Saturday, April 17, 2010

Our Wedding Weekend

It all started the Sunday before the wedding with the arrival of Rudi’s best man, his wife and another friend of ours. Our house got increasingly busy from then on, with my matron of honour and her family arriving on Tuesday. It was a very busy week.

On Tuesday afternoon my mom and I went off to fetch my dress. I’d been waiting for that moment for so long and once I put it on, for the final fitting, I didn’t want to take it off. I’m so glad I chose the dress I did, and while I never got that feeling of “This is the one”, which everybody talks about (I think that’s just a myth), I loved it. There were 2 dresses on my final list, but the one I chose definitely made me feel the most like a bride. My mom and I then went out for a late lunch at Cavendish (and to look for a few last minute things, like my dad’s shirt for the wedding) and it was so nice just to have some alone time with her and chat about how nervous and excited I was about my pending nuptials.

Wednesday the whole wedding party went off to Riebeek Kasteel to the Royal Hotel for a bit of a rehearsal and to go through the final plans with our wedding coordinators. I know I’ve sung their praises before, but our wedding really wouldn’t have been half as special if it hadn’t been for them. They just did such an amazing job with everything and I didn’t have to worry about a thing.

After going over the last few things (timing, order of the ceremony, etc.) we went off to my mom and dad’s place in Riebeek West for lunch. I love their new house and always feel so relaxed there. Louise, Lily, Daniel and Louise’s mom went off to the waterfront in the afternoon and Rudi, Jayson, Andrea, Stan and I went to have a relaxing walk on Melkbos beach. Stan had us in stitches. Rudi got him to do all sorts of funny time trials, like seeing how fast he could hop on one leg or do cartwheels a certain distance. Nothing we asked him to do was too difficult or too ridiculous. I think the other people on the beach must have thought we were mad.

Thursday Louise and my mom treated me to a morning at the spa. Anja, another friend of mine (who’s also getting married this year) and I got the bridal package including a body scrub, manicure and pedicure. They gave us a bottle of Champaign to enjoy while we were having our treatments and we ended up drinking just a little too much, laughing raucously and in the end the spa personal came to ask us to keep it down *blush*. It was very funny though. After that we went to Tank in the Cape Quarters for sushi and cocktails and I was spoilt some more by everyone with all sorts of fun gifts.

Riebeek Kasteel

Friday morning dawned cold and rainy and I prayed that the weather would clear up as our whole wedding was an outside affair. Needless to say, when we went through to Riebeek Kasteel that afternoon the weather hadn’t improved and I just hoped that all the weather forecasts that we had been following for the last couple of weeks had been right, and that the weather would be perfect on Saturday.

Rudi had said that he wanted to be traditional and not see me the night before the wedding *smile*, so Louise, her family and I stayed at a wonderful little self catering place called the Tin House that night, while Rudi and his entourage stayed at Della Vigna cottage.

The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel
The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel
The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel
The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel

The Tin House is such a gorgeous place with a great vintage vibe, filled with antiques and all sorts of old nick-nacks. It has 2 rooms downstairs and a stunning loft and each room has a big brass bed with snugly down duvets. I took the loft and after supper at my mom and dad’s house I decided to go off to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. So off I went at 9 (yes I know that’s very early). My theory was that it would probably take me a long time to settle down, relax and finally get to sleep, so the earlier I went to bed the more sleep I’d get. My plan didn’t work, even with lots of rescue remedy, and I hardly slept at all, and when I did I dreamt the wedding was a mess. I wasn’t actually worried that something would go wrong (not consciously at least), but the nerves had finally kicked into overdrive and my heart was racing. Just before dawn I finally fell asleep and then all too quickly it was time to get up and start getting ready.

The big day had finally dawned after what felt like endless months of planning and dreaming. I got up and had a relaxing bath in an old fashioned tub that stood right there in my room. I thought I’d be terribly nervous, but in actual fact I felt quite calm and at peace. I felt great and was looking forward to getting on with everything.

I had a light breakfast (oats, the breakfast of champions *wink* or something like that) and then the lady who did my hair arrived. She put it in curlers and I did my make-up, in the most unlikely of places. I sat at the little door in the loft that opened out onto the garden, with a mirror propped up against the wall. It was actually quite nice as I had a stunning view of the beautiful garden and the lovely day that was dawning. My mom arrived and the house was bustling with activity.

Riebeek Kasteel

We finished with my hair and then our photographer, Lizelle, arrived. I got very excited and bouncy at this stage. If I tell you that the photos were the most important thing to me (except for actually marrying Rudi *grin*) then I’m not exaggerating. Looking for a good photographer was the 1st thing I started doing when we started planning the wedding and after long hours of searching, I finally found a great one. Lizelle makes you feel so comfortable and her photos are amazing!

