronovias dress may be one of the most well-travelled I know – being purchased in London, taken for fittings in Amsterdam (where they now live) and worn in Cape Town before being flown home with Alisa’s parents to New Zealand! The glorious scenery, pretty details and romance of their day was captured by b.loved favourite Cheryl McEwan.
Our story begins at a backpackers in Knysna, South Africa. I was a Kiwi living in London and was on holiday in South Africa, while Dermot was living in Cape Town and on a road trip with one of his mates. We kept in touch through email and Skype and decided to meet in Morocco three months later – an agreed “half-way” point between the two countries. Another three months later, Dermot received his British visa and moved to London. It was wonderful finally being together like a normal couple! After three years, we accepted an opportunity to move to Amsterdam, where we currently call home.
The proposal happened in the most idyllic spot I could imagine – up in the mountains! After a day of hiking in the Barvarian Alps, in a tiny cable car on the way down, Dermot got down on one knee (well, two actually), and proposed at an altitude of 1237m. I was in such a state of shock and excitement that I almost dropped the ring overboard.
My dress has clocked up many air miles to date! It is a Pronovias design which I bought from Teokath in Wimbledon, unexpectedly, on a trip back to London. It was really difficult deciding on “the one” without my Mum being there, but luckily I had some great friends to support me in my choice, some even flew to Amsterdam to help with fittings! My dress arrived safely in South Africa, and after the wedding it made its final flight back to New Zealand, with my parents. I never expected to wear lace, but from what I’ve heard, most brides end up wearing something they least expect! I had a wonderful hair and make-up artist called Candice Leigh who really brought things to life on the day, and made us all look fabulous. Seriously, if I could afford it, I would love to have this girl on hand every time I go out! The girls wore a strapless navy number by Monsoon, and had bright coral necklaces and peep-toe shoes. The boys wore a navy three piece suit, with a coral buttonhole for a pop of colour.
Our ceremony was held in a tiny colonial church with a lovely thatched roof in the stunning area of Franschhoek in the Western Cape of South Africa. We chose it as it was the same church Dermot had been christened in, and the priest was a family friend. The reception was held at Dermot’s family farm, Hillcrest Berry Orchards in Stellenbosch. An open marquee was erected with the most beautiful view of the Helshoogte Mountains. Not usually a wedding venue, the chefs at Hillcrest created a wonderful menu just for us, and the staff did the most amazing job at bringing our ideas to life. For months we planned this wedding from a far, so it was incredible to see it all come together.
We wanted to create an elegant look in a garden setting. We wanted it to feel relaxed, but still special. We were having a traditional church ceremony followed by a less traditional marquee reception and wanted to reflect that. Our wedding was quite small (only 55 guests), so we wanted it to feel really personal and welcoming. Two thirds of our family and friends had flown in from all over the world to be there, and we wanted to show our gratitude. I made a travel guide for those visiting and designed a table plan that showed where everyone had come from. Flip flops were available for everyone to change into and the ladies received pashminas and hand-made flower favours
Pinterest was my inspiration – if I found something I loved, I investigated further. If I couldn’t make it here, I figured out a way of making it over there. I’m a graphic designer by trade so really enjoyed designing as much as I could. I carried a small photo charm on my bouquet with an old photo of my grandmother and me, it was my “something old”. Our colours were navy and coral, with a touch of gold. It was actually an idea I had for the bridesmaids outfits that helped make the final decision. I love bright colours, so decided if I was going to be in white, the bridesmaids needed to be bold enough for all of us! The navy and coral contrasted each other perfectly, and the gold added a hint of elegance. We chose Botanica Flowers after seeing their arrangements at a friends wedding the previous year. I just love their passion for what they do, along with their unique style and original thinking. Garden roses, dalias, lisianthus, tulips and proteas were used to create a textured look in coral colours. On the day, the smell from the roses in the bouquets was so uplifting and exciting, I couldn’t wait to get down that aisle!
I first spied some of Cheryl McEwan’s photography a few years back. At that moment I decided if we ever got married in South Africa, then I would find her and beg her to photograph our wedding. Not only is she fun to work with, she has a wonderful way of capturing light and really makes the location part of the picture. Her photos make me swoon! As our reception was being held in such a special place, we thought her signature style captured the farm, the valley and the mountains perfectly.