Benn & Renette’s Picnic Wedding

Day weddings are my latest crush. If I were planning my wedding now I would plan a long lunch around a long table. Well, that’s exactly what Benn and his gorgeous bride Renette did. Actually they had the best of both. They had an intimate wedding ceremony in Franschhoek, with a picnic style lunch under oak trees.Guests then went to The Grand Daddy Hotel for dinner and some dancing.We’re loving Renette’s whole look. The “messy” plait with the strapless gown works so well. And the blush pink touches give Renette’s bridal attire such a romantic feel. The groom also looked dashing. No wonder it was love at first sight for these two. Christine Meintjes was there to capture their big day.

Tell us your love story. How did you meet and fall in love?

Benn: We met in London in 2006. I was with all my friends having Christmas lunch at a restaurant and Renette was our waitress! I’d been there for most of the day already and she’d come in for the evening shift; forewarned by her colleagues about the rowdy bunch in the corner. The lads were doing their best to be charming – by trying to guess where she was from. Not being the most imaginative bunch, the standard guesses of Sweden, Poland and Germany weren’t well received. I confidently declared she was South African, and even more confidently that she was from Nelspruit. And – to my complete amazement – I was right! When she asked how I knew, I told her I’d been to South Africa and Nelspruit girls are the most beautiful girls I’d ever met (which was true!). Her jaw dropped, I’d hit the jackpot and the rest is history! Renette: This is a true story. I am actually from Sabie but Nelspruit was close enough. After Benn’s very lucky guess he took me out for a steak dinner. His guess was that I must love red meat as I am South African. He was right – again!

So how did he pop the question?

Renette: We live in Singapore and I was feeling very homesick after the Soccer World Cup 2010 so Benn suggested we plan a holiday to visit my family in Cape Town. We planned a trip to Hermanus for one of the days as it was whale season, I did not suspect anything. We had a lovely lunch on the rocks. We went for a walk and when we got down to the end of the pier Benn sat down behind me, he slowly reached his arm around and presented me with a beautiful ring.I don’t remember him asking the question (although he said he did) but I of course knew what was happening and just immediately started crying. My family all knew about it – so when we got back to Cape Town they had been waiting for us with champagne. It was lovely to be able to share such a special moment with my family!

What were the highlights of your wedding day?

Renette: I remember peeping through the bedroom window as Benn arrived at the venue and I just felt so happy and excited to see him and everything felt so perfect. When Benn cried during the ceremony. Having our family and closest friends together was very special to both of us. Another big highlight for us was all the amazing vendors we worked with. Sanmarie, my make-up and hair artist, was possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met. Of course having Christine Meintjes and her assistant Catherine Mac as our photographers made the day very special. Allee Bleue was so helpful and accommodating and made sure everything on the day was perfect. The team at Grand Daddy was great too – all we had to do was show up, they did everything else. Benn: Getting married to the woman of my dreams in one of the most beautiful places on earth in front of the most important people in my life.

Did anything unexpected happen?

Renette: There was rain forecasted for the big day, and as we were having a picnic we did not want to consider having the wedding inside. We only arrived in SA two days before the big day so we were quite stressed about the weather but it turned out to be a dry day.

Where did you get most of your ideas and inspiration from?

Renette: Blogs! The Pretty Blog and Style me Pretty became daily reads.

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

Renette: Benn and I are both bad dancers and having an opening dance was something that we really debated over for a long time. On the night we did decide to do a very short opening dance – on Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while organising your dream wedding?

Renette: Not being in South Africa did not help with my stress levels but my mom and sisters were amazing! They took complete control and I would not have been able to do it without them!

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

Renette: As soon as we got engaged and I started planning we realised that weddings are not cheap! We decided to open a joint bank account and transferred a set amount into the account every month. This really helped when it was time to start paying deposits as we already had some money saved. We made a list of things that were a “must” for us on the day and the rest could only be booked if the budget allowed.

Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects?

Yes! We had a DIY wedding. My mom and sisters did all the flower arrangements and the flower vases, she also made the table runners, menus and all the pretty details. My sister also made my beautiful bouquet. My dad and brothers-in-law helped with the painting and hanging of decorations. I even go them to fold the wine bottle name tags the night before.

How does your wedding reflect your personalities?

Renette: We wanted a very casual theme that would make our guests feel “at home” and be able to really enjoy the day with only a few formalities. We wanted it to feel more like they were going to a friend’s house for a party than for a wedding.

What are you looking forward to now that you are married?

Renette: We have not made any plans yet as we want to enjoy being married first before we start working on the next project. But as Benn is from Ireland and I am from South Africa we will probably be planning where we are going to set up our home.