real wedding: a sunny yellow secret wedding {helena & andrew}

Morning lovelies! I’ve got a super special wedding today to get you through the mid-week lull :) When I receive a wedding in my inbox from top South African wedding coordinators Wedding Concepts, I know it’s going to be awesome.  And when I then find out it’s captured by one of my favourite South African photographers, Monica Dart, I know it’s going to be extra-awesome!  One of the leading planners in the Western Cape and across South Africa, Wedding Concepts specialise  in bespoke weddings, from an intimate exchange of vows for two, to huge international celebrations.  Their attention to detail, exceptional knowledge and creativity make them not only the best choice for your destination wedding, but also a continuous source of inspiration.  Not only that, the fabulous team can also help organise your whole wedding trip and honeymoon through their sister company Travel Concepts, giving you piece of mind that everything is taken care of from the moment you step on that plane!

Helena and Andrew wanted a true celebration of two people in love, a simple ceremony overlooking the lush vineyards, peaceful and calm with time to reflect and enjoy time with one another.  Just look at the way they look at each other, with genuine respect and adoration.  Looking through their wedding pictures, I just can’t help but smile, that fun pop of yellow, always such a happy and joyous colour that is perfect for the celebration of two people in love!  The flowers, by Leipzig (whose work I adore, they were our wedding florists too) are simply stunning.  A beautiful combination of indigenous protea and fynbos (local heathers and foliage) with delicate scented roses, the beautiful and fun daisy pomanders and lanterns hanging from the trees, swaying in the gentle breeze.

We met in Nelson, New Zealand.  Helena had emigrated from the UK (well, she came for a year, but it turned in to emigration!),  and was working at the local hospital in the emergency department before deciding to join up with the local Search & Rescue team as a volunteer.  The selection process entailed a 24 hour challenge to ‘see what you’re made of’ and who should be an instructor on the team, but a tall, possibly-handsome-under-all-the-facial-hair guy called Andy!  It was about a year after that, that we finally got together however!  The next three years were spent living six hours apart, until I finished a three year paramedic degree and moved up to where we now live. It was another 3 years until we decided to get married.  Although we’d talked about getting married for ages, the trans-global location of families had put us off the big event!  The proposal came at the top of a hill nearby,  whilst walking the pooch.

We got married secretly near Cape Town whilst on holiday.  The parents knew it was happening, but nobody else did!  The location wasn’t special to us before the wedding (it is now!) but rather a long way from both countries (NZ/UK) and so nobody could feel hard done by.  It was an escape from the traditional big event and all the stress that goes with it.  We could never have all the people we’d want in one place at once, so we decided to have nobody!  The most memorable part of the day was saying our vows, and just having fun. And not being distracted by arrangements, logistics and duties. 

We had already arranged our trip before getting engaged, so were pressed for time.  We initially contacted Wedding Concepts to see if getting married whilst we were very briefly in Cape Town would even be possible!  And after that, they made everything happen. Our coordinator Kate was awesome! Efficient, reliable, and she made some great recommendations.   Everything was coordinated seamlessly, without getting late or feeling rushed. We had initially considered a beach ceremony followed by a venue, or somewhere up high, but in the end kept it simple and wed at the hotel we were staying at, the Mont Rochelle Vinyard in Franchhoek.  It has a stunning location partway up the edge of the valley with amazing views and gardens where we said our vows, before celebrating with some bubbly on the terrace. 

We had our wedding breakfast at Le Quartier Francais with a  9-course surprise African-inspired tasting menu with matching wines, which was a very special and memorable meal.  Every course had a story behind it, we mainly had different courses from each other adding to the suspense and the staff looked after us very well. The food was divine. We were given 2 menus of what we’d eaten to take away at the end.  The other diners were also having long menus so after their initial surprise at seeing a bride and groom in the corner, they left us to it.

Do you have any advice for future brides?

Run off and do it!  You don’t have any stress leading up to it, you don’t have to be the centre of attention (except for one person!), you don’t have to ‘mingle’ and make sure you talked to everyone – having the same sort of conversation over and over, you don’t have to go broke to pay for it, and you get left with an incredible day which is completely about the vows you are making with your treasured one – which is what it should be about.  



Dress – Custom-made online

Shoes – Next

Venue – Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard, Franschhoek

Coordinator – Kate at Wedding Concepts

Flowers – Leipzig

Hair & Makeup – Yolande du Toit

Catering – Le Quartier Francias, Franschoek

Music – Palm Strings Duo serenaded us as before and after the ceremony

Photographer – Monica Dart

Videographer – Ian Badenhorst of Vision on Fire


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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