A wedding in the middle of Joburg’s CBD

The beautiful balance of inner city modern and down-to-earth natural decor of this story is what we loved most! Mel and Graeme combined their elegant taste and their love of inner city life. They even had a helping hand for their couple shoot…and that honeymoon sounds like a dream come true! 

Our Story

I met Mel at work – she was my senior and to me she was this beautiful, seemingly-unattainable woman, who told me what to do on a day-to-day basis. We spent the next couple of years years working closely together but always kept things professional and platonic. A month before Mel left the job, I realised that the window of opportunity was closing fast. Fortunately, one night we went out with a group of friends in Long Street, Cape Town, and somehow managed to find ourselves alone in a bar at 3AM. We were the only patrons left, discussing anything and everything as the staff packed up around us. 

The Proposal

Mel has a love of all things Irish so we planned a holiday in Ireland to celebrate St Paddy’s Day in Dublin. Afterward we drove around the Irish countryside for a week and on our last day, I’d booked a surprise night for us in the main suite of an Irish castle outside Kilkenny. I had been in contact with the castle staff and they arranged a gazebo in the private rose garden, with canapés and champagne. We were blessed with a sunny Irish day and I casually suggested that we explore the castle grounds. As the nerves built up there were a few false starts where I struggled to find the entrance to the rose garden (at one point leading her to a bathroom by mistake). When we finally got to the gazebo, hidden within the centre of the rose garden by hedges, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.

Our Style

We wanted a warm, industrial rooftop feel in the heart of Jozi, with our personalities written all over it. The venue won us over with its spacious, open plan design, surrounded by glass to showcase the incredible view of the CBD. The decor was incredibly natural, with Eucalyptus leaves and a few crisp, white roses here and there with a touch of rose gold. There were also fun elements like bubbles, sparklers, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, late night toasties and a projector with the live feed of photos from our Instagram hashtag. Our favourite thing was when the local taxi drivers stopped traffic for us in the middle of the city to help us get the perfect couple shoot images – they were as invested in the photos as we were!

What do you love most about each other?

I absolutely adore Graeme’s ability to be so ambitious and determined, whilst at the same time he can be really silly and take joy from the smallest and simplest moments in life (which are the little things that make our relationship what it is!). – Mel

Mel’s genuine concern and love for the people in her life. She has this amazing ability to make everyone she meets feel special and she takes an active interest in their lives. She is also someone who always seeks to find joy in everything she does. Life with her is filled with so much fun and adventure! – Graeme

The Dress

I went to Bridal Wardrobe in search of a very specific type of dress I had in mind. My mom was with me and pointed out a Enzoani dress on display, which I first thought was not my style but I tried it on for her. Turns out mom always knows best and it was the prefect one for me (and she never lets me forget it!). Bridal Wardrobe also understood my love for lacy, long sleeves and designed sleeves for the ceremony (with locally sourced lace) which could be removed later for the reception.

Any planning tips?

If you can, write your own vows for each other. It’s such a heartfelt element on your wedding day. A coordinator is also key for peace of mind – and worth every penny!

Family photos can take time – have a printed list of the family photos you would like and give this to your photographer, coordinator and maid of honour a week beforehand. It will cut down on the family photo portion of the couple shoot. A wedding day can fly by and so much time is spent with family and friends (which is awesome) but take five to ten minutes with the most important person there – your partner. Step back and take it all in. 

Did you go on honeymoon?

We had quite a long, amazing honeymoon and managed to go to three very different destinations. Our first stop was the Seychelles, where we stayed for a week on the islands of Mahe and La Dique. It was truly an island paradise where our biggest concern was making sure we had the champagne chilled in time for sunset. The highlight was spending the day at Anse Source D’Argent, the most photographed beach in the world, on La Dique. The remoteness of La Dique meant we were able to share the beach and its 20 degree water with a maximum of 20 other people, something we were not expecting in such a well known location.

Our second country was Turkey, which was easily the highlight of our trip. The first three days were spent in the old city of Istanbul in a hotel overlooking the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. We spent our time walking the streets looking at the amazing historical sights, eating the amazing street food and cruising up the Bosphorous River. We were also lucky enough to be there during the Istanbul Tulip Festival, where the city plants 30 million Tulips throughout the city, meaning every walk was greeted with brilliant displays of colour! After Istanbul we spent two nights in Cappadocia where we enjoyed a hot air balloon ride over the unique volcanic landscape. It was truly phenomenal to share the skies with hundreds of hot air balloons and to look down at a landscape that seemed to be from another planet. Our final stop in Turkey was on the coast in Bodrum, where we stayed in a resort on the beach looking into the Greek Isles.

Our final stop was Santorini where we stayed in a hotel with an infinity pool overlooking a volcano. We spent our days lying by the pool and visiting the beautiful vineyards.

Did anything unexpected happen on the day?

Unexpectedly the beer keg and tap that were delivered together were not compatible (even though they came from the same company). Fortunately our DJ, who also happened to work at a brewery, had contacts he was able to call on short notice and solved the problem!