For today’s Real Wedding feature we head to the beautiful Cape Winelands town, Franschhoek. Frenchman Xavier and his beautiful bride, Samantha, tied the knot in a beautiful outdoor ceremony on a perfect summer’s day. Guests flew to South Africa from all over the world to celebrate with the happy couple. Xavier and Samantha kept the look and feel of the wedding simple and modern, but incorporated some subtle French elements to honour the groom’s heritage.
We’re loving the simplicity of this intimate affair, especially the subtle red and grey touches. And let’s not forget about the gorgeous bride with her one-shoulder dress and elegant hair. Très chic!
Kate from Storybook Photography was there to snap the big day.
Tell us your love story.
Xavier and I met at a party in one of the hospitality tents at the annual J&B Met. We were introduced to each other but both of us were in relationships at the time and I put it down to a chance meeting with a handsome stranger. A couple of months later he asked me to be a friend on Facebook. We chatted a few times but I was now living in the south of France with my boyfriend. He was always very courteous and allowed me to practice my French in our Facebook chats. When my relationship ended and I returned to South Africa he very bravely asked me out to lunch one day. That lunch was the start of our relationship. Xavier is a teacher at the French School in Cape Town.
At the end of each term I don’t get to see him much for the last two weeks as he sits marking papers and writing report cards for his students. Just before one of these mid-term breaks he suggested that we spend a weekend away in Franschhoek so we could spend some time together before the craziness started. He booked us into Le Franschoek and on the Saturday night he whisked me off to Grande Provence for a romantic dinner. At the end of our starters he suggested we take a walk outside in the garden. Before I realised what was happening he had taken out a ring and proposed.
Any advice for brides-to-be?
My personal experience is that however much you think a particular dress style will suit you, there is no substitute for trying it on and you will probably be surprised with the dress you fall in love with. Although you only wear it for one day, you will keep the photos and memories for a lifetime. It’s essential that you feel comfortable. Budget more for the dress itself and then save on accessories, which are easy to shop around for without making too much of a compromise.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
My one regret is not having hired a videographer for the day. The day was such a whirlwind and there are parts that are, already, a blur. I really thought that photographs would be enough. I love our photographs and Kate was amazing but watching a video you see the emotions. I would give anything to hear my husband and the best man’s speech again.
Did anything unexpected happen?
One of our dear friends, Robyn, grew up singing in a band with her dad and many nights we have had the pleasure of her singing to us. One of our friends convinced her to sing a song on the night. She took to the floor and sang The Story by Brandi Carlile.Unaided by any instruments or back up band she literally brought the house down and for those who had never heard her sing had tears in their eyes. It was magic.
What were the highlights of your wedding day?
Signing the registry at the end of the ceremony. That was when I felt it was official and we were now husband and wife.
Where did you get most of your ideas and inspiration from?
Blogs, local and international magazines.
Any hints for other brides on how to keep your wedding budget friendly?
Hire a wedding planner as this will save you a lot of unnecessary hassle and cost. It is always a wise idea to define a budget and then make a priority list with regard to the various services you require, this way you can concentrate on what to keep, cut down or completely cut out. Your wedding planner will be able to help you get the best value for your money.
What song did you choose for your opening dance?
We choose a song called I Will by Holly Palmer. It’s a beautiful song about being in love and doing things differently but being true to yourself.
Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects?
Our wedding favours were little jam jars filled with exotic-flavoured handcrafted jams. We had our stationer create stickers for the jars with a special message from Xavier and me. Many nights leading up to the wedding, Xavier and I sat sticking these labels onto the many bottles for our guests.