Our last wedding for the week is Alex and Jacobi’s romantic beach wedding. The two said their vows on Yzerfontein’s beach on a chilly autumn day in May. They both love the ocean and have a passion for music. So when they started to plan their wedding, those were the two most important things to consider. In fact, Alex had to remind them that they were planning a wedding and not a concert. But they did have some of their talented friends involved in their big day.
And even the bride and groom entertained their guests. Sybrand Cillié from Prophotography was the photographer on Mr And Mrs Benkenstein’s big day. He took the most beautiful couple shots. It was really hard for me to make a selection, because they were all gorgeous. Jacobi looked ethereal in her Chantilly lace dress and vintage veil. We are loving her whole look, which kind of reminds me of the dress worn by Kate Moss.
Tell us your love story.
In 2010 my former roommate from university invited me to her wedding in Hermanus. She also invited Alex – they had studied together yet somehow the two of us had never met. At the reception we started talking about music, he loves playing guitar and had heard that I sing with the Cape Town Opera. He called me a few days later and invited me to a performance of the Cape Town Symphonic Orchestra. Two beautiful and sometimes tumultuous years later, he proposed. We were at the Knysna Heads on a perfect day when he got down on one knee and took out the ring. I couldn’t believe it! I kept repeating “you’re joking!” until he eventually had to say “I was hoping for a yes”.
What were the highlights of your wedding day?
As I approached the guests on the beach my friend from the Cape Town Opera sang my favourite spiritual, Give me Jesus, in a beautiful soprano voice. Another miracle moment was when we exchanged vows; it had been quite overcast, but just as the pastor said “I know declare you man and wife” the sun burst through the clouds and shone down on us bright as a stage light – it was as if our Creator was proclaiming His presence and blessing us!
Any advice for brides-to-be?
Dream. A wedding can become an all-consuming thing, but as every part comes together it’s all part of the vision unfolding. Have a vision, pursue it, and in the end you will see how everything turns out even prettier than you thought. Improvise. A few weeks before the wedding the municipality was clearing pine trees from the park near my parents’ house – I ran out in my slippers and asked them to cut thin tree slices from the trunks, which I then used in my table setting. Of course I was the biggest internet junkie ever and I became an expert wedding blog scouter. I know of every wedding blog out there (but of course, The Pretty Blog was my first port of call!).
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
We did struggle a bit trying to get our family shots orchestrated after the ceremony. Generally the photographer will be keen to get started on the shots of the bridal couple before the light fades, so one really has to be quite organised – plan your family photos before the time.
Did anything unexpected happen?
We hadn’t anticipated such a high tide on the beach! In the hours ahead of the ceremony we were hoping the tide would drop, but eventually we had to rearrange the seating.
Where did you get most of your ideas and inspiration from?
Many of my ideas and inspiration came from Pinterest and The Pretty Blog, but I ranged far and wide in my online research.
Any hints for other brides on how to keep your wedding budget friendly?
You’ve got to decide well in advance which elements of the wedding you want to prioritise. We decided that a nice sea venue and a good photographer were very important, so we didn’t skimp on those items. Once you’ve decided what key elements you are going to focus on, for the rest you can rely on improvisation, shortcuts and favours! We saved a great deal on stationery – we recorded our wedding invitation, placed it on Youtube and emailed our guests the link. I wanted a very particular kind of lace for my wedding dress (French Chantilly – I learned later it was the same lace used for Kate Middleton’s dress!), so we splurged on the material but saved by using a family friend to design the dress.
What song did you choose for your opening dance and why?
Cheek to cheek, performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald (the song featured in the movie The Green Mile). We thought the lyrics were perfect: Alex is a fisherman and we both love the sea, there’s a part that goes “I love to go out fishing in a river or a creek, but I don’t enjoy it half as much as dancing cheek to cheek”, and of course the opening lines: “Heaven, I’m in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak … and I seem to find the happiness I seek, when we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek …”
Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects?
There were a number of DIY projects. Table numbers: These were antique picture frames with photos of Alex and me at particular ages (one year old for table one, two years old for table two, etc.). The wedding invitation we made on iMovie and distributed through Youtube. You can view the invite here. The album covers for our wedding favour gift was designed by a friend. Alex’s sister made our wedding cake. We bought old beach bats and painted them bright colours. The beach bats were displayed with kites and boules sets for guests and their children to play with on the beach during cocktails.