Today’s stunner of a real wedding comes all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, and is, unbelievably, only our second STG South African real wedding. Needless to say, if this is the level of wedding pretty coming from that part of the world, then we’d definitely like to see a lot more, please!
When presented with a chuppah this breathtaking, it seems ludicrous not to talk about it first, and, frankly, this divine design deserves all the positive adjectives. Decadently draped in fresh flowers, it’s so astounding that you’d be forgiven for almost failing to notice the awe-inspiring mountainous backdrop of Gavin and Kelly’s Jewish ceremony.
Beautiful bride, Kelly, looked a million bucks in her sublime custom-made, boho-inspired dress, flanked by no fewer than 12 bridesmaids.
With a natural ethos in mind, Kelly’s brief for wedding planner, Veronica, from Petals Group, was to bring the outdoors inside, which Veronica managed with aplomb.
The day was immortalised in images by much-sought-after photographer, Shanna Jones who did such a phenomenal job that she earned one of the most passionate reviews of a supplier we’ve published on these pages. We can certainly see what all the fuss is about — just look at this spread, a picture of perfection.
We’ll pass you over to Kelly’s capable hands to tell you more about her and Gavin’s ethereal and whimsical wedding day.
An idyllic Cape Town venue
Kelly, the bride: We got married at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, Cape Town. Gavin is originally from Cape Town, which really is one of the most beautiful places in the world, so we decided to look at venues there. We loved the relaxed and informal, homey feel of Lourensford and we knew we wanted to get married there from the second we viewed it.
Bringing the outdoors inside
We knew what we wanted from the beginning. We wanted a very earthy, natural boho look and feel. We wanted it to be understated and nothing over the top. We knew we wanted flowers, but, more so, we wanted greenery. If we could have done the whole wedding outside we would have, but with Cape Town weather being temperamental it wasn’t worth the risk, so we wanted to try bring outside inside. We used, Veronica, from Petals Group. She was outstanding and we could not have done a thing without her. She really guided us throughout the process.
Overall, what we really wanted was our wedding not to be a big show. We wanted it to be small, intimate and authentic and really just to celebrate our love. Every part of my day felt sincere and genuine and all the love and care for me and Gavin was so present. I think people felt that sincerity, and enjoyed the evening because of it. That’s what made it special to me.
Natural hair and makeup
I wanted to look natural and to look like myself. Whenever I wear a bright lipstick or have on a lot of makeup, I don’t feel genuine and its not innately me, so I opted for a natural youthful look. The amazing and most popular make up artist in Cape Town, Algria, did my makeup for me. She really is a true artist and helped make me feel flawless. For my hair, I wanted it down and soft and natural so we went for a soft wave which worked beautifully with the style of my dress and my attitude for the day.
A bespoke boho dress
I went to a local wedding dress designer, Vesselina, to have a bespoke dress made. I really wanted it to be like a second skin and have a comfortable, boho feel. I don’t like to feel too ‘done up’ and this dress, for me, just spoke of a soft natural femininity.
Only the highest of heels
Shoes! This was difficult and I am partly to blame. I only like the highest heels! I never wear low heels. I find high heels comfortable, so I knew what I was looking for. The problem was, when I finally woke up and decided I’d better get looking, it was winter in South Africa. All the stores had winter stock and I wanted a strappy, sexy heel. I searched malls and online and couldn’t find what I was looking for. Eventually, time dwindled and I needed to find a pair. Any pair!
I found a gorgeous nude strappy heel from Steve Madden. They looked like the Stuart Weitzman shoes I loved and had wanted to order online (no stores sell this brand in South Africa). I bought them and loved them. I wore them the entire day, only taking them off when I got into the car to go home. They did me well!
The handsome groom
Gavin wore Tiger of Sweden head to toe. Seeing him for the first time was the highlight of the whole experience. I instantly felt calm the second I saw him.
12 beautiful bridesmaids
I had 12 bridesmaids. I wanted them to feel happy and comfortable. Often brides make their bridesmaids wear a dress they like, not taking into account how different their bridesmaids all are and their styles. The only thing I asked of my bridesmaids was “ wear a shade of nude”. That was it, and they could choose the colour and style of their choice.
I feel like this added to their happiness on the day as they, too, felt beautiful. They were the most beautiful and natural retinue I’ve ever seen (I’m not just being biased). I loved that they all looked so different, and that they felt they were wearing something that doesn’t make them feel like “I can’t wait to take this off”.
