Ant and I pictured our wedding being an informal, fun celebration of our love witnessed by our friends and family. It was infinitely more wonderful than we had imagined…
From the moment we gate-crashed the harvest (grape stomping) party at Kalmoesfontein, that fateful day early last year, we knew it had to be there. We ventured out into the Swartland looking for a wedding venue, and found ourselves welcomed in by the exceptionally warm and generous Badenhorst family, Adi and Cornelia. Not only did they insist that we join in their festivities, they kindly put us up in their dreamy guest cottage when our car broke down on our way out (and 8 strong men from the party had to lift the bakkie off the road). The next morning Adi cooked us breakfast while his son Samuel yelled “Dad, Dad, Lucy (the pet lamb) just peed on the couch!”). We were sold.
Kalmoesfontein is a beautiful place. The old, weathered farmhouse with its terraced lawns provided the perfect backdrop to the ceremony, with views down the Paardeberg valley and purple mountains framing the horizon. Marius Brand gave a very special and surprising ceremony – he somehow got us in all our madness, inspiring tears and laughs in volumes. Thank you Marius! Ant’s Mum Sue’s reading of when I’m 69 by the Beatles was the cherry on top.
A remarkable, rambling stoep runs the length of the back of the old farmhouse, where we ate, drank and partied the night away. Cornelia Badenhorst decked the rustic wooden tables in cascades of pink, coral and white flowers she sourced from the area, setting the tables with her inimitable flair. The ceiling was strung with an installation of 300 cream, pink and red laser cut birds we had made. Thank you to our long-suffering friends and the trusty Fortein for all your help putting up gazillions of birds, ribbons and fairy lights the day before. It was beautiful!
Judy Badenhorst is Adi’s mom and a superb chef, who served us a great feast which we washed down with Adi’s yummy Secateur wines and his latest offering, Papegaai. The cake table was a jaw-dropping spectacle! I asked friends and family to bake cakes and desserts rather than opting for a traditional wedding cake. Girls, you blew my mind with your gorgeous delicasies. The table was devoured by eyes and mouths alike!
A big highlight for me, was having Trygve, Annik and Mette and Oystein come all the way down South from Norway for the wedding. They were host parents to me when I was an exchange student to Norway in 1996. It was a year that had a massive impact on my life and it’s so wonderful that relationships from that time still exist. They rewrote the words to the ABBA song “money money money” and slipped the lyrics under every place setting at the wedding. Then they called me up, on came the music and we all sang “Daddy daddy daddy!” (which refers to me having 3 dads) to great hilarity. Jonx’s pics capture this so beautifully, so much laughter and everyone singing along. “Tusen takk!” to my Norwegian families for bringing your love and laughter half way around the world. It meant so much to me.
It was a magical evening peppered with heartfelt words and wicked tunes. Giles, you made a master MC! We’re so lucky to have such talented, quirky and generous friends! Not only can they cook, create and charm… they can play music! Olly, Toby, Dusty, Regan – best DJ’s in the biz. Thank you for rocking the party ALL NIGHT LONG! The wine-maker Jasper came home from another wedding near dawn, looking for a quiet place to rest and was met by, quote “a bunch of wedding hippies” unquote, still dancing in the sunrise!
Last but not least, thank you to the girls who made me feel like a princess… Monique, who did my hair and make-up (you’re an angel Mon!) and Mareth and Colleen marethcolleen.blogspot.com who made my beautiful dress and contributed so many lovely details to the occasion.They are seriously talented young designers – watch this space for world domination! And Colleen is from the neighbouring farm to boot… A perfect fit.
There were funny speeches, devotions, skinny dips, cheesy Dirty Dancing moments, loyal pooches, beautiful bridesmaids, skanky ho’s, wrongi’s, wild bonfires and lots and lots of love and laughter. Thank you beloved family and friends!
Thanks SO much to Jonx Pillemer for his incredible shots.
(If you’d like a hi-res version of any of them, please tell us the image name and we’ll send a print quality version)