Into the Midlands Woods – a Beautifully Relaxed Wedding

Their day was filled with memorable moments, but we couldn’t stop gushing over the bride’s breathtaking dress and the intimate, woodlands setting! The weather played along and the misty morning created an incredible romantic day for these two nature-lovers. 

Our Story

It was our love of nature that brought us to the same place – Londolozi Private Game Reserve – where we both worked for two years. Simon was a game ranger and I was a massage therapist and yoga instructor. It wasn’t that we hadn’t noticed one another, but it took us a while to officially meet. It was a bush holiday away with friends from the lodge that really sparked our friendship and relationship. This then led to many adventures together, with a blossoming relationship and a proposal a few months down the line.

What seemed like an impromptu picnic was actually a well planned proposal from Simon’s side. It took place under the trees beside a dam on my parents’ farm. Simon proposed and I celebrated, with the ring flying off my hand into the grass! We panicked but luckily recovered the ring and the rest is history…we were laughing then and we still laugh about it now.

Our Style

We really wanted our wedding to have a botanical feel, but we also wanted to keep the style clean and simple. We based everything around a few elements that we loved – greenery, glass, copper and small, thoughtful details. We had the vision and then were fortunate enough to work with some amazing vendors and family to bring our day to life. All the hanging greenery in the chapel came from neighbours and the flowers in the chapel were done by helping hands from my mother, family and friends.

Kim, from Crystal and Vine, is so good at what she does! She really executed every single detail we envisioned for our reception, by refining our ideas and helping us bring them to life through her creativity. Her decor and installations are beautifully curated and her professional manner is calm and genuine. She really is a joy to work with and is more like a friend than just a service provider.

Seven Swans made the entire stationery process, from getting it all designed, printed and up to Natal, a breeze. Anelle and her team were great to work with – they understood our love of nature and how we wanted it to translate into our stationery. We also got to work on a fun project idea with Anelle, translating the design from our wedding invites to linen-printed banners, which hung behind our main table.

Another really special touch to our decor was the old door that we used from our family farm for all of our seating charts, that my dad had carefully restored and transported to the venue for us. Last, but certainly not least, was Belinda from Orchards Wedding Venue, who tied all of this together. We didn’t have a wedding planner but a few days leading up to the wedding and on the day, Belinda made us feel at ease. She runs a really beautiful, organised venue!

What do you love most about each other? 

Simon is honestly one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met. He teaches me to lift my gaze and look for what is good. I love his outlook on life, his sense of humour, his faith and his genuine love for the things that really matter in life. I could not think of a better friend and love to navigate this one life with. 

I love Caity’s quiet compassion, her smile and the way we laugh together. Her fondness for adventure and travel pushes us to widen our world views. My best friend and my wife – it’s an absolute treat to share my life with her. I am so excited to see what our years together will hold.

The Dress

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted in a wedding dress – something that felt like a piece from my own wardrobe. Something I felt truly comfortable in. I wasn’t sure if, what I had in mind, was possible but once I came across Janita Toerien’s work, I was certain that she could help me create my dream dress.

I decided on a two-piece and I’m so happy that I did, because it felt so authentic to my style. It was made extra special by pieces from my mom’s original wedding dress. All of the buttons on my dress are from my mother’s dress, as well as all the lace on my veil. The little silk horse shoe that was sewn into my mother’s dress by her dress maker was then sewn into my skirt as well – for good luck, of course! It made it so memorable for both myself and my mother. Janita is so talented and I loved the whole process of getting my dress created by her.

Did you go on honeymoon? 

Yes we did. We kept it local and made a fun road trip out of it all. We were very generously gifted a night at the beautiful Oyster box, after which we made our way down to the Wild Coast. We spent a few days at Umgazi River Bungalows where we immersed ourselves in nature and just allowed everything to sink in. It’s a beautiful and untouched part of our country. The last leg of our honeymoon was spent in the Kruger National Park, because we’d decided pretty early on in our planning that we had to get our bush fix in as well! Kruger is special to both of us because we have many childhood memories from time spent there, but also because of our close connection to the bush having both worked in the industry for a few years.

Some wedding planning advice

Welcome helping hands – they really are a gift and it helps so much to share the load of planning a wedding. We are so grateful for everyone who helped us leading up to our day. Just give into the flow of it all as it really does go so fast and we so often stress ourselves out over the little things and end up missing out on the whole journey. Try not let yourself get too caught up in the trends: be true to who you are as a couple and what you love. Use a budget and keep track of what you choose to invest in and even go as far as opening a spreadsheet. It helps you get a good framework of what is necessary and what isn’t really.

Simon + Caitlin from Orpen Film Co. on Vimeo.