We started taking my bridal shots and when my mom helped me into my dress she had tears in her eyes. It was such a special moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. I don’t know how I didn’t cry right then, but I managed not to (didn’t want to ruin my make-up just after having taken an hour to put it on *grin*). While we were taking some shots in the kitchen I spied the 1969 mustang, which was our wedding car, arrive. I nearly jumped out of my skin with glee. It was stunning! And it also signalled that it was almost time to go.

When people tell you your wedding day goes by so fast you think “yes, I’m sure it does, but mine will be different and I’ll savour every moment.” You don’t realise just how fast it does go by. Things that probably take hours fly by in an instant. The day wasn’t exactly a blur, as I can remember exactly what happened, but I wish it could have lasted a lot longer. All those long months of planning and waiting and everything was over so quickly.

I thought I’d be one of those brides that freak out at the slightest sign of something not going 100% according to plan. But I was so calm and nothing ruffled me. It could have turned into a really stressful day if I kept worrying about all the details, but when I say that it was the most amazing and wonderful day of my life I’m not lying.

Once all my photos were taken my dad and I got into the mustang and drove to the Royal Hotel. Rudi and all our guests were waiting on the front stoep of the hotel for us to arrive. As we drove up slowly I spotted Rudi on the stairs and from that moment on you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. My husband to be looked so handsome in his suit and sneakers! *sigh*

The car stopped, Rudi came to help me out and gave me a big kiss. He looked ecstatic and told me how I had never looked as beautiful as I did today. It was great to have just 5 minutes to take each other in, say how happy we were and how much we love each other.

Rudi then walked back to the guests and took them down to the amphitheatre where the ceremony was to be held. My dad and I got back into the car and drove around the side of the hotel to where we needed to wait before walking down the aisle.

Then it was time. Crisna gave us the thumbs up and started our wedding march. Like so many of the things about our wedding this wasn’t your traditional wedding march, but a very quirky and different song – Whatever gets you through the day by The Radio from the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. My dad and I started walking down the grass towards the amphitheatre with Lily and Louise in front of us. Lily, our little flower girl, didn’t want to know anything about throwing the flowers like she was supposed to and Louise ended up doing it instead.

Then my eyes met Rudi’s and the rest of the world just disappeared. We both couldn’t stop grinning! I was so focused on him that I didn’t take any of the décor or guests in that were around me. When we got to the gazebo under which we were to be married, my dad gave me a kiss and handed me over to Rudi, who couldn’t help himself and kissed me (naughty man). Then we were standing in front of the minister, saying the words that would make us husband and wife. I thought I might cry, but I was so happy and excited that I wasn’t even close to tears. I was just so overjoyed to finally be marrying this wonderful man.

We went through the ceremony (which was short and sweet) looking into each other’s eyes and before we knew it the minister was pronouncing us husband and wife and we were kissing each other over and over again, while the guests released white balloons into the air.

We were supposed to light candles after the ceremony, as a symbol of our lives coming together, but the minister forgot and told everyone the ceremony was finished. We had to remind him of the candles and ask everyone for another minute of their time. We had two storm lanterns with a candle in each which had been lit throughout the ceremony. As we were lighting our candles from these, to light the big candle, mine went out and I had to use Rudi’s , but in the end it all worked out. Alex, my uncle, then read a message from my gran, who couldn’t be at the wedding.

And so we were finally married! The ceremony felt like it was over in a heartbeat and it all felt like a dream. I was so ecstatic. The day I had been waiting for more than 15 months had finally arrived and I was married to the man of my dreams and my best friend in the world.

The guests remained seated while Rudi, Jayson, Louise and I went up to the hotel to sign the registry. Our guests then moved up to the top patio to wait for us. We signed the registry in the hotel lobby at a big wooden table. Our minister gave us our marriage certificate (a really ugly piece of paper in actual fact) and wished us good luck and many happy years together.

Then it was time to walk out as Mr and Mrs van der Walt for the first time. Michael Buble’s Everything started to play, Jayson announced us and then everyone was blowing bubbles and congratulating us. We had to smile for what felt like hundreds of cameras and get hugs from everybody. Once everyone had had a chance to wish us well the guests moved off to the pre-drinks area and Rudi, our families and I went to take some photos on the front stoep of the hotel.

We must have been busy with our family photos and then the photos with Louise & Jayson for about an hour and luckily someone thought to send out some canapés otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten any. There was melon gazpachio, mini olive and sundried tomatoes quiches, toasted baguettes with chicken mayonnaise & bacon wrapped skewered prawns with clam filling. It was all delicious, but we just didn’t get to have enough of everything.

After the photos we went off to join our guests to kuier. There was a little decorated cart with wine and cold drinks and little pink, green and white boxes of candy floss. There were so many beautiful little details, like the bow tie on the buck in the lobby, ribbons in the trees, little cut out birds and flowers (that my friends and I had spent hours cutting out) and so much more that I don’t even think I saw everything. I’m hoping that Lizelle got a photos of most of the things.

