Brad & Leigh – Feel at Home

Oh, today you are in for a real treat! We head to Mpumalanga for Brad and Leigh’s intimate wedding. The two tied the knot in September this year, under a big tree surrounded by 70 of their loved ones. Brad and Leigh wanted a “relaxed vibe” and for their guests to feel at home, as if it were just a warm family gathering. As with most weddings theirs was quite eventful, with a fire breaking out at 11 pm not too far away from the venue.
Leigh looked absolutely breathtaking in her vintage-inspired peplum dress. Leigh says she always liked the idea of having long sleeves. We’re loving the lace detail, and of course the floral headband and ankle boots. Sadly, after dancing the night away, Leigh’s dress is now a bit of an ombre colour from bottom to top.The team from Modern Hearts was behind the lens for this one.

Tell us your love story.

We met through a mutual friend at a crazy, crowded party in April 2008. Brad says he knew at that moment that I was ‘the one’. Two and a bit years later, and 10 000 feet in the air, Brad got down on one knee (we were like two excited hillbillies flying business class for the first time) and he proposed. We were on our way to see family, and a holiday in Europe. He’d planned to propose at a super fancy restaurant in Paris, but we had only flown as far as the the Congo (we think) when he popped the question. I thought he was joking at first, but when he revealed the ring, which he’d smuggled on board in his hand luggage, I said yes. Obviously. I didn’t sleep a wink.

What were the highlights of your wedding day?

The groom and his best man sitting atop a combi tying individual roses to a tree branch for the ceremony. Walking down the aisle with my dad, and seeing my best friend, Brad, waiting for me under the trees. My family in Switzerland calling to congratulate us, and my nephew asking in his little voice: “Is Brad part of our family now?” Our friend Shane busting out his harmonica, and joining the band as they played one of our favourite songs – Just A Boy by Angus and Julia Stone.Staying up around the bonfire bantering with friends until about 3:30.

Did anything unexpected happen?

At about 11 pm, Brad pulled me away from the dance floor and informed me that a massive veld fire had started a short distance away from the farm. It was pretty huge and pretty scary, and we weren’t sure whether to panic and pack our bags or party on. We kept dancing … Our super hero co-ordinator Zaskia, and a handful of farmers fought the fire until 7 am the following morning. So we lived.The fire damaged the water pipes at the honeymoon suite, so Brad and I spent the night in a single bed, and woke up to a troop of friends bounding in and out of our room, retelling stories from the night before, and showing us pics of the fire from up close. What!? You’d think a fire would’ve ruined our evening – it was awesome.

Any hints for other brides on how to keep your wedding budget friendly?

Get friends to help where they can. My best baker friend, Angie, made cakes for us as part of our wedding gift, and Jo sewed the beautiful banners for us. It helps to have talented friends! Also, shop around. The first quote we got for photography was a little steep. Modern Hearts was reasonable and we really loved their portfolio. We think they did a great job! One tip I read in a magazine was not to spend too much on wedding favours. Guests have a tendency to leave them behind.

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

In My Life by The Beatles. We were listening to one of their albums on our way back from our very first trip to the farm. We both love them and the words and the sentiment of the song summed it up for us. It was one of the first decisions we made.

Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects?

I illustrated and designed our wedding invites, and menus. My dad made some signs that I painted, and my friend Jo made our super banners. My wonderfully patient bridesmaids sat with me sticking name tags to chocolate pots, hand-cutting confetti, and tying feathers to tiny bits of string (which weren’t used in the end because of the wind).

How does your wedding reflect your personalities?

We wanted the vibe to feel as if it were just a warm family gathering (Brad’s dad even did our ceremony). Neither of us feel comfortable with fancy-fancy fuss-fuss. That said, it’s amazing how much work “down-to-earth” can take.