A boho beautiful outdoor Chuppah, drenched in flowers
I looked through dozens of Pinterest pictures for this one. We had our Chuppah outside against the most beautiful backdrop of mountains. We wanted the seating area to be simple, so the Chuppah would be the main focal point and attraction. I wanted it drenched in flowers, very boho and whimsical. Veronica, our wedding planner, made this come to life.
It sounds cheesy, but my favourite part of the ceremony was the second I saw Gavin. That was it. My favourite part was a few seconds. We didn’t have a typical Badeken like they do in South Africa before the bride walks down the aisle. Our Badeken was done publically when I walked to the Chuppah, so the very first time I saw Gavin after a week of no seeing, speaking, texting, nothing was that second. I was so nervous before, my heart was racing, but in that moment, the minute I saw him, I knew why I was there and felt so at ease.
A ‘goosebumps’ musical moment
A chazan from a shul in Cape Town with the most heavenly voice sang as I walked down the aisle and for our hora and benching. He can make any moment a ‘goosebumps’ moment and bring on the tears! For the reception, we wanted our music to be fun and current. We got a DJ from one of the most popular Cape Town bars who played all things commercial.
A ‘blushing bride flower’ bouquet
Our wedding planner was also responsible for all of our flowers. We went with a gorgeous ‘blushing bride flower’ bouquet. I loved this flower and thought it very appropriate. I actually wasn’t going to have a bouquet at all, but I’m happy I did. We used a mix of different soft flowers on the table and from our hanging gardens.
Our fabulous photographer
We used the most talented photographer I have ever seen, Shanna Jones. Before I got engaged, before I knew what wedding I wanted or where, I knew I wanted Shanna Jones. She’s is a big reason I had a wedding at all. I thought why not elope, easy and simple, but then I thought I wouldn’t get the opportunity to have the memories that Shanna Jones is able to capture.
She didn’t disappoint, either. Her photographs are exceptional and each one is better than the next. Before I booked a wedding venue, I booked Shanna. I think if you’re going to spend on anything for a wedding, spend on photographs.
A Kosher caterer
There is only one Kosher caterer in Cape Town and she is THE BEST. Her name is Merle and people never fail to rave about her food. I look forward to going to weddings just to be able to eat her food! Due to the fact that we knew the food and dessert were in good hands, and we knew nobody would choose cake over her delicious options, we didn’t see it necessary to have a cake as well.
A meaningful first dance song choice
Our first dance was by a band called Kalodine and it was called The One. I love music and it took me forever to think of the song I wanted to use. I was on YouTube one day and came across this song and it gave me shivers. The words are everything and more that I believe our relationship is about and it’s the type of song I hope to listen to in 20 years and be reminded of our feelings this day.
After the Chuppah, while people were waiting for the reception and we were off doing photos, we had an amazing reggae band called the Rivertones. They were too cool and added to the soft easy feel we wanted for the day.
As a special touch, we printed an Instagram polaroid for every person. This polaroid was a picture of that person with either the bride or the groom, or a special memory. We also hand wrote a short message beneath every polaroid.
One thing we realised, through this whole wedding planning process, is the love we have for the people in our lives and the immense gratitude we feel to have their love and support. So many people travelled to be with us and celebrate with us and we really felt that we wish we could express our appreciation.
We had a very small and intimate wedding and we really had a connection, closeness with and love for everyone there. This polaroid was a little something to add a touch of sentimentality and love to the evening. Everyone loved it and said it made them feel so special.
A surprising groom’s speech
I think the moment that stands out for me and most of the guests is the groom’s speech. My now-husband, Gavin, is a man of veryyyyy few words. He is reserved and soft spoken. Let’s just say he used his speech to make up for all the lost time! He blew everyone away with his words and his demeanour. I want to get the part about me put onto a canvas to have it in my home forever.
Advice to future brides and grooms currently planning their wedding
My only advice is: take time for you. I was very worried about everyone else and making sure everyone was happy and comfortable. Take a little time to allow yourself to feel important and special. Don’t lose track of what this wedding is for!
Whenever things get heated and too much to bear, as everyone is on edge, remember why you are getting married and how blessed you are to be doing so.
Kelly & Gavin’s little white book
Photographer – Shanna Jones
Wedding planner – Petals Group
Venue – Lourensford Wine Estate
Bride’s dress – Vesselina
Bride’s shoes – Steve Madden
Groom’s attire – Tiger of Sweden
Invitations – Paperless Post
Reggae band – Rivertones