Brad & Lili – Under the Stars

Today’s wedding is the kind of celebration that makes me fall in love with my job all over again. This dreamy outdoor affair is right up my alley; long tables, delicate floral details and a touch of sparkle all beautifully put together.
Brad married his Australian bride Lili on a perfect summer’s day in January at La Petite Dauphine, Franschhoek. Our friends from welovepictures were there to capture the magic.

Tell us your love story. How did you meet and fall in love?

Brad and I first met five years ago at my local pub. He was holidaying in Australia and staying at a local hostel. I had gone to the pub to celebrate my 20th birthday with my girlfriends. It didn’t take long for a big group of girls to get noticed by the hostel boys. Brad literally swept me off my feet. After chatting to him earlier in the night I was on the dance floor with his friends, when he came up behind me, picked me up, tossed me over his shoulder and carried me away.Brad admitted weeks later that it was a totally primal move – he wanted to stake his claim (and obviously it worked). From one kiss that night followed months and years of distance and tons of dramatic airport arrivals and departures as we sought to keep our love alive while living on different continents.

And the proposal …

Brad: I had so much love in my heart and in my mind I had built up this moment for so long. I wanted to tell Lili how much I loved her and that she was the most right thing that had happened in my life. She encompassed all the values and passions that I had been looking for in a wife. She was truly my soulmate.
However as I began to speak these words, I started to see a gleam of recognition in her eyes and quickly cut straight to the magic words because I didn’t want her to clue in before I got them out. She cried and we cuddled on the side of the mountain and watched the sun set below the mountain range. It goes without saying that she said yes!

What was the highlight of your wedding day?

Wow, the whole day was incredible. One of the highlights was the morning I spent with my family and best girlfriends decorating and getting ready for the day. It was such a beautiful morning, full of dappled sunshine, whistling wind, giggles, joy and of course love. Another highlight of the day was my bridesmaids and my entrance to the ceremony. I remember waiting with baited breath as my favourite song drifted across the courtyard and the bridesmaids descended down the aisle. I was so nervous and yet excited to make my entrance. I was tearing up and had difficulty holding myself together. When finally it was my turn, I grasped tightly onto my father’s arm and I can just remember coming around the corner and making eye contact with Brad.
I felt such love for him, I could see nothing and no one else in that moment. We both started to cry. I felt such gratitude for the blessing of this love bestowed upon us. A final highlight was the wedding speeches. I have an obsession with words and their spellbinding power that perhaps has only been compounded by my career as a speech pathologist. I was worried because so many people wanted to speak including Brad and myself and I know everyone says to keep the speeches short. However, they truly made the night. To have these special words spun about Brad and me and our love for each other in a sparkling web above and around us was the biggest gift of all and I will never forget it.

Where did you get most of your ideas and inspiration from?

I live in a little fantasy bubble. I love books and movies and being swept up in their magic. A lot of my inspiration came from this, my passion, my dreams and my over-active imagination. I also drew inspiration from magazines and blogs.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while organising your dream wedding?

The biggest obstacle was probably that I was completing my Master’s degree in Australia, so not only was I overwhelmed with study but I also had to plan everything from overseas. I had never even seen the ceremony venue until the day before the wedding! Eek!

Were any of your family members or friends involved in the wedding and what were their contributions?

Many of my family members and friends were involved in the wedding process. My parents and bridesmaids were incredible. They helped me from day one with searching for my gown, packaging the wedding invites, sourcing decorations, typing tons of emails to South African service providers while I was busy studying, flying to Cape Town and in general offering their continual love and support. My sister is an amazing fabric designer and she also does wedding stationery as a side business. She designed all the stationery for the wedding. My mother made all the doves and tree decorations and Brad’s mother made the boutonnières. My father and uncle, with the help of some of our Australian friends, decorated the ceremony venue on the day. A good musician friend of ours, Chris Garvey, played at our ceremony and set the mood beautifully. He specially learned one of our favourite songs to play as we signed the register. Another good musician friend Jeremy Hewitt (also known as Jeremy Loops) kicked of our dance floor at the reception with his funky style of loop music. He got everyone dancing!

Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects?

We had so many DIY plans, however it was difficult to orchestrate from Australia. So the DIY projects were generally small additions to the wedding. For example we made the bridesmaids’ headpieces, my mother made the doves and decorations for the wedding ceremony, Brad’s mother made our wedding gifts. My mother also sewed my purse for the wedding, using fabric from her own wedding dress and from my grandmother’s wedding dress and a small blue porcelain swallow bead from my great grandmother was sewn into the inside of the purse and was my something borrowed, something blue. I also sourced the groomsmen’s vests from vintage stores in London and the fabric for their bow ties.

What song did you choose for your opening dance and why?

Hard to Concentrate by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We have both loved the band from a very young age. It is a beautiful song about the joining of two people, the starting of a family, and ultimately wanting to make each other happy.

We absolutely love your sparkly dress …

My wedding dress is by Collette Dinnigan. Her designs are off the rack, however she specially made the dress for me in an extra small size. It was the first wedding dress I tried on. I fell in love with it straight away, but we kept looking because it was sold out and didn’t come in my size.I wanted the dress to be true to myself, to be bohemian, but also whimsical and ethereal. This dress was exactly that for me. I put it on and felt beautiful. I wanted Brad to love the dress and for it to represent how important our wedding day was to me. I thought it encapsulated that perfectly. The top of the dress is completely beaded.