Leah and Greg Shanks got married at the stunning Boschendal Estate in Paarl, ±55km from Cape Town on the 16th March 2013. The bride planned her wedding from Mozambique, with the help of her mother to take care of the details for the big day. Her wedding dress was made 5 days before her wedding day, which fitted perfectly. This was indeed a little risky but luckily she had a very talented dress maker. The vintage themed wedding was shared by only her closest friends and family with a total of 56 guests. ♥
He said he would make me the happiest woman on earth… and then he proposed!
Greg took me for a picturesque drive up through the Du Toits Kloof mountain pass on a misty evening just before sunset. It was crisp and beautiful as the sun’s last rays were breaking through the clouds surrounding the mountain tops. We were on holiday in Paarl, where my parents live, and i grew up surrounded by these larger than life mountains. Where we are currently based in Mozambique there are no mountains, just ant-hills. I treasure the beauty of my hometown.
He drove passed a beautiful spot, we climbed out and we stood chatting for a while. Got back into the car and before turning around we drove a little further. As we passed the spot where we first stopped, he pulled over again, quickly jumped out of the car, ran to my side, opened my door and sank on both knees onto the sand. He said he would make me the happiest woman on earth and that his hearts desire is to be the one beside me all the days of our lives. I already knew in my heart that he was my one and only. ♥
The wedding dress was made in only 5 days…
I live in Mozambique and took off four days in October 2012 to make the initial wedding plans of which one part was finding a dress. I had a picture on my IPad of what I liked and I knew a great dress maker in Paarl, Griet de Villiers, would be able to make it in five days as I didn’t have time in October. I showed her the photograph and as she was on her way to London for two weeks, she couldn’t go with me to buy the material and just told me how much of each to buy. So with telephone calls backwards and forwards between the shop assistant in Cape Town and Griet (whom she knew well), I managed to buy the material in October but only dropped it off on the day I went to have my measurements taken – exactly five days before the wedding. Griet’s passion is making clothes and it was a real comfort knowing that she was making my dress. As the week progressed, at each fitting we changed this and tweaked that until the final product which I picked up at 19h00 on Friday evening (my wedding was at 10h30 the following morning). And i was thrilled to pieces with the final outcome.
As I live in Mozambique, I had to rely on my mother a lot to help with the planning of the wedding. She, together with a friend, visited many possible venues and reduced this to a short list of approximately 12 places which my mother and I revisited during my five day visit home in October. We booked Boschendal for the venue. It was the last one we went to see and it was absolutely stunning. I grew up in Paarl in the heart of the wine-lands so it was only fitting that I got married on a wine farm with a view of the mountains as it is nestled in the valley.
During those few days, I also booked the dressmaker, bought the material and had a meeting with the florist and décor company.
I had to leave the rest to my mother as I am based in an area of Mozambique which has periods of unreliable internet. I designed the wedding invitations and managed to email one through to my parents but it needed changes. However, the internet failed once again and for the next two weeks I couldn’t send any attachments. My mother eventually took my invitation to a friend who had all the programs to make the necessary changes on the supplied format and they sent it out with a little paragraph explaining why it had not been sent by Greg and myself.
The vintage car...
The cake, the vintage car, the makeup artist and the nails was organized by my mother. She works in the hospitality industry which was a great help. I managed to send a photograph of what the cake should look like and when I walked in to the reception and saw that it looked exactly like the photograph, wow, that was stunning. My hairdresser in Paarl/Wellington, Nadia, who has cut my hair for years, was the one person I insisted on doing my hair and she did it exactly as I wanted it.
The morning of the wedding…
My mother and I stayed over at a local guesthouse, Rodeberg Lodge which was great as I had to have everything packed and done the night beforehand. However, I still had to finalize my speech as my laptop broke on the Friday and I hadn’t finished it yet.
We were at the hairdresser in Wellington at 06h30 and I used her computer to finalize my speech.
At 08h00 I was having my makeup done and then we ran into the florist to pick up the corsages and I asked them to print my speech for me as there wasn’t time to go home.
From there it was back to the guesthouse and myself, my bridesmaid and my mother got dressed. And then the car arrived – wow – it was just what I had dreamed of.
I arrived a little late for the wedding, but that was because my amazing photographer had such brilliant ideas for so many amazing photographs. The ceremony itself was held outside on the sprawling lawns of Boschendal Estate.
The wedding day and the details…
Our wedding day itself was an absolute expression of love.
The majority of the guests at the wedding were family members, many of whom I had not seen for years. It was heart warming being surrounded by people who I grew up in front of and loved dearly.
There were a couple of little details which were important to me. One of them being the flowers, which was done to perfection by Antonette from To-nette’s florist in Paarl. The flowers were “fynbos”,which is indigenous to the western cape. My favorite. She managed to capture the fresh scent of the mountains and brought it to life on each tables flower decoration as well as the dried rose and lavender petals on the floor. It was important for me that cape proteas and lavender stand out. Lavender’s purple being an important color and its strong flavor. Each persons’ table setting had a transparent glass plate with lavender and thyme beneath it which presented well with the lace ribbons and crocheted table cloths.
The second thing I really wanted was bright orange little love birds, as it reminded me of my childhood holidays in my grandmother’s kitchen. We hung up photographs of our life together in Mozambique, our dog, the children and the people we work with daily, which was a nice touch and shared our family with the family we’ve made in the bush.
It was a very special occasion and a day we will both relive with smiles on our faces and hearts.
Huge thank you to Leah for sharing her wonderful and heart warming wedding story, and to Celeste for taking such beautiful wedding photos.
All photography by Celeste Van Rooyen. – Dubai ♥