How did you meet your partner? We met in Thailand. I was there for school doing a medical selective and Mark was traveling with friends. We met one night out at a party and kept in contact throughout our travels in Thailand meeting up where we could. After a month of traveling, I went back to South Africa and he went back to The Netherlands. 10 days later he flew to visit me in South Africa and from then on we have been together since.
How long have you been together? 4 years
Do you have a proposal story? We did long distance for almost our entire relationship, and one of our vacations together I went to visit him in The Netherlands. Of course, the weather was terrible at the time but he insisted we go to the beach for a “walk”. I protested and complained because it was raining and windy. He then suggested we just take some wine and chips and sit at his beach house for the sunset… (wine, chips and the beach were our thing ☺) He asked his friends to set up champagne and roses beforehand at his beach house. He also asked a friend to hide a camera to film the whole thing! He proposed with his grandmother's wedding ring. It turned out to be a beautiful day!
What was your wedding date? 05/06/17
Ceremony & Reception
Location? Brenaissance Wine and Stud Estate. Stellenbosch, Cape Town South Africa
What made you choose there? I grew up in Cape Town and studied for 4 years in Stellenbosch. It’s a beautiful small town with a lot of Dutch influence with many beautiful wine farms, and we felt that it would be the perfect place.
How did you find it? I knew a lot of the wine farms in the area from living there. However, because Mark was in the Netherlands and I was in NYC for school my mom and aunt actually chose the venue with help of face time and lots of pictures they helped us make the decision.
How was the weather on the day? Started off a little cloudy but turned out to be a very beautiful sunny day.
Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? No, just happened to work out on that date.
The Wedding Details
Theme? Elegant, classic and minimalist with a touch of gold.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Most of the ideas were from Pinterest and our décor company. We decided on food, flowers and décor pieces that we truly loved, not just what looked the best or was the most popular. We incorporated Dutch and South African influences throughout the wedding. We had Tulips and Proteas as our main flowers. And our food included traditional South African snacks such as boerewors and Dutch bitterballen and frietjes.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? Yes, my sister Chelsea made graphics on the invitations, and thank you cards for the gifts, as well as helping with the DIY photo booth. The week before the wedding the whole family helped with making and packaging the gifts that included South African biltong and Dutch stroopwafels.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship? My sister Chelsea
Groomsmen – who/relationship? Marks brother, Mischa
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
Roxy wore the Aster gown with the Genevieve drape.
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I was in NYC around the time of dress shopping, the best place to find a dress! I googled the best wedding dress shops and KWH was on the top of the list.
How many gowns did you try? About 15 dresses
Where did you purchase your gown from? NYC boutique
What did you especially like about your gown? I tried on so many dresses but they were all so similar and I was looking for something a little different but still classic and to make an investment where I could wear the gown again. I never expected to even try on one of the sequinned/beaded gowns because I thought “No way, that’s not me I cant pull that off” but I am so glad my mom and the shop assistants in the store pushed me to try it on. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I left the store, and kept comparing all the dresses I was trying on to it. I asked for a second look and immediately said yes! It made me feel elegant and beautiful!
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? My sister bought her dress from Reformation in NYC
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? The groomsman suit was from Suit Supply and the groom's suit was from Duetz both in The Netherlands.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I chose to keep it simple because the dress spoke for itself and didn’t need any accessories, except a simple gold and silver bracelet chain.
Where did you get your shoes from? From Spring. I was pleasantly surprised to find such affordable comfortable shoes. They were the first ones I tried on.
What advice would you give brides organising their wedding? Take the time to really find your inspiration and likes and dislikes. Don’t let people sway your decisions. Don’t rush the process.
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Start looking early! But take the time to find what suits your body type and style the best. What may seem perfect on paper or online isn’t always the case when trying on. You may be pleasantly surprised by trying something on a little out of your comfort zone☺. Go with your gut feeling, choose what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day. We wanted an intimate but really fun night with everyone who meant so much to us and we really were so blessed to have all of our friends and family come from all around the world (South Africa, The Netherlands and USA) to celebrate with us. And after 4 years of long distance for our family and friends who cared so much and supported us over the years, we were just so grateful for everyone to witness our ceremony and be part of our special day.
Something Old? My engagement ring
Something New? Wedding dress, and bracelet, and garter with a Dutch flag sewn on.
Something Borrowed? A beautiful antique hair clip was given to me to wear by my hairdresser who is also one of my best friends.
Something Blue? A blue ribbon pin from the dressmaker who did the alterations to the dress.
Photographer – Dillon Kin Photography – We chose Dillon after seeing his work at another friends wedding. He captured moments that were fun, special and rare and we loved the look of his photos. We knew we had to have him as our photographer!
Florist – Blooming Wonderful
Videographer – Keenan Ferguson, recommended to us by Tim our wedding coordinator, and also a friend.
Wedding planner and coordinator - Dapper Events. A very good friend of ours has been an events planner for many years and we never even had a second thought. He really cared about our needs and made extra effort to make our day perfect for us.
Music – Cocktail hour – Kai Connor, a local musician in our community at home.
DJ - The Wedding DJ
First Dance – Wonderwall by Oasis, one of our favorite songs.
MC – My father Colin Graham
Officiator – Family friend Andrew Trench
Stationery – Blooming Wonderful and Chelsea Graham (sister)
Menu & catering – Salt catering
Cake – Amy Chmielewski, Sprinkle in Time.
Bombonieres – DIY gold box with South African biltong and Dutch Stroopwafel treats
Hair – Nicola Melidonis – my best friend of more than 18 years and the only person I would trust to do my hair and makeup! Also because she is the absolute best and knows my style.
Makeup - Nicola Melidonis
Wedding Bands – Winhall and de Stadler Jewelers