Landscapes and Love: A Wedding in Tulbagh

There is something so honest about a beautifully laid back celebration. Moira West shares with us the understated elegance of Johan Wilhelm and Marelize’s wedding day. The simple decor and details and the beauty of the Tulbagh landscape served as the perfect backdrop for this romantic affair. We love the bride’s voluminous tulle princess dress with it’s gorgeous lace and beaded bodice – something right out of a fairytale. 

The Story

Johan Wilhelm and I met in December 2006 at a mutual friend’s house. The moment I saw him I knew that this guy ticked all my boxes – big, manly, confident and friendly. We had a very good holiday and then both returned to Stellenbosch where we studied. We remained friends, our paths crossing from time to time, but it never seemed to be the right time for “us”. After our studies we both started working in Cape Town and our respective roads led back to our hometowns of Paarl and Wellington – 15km apart. We had mutual friends so saw each other and attended the same gatherings. A few days after a party we’d attended Johan Wilhelm unexpectedly called me and told me that I had to decide –  after this call his life would either go on with me by his side, or forever without me. I have never left his side since – a year and a half later we got married.

The Proposal

Johan proposed in March 2015 – we were looking for a nice place to have Sunday lunch. He weirdly insisted that we go to this place on Bain’s Kloof Pass. It took forever to get there, I think he forgot were the place was. On our way back he said that we had not yet taken a photo and it was a day before our anniversary. I am usually the one insisting on photos so I was happy to stop. We took the picture and when I climbed back into the car and tried to close the door there he was, on one knee, with the most beautiful ring in his hand. Whilst looking over Wellington as the sun set, he asked me to become his wife and share a life with him. I could not say “yes” fast enough. We then shared the happy news both our families – and some bubbly!

The Style

Our friends and family are very important to us and accordingly we planned a big feast. Most of our guests came to Tulbagh for the weekend and that really created a wonderful atmosphere! It was such a blessing to share our best day with everyone we love. We really wanted them to to feel welcome, to have the best time and to share in our love.

We wanted our ceremony to be romantic, personal and special – focused on the promise that we were making.

Our church had a very romantic feel to it, as it is an age old little Missionary Church with wooden floors, big windows and a lot of character. There were nothing in the church, as everything inside broke down during the earthquakes in Tulbagh. It was an emotional ceremony and perfect in every way.

Our reception was the best party we have ever been to! It was so much fun – the whole evening was filled with love and laughter! At 2am our dance floor was still packed and we just never wanted the night to end. We left the reception at 4am with sore feet, full hearts and deep appreciation. 

Most Memorable Moments


The moment we walked into the reception hall – it was the best feeling ever!


When I fist saw his face, while walking down the isle and saying “I take you, Johan Wilhelm Meintjes as my husband”. I also loved walking into the reception hall with all our friends and family cheering us on!

The Unexpected

We fell in the corn a few times while taking pictures – it was hilarious! 

The Dress

I wanted a pouffy princess dress – and mine was just perfect! I eventually found my dress from the Anna Georgina collection at Calegra Bridal House, after months of searching. The top part was perfect but I had the bottom altered to a princess style. My dress was such a dream. It was so comfortable and I had the best time twirling around in it. Our flower girl kept pointing at me in church saying, “Fairy!” – she is four so it really was the biggest compliment.

The Budget

Cut out the small stuff like party favours – your photographer, DJ, venue and food is worth paying for. We wrote each guest a letter on a doily that was placed on their plate – this served as a gift and a name card. It was really special writing all those little “love letters”. We did all our invites via electronic websites – saving on printing costs. We also had our menu written on a black board, rather than having more printing costs. Get quotes from as many service providers as you can – sometimes it is worth your while to drive a bit further for a better price.

Johan Wilhelm and I really had the best time – from the moment that we I walked into church, we just fell in love all over again. It was such a blessing and special moment to walk out of the old Missionary Church (everything in the church was destroyed during the earth quakes in Tulbagh years ago) as husband and wife. Our reception was also the best party we have ever attended – we left at 04h30, with sore feet and happy hearts.

Love this Wedding?

For some more fairytale dress inspiration have a look at this Elegant Celebration with a Dream Gown