The Bride and Groom

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Norman & Mari

We wanted a relaxed, fun, wedding festival. Our friends and family came from all over South Africa for our wedding and we wanted to show them the best that Upington has to offer.

How did you meet?

We met in 2013 while studying in Stellenbosch. A mutual friend introduced us and after a few braais and coffee dates, Norman asked me to be his date to his formal House dance. That dance was the beginning of our romantic relationship.

How did the Mr propose?

 Norman chose to keep the engagement a big surprise. We had been dating for four years and had a long-distance relationship at the time. We went to my family’s farm for the weekend with friends of ours. As usual, I went for an early morning walk on the Saturday. Norman came along and half way we sat down on some rocks to enjoy the view. After discussing our future, he proposed with his mother’s engagement ring. At first I was totally flabbergasted, but I said yes! The rest of the day we spent on the farm, hunting and enjoying ‘sundowner’ drinks at my favourite spot with family and friends. It was a perfect day.

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The planning process:

To begin with, we discussed the type of wedding we wanted and what we were able to spend. We knew that these factors would influence the venue and the date. Then each of us made a list of two things that we did not want to compromise on and using that, we started our planning. I am a planner at heart, so planning was a process of creating lists. First: the venue and date, second: the photographer, third: the dress, the DJ and the invites. While deciding on the venue we met with Sieglinda van der Westhuizen from Waterfront Guesthouse and Wedding Venue. We decided that this venue would be perfect for the wedding and then Sieglinda helped us with the planning. In the end, she did all the work.

The day you envisioned:

We wanted a relaxed, fun, wedding festival. Our friends and family came from all over South Africa for our wedding and we wanted to show them the best that Upington has to offer. The venue is next to the Orange River and this created a spectacular back drop. We wanted a wedding that reflected both our personal styles. This meant we wanted a relaxed, stylish, romantic and welcoming event. We had no formal seating plan and all the food was presented canapé style. We had seventeen courses which ended with Rolo ice-cream popsicles. It was all very casual and the guests could eat or dance as they pleased.

Colour schemes, décor, flowers & style

We opted for a green and white colour scheme, but Sieglinda called it Olive and Cream, which sounds so much more classy! The style was romantic with lots of flowers, foliage, graceful drapery and fairy lights, but with wooden-rustic elements and glass-geometric designs. The wedding was outside in the garden with a big tent next to the Orange River.

DIY Projects

For DIY we made homebrewed beer. Norman has a passion for brewing his own beer and for the wedding we made 120 litres of beer! We also made the road signs and digital invites.

The dress

My dress was made by Ann-Lee Couture. I wanted a comfortable dress, so we decided to have no train and the skirt had to be flowing, romantic and not tight. The material was champagne coloured chiffon with pearl detailing. On my wedding day, I wore a pearl necklace which had been the first gift Norman had given me when we were dating. It fitted perfectly with the deep V-neckline of the dress.

My favourite moment of the day was

Our first dance is my favourite memory of our wedding day. That romantic moment will forever be in my heart.

The unexpected

Sieglinda went into labour in the early hours of the morning right after the wedding. That was definitely unexpected, but she and her team had everything running smoothly. Most important of all is that she and her baby were healthy.

Advice for future brides

Firstly: think twice about automatically incorporating traditional wedding customs and symbols into your day. I researched the history of every wedding custom and decided which ones really resonated with us. If it is important to you, do it, otherwise cut everything that has no meaning to you. For example, by not having the garter toss or cake cutting we not only saved money but also time, which we preferred to spend with our loved ones. And secondly: get Sieglinda to do your wedding! It will be beautiful and you will have no stress.

Anything Extra

We did not have a traditional wedding and I loved what we planned. We had no groomsmen and bridesmaids, but we invited friends and family to join us for drinks the morning of the wedding while we were getting ready in separate places. We had no wedding cake, no garter toss and no bouquet toss. I did not even have a bouquet, but instead I had a wrist corsage. The reason we decided on this was because brides tend to give their flowers to their bridesmaids to hold anyway. By wearing a wrist corsage I had my flowers on me the whole time and it was part of my outfit.