Elaine & Bryan, A Summer Countryside Celebration

A blind date has the potential to be much more than an awkward evening. For Elaine and Bryan it surely became more. Little did they know, that a blind date would become a refreshing summer’s day in the countryside to celebrate with 84 friends.I am excited to see that a vintage and rustic atmosphere can be so completely natural. It resonates fully with the love of the outdoors that this merry couple have.With the help of Brightgirl Photography, I’m happy to share the start of a beautiful journey from Nottingham Road in the Natal Midlands.

Bryan and I met through my best friends, Robyn and Mark. Robyn invited me out for dinner one night, and surprisingly,  when I arrived, Bryan sat there at the dinner table. Without even knowing it, I had been set up on a blind date! Bryan and I bumped into each other every now and again and it took him about 3 months to pluck up the courage to ask me out. It was a New Year’s Eve about 10 days before I was due to leave for Sweden for a 6 month jaunt. He kissed me that night, and well, the rest is history! Bryan could obviously not resist visiting me and ended up in Sweden only a few weeks after I arrived there. It’s not often that you find a man who will travel halfway across the world, just for a few days to tell you he missed you. I knew he was a keeper!

Over the next six and a half years, Bryan and I grew closer together. We built our careers together and bought our first home together. We went on many, many wonderful holidays to Cape Town which is our favourite place in South Africa. It was on Llandudno Beach where Bryan got down on one knee and proposed. We were on the beach at sunset, sharing the last hours of a beautiful day with my cousin, when Bryan suddenly decided he needed a quick swim to cool off. How random? Shortly after the freezing dip in the ocean, he unexpectedly took my hand and walked me towards the water’s edge, suddenly dropped to one knee, and asked the question I had been waiting to hear for ages. It took me a few seconds to realise what was happening! It was just perfect.

The Dress

My dress was an Abigail Betz Original, designed especially for me, made from silk and Spanish lace. I fell in love with everything about my dress!A few years ago I was introduced to Abigail Betz when my sister-in-law went there to try on wedding dresses for her wedding. I was blown away by her incredible style, poise, the sweet smells of her studio and her vintage style. I told my mom that if I ever got married one day, Abigail Betz would design my dress. So naturally, when Bryan proposed, she was my port of call. I loved every minute of having my dress designed and made by Abigail. She understood me and my style right from the very start. I loved sipping tea from a rose petal covered antique tray with her and my mom. We discussed fabric, pearls, bits and bobs. My mom has summed up my experience really well in her own blogpost.

“Never take your eyes off your groom as you walk down the aisle! It is a moment that lasts only a few seconds, but one that you will remember for a lifetime” – Elaine

Your Most Memorable Moments

For Him: 

Watching my bride tear up as she walked down the aisle. My friends played a big role in the day too, the boys and I had whisky in the morning and they made me serenade a song that I barely knew to my bride! To finish the day off, it was a memorable drive to our honeymoon suite where I finally had a decent conversation with my new wife.For Her: Our day was just so perfect, so it’s hard to think of one specific moment… But I think it was walking down the aisle and seeing Bryan for the first time. I was so nervous, but as soon as I saw him my heart swelled with love. It was such an incredible moment.

Planning, Budget Tips and D.I.Y

Pinterest was a great help and inspiration. I knew from the start that I always wanted a rustic, slightly vintage wedding, but Pinning things from other weddings really gave me some wonderful inspiration to make my dream a reality. This source of inspiration allowed us to do a lot of the things ourselves. We designed and printed our invitations and our wedding website. My mom-in-law sewed a staggering 200m of bunting to hang around the venue, my mom made my cake and sewed all the little birds everywhere. I made all the table runners, chalkboards and wedding signs. I absolutely loved doing all this and we saved a lot of money. Another big cost saver for us was to have a destination wedding (we’re from Johannesburg), which turned out to be a spectacular idea. The suppliers were more cost effective, the venue was at a better rate and the quality of everything we had was amazing. We made sure the suppliers were prepared the day before, so we could relax on our big day. Everything was beyond our expectations.I must also admit that I’m a bit of a control freak, so delegating was a bit difficult. Between my mom, dad, mom-in-law, Bryan and I, we pretty much distributed tasks and went on and did them. Once I assigned a task to someone, they ran with it. This takes a lot of stress off the bride. It is also really very special to give your mom and new mom-in-law small jobs to help with the planning. It keeps them involved and they feel so special that you are including them.With the preparation done beforehand, we could relax on our big day. My mom, sister and the bridesmaids were with me. We had long baths, we had tea and champagne and simply soaked in the beautiful day.

The Wedding Day

It was a perfectly hot summers day. In the evening the midlands mist rolled in over the hills. We felt at home in the countryside were so appreciative of the vintage and rustic atmosphere that was naturally portrayed in the venue. It was just perfect.

Kevin and Fern McComb gave us such an incredibly fantastic time at Providence, not only on the wedding day but throughout the planning process as well. It went off without a hitch. Fern brought along a waiter and followed us and our bridal party around during our creative photo shoot with cheese and champagne. The food throughout the evening was simply amazing and we can’t fault a single thing.

Unexpected Moments

There were some unexpected moments as well, my amazing cousin and dad planned a “wedding cup” ceremony during the speeches. Bryan and I had done this ceremony at Warwick Wine Estate the day after we got engaged and it is really a special story. My cousin got up and started telling the legend of a princess who fell in love with a silversmith… It was such a wonderful surprise to have been reminded of our engagement and also to share in this awesome little story with our guests. And I love the fact that I now have a wedding cup in my home to remind me of our incredible day. You can read what it’s about here.