This couple planned a wedding that was a hundred percent true to their own values and beliefs – throwing traditions to the wind and bringing some unique elements to their day. Authentic, eco-friendly, intimate and fuss-free – this was a beautifully balanced celebration, captured by Estefania Romero.
Our memory lane is a fairly long path. Our wedding date fell on our 11 year anniversary.
We met whilst studying at varsity in Port Elizabeth in our fresh twenties. Our love survived long distance spurts, the self metamorphosis of our twenties, negotiating the roles of business (we have worked together for 8 years), some deep losses and hectic schedules. All of this while avoiding alcohol and preservatives, growing our own food and swearing off TV. Our love is reflective of Andrew’s stamina up a steep hill climb (he is an avid mountain biker) and the discipline of my 4:30am mediation sessions. We have the ability to keep each other going and challenge the ordinary– that’s the secret to our thriving love.
By nature nothing in our lives is ‘normal’ and hence the sequence of events that resulted in our marriage was no different. There was no engagement *gasp*. Knowing that our ideas for our wedding would be challenged, we snuck off to the forest for a weekend and planned the entire shebang! On Sunday we gathered the family and spilled the beans about our big day. Needless to say, not everyone was as excited as us regarding our alternative wedding plans. However, our little plans had big heart and that is all that truly mattered to us.
A Different Day
Authenticity: we dreamed of a day that was a genuine reflection of our values and morals. We threw tradition out the door and created a day of events that carried meaning for us.
Less is more: we had an intimate guest list of 50 people that we knew could appreciate our love and would enhance the experience of the day.
Venue: Milkshed is a NPO cofounded by me, that uses reclaimed timber to make bespoke furniture and all the profits are used to fund community projects. Home is where the heart is, and hence our decision to use the Milkshed workshop was an obvious choice.
Eco/zero waste: homegrown, locally sourced produce, flowers and beverages were the name of the game. Everything in glass, wood or bamboo meant that we could recycle or compost the limited waste that we had.
Comfort is key: we created an environment that encouraged barefoot dancing, eating with your hands, sitting where you please (no dress code, no seating layout and no formalities) – just comfy celebrations.
Intimate gatherings: we created little niches for guests to gather and connect. Think lounges, outdoor fire pit and long tables with generous seating space.
Hone your resources: we saved tons by being savvy and using what we had at our disposal. This included tree stumps, pallets, hay bales, retro chairs from family, tables made from timber floor boards, lighting by Milkshed products and rugs/animal skins from family. We designed the menu around what was in season and would be freely available to us. Our flowers were sourced from local fynbos suppliers and the rest gathered by hand in the veld. A friend of ours then kindly created the stunning arrangements.
Most Memorable Moments?
Seeing Blaire for the first time brought me to tears. It is a moment that I truly cherish.
Exchanging vows was the most sacred moment I have had the honour of experiencing. We each wrote vows from scratch, which was daunting and beautiful as it allowed us for expose our love in front of those that love us most. The unorthodox ceremony was a roller coaster of tears & untamed laughter.
Fearing the cold of winter I went in search of the lesser spotted long sleeve gown. I knew that, above all else, it needed to be as comfy like an old sweater, with a side of gorgeous. As things worked out, I got a steal of a dress from Loca Boutique in Port Elizabeth. The dress is part of the Anna Georgina collection.
Weddings are like love, much simpler to get right than we think. Just take those things that make life worthwhile and imbibe them into every aspect of your day – Blaire
The Planning Process
Don’t listen to anyone else’s opinions besides your future husbands’ and your own. It is really the one day that you have full freedom to express your love to the world so make sure it is authentically you.
Lists of lists and excel spreadsheets of excel spreadsheets. I didn’t have a planner but by cutting out the unnecessary formalities, we saved money, stress and effort. I focused on the things that were important to us as a couple and edited out the rest.
We took the time to plan around our resources, that way we didn’t need to out source or rent as many items. Don’t be afraid to offend long lost relatives or Facebook friends – a smaller guest list means huge savings!
It’s a few hours of your life so keep your spending in perspective. Money can’t buy love but it can buy a wedding budget hangover when the honeymoon is over.
We opted not to have a wedding party (bridesmaids & groomsmen) and make the day about us as a couple instead. It made sense for us and lessened the stress and cost of finding outfits, hair and make up, and all the rest that goes along with it. Instead our best comrades MC’d the ceremony and ‘married’ us, which meant that they played a more vital role in our day.
We made customised guest tote bags filled with hand crocheted cotton hankies, paper planes & rice toss bags for the exit strategy, along with a ‘Love Day’ guide. The guide was a ‘how to’ and ‘about our Love Day’. It included our most cherished poems on love, our vows, the thank you’s, the free-range dining options, and tips and tricks for making the best of our day. Andrew also completely restored a 1971 Lancia Fulvia as our getaway car, which was an added bonus.