Nico & Danelle’s Whimsical Wedding

When two artists tie the knot, you know you’re in for something creative! When Danelle started planning her wedding with her husband-to-be, she wanted her wedding décor to be unique. She had seen so many weddings before and wanted something fresh and original on their big day that reflected their creatives spirits.
And I have to tell you, they did a pretty good job, because I have also seen quite a few weddings, and this is quite something!Stepping into the reception area was like walking into a whimsical fantasy world with golden flamingos and grass growing on table tops. Lizelle Lotter was behind the lens to capture all the craziness.

Tell us your love story.

Our story began at TUT Arts Campus, where we were both determined and dedicated art students. Although we had some flaming flirtations in sculpture class, neither of us shifted focus from our studies. Five years after studies, without having any contact, we saw each other at a night market and from the instance our eyes met, we knew something was still there. Seven days after this reintroduction on 11/11/11 Nico took me out for dinner, where he said that he has been praying for his wife for the last three years, and that God has finally revealed her to him.
I immediately started crying, and couldn’t say a word – for what Nico didn’t know, was that I myself prayed only a week back, that if God wants me to marry Nico, then Nico must tell me that he wants to marry me within seven days. Just for the sake of formalities, on the 29th of February 2012, with sticky notes in my pocket and a lucky-packet ring – I asked Nico to marry me.

The wedding as a whole felt to me like one big high-voltage spotlight! To name only a few will be unfair towards the rest of our amazing moments, and writing everything will be no less than writing a novel!

Any advice for brides-to-be?

Involve both the moms, bridesmaids and sisters-in-law in some of the wedding projects (even if it’s just small things), it will not only give them the opportunity to get to know you and each other better, but with everything that you have to do already – every bit of load taken of you is a blessing. Spend the largest part of your budget on a GOOD photographer and videographer. Everything else you’re going to spend money on is only going to last for that one day, whilst the photos and video are there to cherish forever. Also make sure that you get along with all your service providers, especially the photographer and videographer – as they are going to be with you every minute, and could easily create or steal the energy.

Did anything unexpected happen?

On the Thursday before the wedding, we were halfway to Chrissiesmeer with three fully loaded cars, when suddenly the florist’s car broke down with most of the flowers in it. We had to leave the car there in the scorching heat, and continued a further two hours to the venue, where Nico had to drop everything off and fetch the other flowers. Five hours later he returned and we had to give the sad-looking flowers some TLC.

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

When we started discussing décor, I remember telling Nico that I did not want any décor that I have previously seen, now being a wedding photographer, this was quite a tall order. But with the perfect partnership in Nico, together with our florist, Danette Jacobs, who understood our vision, it all came together perfectly.
The most natural place to find inspiration for us was from art, especially sculptural installation-type art. We searched for images that we had some connection with, and with Danette’s magical and whimsical free-spirited touch, we were sure to create something that reflected our personalities perfectly. My cousin, who was my maid of honor, also constantly bombarded my inbox with beautiful images, of flowers, tables, flower girls, bridesmaid dresses, to just about anything that had the word beautiful written all over it.
Do-it-yourselves are probably the biggest way of saving on wedding costs, and the most rewarding as well.

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

I got booked for an exhibition already a year in advance, (without knowing when we were going to get married) and it happened to be only three weeks after our wedding. So in between handling wedding plans I also had to produce a whole new series of sculptures and drawings. Thankfully one of my older cousins jumped in and she was appointed as administrator – handling mails, replies transfers and overall tasks that were getting to me.

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

It Feels Like Home To Me by Chantal Kreviazuk. One month into our relationship, I was busy taking pictures at a wedding, when I heard this song. Every word of it felt like it was specifically written for us and our story, and I had to actually hide my tears behind the camera. I immediately send the song to Nico, and his reaction was exactly the same as mine. The words “It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong”, became our way of explaining a deeper feeling that previously had no words.

Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects?

Our entire wedding was a DIY project for me and Nico, and it turned out to be a good teamwork exercise for us to see how we both handle pressure and each other. Firstly we started on the 50 flying ducks, rabbits and deer that we cut out from wood using a jigsaw and band saw. When it came to the menus, all the space on the table was already used, so we laser-engraved the menu onto the smaller ducks and just hanged them inbetween the rest on a lower level so that people from both sides of the table could view it.
We also found a ceramic factory who sold us their unpainted and unglazed objects. I then organised a DIY day where bridesmaids, mommies and soon-to-be-sisters were all invited to help spray-paint the ornaments. They also helped with the sticking and glueing of name placements, wrapping individual tissues in wax paper with the imprinted words “For happy tears only”, sticking labels onto brown-paper cookie bags and sherry bottles and cutting out about 400 words to be used as confetti.