Not all destination weddings are set on a beach. When your destination is actually your family home, it has even more sentimental meaning. Caelyn and Ryan had a most stunning and relaxed wedding filled with glorious flowers, a perfect backdrop and wonderful family and friends, read on to hear Caelyn’s fantastic tips to enjoy your wedding, wherever that is!
When was the wedding?
7 December 2019
How did your partner propose?
He carried the ring in his pocket for 2 weeks waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect moment for him ended up being at my parents house in Cape Town where I grew up, with my parents and siblings in the house downstairs. We have been friends and part of each others lives since we were eight years old (now we are 30 and 31) so for him, knowing family has always been the most important thing for me, and given we live thousands of miles away from our families here in London, he couldn’t think of a better place to ask me to start a family with him then in my family home with my family.
Where did you get married?
A wine farm in Stellenbosch called Nooitgedacht, just outside Cape Town.
Where was the reception held?
Both the ceremony and reception were at Nooitgedacht.
What dress did you wear?
Martin Thornburg, Rosabelle. It’s from one of the older ranges but you ladies made it happen for me!
And the bridesmaids?
I didn’t want the traditional plain or over the top bridesmaid look. On all the magazines and stores I looked at I found everything incredibly formal and nothing that any of the girls could wear again. I wanted something that they could dress up or down, that they would be comfortable in but also something different. They wore dresses bought online from Floryday.
What were your bridal shopping experiences like?
I went dress shopping twice, one real shop at Gillian Roberts and a “fake experience shop” when I was in Cape Town with my mum, mum-in-law, and my mum’s best friend. 2 of my bridesmaids live in London and 1 is still in Cape Town, there was one week in January 2019 where everyone was in London so we made the most of it. I contacted a number of stores, with the main questions being 1. Could they get the gown in for me to try? and 2. Would I be allowed to FaceTime or Skype my mum so that she could be part of the experience? So many shops said no to calling my mum as this was a “video” of dresses I had not purchased. You ladies on the other hand were so excited to make this happen for me and allowed us to FaceTime and take 100s (literally 100s) of photos to send to my mum. It was a fantastic fun day, because there was some time before the next appointment I got to try an extra dress or two and everyone got involved in choosing dresses for me (even my mum on the iPad). The second time in Cape Town was a very special moment for me, despite it being just for the mums, my then fiance is one of two boys, so his mum had never had the dress buying experience with a daughter so this was a really special time with her.
How did you know you’d found the perfect gown?
It was a close call between the gown I chose and a wild-card ballgown my bridesmaids put me in. I had had my gown specially ordered into the store for the day and we had FaceTime my mum back in Cape Town so she could be a part of the dress shopping experience with me. I tried this gown on last, and it just felt perfect. I purchased my gown in the January (there was one week where all of my bridesmaids were in London) and went on a second dress shopping trip in March with my mum and mum-in-law when we were visiting Cape Town, there was one dress in Cape Town which was another strong contender and I remember my mum standing with me telling me “as beautiful as the dress you have on is, the London dress is like nothing I have ever seen”.
Which accessories did you wear and how did you choose them?
I wore my late grandmother’s ring as my something old and borrowed as it was left to my mum when she passed. My gown was incredibly detailed with flowers and some sparkle, I didn’t want to compete with the dress nor go over the top. I wore a beaded vine in my hair, which was bespoke and based on my dress. I bought a pearl and sparkle combination necklace and earrings set which had a simple flower look from a New York store online and my fiancé bought me pearl stud earrings as birthday present (I have 2 ear piercings). Other than this, I wore a Pandora charm bracelet as the bracelet and all charms had been bought for me by my fiance over the past 2 years.
I ended up buying two pairs of wedding shoes… the first pair I returned. The final shoes which were my dream shoes were Rainbow UK shoes – so amazingly comfortable and beautiful!
What did your husband wear?
My maid-of-honour’s fiance works for Charles Tyrwhitt and helped kit out all the men, the groom and the groomsmen all wore 3 piece suits from Charles Tyrwhitt.
How did you feel when you saw each other for the first time at the ceremony?
For me there were definite nerves and a complete feeling of happiness and love. For him, he had been fine all morning, the nerves started when he was greeting our guests and standing waiting to start, when he saw me for the first time about to walk with my dad that’s when he felt completely calm and excited about what was about to happen.
What was your theme?
We didn’t really have a theme, when we met our florist at the venue all I told him was that we wanted simple and lots of colour and flowers. We told him that the groom’s favourite flower was the sunflower and showed him the colour of the bridesmaids dresses. To be honest, I hardly planned what the venue looked like – the first time I saw it and realised how incredible it had come together was before the ceremony at the venue. If we had to label a theme, it would be three words, “simple, colour, flowers”.The cake had the same fresh flowers on it as my bridal bouquet and tiny minions climbing the cake – the groom loves minions, and this was our fun way of adding this into our day.
Who did the photography?
Zandri du Preez photography – absolutely brillaint! She did our engagement shoot too.
What was the best moment for you? Your highlights?
The entire day was so incredible, from getting ready with my girls with lots of pink champagne all the way through to breakfast with parents the next morning. Two things I will always hold dear though will be the actual ceremony, I walked down the aisle to “How Long will I love you” by Ellie Goulding and we had non traditional vows which promised love, growth, fun and individuality which was very special. The second thing I will always hold dear was half way through our first dance (to Perfect by Ed Sheeran (but the duet version)) we went to get our parents, so I danced the end of the song with my dad and my hubby danced with his mum.
What was your best buy?
Best buy (other than my gown obviously) has to be my shoes. I bought these from Rainbow and the fantastic thing is that they are going to re-colour them from ivory to any colour I want for small charge – so I technically get two pairs of shoes for the price of one and can re-wear my shoes over and over again.
Any money-saving tips?
Be really strict with your guest list and consider doing things yourself. I hand-made our invitations (neither of us liked the wedding website idea – preferred old school invitations) but instead of paying some design company a fortune to design and print for us, we went to Hobbycraft, bought everything and I spent my evenings hand-making our invitations. I also designed the stationary for the day, table numbers, menus and the seating plan.
Any bridal wear shopping tips?
Try on different styles – we all go in thinking we know what will look best and what we want – I guarantee you will be surprised! While I had asked for my gown to be brought in to try – I hadn’t expected it would be the gown and those closest to me never predicted me to be in a princess dress like what I wore. :) My second tip would be to stick to your budget – and don’t forget to include alteration costs in that budget – the worst thing that you can do is try a dress on that you know you can’t afford and then fall in love with it.
Any additional thoughts to share?
Keep your wedding all about YOU! This is the day to celebrate you and your fiance, nobody else. Don’t lose who you are as a couple and who you are as people along the way – the small personal touches are what will make the day perfect and memorable (like our sunflower arch and minions climbing our wedding cake)