Jessica & Mark were married in the South Africa, set against a stunning mountainous backdrop at the Vrede en Lust Estate. When it came to planning a wedding abroad, Jessica had all hands on deck from bridesmaids, friends & family. She was also very keen on the help of wedding planners, such as Die Gieter, who provided floral arrangements and decor for the wedding reception. The finished table setting included views across the entire estate- keep on reading to see more!
Our beautiful bride walked down the aisle in our iconic Torum dress.
Jessica & Mark's photos were captured by husband-wife duo, Antonia and Desmond, of DnA Photographers.
Please describe the style of your wedding
Set against the incredible mountains of the Cape Winelands, it was a summer wedding on a vineyard, an hours drive from Cape Town, South Africa. An outdoor ceremony with a view hard to beat, followed by dinner and dancing under the canopy.
When and where did your partner propose to you?
With the help from one of his best friends, Mark had dreamt up a very believable story which led us to an evening at Coworth Park in Ascot – a real treat. Before dinner, we went for a stroll through the picturesque rose gardens and Mark got down on one knee and proposed, which came as a total surprise to me. We had an incredible evening and were well looked after by all of the staff (who were eager to congratulate us). Mark had even booked me in for a manicure the next morning at the spa – total bliss.
Which dress did you choose and why? And where did you buy it from?
I went with the beautifully classic Torum dress from the Charlie Brear flagship store in London. A friend had recommended it to me, and I went along to one of the open evenings to start with. As soon as I walked in, there were three dresses I liked instantly and made an appointment to come back as soon as I could.
How was your experience shopping for your wedding dress?
It took me a good number of months searching before I found the right dress. I felt a little wedding dress weary until my appointment with Charlie Brear. It was a happy relief to find the one I truly loved and suited my style perfectly. We celebrated immediately with a bottle of bubbly at the Charlotte Street Hotel!
What would your advice be to other brides shopping for a wedding dress?
Mid-week appointments tend to be more readily available and so it’s certainly worth taking time off work and booking a few appointments on the same day. I plotted all of the locations on Google Maps ‘places’ (a tad geeky, but came in very handy)...
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Utter relief. It was such a pleasing moment to make a final, confident decision, knowing that it was the perfect dress for me.
What shoes did you wear?
I wore a pair of pale grey patent courts from LK Bennett. I knew they’d be comfy, great quality and something I could easily wear again.
Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
Underwear was very easy. I bought a stick on gel bra on the advice of the Charlie Brear team and a pair of nude seam free shorts from M&S. Both were ideal. Not in the least bit sexy, but they were functional and worked a dream.
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
Colleen van Rensburg, based in Cape Town. I researched several hair and make-up artists in the area and went with Colleen who met me a week before the wedding at the villa, we stayed in to do a full trial.
Where and when did you get married?
We got married in the Cape winelands at the Vrede en Lust Estate, just outside of Franschhoek at the beginning of December. It was the perfect venue – almost all of our guests could stay on site and the ceremony, drinks area and reception were all a few scenic moments walk from each other.
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Excited and nervous at the same time. My dad and I joked and laughed as we walked down the aisle which made it a really lovely moment.
What traditions did you follow?
I borrowed my grandmother’s sapphire ring from my sister and Mark and I avoided seeing each other the morning of the wedding.
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
We had a six-course taster menu with wine pairing, something quie distinctive of the food scene in Cape Town. We selected the wine from our favourite vineyard - Arendsig in Robertson – a place we’ve been visiting regularly for a few years.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
One of the groomsmen was tasked with holding the microphone as we said our vows. He was under strict instruction from the pastor to move it back and forth to whoever was speaking at the time. Unsure of when to move, the invasion of this wavering microphone was farcical but gave light relief to the moment and had everyone laughing out loud!
Who took your wedding pictures?
Antonia and Desmond, a husband and wife duo who make up DnA Photographers. The grading and finish of their photography is what attracted us to them. They were incredibly chilled and did a superb job on the day.
If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?
Planning a wedding abroad is definitely a different ball game, and I would have liked to have taken a second trip out there to meet the suppliers, see the venue again and go through plans in person.
Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? What parts were easy and what parts were trickier?
Taking a trip out to South Africa 11 months before made choosing the venue and suppliers really easy. We were almost forced into making quick decisions, rather than spending weekends on end deciding. The difficult part was the planning purely by phone and email. I'm sure in some instances being there in person would have made a big difference.
What will you do with your dress now?
Get it cleaned and packed up nicely for now. It doesn’t take up much room, and is still a lovely reminder for the moment.
What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
The ceremony was incredible. We were set against the beautiful mountains, the weather was perfect, everyone seemed to have a great time - and were eager to get on the dance floor!
TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK’S #FRIDAYBRIDE Jessica
1. Don't try and do everything yourself. Bridesmaids, parents, friends are all eager to help...
2. ...So make a list of jobs you'd be happy to delegate!
3. If planning overseas, be very specific with suppliers - otherwise there can be some artistic license!
4. Get a wedding planner (again - if you're planning abroad).
5. Relax, laugh, enjoy it and stick together on the day!