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Madi + Henning stunning Sydney harbour wedding

Posted on 19 Jul, 2017
Madi + Henning stunning Sydney harbour wedding


How did you meet your partner? We met for the first time in Manly through a mutual friend.

How long have you been together? We’ll be together for 2 years on 4th July 2017. Our first (official) date was on the 4th of July 2015 in Manly too and we’ve seen each other every single day since then (except for one day).

Do you have a proposal story? Henning proposed to me on the 18th of October 2015 (only 3 months after our first date ... when you know, you KNOW!). We went to Port Macquarie for the weekend as he was competing in the Ironman 70.3 race that weekend. It was our first weekend away together. He finished the race on the Sunday and after relaxing a bit he said we should go and grab some coffee/tea and go to the beach. We sat next to the beach and chatted for a while when he said we should take a stroll as it would be good to stretch his legs after the race (yeah right!). We got to this small private beach and we went and stood in the water for a while..chatting a bit more. A random fisherman joined us and I found it a little strange that Henning was a bit troubled by his presence, but didn’t think much of it .... luckily the fisherman went on the rocks and left us alone once again. I was still staring out at the ocean when all of a sudden Henning said he had a question to ask me ... when I turned to face him, he was down on one knee, holding the most beautiful ring ever!!! I was soooo taken aback, that I said “no, really?” a few times until he asked if I was planning on saying “yes!” at any point ;) I didn’t expect it AT ALL ... I mean seriously, who proposes just after finishing an Ironman Race!!!!???

The Wedding

What was your wedding date? 22 April 2017

Ceremony Location? St Matthews Anglican Church, Manly

What made you choose there? We are members of the church.

Reception Location? Manly Skiff Club

What made you choose there? It was close to our church and it had the relaxed, beach setting we were looking for. They were also very flexible and easy to work with. We knew that we wanted to get married in Manly as so many of our “firsts” happened there.

How did you find it? We used to live in Manly and I saw it one day while travelling home from work on the ferry.

How was the weather on the day? Absolutely perfect!!! It was the perfect, sunny autumn day. It started out overcast in the morning but turned into a beautiful sunny day by the time the ceremony finished. I didn’t even have to wear a jacket later that evening and even Henning could walk around without his jacket. 

Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? No specific reason, it just felt right. We didn’t want to get married in the summer or winter and it was a good time for our family to travel from South Africa as it was right after the Easter long weekend.

The Wedding Details

Theme? Natural, leafy botanicals with Rose Gold, Navy and Duck Egg Blue. 

Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? I wanted something that was relaxed, soft and elegant and not too girly. My engagement ring was made out of Rose Gold, so I wanted to incorporate it into my theme and I love navy and duck-egg blue. The box that my engagement ring came in was duck egg blue velvet with a Rose Gold “M” on it ... I just love that colour combo (The Mrs Box).

Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? Most of it was DIY ... the whole family was involved. I have my own wedding stationery company, so I made the invites and all the other stationery items. My mum, my aunt and my sister arranged the flowers. We sourced the vases ourselves. My mum also made the linen napkins that were on the tables and my gran helped her to make all the bunting. My aunt made our wedding cake and my cousin did my hair and make-up. My gran also made our wedding dessert ... her famous marshmallow treat! My dad is very handy and loves making things out of wood, so he made a structure that we painted and put on the cake table. My sister also made both my rings and my husband’s. My youngest sister also organized the most amazing Bridal Shower for me where we all made flower crowns ... it was unforgettable.

Bridal Party

Bridesmaids – who/relationship? My two sisters

Groomsmen – who/relationship? Old friends of my husband

Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship? My niece, Emese

Wedding Gown (the most important part!)

Madi looked stunning in our sequin 'Poppy' gown from our KWH by Karen Willis Holmes collection. 

What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I’ve always LOVED all the dresses at Karen Willis Holmes and followed your page on instagram. My sisters didn’t know about my obsession and googled for a place to try on beautiful wedding gowns. They came across the Karen Willis Holmes page and booked an appointment without my knowledge. The kept it a surprise and took me to the Padding Store. I was blown away that they choose Karen Willis Holmes for my first bridal fitting. The Padding Store was beautiful and the girl (Jess I think her name was), was sooo lovely. It was a really enjoyable experience.

Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Only in magazines and on social media. The first picture of a gown I saved about 8 years ago as “my wedding dress someday” was a Karen Willis Holmes dress that I saw in a magazine.

How many gowns did you try? About 5 or so. I tried the 'Poppy' dress on first and fell in love (my mum and sisters started crying when they saw me). Then I tried a few more after that, just to be sure, but went with the first one. First day of dress shopping, first store, first dress. 

Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? Padding, Sydney. 

What did you especially like about your gown? It was soooo comfortable and elegant, but really special. I love sequence. My mum and sisters said it suits my beach theme and the sequence looks like little seashells.


Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Piper Lane

Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? The Groomsmen used their own suits, we just gave them their ties. The groom bought his suit at Paul’s Menswear in the CBD

What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I bought beautiful Stephanie Browne earrings and my sisters wore their own earrings ... one of them wore elke earrings.

Where did you get your shoes from? Nine West

Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? My mum made my veil and I borrowed the headpiece from my cousin ... my something borrowed. 


What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Don’t over think it! Everything will come together in the end ... and make sure that you enjoy the whole process as it’s over way too quickly.

What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Choose something you feel comfortable in and that takes your breath away!

Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day? The whole day was just so special and we felt so loved and blessed! We struggled a bit to get our rings on during the church ceremony, hence all the photos of us laughing. Also, we didn’t plan on having a first dance, as we’ve never danced together before (even though we both love dancing) and we didn’t even have a special song. Our MC decided to put it up for a vote and all our guests voted that we should dance. My sister’s boyfriend (our DJ), chose “My Girl” as our song ... so, it was not only our first dance as husband and wife, but our first dance EVER! It was perfect! At our wedding, most of our guests were family and only a few very close friends, which made it feel really intimate and relaxed. We also had time to chat with everyone and to enjoy our food. 

Something Old? My fur shawl

Something New? Almost all of it, my dress, underwear, shoes and earrings.

Something Borrowed? My headpiece

Something Blue? A little blue bow inside my dress



Photographer – Nikki Meyer Photography. I very dear friend of mine from Uni. She came from South Africa to take our photos. I’ve always wanted her to take my wedding photos. She is so creative and has a wonderful eye for detail. I trust her completely, so it was so lovely to not have to worry about one aspect of the wedding. The fact that we knew her, made the photo sessions more enjoyable and comfortable too.

Florist – My mum, aunt and sisters!

Music – My sister’s boyfriend (Nic). He’s in a band (Food Court) and DJ’s on the side as well. We just let him know more or less what we liked and he did the rest. The music was PERFECT!! As mentioned, he even chose the perfect wedding dance song for us.

First Dance – 'My Girl' - The Temptations

MC – Francois Potgieter (one of the groomsmen). He did an awesome job. 

Celebrant – Pastor Bruce Clarke

Stationery – The Little Paper Pantry (I made my own)

Menu – Deck BBQ buffet ... delicious! With a charcuterie table for the guests on arrival and my Gran’s homemade marshmallow treat for dessert.

Cake – It was a naked carrot cake (Henning’s favourite) ... my aunt made it

Hair and Make-Up – My cousin, Mele van der Merwe who is a beautician and works for QT Spa in the city. She did an AMAZING job and got op extra early to be in Manly on time.

Wedding Bands – Em Archer Design. My sister made them for us as well as my engagement ring. My wedding rings are white and rose gold with diamonds and my husband’s ring is made out of platinum. We gave my sister an idea of what we wanted and she did the rest ... we are over the moon with how they turned out!!!

Wedding Cars – Kombi Weddings. I was soooo happy with their service from the very first enquiry. The are friendly and very accommodating and very reasonably priced. They also went the extra mile on the wedding day and knew all the best spots to take photos. Couldn’t recommend Stephen and Wendy highly enough.

Cufflinks – Order via Etsy at Jules Read design. Excellent service and prompt delivery (I left it a little late). I was very happy with the end result.

Rose Gold Cutlery – We hired these from Harbourside Decorators. Excellent service and reasonably priced!

Hotel  Q Station,  Manly. The bridal party stayed there the night before the wedding and my husband and I stayed there for our wedding night as well. LOVED the rooms and the view as well as the complimentary breakfasts!! We plan on going back every year for our wedding anniversary