Wiehan, who was our great mc, called everyone together for the speeches at the outside bar area. We planned to have it there to make the whole thing very relaxed and we didn’t want to go the traditional route and have the speeches during dinner. Each person got a small 250ml bottle of JC le Roux, with a pinwheel straw, to sip on during the speeches. Louise went first and gave a beautiful speech about me, that almost made me cry. Then Jayson spoke about Rudi and after that Alex read a letter from my other aunt and uncle, who couldn’t make the wedding.

It was then my dad’s turn to make his speech. He doesn’t really like speaking in public, but he really gave a wonderful speech and he said such special things about Rudi. I think he’s really glad to have him as a son-in-law.

It was then my new husbands turn *grin*. As he stood up and turned to face everyone he had tears in his eyes and at that moment I realised again how much he loves me and what a very happy life we will have together. I still can’t believe that I’m married to this wonderful man.

Once the speeches were over and Jean, Rudi’s eldest brother, had said grace, we all moved off to the tables for lunch. We had two long tables that were so magnificently decorated. Our main colours were green, with a dash of fuchsia and Crisna & Willene brought in a lot of white and silver to balance the whole look. The table cloths were white with a stone grey runner and each person had a white napkin with their menu tied on with a brown ribbon. We had carnations and chrysanthemums and my favourite feature was the silver wine coolers with sticks stuck into them and balls of fuchsia carnations at the top. I also adored the bird cages with little pink and white polka dot eggs nestled inside them. Our décor was fun, whimsical, quirky and, I think, completely different.

We gave each guest a bottle of jam from Het Vlock Kasteel, a wine farm in the Riebeek Valley, and the kids got their Chinese take-out boxes filled with sweets. The place names were printed on a flower shape and attached to the back of each guests chair with a ribbon. I could go on and on about the décor, but I think the photos speak for themselves.

Lunch was scrumptious! There was fresh farm bread with herb butter and the guests could choose between chicken breast stuffed with feta, bacon & spinach on rice or kingklip with herb mash and each come with super fresh farm veggies. I think everyone had fun, chatting and drinking and generally being merry.

We spent a while chatting to our guests and eating heartily. After lunch, while our guests were still chatting away, Rudi and I slipped down to the amphitheatre, where we had the ceremony, to just be alone with each other for a few minutes and absorb the fact that we were now husband and wife. I hadn’t taken in any of the décor while the ceremony was going on, as all my attention was on Rudi, so I just wanted to have a look so I was sure I hadn’t missed anything. It was just as stunningly decorated as the tables, with a white gazebo, ribbons and balls of flowers.

I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves and it looked like they did. I printed a note page for each guest to write us a little message on and from what they said on them it looks like they really did enjoy how different our wedding was.

A little later it was time to cut our “cake”, which was in fact pink vanilla cream and green crème-soda cupcakes. Yes, I did say crème-soda. It’s Rudi’s favourite and it was one of the things he insisted on when we were planning the wedding *grin*. The waiters then brought out our yummy chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, which everyone enjoyed with my mom’s amazing chocolate sauce, crushed nuts, mini Astros and jelly eggs. We had to laugh at Jayson, who, in the process of poring chocolate sauce onto his ice-cream, managed to spill it all over the table and himself.

At about 5 Rudi and I went off with Lizelle and her assistant to take our couple photos. We were probably gone for about 2 hours, but I don’t think anybody minded as all the main events were already over and people were just chilling. The shoot was such a lot of fun and Lizelle had us in stitches, taking us to all sorts of unexpected locations and even making us walk around in the veld to get the right shots. Needless to say we had to pick thorns out of my dress and everyone else’s shoes.

Once we had finished with the shoot we went back to the hotel just after 7pm. Crisna and Willene had something special planned for us when we got back. They lit a Chinese lantern and let it rise into the sky, sending with it all their wishes and luck for our marriage.

We sat and chatted a while longer with our guests, went to say goodbye to a few people and then headed off to our little cottage. The day was all I had hoped for and so much more. It was so special and full of love and I will cherish the memories forever. I only wish it hadn’t gone by so fast and that I could do it all again. Over and over and over.

1 comment:

  1. Now the Mother of the Bride is allowed to cry. As I read this (Babes I did not know you were such an eloquent writer) it brings back all the wonderful and happy memories of a perfect day. The day was perfect not only because you and the handsome Rudi are a wonderful couple, but because of all the hard work, planning, design, printing, cutting out, stressing, laughter and fun that lead up to 10 April 2010. Dad and I could not have been more proud of both of you on that day and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. You make a stunning couple and are our best friends, something I am very proud to say. A great big shout-out of thanks to Chrisna, Willene and Lizelle for making the day so perfect too.